CSU and TSR continue to predict a near-average hurricane season

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:18 PM GMT on August 04, 2009

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A tropical disturbance embedded in the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), near 9N 35W, is moving west at about 15 mph. The heavy thunderstorm activity associated with this tropical wave has changed little over the past 24 hours, and remains disorganized. This morning's QuikSCAT pass showed a moderate wind shift, but nothing resembling an organized surface circulation. Top winds were in the 20 - 30 mph range. Strong easterly winds are creating about 20 knots of wind shear over the wave, which is marginally conducive for development. The disturbance is about 300 miles south of the Saharan Air Layer (SAL), so dust and dry air should not hinder development over the next few days.

Given the disturbance's current lack of organization, combined with the presence of 20 knots of wind shear, any development should be slow to occur. The forecast wind shear along the storm's path over the next five days is predicted to remain at or below 20 knots, which should allow some slow development. Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) will warm from about 28°C to 29°C as the storm progresses westward. The GFS model has been indicating some development is possible in several of its runs over the past few days, but has not been consistent with this prediction. None of the other models show any development of the system. NHC is giving the disturbance a low (less than 30% chance) of developing into a tropical depression over the next two days, which is a good forecast. The GFS and ECMWF models predict the system will be approaching the northern Lesser Antilles Islands by Sunday. Both models forecast the development of a band of very high wind shear just to the north of the islands at that time, so the long-range survival of anything that might manage to develop is in doubt.

CSU forecast team continues to predict an average hurricane season
A near-average Atlantic hurricane season is on tap for 2009, according to the seasonal hurricane forecast issued August 4 by Dr. Phil Klotzbach and Dr. Bill Gray of Colorado State University (CSU). The CSU team is calling for 10 named storms, 4 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes, and an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) 83% of average. Between 1950 - 2000, the average season had 10 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. But since 1995, the beginning of an active hurricane period in the Atlantic, we've averaged 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 intense hurricanes per year. The new forecast is a step down from their June forecast, which called for 11 named storms, 5 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. Their April forecast called for 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. The new forecast calls for a near-average chance of a major hurricane hitting the U.S., both along the East Coast (27% chance, 31% chance is average) and the Gulf Coast (26% chance, 30% chance is average). The Caribbean is also forecast to have an average risk of a major hurricane (37%; 42% is average).

The forecasters noted that while sea surface temperature anomalies have increased in the tropical Atlantic and surface pressures have fallen in recent weeks, which normally would favor higher hurricane activity, the presence of El Niño conditions in the Eastern Pacific should counteract these influences. They forecast that the current weak El Niño event will strengthen to a moderate event by September:

El Niño events tend to be associated with increased levels of vertical wind shear and decreased levels of Atlantic hurricane activity. Tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures anomalies have warmed somewhat since our early June prediction and surface pressures have fallen somewhat. But, the negative influences of El Niño-induced strong Caribbean Basin and Main Development Region vertical wind shear typically dominate over surface pressure and sea surface temperature in the tropical Atlantic.



Figure 1. Change in Sea Surface Temperature anomaly (in °C) between July 2009 and May 2009. Most of the tropical Atlantic has warmed, relative to normal, over the past 2 months. Image credit: NOAA/ESRL.

Analogue years
The CSU team picked four previous years when atmospheric and oceanic conditions were similar to what we are seeing this year: weak to moderate El Niño conditions, and average tropical Atlantic and far northern Atlantic SSTs. Those four years were 2002, which featured Hurricane Lili that hit Louisiana as a Category 1 storm; 1965, which had Category 3 Betsy that hit New Orleans; 1963, which had Category 4 Hurricane Flora that devastated Cuba; and 1957, which didn't have any hurricanes that hit hit land during the peak part of hurricane season. The mean activity for these four years was 9 named storms, 4 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes--almost the same as the 2009 CSU forecast.

How accurate are the August forecasts?
The August forecasts by the CSU team have historically offered a skill of 45 -62% higher than a "no-skill" forecast using climatology (Figure 2). However, they are using a new forecast scheme this year, so it is difficult to judge how skillful this year's forecast might be.


