The usual Ophelia story

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:25 PM GMT on September 14, 2005

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Ophelia has now spent nine days lurching around the ocean areas south of North Carolina, and is certainly not in a hurry to end the ordeal. She'll be with us at least one more day before finally clearing the Outer Banks of North Carolina and heading out to sea. Radar out of Wilmington, NC has shown a slow increase in intensity and coverage of the rainfall the past 24 hours. Ophelia will soon be moving over waters of approximately 80F (26.5C), which is the limiting temperature below which a hurricane cannot intensify. Because of this factor, and the fact that Ophelia's northern eyewall is over land, little or no further intensification is likely for the remainder of Ophelia's trek along the coast. The upper level outflow remains good, and wind shear is low, so Ophelia should still stay a large and well-organized storm through the next two days.

Although NHC has been advertising peak winds of 80 mph and hurricane force winds extending out 50 miles from the center, the actual maximum sustained winds measured at the surface by NOAA buoy 41013 when it was in the north eyewall, were only 54 mph. At 8:00 am the Bald Head Island Marina measured a gust of 77 mph. Wilmington International Airport measured sustatined winds of 41 mph and a peak wind gust of 56 mph this morning. Scattered power outages have occurred across the area, and there are reports of minor roof damage. The NOAA aircraft's SFMR instrument measured surface winds of 65 kt (minimum hurricane force), over a small area on the southwest side of the hurricane at 12:30pm today. Thus, NHC's estimate of hurricane force winds extending out 50 miles from the center is misleading; there are probably only a few small pockets of sustained hurricane force winds at the surface. Given that Ophelia now has an easterly component of motion and is expected to move nearly parallel to the coast, it is unlikely that any portion of North Carolina will see susustained hurricane force winds today. On Thursday, Cape Hatteras may see hurricane force winds, but I think this is unlikely, given the track of the storm and the possibility that she may weaken.


Figure 1. Surface wind estimates at 12:30pm this afternoon from the NOAA aircraft's SFMR instrument show only a small area of hurricane force winds (65 knots) on Ophelia's southwest side.

The predominant danger from Ophelia remains her storm surge, which is more characteristic of a strong Category 1 or weak Category 2 hurricane. A long-lasting storm surge of 6 - 8 feet is possible in many coastal areas of North Carolina.



Flooding of low-lying areas from rain could be a problem in some places; areas just south of Wilmington, NC on Cape Fear have already received 4 - 5 inches or rain. Another 5 - 10 inches of rain is likely from this wet, slow-moving storm. If eastern North Carolina were not under mild drought conditions, this would have been a much more serious storm.

Elsewhere in the tropics
There are currently no other threats in the tropics worthy of attention. However, the ITCZ is becoming more active, and most of the global computer models are consistently predicting tropical storm formation early next week in the region between Africa and the Leewards Islands. The amount of dry, dust-laden Saharan air over the tropics has declined in recent days, making the area more favorable for tropical storm development. A large new dust storm is over the Cape Verde Islands today, so development in that area is not expected.

New community chat room
For those of you tired of hitting refresh constantly and wanting to talk about the tropics, we now have a new community chat room. Just click on the link at the upper right of the blog page.

http://www.wunderground.com/community/chat.asp

Jeff Masters

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Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 171 - 121

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171. bdnh
8:27 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Oak Island,NC
Member Since: September 11, 2005 Posts: 31 Comments: 4
170. bdnh
8:24 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Oak Island, Reported Wind Gusts of 79 MPH
Member Since: September 11, 2005 Posts: 31 Comments: 4
169. pirateotobx
8:05 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
FYI from Carteret County EOC
"The following municipalities have ordered a curfew effective at 9:00 p.m. Wednesday through 6:00 a.m Thursday:
Morehead City, Newport, Beaufort, Cape Carteret, Atlantic Beach, Pine Knoll Shores, Indian Beach and Emerald Isle.
Reports of residential flooding include the following:
Water Oak and Red Barn Road
Hwy 24 near county line
Waterway Drive in Cedar Point"
168. lowpressure
8:04 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
hey all lets move to the new post
167. armacjm
8:03 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Thanks pirate. Just now seeing Jim Cantore live from Kill Devil Hills.....
166. weatherboyfsu
8:02 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Hey Pirate what cam are you guys looking at and hows the weather.....what conditions are having at the moment...
Member Since: July 17, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1025
165. pirateotobx
7:57 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
high winds were really messing with the temp. gauge. they're starting to get back in line now...
164. armacjm
7:53 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Why would the temp readings on the cams at the pier be going crazy? From 27 to 79 then to 52....all within a minute.
163. leftyy420
7:53 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
guys i will be back in a bit. going to lay down and get some more sleep. i only slept 4-5 hrs last night and will need lots more if i am to stay up for 30 hrs or so lol
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
162. leftyy420
7:50 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
should say sons bibs lol
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
161. leftyy420
7:50 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
lol i am ok. i put one of my osns bibs on so i don't make a mess lol
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
160. armacjm
7:49 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Lefty - stop drooling on your keyboard...... LOL
159. pirateotobx
7:48 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Mother Nature seems to have a grudge against Topsail Beach...that place was/is such a pretty beach...the storms since the late 90's starting with Bertha and Fran have really taken a toll.....
158. leftyy420
7:47 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
hers the link to the cams

