First hurricane force winds observed on the coast

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 10:54 PM GMT on September 14, 2005

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The Cape Lookout CMAN station on the tip of Cape Lookout measured a sustained wind of 65 knots, gusting to 78 knots, at 8pm EDT. These sustained winds are exactly minimal hurricane force, so Ophelia has qualified as a hurricane strike on the U.S. I'm not sure why NHC extended the hurricane warning all the way to the Virginia border; the odds of anyplace besides Cape Lookout and Cape Hatteras getting sustained hurricane force winds is pretty low.

The north eyewall of Ophelia is pounding the North Carolina coast, and has knocked out power to the NWS Newport/Morehead City office. Their backup generator has also failed, so the Wakefield, VA NWS office will be assuming service backup duties. Apparently the Morehead City radar still has power, since we are still getting radar images from there.

For those of you who can handle a 1.6 Mb animation, the 40-frame radar animation from Morehead City, NC during the time Ophelia's northern eyewall passed over the city is fascinating. The turbulence created by having part of the eyewall over land and part over water created some smaller vorticies along the inside edge of the eyewall.




Elsewhere in the tropics
A large tropical wave near 9N 43W or about 1000 miles east of Venezuela and the Windward Islands was very disorganized this morning, but has become quite well organized this evening. Upper level wind shear is 10 - 15 knots and falling, and some upper level outflow has developed on the north side of the disturbance. Winds observed by the QuikSCAT satellite show two circulation centers associated with the disturbance, one near 9N 43W and the other near 11N 46W. This disturbance has the potential to develop into a tropical depression as early as Friday. Another disturbance south of the Cape Verde Islands, near 8N 28W is also starting to develop some impressive deep convection. However, this disturbance lies at the south edge of a large area of dry, dust-laden air which will slow any development that might occur.

Jeff Masters

Wrightsville Beach pier during Hurricane Ophelia (williamb)
Wrightsville Beach pier during Hurricane Ophelia

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371. Undertaker
2:58 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
HMFYNN, Hey is this big wave heading for jamaica because it really looks that way from the models you posted. Man we really can't handle anything else right now. Dennis damaged our North coast and Emily our South. 2 fisher men got washed away at see and ended up in Mexico Alive and well. This system near the Islands is very impressive and for some strange reason I think it will be a Cat 3 hurricane nearing Jamaica. I watched the Models try to push Emily to the north and it just kept on going west so We will be watching this one
Member Since: August 4, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 50
370. hmfynn
2:46 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
888889etc...

It appears right now it's going for Cuba and the Eastern Gulf.

http://skeetobiteweather.com/picservice.asp?t=m&m=95

Still can't find this model on the homepage of that site so you should probably bookmark it.
369. stormydee
2:07 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
hillsborough, nice link from UKmet...so, I guess we'll be watching our future TD down there...it is impressive on on the i.r. satellite. I see that model run u gave only goes until next Wed...any idea where it might go from there? Looking like FL?
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 39 Comments: 517
368. 8888888889gg
1:46 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
dos any no what going on with may be soon are next TD17 and where is it going?
367. HillsboroughBay
1:28 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
366. HillsboroughBay
1:16 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
Ofi took out the Highway 12 Cam in Hatteras Villiage (RIP).

But check out the Town Dock in Oriental (pamlico sound)

Click on Animate & watch the tide rise & tie dock go away!

Enjoy!

Link
365. HillsboroughBay
1:08 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
Glad to hear that Ike. It looks like the eye is having trouble. (Big as it its).HURRICANE OPHELIA TROPICAL CYCLONE POSITION ESTIMATE
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
8 AM EDT THU SEP 15 2005

AT 8 AM EDT...1200Z..THE CENTER OF HURRICANE OPHELIA WAS ESTIMATED
TO BE NEAR LATITUDE 34.8 NORTH...LONGITUDE 76.0 WEST OR ABOUT 40
MILES SOUTHWEST OF CAPE HATTERAS NORTH CAROLINA.

FORECASTER STEWART

$$
With a diamter of up to 60 Miles for the eye that's not far enough! Blow EAST you sandcrabs on Hatteras!

364. HillsboroughBay
1:03 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
IRECTHH

Link

press(FWD) & watch. This is the UK run.

Of course it's a long way off...
363. IKE
12:57 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
Ophelia's winds down to 80 mph. Pressure up to 984mb. As of 9 am EDT
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
362. irecthh
12:56 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
Thanks Hills...I agree..I hope homes are spared..I live in east central Florida and wish none of these storm on anyone. I am keeping an eye on the tropics with 2 systems they are watching now..one seems a little too close for comfort..
361. HillsboroughBay
12:55 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
Tip. Just down stream (outside the Bay)) from me. Looks like a great day for us. Could use some rain for the Grass!



360. TipOfIsland
12:51 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
Thanks Hills....lookin' at ya from Anna Maria.
359. HillsboroughBay
12:51 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
Thanks IRECTHH

HLinkere's the Killdevil Hills Cam

Wait for it!

I seriously hope the storm goes to sea & saves homes!

Just a bit more important than an adrenalin* FIX!