Figure 2. Accuracy of long-range forecasts of Atlantic hurricane season activity performed at Colorado State University (CSU) by Dr. Bill Gray's team (colored squares) and Tropical Storm Risk, Inc. (TSR, colored lines). The skill is measured by the Mean Square Skill Score (MSSS), which looks at the error and squares it, then compares the percent improvement the forecast has over a climatological forecast of 10 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. TS=Tropical Storms, H=Hurricanes, IH=Intense Hurricanes, ACE=Accumulated Cyclone Energy, NTC=Net Tropical Cyclone Activity. Image credit: TSR.

August 2009 Atlantic hurricane season forecast from Tropical Storm Risk, Inc.
The British private forecasting firm Tropical Storm Risk, Inc. (TSR) also issued a new forecast today, and have increased their numbers by 20% from their June and July forecasts. TSR is also calling for a near-average season, predicting 12.6 named storms, 6.5 hurricanes, 2.8 intense hurricanes, and an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) 103% of average. Their June forecast called for 10.9 named storms, 5.2 hurricanes, 2.2 intense hurricanes, and an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) 72% of average. The storm numbers are slightly above the 50-year average of 10 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. TSR predicts a 40% chance of an above-average season, 44% chance of a near-average season, and a 19% chance of a below-average season, as defined by ACE index. TSR rates their skill level as 51% above chance at forecasting the number of named storms, 60% skill for hurricanes, and 44% skill for intense hurricanes. These are far higher skill numbers than the June ones: 26% above chance at forecasting the number of named storms, 15% skill for hurricanes, and 19% skill for intense hurricanes.

TSR projects that 3.8 named storms will hit the U.S., with 1.6 of these being hurricanes. The averages from the 1950-2008 climatology are 3.2 named storms and 1.5 hurricanes. Their skill in making these August forecasts for U.S. landfalls is 25% above chance. In the Lesser Antilles Islands of the Caribbean, TSR projects 1.1 named storms, 0.5 of these being hurricanes. Climatology is 1.1 named storms and 0.5 hurricanes.

TSR cites one main factor for their increased forecast: higher sea surface temperatures than expected over the tropical Atlantic, due to the fact that the trade winds over the Atlantic should be slower than originally anticipated. Faster than average trade winds create less spin for developing storms, and allow the oceans to cool down, due to increased mixing of cold water from the depths and enhanced evaporational cooling.

The CSU and TSR groups are done making forecasts for the coming hurricane season, but NOAA is still due to put out an August update.

I'll have an update on Wednesday.
Jeff Masters

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Quoting cchsweatherman:
In regards to Hurricane Felicia, even though the computer models remain in remarkable consensus bringing the storm in the general direction of the Hawaiian Islands, its very important to remember to remain vigilant yet objective. Just remember Hurricane Ike last season when it appeared that it would smash into South Florida but would make landfall in Texas. Computer models and projected paths will change in time, so now is not the time to panic or become excited (depending upon how you feel about storms). So, since this storm would remain a week from becoming a real threat, just remain calm and just keep an eye on things.


Heck for that matter they thought Hugo would effect Miami and Andrew would disappate
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Quoting gator23:

Vanilla Ice is your weather man?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanilla_Ice


Saweeeeet!! I have a friend who did a documentary on his life and he has this kangaroo for a pet and the roo flipped out on my friend and attacked him! LOL...

and now, back to the tropics... ahm.
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In regards to Hurricane Felicia, even though the computer models remain in remarkable consensus bringing the storm in the general direction of the Hawaiian Islands, its very important to remember to remain vigilant yet objective. Just remember Hurricane Ike last season when it appeared that it would smash into South Florida but would make landfall in Texas. Computer models and projected paths will change in time, so now is not the time to panic or become excited (depending upon how you feel about storms). So, since this storm would remain a week from becoming a real threat, just remain calm and just keep an eye on things.
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Quoting CypressJim08:
Finally some mention of the tropics here is Naples...this is the first of the year (I think)

"Far out in the Atlantic there is finally a healthy looking tropical wave developing. This has a low chance of becoming a tropical storm by next week and we will continue to track it for you over the weekend."

By Robert Van Winkle

Vanilla Ice is your weather man?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanilla_Ice
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Quoting IKE:
2015UTC IR....



