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 Drakoen:
potentially 320

Thanks, because I noticed it last night.
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332. Skyepony (Mod)
The ULL mingling with the surface trough N of PR caught my eye this morning. It has more convection now.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 174 Comments: 38187
Quoting futuremet:


Yes, it is; the southerly shear is also helping it do that. However, it is preventing convection to persist over the center.


What do you think would happen if we got convection over the center? Good shot for development, and further tightening of the COC?
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If possible please post some info about the images posted. It helps us lurkers that do not have a clue, but are lurking to learn.
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Quoting AllStar17:


future....seems like it is shielding itself from the dry air.


Yes, it is; the southerly shear is also helping it do that. However, it is preventing convection to persist over the center.
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When hurricane season began
In came a new kind of tropical fan
"Not even one storm
Will be able to form!"
Who'd know how far this would span!
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 3753
potentially 320
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Quoting futuremet:


future....seems like it is shielding itself from the dry air.
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Quoting WeatherStudent:
Good afternoon, all! It looks like your highly desired dead Hurricane Season continues for the time being there, Ike. But all possible indications are that come next week that'll all come to a swift, yet rather aburpt end, FINALLY that is. :) About time too, I've waited long enough.
here is the real JFV in action. As I posted back in May the Prophet Kim Clement said that this was goning to be a slow year. He still goes by JFV when calling the Barometer Bob show Storm W you were great on the show. JFV I can't put you on Ignore case my 11 year old laughts at you too much!
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It was major electricity here....FLASH! BANG!
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Quoting UWalkTheMall:
Good afternoon,we have been experiencing some major lightening strikes here in Cape Coral. Looks like more is on it's way. Take cover!


We're getting it here in N Ft Myers, too! Rumbling and flashing away! Pretty impressive...the UPS's are singing!
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Quoting Drakoen:
If it gets into the Caribbean it might have a shot. Shear is expect to lower in that region as the band of high upper level winds moves to the north. That TUTT axis will be lifting.

Could this be the beginning of shear lowering?
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GFS shear forecast 5 days out
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Good afternoon,we have been experiencing some major lightening strikes here in Cape Coral. Looks like more is on it's way. Take cover!
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Quoting SeniorPoppy:
I think there is a lot of wishful thinking with this blob. Convection has not been concistent with this aoi and it is only natural for convection to simmer down and refire due to DMIN and DMAX cycles. I agree with the less than 20% chance of development.


au contraire... convection has been consistent all day long.. it has and is still continuinig to fire new convection... this is indicative of the nearby low.
i'm not saying it will form into anything.. just stating Facts, as some like to say.
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Dr M- great question for the poll today, I am torn between personal freedoms and the fact that some people are just stupid when it comes to hurricanes, especially when they endanger their children.
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Quoting TampaSpin:


The energy of the AOI yesterday had moved to a different Low pressure area that was trailing to its NE by 5deg N and 3deg E....or located at 13N 34W.....the AOI yesterday is located at 8N 37W.....2 seperate entities.


I am not sure I agree with that but in the long run it does not matter. My thinking yesterday, which I posted in the late afternoon, was that the circulation we saw down around 8N and further W had essentially outrun the 850 mb vorticity that developed yesterday. I also stated that I thought there was a possibility of redevelopment further to the N and E where the 850 mb circulation had established itself. You may recall that the only vorticity we saw prior to that was at the 500 mb level.

But, as I said above , it does not matter whether what we see now comes from two different sources or one source that split and reformed. In the end, we are where we are.
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Quoting SeniorPoppy:


I should have been more precise...just the shear to the south is prohibiting a more symetrical apperance as of yet.


That is correct.
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Quoting AllStar17:


I do not see any dry air infiltrating in.


I should have been more precise...just the shear to the south is prohibiting a more symetrical apperance as of yet.
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Pat...outtie mail...
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UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 7.2.3
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 05 AUG 2009 Time : 173000 UTC
Lat : 14:12:00 N Lon : 129:05:51 W


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
6.0 / 951.0mb/115.0kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
(3hr avg)
6.0 6.5 6.7

Latitude bias adjustment to MSLP : +3.0mb

Estimated radius of max. wind based on IR : 14 km

Center Temp : -4.3C Cloud Region Temp : -71.8C

Scene Type : EYE

Positioning Method : RING/SPIRAL COMBINATION

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

Tno/CI Rules : Constraint Limits : 2.7T/12hr
Weakening Flag : OFF
Rapid Dissipation Flag : OFF

FELICIA CAT4 MAJOR HURRICANE
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Quoting futuremet:
Southerly shear is keeping the primary convective active north of the ill-defined LLC.



Yeah. As long as it is firing convection and spinning it has a chance.
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Wrf indicates something from fri into sat time frame,chance of forming then 30%
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I think there is a lot of wishful thinking with this blob. Convection has not been concistent with this aoi and it is only natural for convection to simmer down and refire due to DMIN and DMAX cycles. I agree with the less than 20% chance of development.
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Hurricane Iniki Track Sept 92

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Quoting SeniorPoppy:
I wouldn't be surprised our little aoi gets sheared apart and at the same time dry air infiltrates and sucks the life out of it.

It's already happening... it has a small chance of holding its own.


I do not see any dry air infiltrating in.
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Southerly shear is keeping the primary convective active north of the ill-defined LLC.