FOCUS people!

Thanks for your attention

358. HillsboroughBay
12:47 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
CURRENT CONDITIONS FOR KILL DEVIL HILLS, NC - 9/15
SURF: 4-7 ft. - shoulder high to 2 ft. overhead' poor
WATER SAFETY: Hurricane Warning
Ophelia
MORE INFO KILL DEVIL HILLS, NC: 8:26AM
WIND: NE @ 29.0kts
AIR/WATER: 76-80/74-77
No Sun Data Available

357. irecthh
12:44 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
Hills..the Hattaras cam is pretty cool!!
356. TipOfIsland
12:41 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
Lefty was going to Kill Devil Hills, a 3-4 hour drive from Fredericksburg, VA where he lives. He should have been there several hours by now, barring bad driving conditions. It was my understanding he would be met by Killdevilmax at the bridge to the Outer Banks. He should see plenty.
355. oriondarkwood
12:30 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
Morning all,

First of all hope all the Blogee's from Carolina are alive and well.

Second I noticed Ophelia had a very large eye, I don't remenber many hurricanes having that large of a eye. Any comments or points to ponder?
Member Since: July 5, 2004 Posts: 51 Comments: 42
354. HillsboroughBay
12:25 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
Link

The dry are & the troff are working their magic But she is a tough bird. Amazing & lucky there seem to be no Tornado's or Hail with this system! Enjoy!
353. NCRebel
12:15 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
The only pier that I have heard of getting tossed was the one at Atlantic beach. Some of the piers on eastern NC were replaced after Fran and Floyd with concrete or more secure piers.

I honestly hope this thing stays close enough to shore for Lefty to get his fill of it. I'd hate for him to drive 2 hours and this thing head out to sea before it gets to him.

This season has been so insane. Records not only broken but shattered in several ways. With 2 1/2 months left it was starting to look like things were settling but I have read on several sites that the ITCZ is just now getting fired up. If I remember correctly this is when most of the Cape Verde/Eastern Atlantic storms start popping up. I can't remember what channel I was watching last night but the meteorologist was saying that even though we had an earlier active season that the ITCZ whas been inhibited by African dust and is running behind. Has anyone else seen anything on this?
352. HillsboroughBay
12:15 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
Posted By: watchingnva at 8:10 AM EDT on September 15, 2005.
lol...dont mean to make fun of leftly...but boy did he honestly drive 3 hours for nithng....lol....its doing barely nothing in va. beach right now.

That was his LZ. He planned to drive south as far as he could. It's going to be very wet!
351. HillsboroughBay
12:12 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
HMFYNN Check this run from the UK Model (FWD)

Link

It has been pretty accurate ( as good as any ) so far.

Watch both systems. Hopefully It will not go to the Gulf.
We can pray!

Good luck with your recovery!
350. watchingnva
12:10 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
lol...dont mean to make fun of leftly...but boy did he honestly drive 3 hours for nithng....lol....its doing barely nothing in va. beach right now.
Member Since: September 7, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 1494
349. HillsboroughBay
12:07 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
http://www.darenc.com/webcam/hattvillage.php

Live feed to Hattaras Village
348. hmfynn
12:03 PM GMT on September 15, 2005
IKE,
where'd you get this info (unless it's from that java site I can't seem to operate), and regarding the Leewards wave, do you know if it got even more organized overnight?

I'm on the Gulf Coast, so, for the fourth time this year, on pins and needles yet again.
347. HillsboroughBay
11:56 AM GMT on September 15, 2005
Link

Virginia Beach Cam

get some humor in your life dude! I don't see anyone else contributing some good live feeds.

Leftyy would appretiate it!
346. IKE
11:50 AM GMT on September 15, 2005
Ophelia seems to be moving east-northeast. Maybe that'll take her away from the North Carolina coast. Hope so...tired of hearing about O. Ready for her to die a quick death.

The wave east of the Windward/Leeward Islands still has potential to develop. The GFS has it as a fish storm. The clouds northeast of Puerto Rico might develop as they move west thru the Florida straits and into the Gulf of Mexico, but according to the latest GFS they should continue west into Mexico/south of Texas. A strong high pressure won't allow this to turn north when entering the gulf.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
345. obxcartwright
11:20 AM GMT on September 15, 2005
Anybody on here from Hatteras?
344. iyou
11:13 AM GMT on September 15, 2005
HB - you had to do that didn't you?? Like a scab you keep on picking at. Here and in your 'safeharbour'. You are just plain unkind.
Member Since: July 25, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5219
343. hmfynn
11:09 AM GMT on September 15, 2005
How is the storm near the Leeward Islands faring today? Has it gotten better organized overnight? Can't find it on the news this morning.
342. HillsboroughBay
11:08 AM GMT on September 15, 2005
http://www.surfline.com/surfline/livecams/report.cfm?alias=killdevilcam