I see some increasing convection at 30W,where the vorticity is.
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GO CANES!!!
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Quoting Drakoen:
THE HURRICANE HAS BEEN IN A RAPID INTENSIFICATION PHASE TODAY...AND
WITH ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS FORECAST TO BE CONDUCIVE FOR FURTHER
STRENGTHENING...THE QUESTION IS: HOW STRONG WILL IT GET? THE
PRESENCE OF AN EYE ON BOTH THE 85 AND 37 GHZ CHANNELS OF A 1547 UTC
SSMIS MICROWAVE PASS SUPPORTS MORE STRENGTHENING...EVEN A
CONTINUATION OF RAPID INTENSIFICATION. THE SHIPS RAPID
INTENSIFICATION INDEX ALSO FORECASTS A 62 PERCENT CHANCE OF A 30-KT
INCREASE IN STRENGTH WITHIN 24 HOURS...ABOUT 8 TIMES THE SAMPLE
MEAN. ALTHOUGH THE DYNAMICAL MODELS ARE LESS AGGRESSIVE...THE
OFFICIAL NHC FORECAST WILL LEAN ON SHIPS AND THE MICROWAVE DATA TO
FORECAST RAPID INTENSIFICATION DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS AND LEVEL
OFF THE WINDS THEREAFTER AS THE CYCLONE MOVES OVER PROGRESSIVELY
COOLER WATERS. IN THE LONGER-TERM...INCREASING WESTERLY SHEAR MAY
ALSO HELP TO WEAKEN THE HURRICANE.


whats up drak
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Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:


Its when sunrise occurs, in that region of the Atlantic that is at 3am EDT

The DMAX phase goes from about 11pm EDT-3am EDT

When is sunset?
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Finally some mention of the tropics here is Naples...this is the first of the year (I think)

"Far out in the Atlantic there is finally a healthy looking tropical wave developing. This has a low chance of becoming a tropical storm by next week and we will continue to track it for you over the weekend."

By Robert Van Winkle
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Dr. Lyons just said Felicia will continue west and remain a Cat. 1 over the next 3 or 4 days. Uh....hello Dr. Lyons.....the NHC forecast takes it to major hurricane status. He also said he is watching our distubance, but if it does not spin up now it will head W / WNW into the west winds that will "kill" it. The shear forecast 456 posted a bit ago showed lessening shear in the Caribbean. Steve also said if it were to spin up now, it may fight against those west winds. Earlier in the blog, someone stated the presence of an anticyclone...is that true that there is one near?
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5313
THE HURRICANE HAS BEEN IN A RAPID INTENSIFICATION PHASE TODAY...AND
WITH ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS FORECAST TO BE CONDUCIVE FOR FURTHER
STRENGTHENING...THE QUESTION IS: HOW STRONG WILL IT GET? THE
PRESENCE OF AN EYE ON BOTH THE 85 AND 37 GHZ CHANNELS OF A 1547 UTC
SSMIS MICROWAVE PASS SUPPORTS MORE STRENGTHENING...EVEN A
CONTINUATION OF RAPID INTENSIFICATION. THE SHIPS RAPID
INTENSIFICATION INDEX ALSO FORECASTS A 62 PERCENT CHANCE OF A 30-KT
INCREASE IN STRENGTH WITHIN 24 HOURS...ABOUT 8 TIMES THE SAMPLE
MEAN. ALTHOUGH THE DYNAMICAL MODELS ARE LESS AGGRESSIVE...THE
OFFICIAL NHC FORECAST WILL LEAN ON SHIPS AND THE MICROWAVE DATA TO
FORECAST RAPID INTENSIFICATION DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS AND LEVEL
OFF THE WINDS THEREAFTER AS THE CYCLONE MOVES OVER PROGRESSIVELY
COOLER WATERS. IN THE LONGER-TERM...INCREASING WESTERLY SHEAR MAY
ALSO HELP TO WEAKEN THE HURRICANE.


Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30489
610. 11647
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Answers and first hand accounts are found in a new
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609. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
National Hurricane Center
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #5
TROPICAL CYCLONE ENRIQUE (EP072009)
21:00 PM UTC August 4 2009
====================================

At 18:00 PM UTC, Tropical Storm Enrique (998 hPa) located at 14.7N 117.1W or 680 NM southwest of of the southern tip of Baja California Peninsula has sustained winds of 50 knots with gusts of 60 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west-northwest at 14 knots.

