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 Vortex95:
Pin wheel eye Drak thats one of a few characteristics of an anular Hurricane, you think or anyone else think it has a shot at ataining this status?


Annular hurricanes have more of a disk shape. They are void of spiral bands.
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Felicia far far far away from the Islands
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GOES

Convection is really waning on the west side of the storm, maybe cooler waters are starting to take a toll of it or wind shear.
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Impressive Cyclone with the Sun angle showing her throat nicely Drak
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128231
444

WHXX01 KMIA 051858

CHGE77

TROPICAL CYCLONE GUIDANCE MESSAGE

NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL

1858 UTC WED AUG 5 2009



DISCLAIMER...NUMERICAL MODELS ARE SUBJECT TO LARGE ERRORS.

PLEASE REFER TO NHC OFFICIAL FORECASTS FOR TROPICAL CYCLONE

AND SUBTROPICAL CYCLONE INFORMATION.



EAST PACIFIC OBJECTIVE AIDS FOR



TROPICAL CYCLONE FELICIA (EP082009) 20090805 1800 UTC



...00 HRS... ...12 HRS... ...24 HRS. .. ...36 HRS...

090805 1800 090806 0600 090806 1800 090807 0600



LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON

BAMS 14.2N 129.3W 15.5N 131.0W 16.7N 132.7W 17.7N 134.4W

BAMD 14.2N 129.3W 15.4N 131.0W 16.4N 132.7W 17.2N 134.5W

BAMM 14.2N 129.3W 15.3N 130.9W 16.4N 132.6W 17.3N 134.3W

LBAR 14.2N 129.3W 15.6N 131.0W 16.9N 132.7W 18.1N 134.4W

SHIP 110KTS 120KTS 117KTS 105KTS

DSHP 110KTS 120KTS 117KTS 105KTS



...48 HRS... ...72 HRS... ...96 HRS. .. ..120 HRS...

090807 1800 090808 1800 090809 1800 090810 1800



LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON

BAMS 18.6N 136.3W 20.2N 141.3W 21.2N 146.9W 21.9N 153.2W

BAMD 17.7N 136.4W 18.6N 140.6W 19.3N 144.8W 20.1N 148.2W

BAMM 18.0N 136.2W 19.3N 140.6W 20.2N 145.2W 20.9N 149.5W

LBAR 18.8N 136.3W 19.5N 140.5W 19.3N 145.2W 19.2N 149.5W

SHIP 93KTS 69KTS 50KTS 29KTS

DSHP 93KTS 69KTS 50KTS 29KTS



...INITIAL CONDITIONS...

LATCUR = 14.2N LONCUR = 129.3W DIRCUR = 305DEG SPDCUR = 10KT

LATM12 = 13.1N LONM12 = 127.8W DIRM12 = 310DEG SPDM12 = 9KT

LATM24 = 12.2N LONM24 = 126.1W

WNDCUR = 110KT RMAXWD = 25NM WNDM12 = 85KT

CENPRS = 940MB OUTPRS = 1008MB OUTRAD = 200NM SDEPTH = D

RD34NE = 105NM RD34SE = 90NM RD34SW = 75NM RD34NW = 90NM



$$

NNNN
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53773
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Wow - Felicia.

Sometimes you just need to sit back and applaud these storms. It is awesome to see how far she's made it in such a short time. Now, for Hawaii's sake, let's hope her forecast for a demise is true.
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Pinwheel eye:
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Eventually something will get going
As to "when" we're not really knowing
We keep waiting and waiting
Anticipating
Yet still nothing is out there a-blowin'!
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 3683


Wide View
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470. IKE
Quoting hurricane23:
Maybe a tad bit of hope....HPC this afternoon

