Hurricane Felicia hits Category 3; may affect Hawaii next week

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:45 PM GMT on August 05, 2009

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As is often the case in an El Niño year, there's nothing to talk about today in the Atlantic, but the Eastern Pacific is very active. It has been 17 years since we went this long without a tropical cyclone in the Atlantic--the hurricane season of 1992 didn't start until August 16--but in the Eastern Pacific, we've already had six named storms this year. Hurricane Felicia is the latest addition, and Felicia has put on an impressive burst of intensification this morning by powering up to Category 3 status with 115 mph winds. Recent satellite loops show that Felicia has continued to intensify, with the cloud tops surrounding the eye cooling as they push higher into the troposphere.


Figure 1. Current satellite image of Hurricane Felicia.

While Felicia is an impressive hurricane now, its days of glory will be short-lived. Felicia is currently passing over a region of warm sea surface temperatures (SSTs) of 28.5°C, a full 2.5°C above the 26°C threshold needed to sustain a hurricane. These warm waters also extend to great depth, as seen on the Ocean Heat Content image (Figure 2). Felicia's west-northwest track will take the storm into a region of cooler waters with lower Oceanic Heat Content beginning tonight, which should induce a steady weakening trend beginning Thursday night. By Friday morning, SSTs should fall to 26°C, and decline to 25°C by Saturday. While wind shear is expected to remain in the low to moderate range over the next five days, 5 - 15 knots, the cooler SSTs should be able to significantly weaken the hurricane. By Monday, when most of the computer models indicate that Felicia will be nearing the Hawaiian Islands, the storm will be at tropical depression strength with top winds of about 35 mph, according to the latest runs of the HWRF and GFDL models. Exactly how close Felicia will get to the Hawaiian Islands is a bit tricky to call right now, since the hurricane is interacting with nearby Tropical Storm Enrique. Whenever two storms get within 900 miles of each other, they tend to rotate around a common center in a dance called the Fujiwhara Effect. This sort of storm-storm interaction is a complicated affair not well-handled by the computer forecast models.


Figure 2. Total oceanic heat content (also called the Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential, TCHP) along the forecast path of Hurricane Felicia. The initial time of the forecast is 06 UTC (1 am EDT) on August 5, 2009. Oceanic heat content of 90 kJ per square cm is often associated with rapid intensification of hurricanes. Felicia is currently over waters with high heat content, but the heat content will steadily decrease over the next two days. Image credit: NOAA/RAMMB.

There are no areas of disturbed weather in the Atlantic worth mentioning today, and no computer models forecast tropical storm development over the next seven days.

I'll have an update on Thursday.

Jeff Masters

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Ivan Landfall Radar Loop




K Landfall Radar Loop

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127628
Quoting futuremet:
Felicia looks like a 150mph plus system. I believe this is the strongest tropical cyclone in 2009 so far.

correct me if I am wrong.


I think you are right. Not sure, though.
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Quoting Tazmanian:
its AUG 5th and all is well


guys we may not see a name storm in tell AUG 15th or later the way things has been going
Next week is going to be the true beginning of things... check out the models- they are really hinting at some increase in activity.
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Quoting futuremet:
Felicia looks like a 150mph plus system. I believe this is the strongest tropical cyclone in 2009 so far.

correct me if I am wrong.


I believe you are correct, Hamish in the South Pacific was the strongest to date, let me check
its AUG 5th and all is well


guys we may not see a name storm in tell AUG 15th or later the way things has been going
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Felicia looks like a 150mph plus system. I believe this is the strongest tropical cyclone in 2009 so far.

correct me if I am wrong.
Member Since: July 19, 2008 Posts: 43 Comments: 4051


Historical Hurricane Tracks
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Current Storm Information
Please note this site only provides historical information. Visit these recommended websites for current storm information.


The Historical Hurricane Tracks tool is an interactive mapping application that allows you to easily search and display Atlantic Basin and Eastern North Pacific Basin tropical cyclone data.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127628
Quoting Patrap:
Ivan in no way was the Size,or Impact of Katrina,..Ivan was a compact storm.

One could drive trhu Ivan's Damage Swath in a Half Hour.
It takes 3 Hours to drive the Katrina Impact Zone.
Which was from Mobile Bay to Houma ,La.

NOAA Katrina Base Index Map




Comparing Katrina to Ivan is like comparing the 27 Yankeess to the 86 Mets, there is no point in doing it, both had great impacts and should no be compared to each other, sport.
Quoting StormW:


Right now it's under 20-25 kts of of SWLY shear. There is another vortice showing up on satellite right now as well...to it's east. If it can continue on a westerly, to no more the WNW motion, it may stand a chance of slow organization. 18Z shear forecast run still shows upper levels becoming more conducive in about 72 hours if it takes that track.