Storm/Gale-Force Winds
===============
60 NM from the center

Forecast and Intensity
======================
12 HRS: 15.9N 120.1W - 55 knots (Tropical Storm)
24 HRS: 16.8N 122.1W - 60 knots (Tropical Storm)
48 HRS: 18.4N 125.7W - 55 knots (Tropical Storm)
72 HRS: 19.5N 129.5W - 45 knots (Tropical Storm)
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Quoting marknmelb:


They tried that once. I think the score was 41 - 14 ...

their basketball team tried it again.. it didnt go so well either
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Quoting cg2916:

How did you get the exact time?


Its when sunrise occurs, in that region of the Atlantic that is at 3am EDT

The DMAX phase goes from about 11pm EDT-3am EDT
sorry burned i quoted on you instead of gator that comment was for gator
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605. IKE
2015UTC IR....

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Quoting Seflhurricane:
i am not creating a panic , if i say its approching the big island it can be coming close or a direct hit i am generalizing that comment sorry if it was interpreted in another way

You said "Felicia could potentially inflict serious problems to hawaii as a hurricane looks like they better get ready very very soon
" nice try
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603. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
National Hurricane Center
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #5
SEVERE TROPICAL CYCLONE FELICIA (EP082009)
21:00 PM UTC August 4 2009
====================================

At 18:00 PM UTC, Hurricane Felicia (985 hPa) located at 12.4N 126.6W or 1145 NM west-southwest of of the southern tip of Baja California Peninsula has sustained winds of 70 knots with gusts of 85 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west at 12 knots.

Hurricane-force Winds
====================
25 NM from the center

Gale/Storm Force Winds
===============
75 NM from the center

Forecast and Intensity
======================
12 HRS: 13.0N 128.3W - 85 knots (SSHS-2 Cyclone)
24 HRS: 13.9N 130.1W - 95 knots (SSHS-2 Cyclone)
48 HRS: 15.5N 133.3W - 100 knots (SSHS-3 Cyclone)
72 HRS: 16.5N 137.0W - 90 knots (SSHS-2 Cyclone)
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Felicia i am forcasting to be a max cat4 cane maybe higher.but as approaches hawaii will weaken and this is also a relatively small cane so effects will be felt and no danger to hawaii,otherwise main risk to hawaii will be its waves.
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Quoting Seflhurricane:
i am not creating a panic , if i say its approching the big island it can be coming close or a direct hit i am generalizing that comment sorry if it was interpreted in another way


I know that is what I am saying, you were speaking the truth
Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:


DMAX is a long way away, 3am EDT

DMIN is occuring now


LOL... people always get this mixed up. It does get confusing tho :)
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Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:


Actually he is right, it is forecasted to be approaching Hawaii in 5 days as a Hurricane

It is at least something to keep an eye on. Panic is something that the observer needs to keep under control
i am not creating a panic , if i say its approching the big island it can be coming close or a direct hit i am generalizing that comment sorry if it was interpreted in another way
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Quoting iluvjess:


Please, you have one game all year... come play in the SEC with the big boys and then talk smack.

No, they have 2 games all year. They just lose the SECond one.
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Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:


DMAX is a long way away, 3am EDT

DMIN is occuring now

How did you get the exact time?
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Quoting Seflhurricane:
Dmax is approching the tropical disturbance lets see what happens


your being poofed.
Panic Fail
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Quoting Seflhurricane:
Dmax is approching the tropical disturbance lets see what happens


DMAX is a long way away, 3am EDT

DMIN is occuring now
Did anyone notice that LSU was spelled with corn dogs in my pic. Too funny.
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593. IKE
Convection continuing to wane...
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Wow. Leave for a bit, and we have Hurricane Felicia! Hawaii should just stay abreast of the situation with Felicia. It will be weakening as it nears, but all the people in Hawaii should remain vigilant. Even though our CATL distubance has lost convection, it's structure is improving, as a spin is becoming now more distinct. JMO.
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5313
Dmax is approching the tropical disturbance lets see what happens
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Quoting Seflhurricane:
true but just making that observation things can always change but that is what stands as of now


the big island is on the north side of the cone. and the cone isnt even far enough to have the big island inclded in it yet.
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Quoting gator23:

you are creating a panic please se my previous entry


Actually he is right, it is forecasted to be approaching Hawaii in 5 days as a Hurricane

It is at least something to keep an eye on. Panic is something that the observer needs to keep under control
Quoting StormSurgeon:
Don't make me jump in here. GEAUX Tigers!