Link
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
157. leftyy420
7:46 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
yeah low, watchign the wirghtsvill beach cam and the waves are really hitting that pier out there. when high tide its i don't see that pier making it much longer
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
156. pirateotobx
7:45 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Will do Sounder.... Yea we live off 24 VERY close to Ocean. Actually we address some of our stuff as Ocean...
155. lowpressure
7:44 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
yea left,, this is mainly a coastle storm so far,, some minor probles inland,, but i do want to say some of the beaches around here r getting destroyed and high tide is in 1 hour,, north topsail beach has houses with water running under them and going inland,, i will be going there to see it later,,, shingles and siding blown off on topsail,, farther north in carterett (sp?) county they r expecting much more ,, i really love the beach so i am sad to report topsail beaches dunes r not fairing well and may be destroyed very soon,, the water is there now and high tide is still comming
154. leftyy420
7:43 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
yeah weatherguy, thats what i took from the recon data but i expect those winds to wrapp around to the east and smack the obx.
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
153. leftyy420
7:42 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
lol weatherguy now thats funny
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
152. weatherguy03
7:42 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Southern eye wall has stronger winds also.
Member Since: July 5, 2005 Posts: 592 Comments: 29700
151. weatherguy03
7:41 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
I like the obs from Frying Pan Shoals....Link...You can see when the eye went over the buoy...
Member Since: July 5, 2005 Posts: 592 Comments: 29700
150. leftyy420
7:41 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
lol they are calling for winds 20-30 moh here at my house late tonight. thats funny. i am north of richmond and don't expect much impact here in va except along the coast close to the nc/va border
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
149. OBXER
7:40 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Hooked thanks i think we wil be okay wind wise its the sound flooding that could be a problem and losing the road at our north end oh well well find out in the morning
Member Since: September 24, 2001 Posts: 0 Comments: 11
148. leftyy420
7:39 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
wondered why the radar from there went down lol
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
147. ncsounder
7:39 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Pirate,

keep me know what’s going on, I have some interest in beautiful downtown Ocean not far from you….
146. leftyy420
7:38 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
yeah low. i expect the strongest winds to be those comming off the ocean along the coast. thats why iexpect a god show in va beach. winds will be comming off the ocean almost the whole time
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
145. pirateotobx
7:37 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
you think of all people they would have made sure their generator was in order before hurricane season...LOL
144. pirateotobx
7:35 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
the NWS in Newport NC lost power and their generator died on them..we're trying to get them back on ASAP...
143. lowpressure
7:34 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
im here in onslow county,, STILL waiting on the storm,, it is just off the coast of me,, the eyewall is about 20 miles form my house,, i do have to say the wind is NOT mixing down,, at least over land anywhere nerar.. hruu. sustained wind,, the news reprots a few official gust over hurr. strength,, but very few,, very little damage anywhere except the beaches,, the news is making a big story out of a few trees and branches,, there is some flooding but not a whole lot threatning property,, inland anyway,, my highest gust here has been about 50 miles and hour with sustained 35 miles an hour,, it has not gotten all the way here yet but seems not to be mixing down winds well... ill report if this "hurricane" does anything worth reporting.. by the way before i have 20 poeople telling me how i dont want bigger winds and how i should watch the news of katrina,, i already know
142. leftyy420
7:33 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
man i almost left togo to nc last night lol. i don't know the area that well so i decided to go to va beach later tonight. should be lots of fun and yes i am excited lol

looks like she might have slowed a bit as well. not good for u guys in the obx. lots of flooding
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
141. armacjm
7:32 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Lefty - you're so excited that I can see you grinning from ear to ear even waaaaay down here in Florida....good luck and stay safe!
140. leftyy420
7:29 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
lol obx that should say 50-70 mils lol
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
139. leftyy420
7:28 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
obx it would be awsome but iwill just be 5-70 mils up the coast so its like we almost in the saem room lol