Just for you Kill

Hope you still have power
341. icebear7
10:59 AM GMT on September 15, 2005
LOL
Member Since: August 20, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5
340. HillsboroughBay
10:55 AM GMT on September 15, 2005
339. iyou
10:42 AM GMT on September 15, 2005
Conditions have definitely deteriorated at Nag's Head since 4:00 a.m.EDT-when I first looked here-the sea is boiling!
Member Since: July 25, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5219
338. iyou
10:24 AM GMT on September 15, 2005
Good morning! I have discovered another webcam-at Nag's Head, showing a phalanx of determined looking rollers in the coming dawn-in the last few minutes the waves have become more ragged. It's at the same site as Wrightsville and Kure beaches (I hope that beautiful pier at Kure isn't the one that got ripped to pieces) go to either of those cams and scroll down to Surf Report - www.sncsurf.com/ - click on Crystal Pier.
Member Since: July 25, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5219
337. NCRebel
9:50 AM GMT on September 15, 2005
I agree with you Sirvivor. It would be nice to see the Gulf get a vacation.
Call be selfish but Ophelia disappointed me. Where I'm located I have a "worst(best...hehe) case scenario. That would be for a landfall between Charleston and Georgetown SC. That would be the most likely point of impact to put my area on the east side of the storm. I talked to the local airport manager yesterday and he said that there were a few gusts here that hit 40mph. Other than that we got some much needed rain.
The biggest problem now is that since we didn't get much off of O that people around here will be a little less gun shy next time which in my opinion was the absolute biggest problem with Katrina.
336. SirVivor
9:09 AM GMT on September 15, 2005
Wow...I took a night off to catch up on my slep and find out that some children have been on the blog creating mischief. What, do we need a "Team Mom" now to make sure that everybody plays nice and no one runs with scissors?

In any case, I'm glad to see Wilmington avoided getting hit by Ophelia. Unless we get some tornadic condtions, it doesn't appear that the Eastern US coast will get much out of this one. Gee, and at the beginning of hte season I had visions of plywoo dwith "Ophelia We Feel Ya" spray painted on them.

The systems out in the Atlantic bear watching. I'm less concerned with the one that is headed for dry air than the other one. But you know how tropicl weather is this far out....almost anything can happen...and usually does. We are entering the businest part of the season and I think we can still expect to see at least one more large landfallign hurricane....probably hitting the eastern coast of Florida. Just my guess since it has been realtively unscathed this season comparatively speaking. I just hope that the Gulf stays empty for the rest of the season. I don't think the norhtern Gulf Coast (aka The Hurricane Magnet) can handle another big hit this year. For that matter, I'd like to see the northern Gulf coast get about a five year vacation from major storms so those folks can get thier roofs fixed from Ivan!
335. F5Twister
7:15 AM GMT on September 15, 2005
Has there been amy tornadic activity with this storm? I havent heard of any?
333. hurricane79
6:18 AM GMT on September 15, 2005
subtropic you make perfect sense. I do not know what wording they used before the SS scale. I think they may have said "that storm was huge" and talked about it until they decided it was a tempest.
332. subtropic
6:05 AM GMT on September 15, 2005
79, it does raise an interesting question though. Prior ro the Saffir Simpson scale, was the minimum threshold the same (74mph)? In other words, at what point did they decide a storm was a hurricane prior to the SS scale? Am I making any sense?
Member Since: August 29, 2002 Posts: 209 Comments: 4434
331. hurricane79
6:02 AM GMT on September 15, 2005
Level of damage is the main reason for the scale
330. subtropic
5:59 AM GMT on September 15, 2005
originally I would assume that they decided to classify hurricanes at the speeds they did in similar fashion, based on level of damage. Presumably 74 mph is a threshold.
Member Since: August 29, 2002 Posts: 209 Comments: 4434
329. subtropic
5:52 AM GMT on September 15, 2005
That was courtesy Wikipedia. I can't take credit for the wording.
Member Since: August 29, 2002 Posts: 209 Comments: 4434
328. subtropic
5:51 AM GMT on September 15, 2005
The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale is a scale classifying hurricanes by the intensity of their sustained winds, developed in 1969 by civil engineer Herbert Saffir and National Hurricane Center director Bob Simpson. Classifications are used to gauge the likely damage and flooding a hurricane will cause upon landfall. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale is used only to describe hurricanes forming in the Atlantic and northeast Pacific Oceans.
Member Since: August 29, 2002 Posts: 209 Comments: 4434
325. hurricane79
5:40 AM GMT on September 15, 2005
brb
324. hurricane79
5:36 AM GMT on September 15, 2005
The only system that may develop is at 9N 45W, and that is because its South of any shear, and the shear will decrease as it moves towards the Leeward Islands. This is the main system of concern for the next several forecast days
323. subtropic
5:35 AM GMT on September 15, 2005
79. Nice. Thanks for that.
Member Since: August 29, 2002 Posts: 209 Comments: 4434
322. hurricane79
5:34 AM GMT on September 15, 2005
9.5N 45W, its a very large area of convection Link
321. subtropic
5:33 AM GMT on September 15, 2005
Probably not quite that soon, but this time of year, stranger things have happened. I wouldn't rule it out entirely.
Member Since: August 29, 2002 Posts: 209 Comments: 4434

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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.