Thanks StormW, much appreciated, I read your synopsis everyday and find it most informative.
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Quoting JRRP:
next...
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Ivan in no way was the Size,or Impact of Katrina,..Ivan was a compact storm.

One could drive thru Ivan's Damage Swath in a Half Hour.

It takes 3 Hours to drive the Katrina Impact Zone.

Which was from Mobile Bay to Houma ,La.

NOAA Katrina Base Index Map


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127628
Last year it was the JOKER

This year it is the ACE:


Northern Hemisphere ACE for the month of July struggled across the finish line, with the lowest recorded value since at least 1970. The monthly ACE value of 15.6 is truly remarkable in its ineptitude considering the average of the previous 40 years is 73! See text file for the previous 40-years ranked according to July ACE activity.

May - June - July Northern Hemisphere Tropical Cyclone Activity: the three month ACE sum for 2009 just missed being the lowest since at least 1970, by less than one ACE point behind the truly anomalous year of 1977.




On the heels of the record inactive years of 2007 and 2008, current 2009 activity has fallen well behind the pace of the previous 2-years. The ACE to date is the lowest since 1998 and only 40% of the previous 10-year average. Record inactivity continues and has so far shown no signs of abating.


http://www.coaps.fsu.edu/~maue/tropical/



[edit]
ACE

the accumulated cyclone energy (ACE), a measure of wind energy that is defined as the sum of the squares of the maximum sustained surface wind speed (knots) measured every six hours for all named systems while they are at least tropical storm strength.
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871. JRRP
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Looking very nice

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15790
....had it gone the same exact track.
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868. amd
Quoting BahaHurican:

Here's OPC's 96 hr forecast.

This suggests to me that something may be shifting in the overall pattern. But whether we actually see a genuine change is debatable. I do know that the ridge which had been dominating SW and NW CONUS weather for a while now seems to be breaking down, or at least weakening.



I agree that it looks like this last trough to exit the US is beginning to break up the large and strong subtropical high that has been located at 30 N 50 W for most of the summer. This high has been instrumental in advecting dust and SAL off the coast of Africa.

This same high has also kept the weather cool from ny to washington, because it was anchored far enough east to allow for persistant troughs to dip into that part of the US.

With the subtropical high moving east, the heat can finally come from the west, and from washington to at least new york, temperatures are going to enter the 90s for an extended period of time beginning on sunday.

Because of the pattern finally shifting, I think by August 12th, the Atlantic Hurricane Season will finally begin.

JMHO



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IVAN would have caused the same damage as KATRINA.
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Thanks. This is really neat. wunderkidcayman should look at this to occupy his time until something develops.

I look at these last month like on the second to last weekend of july
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WE got gust of 109 mph in Mobile, AL that night......and it was the west side of the storm.
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Quoting leftovers:
i try to act 25 alot but only keep it up for a few minutes. seems as if our wannnabe invest is hanging in there we will see what happens
I don't see the "invest" being the wannabe, I see people on here wannabeing it to be an invest. Slight difference.
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The 30-32C isotherm in the GOM is currently the most massive in the world.

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15790
Ivan shook mobile(thought it was suppoesd to hit us), but rocked pensacola. The worst part is that pensacola thought it was supposed to hit Mobile, AL that night.
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Thanks. This is really neat. wunderkidcayman should look at this to occupy his time until something develops.
...along with a glass or two of ice water, and a blast of AC or fans.
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Current Conditions
Okinawa,wu-page



Naha City, JP (Airport)
Updated: 10 min 59 sec ago
88 °F
Scattered Clouds
Humidity: 70%
Dew Point: 77 °F
Wind: 23 mph from the East
Wind Gust: 40 mph
Pressure: 29.18 in (Steady)

Heat Index: 100 °F
Visibility: 6.2 miles

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127628
Quoting BahaHurican:
It was the cold front that made it cool, not Wilma. Case in point: the people in the Yucatan got no cooldown after Wilma left them.
I never said it was Wilma, directly, that made it cool. By the same token, without the strong front, Wilma would have traveled in another direction.
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Quoting BahaHurican:
It was the cold front that made it cool, not Wilma. Case in point: the people in the Yucatan got no cooldown after Wilma left them.


