Tropical Atlantic quiet; Southern California fire event possible Friday

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:26 PM GMT on November 12, 2008

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The remains of Hurricane Paloma continue to spin over the Caribbean waters just south of Cuba, but wind shear is a high 30 knots, and there is virtually no chance that Paloma will regenerate. Elsewhere in the tropical Atlantic, there are no threat areas to discuss, and none of our reliable models are predicting tropical storm formation over the next seven days. There is an extratropical low pressure system that is expected to separate from the jet stream in the middle Atlantic just south of the Azores Islands 5-7 days from now, and it is possible this low could gradually acquire some tropical characteristics and become a subtropical storm late next week as it wanders over the open Atlantic Ocean. Such a storm would only be a threat to shipping interests, and I am not expecting any more tropical storms this season that will threaten land areas. With wind shear expected to rise over the Caribbean later this week, and continue to remain at high levels until late November, it is likely that the Atlantic hurricane season of 2008 is finally over in the Caribbean.

Paloma clean-up continues
The recovery effort from Hurricane Paloma continues in the Cayman Islands and Cuba. Paloma roared through the Cayman Islands Friday night and Saturday morning as a Category 4 hurricane with 140 mph winds, brushing Grand Cayman Island, but pounding the "Sister Islands" to the northeast--Little Cayman and Cayman Brac--with its northern eyewall. The hardest-hit Cayman island was Cayman Brac, population 2,000. About half of the island's population is homeless, and 95% of the structures on the island are damaged and 30% missing their roofs. The Cayman Compass reports that electricity is still out to most of the island, though Internet and cell phone service have been restored. Damage was also very heavy on Little Cayman Island, which suffered damage to approximately 90% of its buildings.

In Cuba, leader Raul Castro said yesterday that Cuba had suffered at least $10 billion in damage from Hurricanes Ike, Gustav, and Paloma. Paloma was the least damaging of the three, accounting for $1.4 billion of the damage total. This year was the first time on record that three major hurricanes have hit Cuba.


Figure 1. Hurricane Paloma near maximum intensity at 1:35 pm EST November 8, 2008. At the time, Paloma was a Category 4 hurricane with 140-145 mph winds. Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory.

Southern California fire event possible this week
A moderate to strong Santa Ana wind event is shaping up for Southern California Friday and Saturday, as high pressure builds in to the north and east. The clockwise flow of air around this high pressure system will drive strong east-to-west offshore winds from the mountains to the ocean over the Los Angeles and San Diego metropolitan areas. A Fire Weather Watch has already been posted for the mountain regions near Los Angeles, where wind gusts up to 60 mph are expected Friday and Saturday. Very windy, dry, and hot conditions are expected Friday and Saturday over Southern California, and the San Diego area will see near record temperatures 10 to 20 degrees above average.

Jeff Masters

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233. KoritheMan
3:46 AM GMT on November 13, 2008
229.weatherblog

A few comments on your post:

The NHC has already released their TCR on Bertha, and according to them, it peaked at 110 kt, a high-end Category 3 storm, just shy of Category 4 (which would start at 115 kt). So Bertha wasn't a Category 4.

I don't think any storm should be retired from this year, other than Gustav, Ike, and possibly Hanna. Omar didn't do enough damage to merit retirement, Fay's rains weren't unheard of, Dolly is a typical summertime hurricane, and Paloma dissipated too quickly to cause a significant amount of damage -- at least enough to merit its retirement.

And although 94L was likely a subtropical storm, it was only so for a few hours IMO, and should not be included in post-season analysis.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 573 Comments: 20371
232. weatherblog
3:44 AM GMT on November 13, 2008
Quoting hurristat:


YES. About the upgrading. I think that Paloma has a greater chance of being a 5 than Bertha does of being a 4. Anyway, it was hardly a 3, so making a 4 doesn't make sense. Same thing for Dolly.


You may be right, but the NHC did mention with Bertha and Omar that they were briefly category fours. So, it is up to question I assume if they will actually be upgraded post-season or not. While Dolly does not have as much evidence of it being a category three, I think based on the impressive satelitte presentation, massive amount of damage it left, and some of the estimates made before it made landfall in Southern Texas may be enough to prove the point. The NHC is gonna have a tough time figuring out which storms to upgrade, because it seems almost every storm needs to be upgraded somehow or another.
Member Since: July 10, 2006 Posts: 27 Comments: 1623
231. hurricaneman123
3:35 AM GMT on November 13, 2008
i took a look at Hurricane ike at peak intensity and it is definatley not a cat 5 totally a cat 4 but before land fall it might be a cat 3 I give it a 50% chance that it was a cat 3
Member Since: November 7, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 42
230. hurristat
3:32 AM GMT on November 13, 2008
Quoting weatherblog:
As far as retirement percentages go:

Arthur 0%
Bertha 0%
Cristobal 0%
Dolly 5%
Edouard 0%
Fay 35%
Gustav 100%
Hanna 75%
Ike 100%
Josephine 0%
Kyle 0%
Laura 0%
Marco 0%
Nana 0%
Omar 30%
Paloma 50%

And, as far as what I think will be upgraded post season:

Bertha- Likely a cat 4 at peak intensity
Dolly- Possibly a cat 3 at Texas landfall
Fay- Possibly a hurricane over Florida
Gustav- Likely a cat 5 before Cuba landfall
Omar- Likely a cat 4 at peak intensity
Paloma- Possibly a minimal cat 5 or 150 mph cat 4 at peak intensity

Also there were a few invests that I think reached TD/TS status and weren't officialy declared until a later time period or were left unnoticed. Examples; 94L in September I think was a subtropical/tropical depression/storm. Fay and Arthur became a tropical storm/depression before it was officialy declared.

Any comments? By the way, this is all just my opinion...nothing else...


YES. About the upgrading. I think that Paloma has a greater chance of being a 5 than Bertha does of being a 4. Anyway, it was hardly a 3, so making a 4 doesn't make sense. Same thing for Dolly.
Member Since: October 15, 2008 Posts: 11 Comments: 2312
229. weatherblog
3:27 AM GMT on November 13, 2008
As far as retirement percentages go:

Arthur 0%
Bertha 0%
Cristobal 0%
Dolly 5%
Edouard 0%
Fay 35%
Gustav 100%
Hanna 75%
Ike 100%
Josephine 0%
Kyle 0%
Laura 0%
Marco 0%
Nana 0%
Omar 30%
Paloma 50%

And, as far as what I think will be upgraded post season:

Bertha- Likely a category 4 at peak intensity
Dolly- Possibly a category 3 at Texas landfall
Fay- Possibly a hurricane over Florida
Gustav- Likely a category 5 before Cuba landfall
Omar- Likely a category 4 at peak intensity
Paloma- Possibly a minimal category 5 or 150 mph category 4 at peak intensity

Also there were a few invests that I think reached TD/TS status and weren't officialy declared until a later time period or were left unnoticed. Examples; 94L in September I think was a subtropical/tropical depression/storm. And, possibly Fay, Kyle, and Arthur became a tropical storm/depression before it was actually officialy declared.

Any comments? By the way, this is all just my opinion...nothing else...
Member Since: July 10, 2006 Posts: 27 Comments: 1623
228. hurristat
3:27 AM GMT on November 13, 2008
Quoting KoritheMan:


I too want one more storm to track this year, which is why I'm hoping that a piece of that extratropical storm Jeff mentioned breaks off from the jet stream and becomes Rene. It would go harmlessly out to sea.

I'm actually predicting one more storm this season, and I have no doubt that if we get one, it'll form in the open Atlantic from an extratropical low pressure area -- that's the only place conditions are even marginally favorable, is out in the open Atlantic.

Plus, it's always fun to see the NHC pull their hair out when trying to predict a storm like Epsilon, Zeta, or Gordon. :)


THAT WOULD BE PERFECT!!!

(Don't forget about Delta)
Member Since: October 15, 2008 Posts: 11 Comments: 2312
227. KoritheMan
3:22 AM GMT on November 13, 2008
Quoting hurristat:


true, but im caught between wanting something to track and trying to not sound sadistic


I too want one more storm to track this year, which is why I'm hoping that a piece of that extratropical storm Jeff mentioned breaks off from the jet stream and becomes Rene. It would go harmlessly out to sea.

I'm actually predicting one more storm this season, and I have no doubt that if we get one, it'll form in the open Atlantic from an extratropical low pressure area -- that's the only place conditions are even marginally favorable, is out in the open Atlantic.