WOOT WOOT!!
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Quoting STORMMASTERG:


Please, you have one game all year... come play in the SEC with the big boys and then talk smack.
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Quoting STORMMASTERG:


How did you win the 2002 championship? That's right, with the ref's help!
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Quoting Seflhurricane:
have you looked at the computer models and the 5 day track models are indicating a hurricane approching the big island

you are creating a panic please se my previous entry
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Quoting weatherwatcher12:

Do we have any Surface Observations in the area
unless any ships are near no
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ZCZC MIATCPEP3 ALL
TTAA00 KNHC DDHHMM
BULLETIN
HURRICANE FELICIA ADVISORY NUMBER 5
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL EP082009
200 PM PDT TUE AUG 04 2009

...FELICIA RAPIDLY STRENGTHENS TO A HURRICANE...

AT 200 PM PDT...2100 UTC...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE FELICIA WAS
LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 12.4 NORTH...LONGITUDE 126.6 WEST OR ABOUT
1315 MILES...2115 KM...WEST-SOUTHWEST OF THE SOUTHERN TIP OF BAJA
CALIFORNIA.

FELICIA IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST NEAR 14 MPH...22 KM/HR. THIS
GENERAL MOTION WITH A TURN TOWARD THE WEST-NORTHWEST IS EXPECTED
OVER THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

SATELLITE IMAGES INDICATE THAT THE MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE
INCREASED TO NEAR 80 MPH...130 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER GUSTS.
ADDITIONAL STRENGTHENING IS POSSIBLE AND FELICIA COULD BECOME A
MAJOR HURRICANE DURING THE NEXT DAY OR SO.

HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 25 MILES...35 KM...FROM
THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 85
MILES...140 KM.

THE ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 985 MB...29.09 INCHES.

...SUMMARY OF 200 PM PDT INFORMATION...
LOCATION...12.4N 126.6W
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...80 MPH
PRESENT MOVEMENT...WEST OR 280 DEGREES AT 14 MPH
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...985 MB

THE NEXT ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER AT
800 PM PDT.
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Quoting weatherwatcher12:

Do we have any Surface Observations in the area


Youngest is more than 2 hours old at NDBC and over 100 miles away. (Didn't show squat 3 hours ago, either.)
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Quoting gator23:

no way to early five day forcasts are not that reliable the center of the storm can be anywhere in the circle 5 days out. which would put it either smak int he middles of Hawaii or five days out. Five days out Katrina was forcast to hit hte Florida pan handle but it missed.
true but just making that observation things can always change but that is what stands as of now
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Quoting STORMMASTERG:


Gators will own NCAA football this year.
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Quoting cchsweatherman:


Yeah, I saw that. But, in the past few hours, satellite imagery would suggest that we could be seeing a developing low-level circulation.

Do we have any Surface Observations in the area
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Quoting STORMMASTERG:
Hawaii not in danger at all from both storms,felcia will weak to a ts or lower as it moves toward hawaii in a few days and the storm following it will weaken once crossing felicas waters she sucked up.
have you looked at the computer models and the 5 day track models are indicating a hurricane approching the big island
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Quoting Seflhurricane:
Hurricane Felicia could potentially inflict serious problems to hawaii as a hurricane looks like they better get ready very very soon

no way to early five day forcasts are not that reliable the center of the storm can be anywhere in the circle 5 days out. which would put it either smak int he middles of Hawaii or five days out. Five days out Katrina was forcast to hit hte Florida pan handle but it missed.
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Thanks!
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Quoting STORMMASTERG:


We call that a door mat around here ...
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Hawaii not in danger at all from both storms,felcia will weak to a ts or lower as it moves toward hawaii in a few days and the storm following it will weaken once crossing felicas waters she sucked up.
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yes! the buble in the Altlantic finally found momentum....
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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.