thanks weatherguy. iwill have tons of pics to share.
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
138. hookedontropics
7:26 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Wilmington NE to Hatteras, I wish you guys well..
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 3 Comments: 127
137. weatherguy03
7:25 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
I know we are talking about Ophelia, but here i sthe latest GFDL on 95l...Link....And goodluck leftyy and have fun tonite and tomorrow!!!
Member Since: July 5, 2005 Posts: 592 Comments: 29700
136. OBXER
7:23 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Lefty to bad you cant come down to Ocracoke i think we will have quite an interresting night and morning thursday.Looks like the eye is going to pass right over my house and since Pamlico Sound is about 300 feet away it should be wild.Ill be here untill they cut the power or i drop from lack of sleep.
Member Since: September 24, 2001 Posts: 0 Comments: 11
135. weatherboyfsu
7:21 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Theres no way to describe when your out by yourself....the winds are kicking and the power is out where you are and you see the flashes in the distance....its one of the freakest feeling you will ever feel....
Member Since: July 17, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1025
134. leftyy420
7:18 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
k stormy i will
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
133. stormydee
7:17 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
I have some good pics from Francis last year, but I'll have to sort and scan to show them. Im gonna go home and find them. Everyone, be safe and watch for flying debris (lefty). Goodnight!
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 39 Comments: 517
132. leftyy420
7:14 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE
A. 14/1837Z
B. 33 DEG 57 MIN N
77 DEG 24 MIN W
C. 700 MB 2904 M
D. NA
E. NA
F. 175 DEG 75 KT
G. 085 DEG 27 NM
H. 979 MB
I. 10 C/ 3049 M
J. 15 C/ 2911 M
K. 11 C/ NA
L. POORLY DEFINED
M. C50
N. 12345/7
O. 1/1 NM
P. NOAA3 2516A OPHELIA OB 20
MAX FL WIND 79 KT SE QUAD 1736Z

Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
131. stormydee
7:08 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
ya, got it now...was pulling a blonde (cause I am allowed) Just saw "anticyclonic"...didnt even think dah, high pressure. thanks everyone...
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 39 Comments: 517
130. HENSCOLASC
7:08 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Yeah, I remember those green lights. I was in Columbia SC when Hugo hit, I saw the green flashes and thought it was lightning (I'd never been in a hurricane before). It wasn't til later that I figured out that was transformers blowing (sure was an erie sight). And I was 130 miles inland!!
Member Since: August 27, 2005 Posts: 12 Comments: 146
129. AySz88
7:04 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
stormydee: I think upper-level anticyclonic is good for development? Like the air flows up in the middle and then away (as if it were high pressure) from the storm?
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 8
128. stormydee
7:03 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
ya FSU, the green hurricane lights...oh what an eerie memory...pop pop, there goes the lights! I watched the power line across the street from my house last year do pinwheels, it was really cool looking, until they lost power.
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 39 Comments: 517
127. leftyy420
7:02 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
i will spend most my time in the 9th street parking garage so i can be sheltered from the lements as i take most of my pictures
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
126. leftyy420
7:01 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
no that should be in place to helpp limit the shear as they like high pressure over them
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
125. weatherboyfsu
6:59 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Hey lefty...when the winds get up over 60mph, keep your vehicle pointed in the direction of the wind....your car wont shake as bad.......Ive been through about 15 storms........and I was in charley last year and had 85 sustained with gust over 100mph...... .I dont think you will see that as I dont think anyone will in that area....make sure your on high ground and have a good escape route.....im sure you know the area well......if you dont....i would stay inland about a mile or so.....look for the green flashes....those give me goose bumps....if you havent seen them before, you should tonight....
Member Since: July 17, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1025
124. leftyy420
6:59 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
weatherboy wants to be in this monster so abd lol. i feel ur pain weatherboy. its what i went thru all last year watching all those storms hit florida, don't get me wrong i don't wish this destruction on any one. refering to the chasing aspect only people and if she stays a cat one and weakens from here on out i will be just as happy
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
123. stormydee
6:58 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
from discussion: UPPER LEVEL ANTICYCLONIC FLOW IS ON TOP OF THE AREA AROUND THE 52W TROPICAL WAVE....is that and strong shear the reason our pre-phillipe is not forming yet?
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 39 Comments: 517
122. pirateotobx
6:58 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
just FYI...

"From the Carteret County EOC...
14:30 Highway Patrol securing post on the south side of the Emerald Isle Bridge. Conditions are unsafe.
PKS has implemented curfew from 9pm-6am Thursday
The Town of Morehead City has declared a State of Emergency, effective immediately. A curfew will be in effect from 9 PM this evening until 6 AM Thursday.
Carteret County Sheriff's Department has removed numerous trees which have fallen on state roadways. Areas affected were Nine Foot Rd., Old Stanton Rd, Hwy 101 and a tree has also fallen across a vehicle located at Sea Gate. "
121. collinsfarm
6:58 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
have to sign off now. back tomorrow to check on bahama wave and ITCZ. good luck to everyone is NC and VA. be careful.
Member Since: September 1, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 1354

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.