Plus, it's always fun to see the NHC pull their hair out when trying to predict a storm like Epsilon, Zeta, or Gordon. :)
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 573 Comments: 20371
226. hurristat
3:18 AM GMT on November 13, 2008
Quoting KoritheMan:


Not to mention unrealistic. The GFS 200 mb wind forecast shows extremely hostile vertical shear throughout most of the Carribean. Even if the wave made it into the Carribean, it would have almost no chance of developing.


true, but im caught between wanting something to track and trying to not sound sadistic
Member Since: October 15, 2008 Posts: 11 Comments: 2312
225. KoritheMan
3:16 AM GMT on November 13, 2008
Quoting hurristat:


maybe if it made it into the carib... it would be rene(accent on the last e, too lazy to put it there), but that sounds overly sadistic


Not to mention unrealistic. The GFS 200 mb wind forecast shows extremely hostile vertical shear throughout most of the Carribean. Even if the wave made it into the Carribean, it would have almost no chance of developing.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 573 Comments: 20371
224. hurristat
3:13 AM GMT on November 13, 2008
Quoting KoritheMan:


I was thinking you meant the area of cloudiness and showers east of the Windward Islands -- that is related to the ITCZ. But I see now that you meant that small area of cloudiness and showers NE of the northern Leeward Islands. Again, just like with the area further south, I doubt anything comes of this.


maybe if it made it into the carib... it would be rene(accent on the last e, too lazy to put it there), but that sounds overly sadistic
Member Since: October 15, 2008 Posts: 11 Comments: 2312
223. noreaster09
3:07 AM GMT on November 13, 2008
by the way not like its a big deal at all but the remnant low of Paloma is traveling the exact same path Gustav did over the isle of youth and western cuba check out the VI its identical.....
222. KoritheMan
3:07 AM GMT on November 13, 2008
Quoting KoritheMan:


Technically, I don't think it's a wave, it's just an area of convection associated with the ITCZ. Nothing will come of it, most likely, given the extremely oppressive shear around.


I was thinking you meant the area of cloudiness and showers east of the Windward Islands -- that is related to the ITCZ. But I see now that you meant that small area of cloudiness and showers NE of the northern Leeward Islands. Again, just like with the area further south, I doubt anything comes of this.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 573 Comments: 20371
221. KoritheMan
3:05 AM GMT on November 13, 2008
Quoting hurristat:
What do people think of the mid-atlantic wave?


Technically, I don't think it's a wave, it's just an area of convection associated with the ITCZ. Nothing will come of it, most likely, given the extremely oppressive shear around.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 573 Comments: 20371
220. RobDaHood
3:03 AM GMT on November 13, 2008
really need to go now. Appreciate everyone's thoughts.

Have a good evening



BTW I think every storm is different, but as far as is a cat2 now worse than your father's cat2 - no. I think we are much more aware of them and the havoc they wreak now. I know I am a lot better informed and have better access to info than I was 5 years ago. Thanks in no small part to sites like this and those of you who contribute to them.
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 96 Comments: 31880
218. hurristat
2:59 AM GMT on November 13, 2008
Quoting RobDaHood:
213. KoritheMan

which brings up another thing we've see a lot of this year...persistance...lots of times folks wrote off storms only to see them make a comeback...we've certainly seen our share of wierdness.

You are right, a 2 or 3 can wreck your whole day...for years! Especially when you get cumulative damage like we got from charlie/francis/jeanne in 2004. These things are always a lot of fun until the one comes along that drops the giant tree on your house, or washes your town away...


Arthur formed over land, pretty much
Bertha just didn't die
Fay pretty much strengthened over FL
Gustav was pretty persistent even after being torn apart by Hispaniola.
Hanna didn't die or move for a week!!
Ike lasted for like 3 weeks
Paloma's still technically alive (at least its swirl is)
Member Since: October 15, 2008 Posts: 11 Comments: 2312
217. RobDaHood
2:56 AM GMT on November 13, 2008
213. KoritheMan

which brings up another thing we've see a lot of this year...persistance...lots of times folks wrote off storms only to see them make a comeback...we've certainly seen our share of wierdness.

You are right, a 2 or 3 can wreck your whole day...for years! Especially when you get cumulative damage like we got from charlie/francis/jeanne in 2004. These things are always a lot of fun until the one comes along that drops the giant tree on your house, or washes your town away...
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 96 Comments: 31880
216. hurristat
2:56 AM GMT on November 13, 2008
What do people think of the mid-atlantic wave?
Member Since: October 15, 2008 Posts: 11 Comments: 2312
215. hurristat
2:53 AM GMT on November 13, 2008
Quoting MichaelSTL:


I think it is related to increasing population along coastlines, including building in areas where you shouldn't (ex. right along the coast in storm surge prone areas, especially areas that have been recently hit and are known to be highly vulnerable). Maybe also that they are not building to code (for comparison, in the Caymans, homes are built of concrete and steel, as somebody who lives there said).