OUTLOOK: MEDIUM RANGE GUIDANCE SHOWS A PATTERN TRANSITION ON THENORTHERN PORTIONS OF THE DOMAINS...WITH THE RIDGE OVER THE WESTERN
USA RELOCATING TO THE EASTERN USA/WESTERN ATLANTIC THROUGH DAY03-04...THEN PERSISTING THROUGH DAY 07. THIS IS TO THEN FAVOR THE
SOUTHWARD AMPLIFICATION OF A TROUGH OVER THE WESTERNATLANTIC...WHILE A CELL OF THE SUBTROPICAL RIDGE ESTABLISHES OVER
THE CENTRAL-EASTERN ATLANTIC. A WEAKNESS IN THE HEIGHT FIELD WILL REMAIN BETWEEN 65-45W. THIS CHANGE IN PATTERN COINCIDES WITH AN
INCREASE IN THE MJO. THIS IS ALREADY AFFECTING THE EASTERN PACIFIC...WHERE WE HAVE SEEN A SURGE IN ITCZ RELATED CONVECTION DURING THE LAST COUPLE OF DAYS.CONDITIONS...AS PREDICTED BY THE EWP/CFS...ARE TO REMAIN FAVORABLE DURING THE NEXT TWO TO THREE WEEKS. BUT BEST DYNAMICS OVER THE TROPICAL ATLANTIC MIGHT BE
SLOWER TO MATERIALIZE...WITH MODELS NOWHOLDING BACK UNTIL THE SECOND HALF OF AUGUST. NEVERTHELESS...THE CHANGE IN FLOW PATTERN
MIGHT BE ENOUGH TO ALLOW AN INCREASE IN TROPICAL CONVECTION ACROSS THE ATLANTIC...AND POSSIBLY LEAD TO A HIGHER INCIDENCE IN TROPICAL
CYCLONES.




That sounds more delayed in time then the last one I read and doesn't sound quite as enthusiastic for development of systems.
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Eye is completely cleared out.
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I think she has peaked Skyepony,..could be running off that warm finger on the west side maybe
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128231
SAL is decreasing and going north now
UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 7.2.3
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 05 AUG 2009 Time : 183000 UTC
Lat : 14:12:00 N Lon : 129:20:33 W


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
6.4 / 940.6mb/124.6kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
(3hr avg)
6.4 6.4 6.4

Latitude bias adjustment to MSLP : +3.0mb

Estimated radius of max. wind based on IR : 22 km

Center Temp : +4.5C Cloud Region Temp : -68.2C

Scene Type : EYE

Positioning Method : RING/SPIRAL COMBINATION

Ocean Basin : EAST PACIFIC
Dvorak CI > MSLP Conversion Used : ATLANTIC

Tno/CI Rules : Constraint Limits : NO LIMIT
Weakening Flag : OFF
Rapid Dissipation Flag : OFF

****************************************************




Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53773
Split Window - Met-8/GOES-West - Latest Available



Ack,coff,spit,..phew,dusty
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128231
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463. Skyepony (Mod)
Felicia
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Quoting Drakoen:


In a hurricane that doesn't really matter. There main source is sea surface temperatures and not diurnal convective cycles.


They also expand during the day giving the warming cloud tops effect, and compact at night and with colder cloud tops
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Hurricane Felicia

AMSU Intensity Time Series 1800 UTC

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128231
1012 mb surface low moving very slowly at 10 knots towards the west. although there is a vigorous spin near 11N 34W the system will take a long time to organise. there is little convection and it does not seem to possible at his stage ,with that amount of dry air to thewest and north of the system so far it remains a low on the surface chart
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Storm Relative 16km Geostationary Water Vapor Imagery
1800 UTC

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128231
Felicia nears cat5,might make it there soon at the rate its going.
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Maybe a tad bit of hope....HPC this afternoon

OUTLOOK: MEDIUM RANGE GUIDANCE SHOWS A PATTERN TRANSITION ON THENORTHERN PORTIONS OF THE DOMAINS...WITH THE RIDGE OVER THE WESTERN
USA RELOCATING TO THE EASTERN USA/WESTERN ATLANTIC THROUGH DAY03-04...THEN PERSISTING THROUGH DAY 07. THIS IS TO THEN FAVOR THE
SOUTHWARD AMPLIFICATION OF A TROUGH OVER THE WESTERNATLANTIC...WHILE A CELL OF THE SUBTROPICAL RIDGE ESTABLISHES OVER
THE CENTRAL-EASTERN ATLANTIC. A WEAKNESS IN THE HEIGHT FIELD WILL REMAIN BETWEEN 65-45W. THIS CHANGE IN PATTERN COINCIDES WITH AN
INCREASE IN THE MJO. THIS IS ALREADY AFFECTING THE EASTERN PACIFIC...WHERE WE HAVE SEEN A SURGE IN ITCZ RELATED CONVECTION DURING THE LAST COUPLE OF DAYS.CONDITIONS...AS PREDICTED BY THE EWP/CFS...ARE TO REMAIN FAVORABLE DURING THE NEXT TWO TO THREE WEEKS. BUT BEST DYNAMICS OVER THE TROPICAL ATLANTIC MIGHT BE
SLOWER TO MATERIALIZE...WITH MODELS NOWHOLDING BACK UNTIL THE SECOND HALF OF AUGUST. NEVERTHELESS...THE CHANGE IN FLOW PATTERN
MIGHT BE ENOUGH TO ALLOW AN INCREASE IN TROPICAL CONVECTION ACROSS THE ATLANTIC...AND POSSIBLY LEAD TO A HIGHER INCIDENCE IN TROPICAL
CYCLONES.


