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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Quoting WeatherStudent:


Oh God, is everything OK? I hope so.


Everything is fine lol
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
Good evening...
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Quoting IKE:
another one bites the dust...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Meg-Lo-Dust..yup


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127592
729. IKE
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Evening WeatherStudent...

Have you heard from StormW lately?

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29905
Quoting WeatherStudent:
Evening EX, how are ya?


Ive been better, but pretty good.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
It will still be a very active year .... so says the crow ... take care ;>)

Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Im going to go out on a Limb,..and predict that Ana will form in the Yucatan Staits,hedging that it may be the GOM,or the Caribbean.

The Atlantic is a shoo-shoo thru the 15th at least.

Fresca's for everyone..!

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127592
719. IKE
Quoting extreme236:
Lets just get Ana over with.


Please...and I'm serious...get to Ana....

66 days of no-names is getting old.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
So maybe something will develop in 5-7 days.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29905
Quoting WeatherStudent:
Thanks, I'll be there. Do you live near FSU? Hey Adrian, by when do you think that we'll see our first major cane of this season?


No one on here can tell you that.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Ikester and Drakster, where would the steering currents take this potential land threater 14-20 days from now?
did you get permission to use the "-ster" ?
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715. ackee
I think the gfs model has been doing a poor job so
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Quoting Drakoen:
In a the long range I still see trough capable or eroding at the Bermuda high though not as vigorously as we have seen. Sullivanweather mentioned continued troughiness but for the impact to be flatter.


Sometimes the long wave pattern in August shifts from what it was in July; and August is more likely to have ridging in the W. Atlantic than Sept or Oct, that's for sure.

BUT, I have no faith in any forecast over 84 hrs. And the usual term for the long wave to be in any one general position is 6-10 days.

Adrian
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13629
Lets just get Ana over with.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
710. IKE
Quoting Drakoen:
The 18z NOGAPS is showing some development between Africa and the Lesser Antilles...albeit faster than the CMC and GFS.


It's latched on to that blob near 36W that needs a good dmax in the morning.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting IKE:


That's a good question. Best guesstimate...4 or 5?
depends on who you talk to, some on here would say zero.
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In a the long range I still see trough capable or eroding at the Bermuda high though not as vigorously as we have seen. Sullivanweather mentioned continued troughiness but for the impact to be flatter.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29905
Hurricane Felicia is looking nic i say its at laste a cat 4 right now vary nic eye
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Dean like tracks are very common in nino years so no suprise there.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13629
704. IKE
Quoting WeatherStudent:
Enjoy, sounds heveanly delicious, by the way. Can I come?


LOL....sure...

I've had rain and thunderstorms off and on all afternoon.

71 degrees outside... .92 inches of rain at a PWS 6 miles from here.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Ikester and Drakster, where would the steering currents take this potential land threater 14-20 days from now?


Strong ridge over the east coast. This is why I think this is a potential dean-like storm.

Member Since: July 19, 2008 Posts: 43 Comments: 4051
The 18z NOGAPS is showing some development between Africa and the Lesser Antilles...albeit faster than the CMC and GFS.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29905
700. hurricane23
10:49 PM GMT on August 05, 2009
Quoting futuremet:


Nah, the will be 10kts or less by that it reaches there.


When i see it i'll believe it,thus far this season the caribbean has been very hostile which is a pretty typical signature of el nino.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13629
698. BDAwx
10:48 PM GMT on August 05, 2009
Quoting twhcracker:


i wish you would explain it then.


I'm sorry maybe I was misunderstood...
I meant that Annular hurricanes were confusing to learn about because not much is known about it...

Must have been poor wording, my bad.. XD
Member Since: August 3, 2009 Posts: 51 Comments: 526
697. weatherwatcher12
10:48 PM GMT on August 05, 2009
Looks like a new burst of convection coming in.
Member Since: May 16, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 1231
696. IKE
10:48 PM GMT on August 05, 2009
Quoting WeatherStudent:


Good grief, about time. Evening Ike. You eat dinner yet?


Fixing too. Wife made chicken and dumplings....she's a good cook....
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
695. weatherwatcher12
10:47 PM GMT on August 05, 2009
Shear is still dropping in certain parts of the Caribbean per the latest maps.
Member Since: May 16, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 1231
694. HurricaneSwirl
10:47 PM GMT on August 05, 2009
Quoting extreme236:
I lost count. How many "Pre-Ana"s have we had so far again? lol


90L
92L
93L
97L
countless caribbean disturbances
our most recent CATL wave
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
693. GeoffreyWPB
10:46 PM GMT on August 05, 2009
Ikester and Drakster, where would the steering currents take this potential land threater 14-20 days from now?
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10990
692. futuremet
10:46 PM GMT on August 05, 2009
Quoting hurricane23:


Not much is left once it hits those fast westerlies blowing across the eastern caribbean.


Nah, they will be 10kts or less before it reaches there. Finally, a storm with no major detriment burden in its path. SAL and shear should be favorable.
Member Since: July 19, 2008 Posts: 43 Comments: 4051
690. Drakoen
10:46 PM GMT on August 05, 2009
Quoting hurricane23:


Not much is left once it hits those fast westerlies blowing across the eastern caribbean.


The GFS keeps flip flopping on it's shear for the Caribbean. Can't tell what it's going to be like that far out.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29905
689. BDAwx
10:45 PM GMT on August 05, 2009
if we named every invest so far what name would we be on?
Member Since: August 3, 2009 Posts: 51 Comments: 526
688. WPBHurricane05
10:45 PM GMT on August 05, 2009
Quoting IKE:
At 180 hours...18Z GFS......



So according to the GFS we are on the Greek alphabet now. LOL!
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
687. Drakoen
10:45 PM GMT on August 05, 2009
Large wave off Africa
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29905
686. hurricane23
10:45 PM GMT on August 05, 2009
Quoting IKE:


The Real Deal? Ana?


Not much is left once it hits those fast westerlies blowing across the eastern caribbean.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13629
685. IKE
10:45 PM GMT on August 05, 2009
Not bad....

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
684. IKE
10:44 PM GMT on August 05, 2009
6-10 day precipitation outlook shows above normal over the gulf-coast....




Spreading slightly further north on the 8-14 day outlook....

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
683. SeniorPoppy
10:44 PM GMT on August 05, 2009
Things are going to start heating up in the Atlantic.
Member Since: August 4, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 497

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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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