Ya, but Ike had more IKE than any other storm, and why would that be it instead of, oh, say, Camille, which is a Cat. 5?
Member Since: October 15, 2008 Posts: 11 Comments: 2312
213. KoritheMan
2:48 AM GMT on November 13, 2008
Quoting RobDaHood:
208. KoritheMan

I don't disagree at all...I live about 60 miles inland in central FL. I know 1st hand that being high and dry and away from the coast doesn't make you safe. I've seen heavy storm damage from tropical storms. I've seen canes get this far inland and barely weaken at all. I think it is a common misconception that people have that if they live inland they are safe or that if it's only a weak cane or TS they are safe. I meant worse for all of you, not just NOLA


Yeah, it's definitely a good thing that Gustav never gained any strength back after being disrupted by Cuba, otherwise the damage would've been far worse than what it already is, both along the coast and inland. Gustav has taught me two things:

1. Never underestimate a high-end Category 2, or low-end Category 3; they pack quite the punch.

2. Never underestimate what Cuba can do to a hurricane, even if it only passes over it for a little while. Actually, learning how disrupted Gustav was from Cuba (and Ike as well), is likely going to aid me significantly in the future, since I like to make forecasts on another forum I go to.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 573 Comments: 20371
212. KoritheMan
2:44 AM GMT on November 13, 2008
Quoting hurristat:
Question for everyone: Does the average storm seem to be getting stronger? Not as strength, but does today's Cat. 2 do more damage than your grandfather's, disregarding extra building on the coast. In other words, do they have more IKE?


I think that is entirely based upon perception. I would say no, but some would obviously say yes.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 573 Comments: 20371
211. RobDaHood
2:43 AM GMT on November 13, 2008
208. KoritheMan

I don't disagree at all...I live about 60 miles inland in central FL. I know 1st hand that being high and dry and away from the coast doesn't make you safe. I've seen heavy storm damage from tropical storms. I've seen canes get this far inland and barely weaken at all. I think it is a common misconception that people have that if they live inland they are safe or that if it's only a weak cane or TS they are safe. I meant worse for all of you, not just NOLA
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 96 Comments: 31880
210. hurristat
2:40 AM GMT on November 13, 2008
Question for everyone: Does the average storm seem to be getting stronger? Not as strength, but does today's Cat. 2 do more damage than your grandfather's, disregarding extra building on the coast. In other words, do they have more IKE?
Member Since: October 15, 2008 Posts: 11 Comments: 2312
209. hurristat
2:37 AM GMT on November 13, 2008
Quoting MichaelSTL:


I was actually replying more to this comment, which you quoted:



sorry... i get bored and look at hurricane/weather stuff on wikipedia, which the hackers don't mess with b/c all us weather nerds fix it again, and its not as fun
Member Since: October 15, 2008 Posts: 11 Comments: 2312
208. KoritheMan
2:36 AM GMT on November 13, 2008
Quoting RobDaHood:
it's possible at one point that it was...but I'll leave that to the experts to decide...I don't have the data available and at the time I was concentrating more on track than exact intensity. I remember thinking that it wasn't nearly as bad for LA as I thought it might have been a day or 2 earlier.


That may hold true for NOLA and surrounding areas that were devastated by Katrina, but it doesn't hold true for central Louisiana, and areas like Morgan City, Houma, etc. Gustav was the worst hurricane for them since Andrew in 1992. That's 16 years without a significant hurricane in those areas. Not to mention that even inland, the damage was extensive. Baton Rouge had the worst damage in history from any hurricane, surpassing even Betsy in 1965, which by itself was bad enough.

I live about 20 miles from Baton Rouge, and Gustav produced even worse wind damage than Andrew did, and that too was an extreme wind event for all of central, and some of southeastern Louisiana.

All I'm saying is (and I'm sure you know this), there are others areas in the state that got extremely hard hit, even though NOLA was spared the flooding that was feared.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 573 Comments: 20371
207. RobDaHood
2:36 AM GMT on November 13, 2008
202. MichaelSTL

You are in a better position to judge than me. My main interest is in trying to forecast the track and a general idea of intensity. It doesn't matter to me if it's a 4 or a 5, I'll follow the same course of action...not be there. That's the part I'm reasonably good at...sat analysis, radar interpretation, and such...I leave all the post season analysis and statistics to others.
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 96 Comments: 31880
206. hurricaneman123
2:33 AM GMT on November 13, 2008
Quoting KoritheMan:


I think it was. From what I gather, that 212 mph wind gust measured in Cuba near the landfall location was verified to be accurate. Unless that was a gust that was over half as strong as the maximum sustained surface winds, then it's quite likely that wind gust indicated Gustav was a 160-170 mph Category 5.