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Quoting RitaEvac:


Perfectly normal, its mid-day out there Drak, it wanes in the afternoon and intensifies at night


In a hurricane that doesn't really matter. There main source is sea surface temperatures and not diurnal convective cycles.
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Thanks Jeff! :)
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453. IKE
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Ocean Heat Content & Forecast Track.Hurricane Felicia 1200 UTC

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128231
Quoting Drakoen:
While the eye may be clearing out the central dense overcast of the system is warming somewhat.


Perfectly normal, its mid-day out there Drak, it wanes in the afternoon and intensifies at night
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Very nice picture StormChaser81.
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Multiplatform Satellite Surface Wind Analysis
Hurricane Felicia 1800 UTC

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128231
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446. 7544
well our wave seems to be holding on today and more about to march off of africa also this might get going soon Link
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I can't see Felicia making it to 20N. Maybe to 18N. If you look at water vapor imagery you can see how the upper trough is losing some of it's influence. The ridge is building to the north.
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BMRC is now part of CAWCR: The Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research.
For more information on The Centre please go to http://www.cawcr.gov.au

There are notable differences in the physical causes of ENSO induced variations of tropical cyclone activity between the Australian and North Atlantic regions. Whereas the strength of the upper level westerly wind and the vertical shear mechanism appears to account for tropical cyclone reduction in the Atlantic in El Nino years, differences in sea surface temperatures and surface pressure seem to provide the primary physical linkage in the Australian region. Here, cool sea surface temperature anomalies and associated high barometric pressure accompany El Nino events and are associated with the diminished frequency of Australian Coral Sea area cyclones.

By comparison, the El Nino appears to cause no significant alteration in Atlantic Sea surface temperatures or sea level pressure.

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Quoting Patrap:
Storm Relative 1km Geostationary Visible Imagery Hurricane Felicia
1830 UTC



incredible picture!
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Quoting Weather4Life:
Does a stronger storm at landfall weaken faster than a weaker storm at landfall?
Strength is not as important as geography, size, and structure. Ike was a cat 2 on landfall, and weakened very slowly. Other cat 2 storms upon landfall (like Dolly) weakened fairly quickly. Ike was held together by a fairly flat landfall area and a gigantic size.
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2km Storm Relative IR Imagery with BD Enhancement Curve 1830 UTC
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128231


It looks like Enrique, is trying to look a bit more man-ish and is trying to develop a weak eyewall.
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While the eye may be clearing out the central dense overcast of the system is warming somewhat.
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Storm Relative 1km Geostationary Visible Imagery Hurricane Felicia
1830 UTC

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128231
Quoting hurricanejunky:

0,0,0 as in:
0 named storms
0 hurricanes
0 major hurricanes

Sorry for the confusion...


Oh, duh i know what you mean now. But i just have a feeling that 90L in may will be forgotten in history. This isn't a late starting season, NHC chose not to name it for economic reasons (a landfalling TS in may would make people worried about another active season and send insurance skyrocketing)
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Quoting IpswichWeatherCenter:


Is that a Strong Cat 4, or a weak one?



Kinda of in the middle, 131-155mph is the scale for cat 4.
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I'm not wishcasting or anything close to it, but when Iniki was approaching Hawaii, forecasters gave an entirely different forecast opposed to what actually occurred. They had less than 24 hours warning that the storm would hit them, much less at the intensity that it did. I know that forecasting has come a ways since 1992 and the track is very different on Felicia, but if I were in Hawaii, I'd be at least a little apprehensive. It's too early to say that it'll impact Hawaii, but it's also too early to say that it won't. Although I guess this blog is comprised of a lot of "It will, it won't, it is, it isn't, etc...".
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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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