'Twas why I brought up the cold front.
Member Since: August 6, 2007 Posts: 24 Comments: 2691
Quoting Skyepony:


Here's some TRMM 3-D fly overs from some past notable hurricanes.
Thanks. This is really neat. wunderkidcayman should look at this to occupy his time until something develops.
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The Typhoon will Impact American Interests on Okinawa tomorrow,way before Taiwan or China. There are over 20,000 US Military personel and families there on various Bases,Air Force,Marine,and Navy.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127628
Quoting Stoopid1:


Yes, but there was an unseasonably strong cold front traversing Florida, which caused Wilma's path and forward speed. I remember it was quite chilly that day as well, just a day after hitting the upper 80's. After Charley, though, it seemed warmer, probably due to the high humidity in the air.
It was the cold front that made it cool, not Wilma. Case in point: the people in the Yucatan got no cooldown after Wilma left them.
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Quoting Stoopid1:


Yes, but there was an unseasonably strong cold front traversing Florida, which caused Wilma's path and forward speed. I remember it was quite chilly that day as well, just a day after hitting the upper 80's. After Charley, though, it seemed warmer, probably due to the high humidity in the air.
Also consider the time of year each one hit...one was during summer heat, one was solid into the "fall" season (if there is such a thing in SFla).
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849. DDR
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Wasn't T & T affected by Dean in 2007 too ?

We got some feeder bands,like we usually do.
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Quoting hunkerdown:
Pretty chilly after Wilme blew through South Florida...drooped in the 50s the afternoon it passed.


Yes, but there was an unseasonably strong cold front traversing Florida, which caused Wilma's path and forward speed. I remember it was quite chilly that day as well, just a day after hitting the upper 80's. After Charley, though, it seemed warmer, probably due to the high humidity in the air.
Member Since: August 6, 2007 Posts: 24 Comments: 2691
847. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
I have never seen anything like that before. That is cool.


Here's some TRMM 3-D fly overs from some past notable hurricanes.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 161 Comments: 37408
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
You don't get to choose.
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Ivan was bad. It hit us as a Cat 4-5 but I think some people in Cayman forgot how it affected us.

#1 I know I don't get to choose
#2 I never forget and never will that is for sure
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Quoting hunkerdown:
Pretty chilly after Wilme blew through South Florida...drooped in the 50s the afternoon it passed.
The night after Ivan passed through here was chilly too but after that HOT because we didn't have any trees left
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Quoting hunkerdown:
Pretty chilly after Wilme blew through South Florida...drooped in the 50s the afternoon it passed.

That was a weird one...even here in Tampa we had TS force gusts w/temps in the 50's...
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Here's OPC's 96 hr forecast.

This suggests to me that something may be shifting in the overall pattern. But whether we actually see a genuine change is debatable. I do know that the ridge which had been dominating SW and NW CONUS weather for a while now seems to be breaking down, or at least weakening.
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Quoting StormW:
Here is the latest model run:






lmao, StormW you have great sense of humor , what's your take on the small flare up around 12N/37W? TIA
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Quoting DDR:

Ivan,
hmmmmm I remember ivan pretty well,he cause alot of flooding here in Trinidad & Tobago,I have family in Grenada that were affected.
Wasn't T & T affected by Dean in 2007 too ?
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Not looking that great...we'll see what happens.



It exited during DMIN... DMAX should give it a boost by tomorrow AM.
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
So, do you think a hurricane will cool you down ? As far as I remember it was a lot hotter after Ivan than before and no power for a/c or fans.
Pretty chilly after Wilme blew through South Florida...drooped in the 50s the afternoon it passed.
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Quickie
This loop seems to answer the question from yesterday about which would last longest, the MLC in the AEW that got feet wet Sunday (Late Sat?), or the surface low (trough) that formed behind (E) of it.
MLC = Poof
Trough = Still there, but pathetic.
830. W. I ran with a model recently. Had funnel clouds today. Both great fun. No pics of either :(
ThankYou!
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Quoting DDR:

Ivan,
hmmmmm I remember ivan pretty well,he cause alot of flooding here in Trinidad & Tobago,I have family in Grenada that were affected.
Ivan was bad. It hit us as a Cat 4-5 but I think some people in Cayman forgot how it affected us.
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:

not a hurricane maybe a invest or td thatis it
You don't get to choose.
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835. DDR
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
So, do you think a hurricane will cool you down ? As far as I remember it was a lot hotter after Ivan than before and no power for a/c or fans.

Ivan,
hmmmmm I remember ivan pretty well,he cause alot of flooding here in Trinidad & Tobago,I have family in Grenada that were affected.
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Felicia is really impressive right now, amazing structure, almost annular at the core. As far as the "pretty" factor goes, Felicia is one of the better storms I've seen. Of more importance though, Morakot is stronger, and is expected to become a category 3 hurricane equivalent typhoon. This storm is massive right now, and is on a path toward bot Taiwan and mainland China. With the storm surge and precipitation it's packing, that can't be a good combo
Member Since: August 6, 2007 Posts: 24 Comments: 2691
833. Skyepony (Mod)
Felicia on MIMIC
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 161 Comments: 37408

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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.