I completely agree but what do i know i am just a high school sophomore
Member Since: November 7, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 42
204. caneswatch
2:28 AM GMT on November 13, 2008
Quoting caneswatch:


i think next year we're gonna get the big one. ike spared us big time. i don't think the big one is going to spare us next year.


us means south florida, especially palm beach county.
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
203. hurristat
2:28 AM GMT on November 13, 2008
My prediction:

17 total storms
10 tropical storms
7 hurricanes
3 major hurricanes

I don't see it as a crazily strong (as in strength of storms) year, but I see a lot of storms that don't make it to hurricane status.
Member Since: October 15, 2008 Posts: 11 Comments: 2312
201. caneswatch
2:25 AM GMT on November 13, 2008
Quoting hurricanemaniac123:


We'll, I'll say 3:

2 tropical storms and 1 hurricane(category 2).


i think next year we're gonna get the big one. ike spared us big time. i don't think the big one is going to spare us next year.
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
Quoting hurricaneman123:


Maybe so... so do u think gustav was a cat 5


I think it was. From what I gather, that 212 mph wind gust measured in Cuba near the landfall location was verified to be accurate. Unless that was a gust that was over half as strong as the maximum sustained surface winds, then it's quite likely that wind gust indicated Gustav was a 160-170 mph Category 5.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 573 Comments: 20371
Quoting MichaelSTL:


That comment doesn't make much sense; a derecho is not tropical in any way (other than the thunderstorms/convection), and shear actually is the reason they develop (as with any severe thunderstorm, which is what a derecho is; they literally cause the jetstream to dive to the ground; also see here).


I know what a derecho is, just wondering what its application right now is... but they are rare.
Member Since: October 15, 2008 Posts: 11 Comments: 2312
Quoting hurricaneman123:


Maybe so... so do u think gustav was a cat 5
it's possible at one point that it was...but I'll leave that to the experts to decide...I don't have the data available and at the time I was concentrating more on track than exact intensity. I remember thinking that it wasn't nearly as bad for LA as I thought it might have been a day or 2 earlier.
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 96 Comments: 31880
I'll go out on a whim and make a pre-season prediction for the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season. Assuming we remain in neutral conditions, I'll go with this:

14 named storms
8 hurricanes
3 major hurricanes

I'd expect at least one of those majors would strike the U.S., as well as two additional non-major hurricanes, and also one tropical storm.

Then again, making predictions in November for something that starts in June is more than a little silly. But hey, since everybody else is doing it, I may as well too... <_<
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 573 Comments: 20371
Quoting RobDaHood:
190. hurricaneman123

HEHE...you know you're gonna freak some people out with that loop...that's almost exactly where ex-Paloma is!


Maybe so... so do u think gustav was a cat 5
Member Since: November 7, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 42
190. hurricaneman123

HEHE...you know you're gonna freak some people out with that loop...that's almost exactly where ex-Paloma is!
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 96 Comments: 31880
Quoting 15hurricanes:
Thursday, May 14, 1998- 10:29 PM ET

"There is no way we could have forseen the most intense El Nino on record would occur," Gray said.


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
that's gustav defenatly a cat 5
Member Since: November 7, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 42
look at this

Member Since: November 7, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 42
Quoting caneswatch:


ok, how many do you think will hit south florida?


any cat 5's
Member Since: November 7, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 42
Quoting caneswatch:


ok, how many do you think will hit south florida?


We'll, I'll say 3:

2 tropical storms and 1 hurricane(category 2).
Member Since: September 21, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 688
Quoting hurricanemaniac123:
My prediction (out of no where) for next year:

Named Storms: 16
Hurricanes: 7
Major Hurricanes: 4

Pre June: 0
June: 1
July: 2
August: 5
September: 6
October: 0
November: 1
December: 1



ok, how many do you think will hit south florida?
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
OUTLOOK POSTED:
South Florida StormWatch
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Anyway, my guess for post season.

Arthur upgraded to TD status then TS status before landfall.

Fay might be upgraded to Hurricane status, and might be retired

Gustav upgraded to Category 5 status and retired

Hanna retired

Ike, might be upgraded to Category 5 status and will be retired

Omar upgraded to Category 4 status

Paloma might be retired.


Would you say 94L (while kyle was forming) will be an official sub-tropical storm?
Member Since: September 21, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 688
Anyway, my guess for post season.

Arthur upgraded to TD status then TS status before landfall.

Fay might be upgraded to Hurricane status, and might be retired

Gustav upgraded to Category 5 status and retired

Hanna retired

Ike, might be upgraded to Category 5 status and will be retired

Omar upgraded to Category 4 status

Paloma might be retired.
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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.

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