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Never say never, the weather has been weird lately so if it stays a Hurricane and hits Hawaii, it would not surprise me. They need to moniter this storm.
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302. JRRP
Link
hmmm
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Kauai is to the Big Island like Houston is to Miami. the 1992 hit by Iniki on Kauai did nothing at the other islands. Felicia will be a tropical depression when she reaches the neigborhood of the Big Island. The Big Island will weather the weather as always, no problem.
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If it gets into the Caribbean it might have a shot. Shear is expect to lower in that region as the band of high upper level winds moves to the north. That TUTT axis will be lifting.
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Quoting NRAamy:


Rain and Hail on the West Coast of the USA.....


...and a big fat purple hippo taking a dump on Monument Valley. The Navajo will be haters...
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 3753
Quoting palmbaywhoo:


is she gonna get blasted like jasoniscoolman??


No, because it is an obvious joke. Not intended to look like the real thing.
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Quoting reedzone:
Ohh God.. Hawaii!!!

Wow, did not see this coming.. Whens the last time Hawaii was hit with a Hurricane, 1992?


Iniki hit Kauai in '92 and messed it up pretty good. They still talk about it all the time.
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Good afternoon to everyone! In watching the latest Tropical RAMSDIS visible satellite loop and analyzing the latest CIMSS Lower-Level Wind product, there seems to be a rather broad low-level circulation near 12N and 33W in association with the Central Atlantic disturbance. Right now, the convection remains on the northern fringe of this weak circulation with no convection protecting the circulation to the south and east. At this time, the disturbance remains rather disorganized and weak. In order to stand a better chance for development, the disturbance needs to see increased lower level convergence which would help it bring more moisture into the circulation and develop more convection to cover the circulation.

According to the latest CIMSS Wind Shear Analysis product, the disturbance remains under the influence from about 15kt. wind shear which is marginally favorable for development. As the system continues on a general westward track (maybe WNW), it will move into favorable upper level conditions where wind shear will remain in the 5 to 10kt. range. This could aid in allowing the disturbance to maintain any convection that it may build in time, if it does at all.

Looking down the road, the TUTT axis that had been centered in the Southwest Atlantic stretching down into the Northern Caribbean appears to be weakening some and lifting out gradually. This may allow for a marginally favorable upper level environment to develop, but given the fact that wind shear is so difficult to predict and can change quickly, this isn't guaranteed.

For now, I'm giving this Central Atlantic disturbance a low chance (less than 20%) chance to develop given the current disorganized state and marginal conditions with rather dry air and moderate SAL to the north. But given the fact that this disturbance has hung on, I could always be wrong so I can't rule anything out.
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Quoting reedzone:
Ohh God.. Hawaii!!!

Wow, did not see this coming.. Whens the last time Hawaii was hit with a Hurricane, 1992?

I won't be a hurricane though by the time it gets near the islands.
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NHC wants to keep the low around for that long. We will see what happens.
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I wouldn't be surprised our little aoi gets sheared apart and at the same time dry air infiltrates and sucks the life out of it.

It's already happening... it has a small chance of holding its own.
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Convection is still separated from the center.
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Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:


The sarcasm gets really annoying after awhile


Not to me, I love it. Really tends to put things in perspective.
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Looks like our CATL Low is trying to fire up.
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288. IKE
Quoting WeatherStudent:



I see it, Ike. But it's moistening up it's immediate surroundings; therefore, SAL shouldn't be too determental for it from this point on forth, Ike.


Ikester.

From the latest TWD....

"THE ITCZ...
THE ITCZ AXIS IS CENTERED ALONG 12N15W 10N24W 12N33W 8N39W 9N60W.
BESIDES THE CONVECTION AND SHOWERS ALREADY MENTIONED IN THE
TROPICAL WAVE SECTION...SCATTERED MODERATE TO ISOLATED STRONG
CONVECTION IS ALONG THE COAST OF WEST AFRICA FROM 11N-14N
BETWEEN 14W-20W. A 1012 MB LOW IS NEAR 11N33W MOVING WEST AT 10
KT.
SCATTERED MODERATE TO ISOLATED STRONG CONVECTION IS NW OF
THE CENTER FROM 12N-14N BETWEEN 33W-37W."
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Quoting IKE:


I agree, but I'll stick with my total(10-4-2).


Nice prediction

That sounds tenable to me.
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Quoting NRAamy:


Rain and Hail on the West Coast of the USA.....


is she gonna get blasted like jasoniscoolman??
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this looks nice our AOI
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12157
I think what brings most people to watch hurricanes regardless if its bearing down on you or spinning by your state is the awsome power of nature. Its just amazing how much power is evolved during the hurricane strenghing process. But when you realize its heading your way that amazment changes to disbelief that your really going to have to leave or ride the storm out. The island in the caribbean has to be the most scarest thing ever because you cant run away from it. Wishcasting imo opinion is wanting to see nature at its fullest. People living hurricane prone areas have to understand that its going to happen eventually to them regardless of being on the coast or not. Strong enough hurricanes can affect far inland areas with flooding rains and high winds. Power=excitment. just like at the drag races, people get excited to see so much power, but its very dangerous to go that fast in such a short distance.
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Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:


The sarcasm gets really annoying after awhile


So does your posting but I don't complain.
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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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