Hurricane warnings for Baja; 94L forming spiral bands

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:36 PM GMT on August 31, 2009

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Hurricane warnings are in effect for the southern tip of Mexico's Baja Peninsula, where powerful Hurricane Jimena is expected to make landfall Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. The hurricane is in an environment with low wind shear, 5 - 10 knots, and warm Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs), 30°C. Shear is expected to remain low, and SSTs will decline to 28°C with a corresponding decrease in total oceanic heat content between now and landfall, and these conditions should mean that Jimena will be a Category 3 or 4 hurricane at landfall. Outer rain-bands of the hurricane will be appearing on Los Cabos radar soon, though the Mexican Weather Service web site has been hard to reach today. The computer models are split, with one camp calling for a landfall in southern Baja, and the other camp calling for landfall farther north near central Baja. The official NHC forecast splits the difference between these two solutions, and landfall could occur anywhere along a long stretch of the Baja coast. At this point, the UKMET model's solution taking Jimena westward out to sea is being discounted, since it is an outlier.

After Jimena makes initial landfall on Baja, it will cross over the Gulf of California and make landfall on Mainland Mexico. Depending upon how up along the coast this second landfall occurs, Arizona may receive moisture from Jimena late this week that will be capable of causing flooding rains.


Figure 1. Image of Hurricane Jimena taken by NASA'a MODIS instrument at 2020 UTC Sunday, 8/30/09.

Invest 94L
The well-organized tropical wave (94L) near 14.5N, 52W, about 500 miles east of the central Lesser Antilles Islands, continues to be a threat to develop into a tropical depression. Visible satellite imagery and this morning's QuikSCAT pass do not show a surface circulation yet, though 94L does have a large envelope of moisture and some modest heavy thunderstorm activity. QuikSCAT noted winds up to 30 mph. Water vapor satellite loops show that 94L has moistened the region surrounding it considerably, and dry air from the Saharan Air Layer is not a major impediment to development. Wind shear is a low 5 - 10 knots, and the ocean temperature are a moderately warm 28°C. Visible satellite loops over the past two hours show low-level spiral bands developing on 94L's northeast side, and I give a 70% chance the Hurricane Hunters will find a tropical depression or tropical storm on Tuesday when they investigate 94L.


Figure 2. Morning satellite image of 94L, showing low-level spiral bands developing on the northeast side.

The center of 94L probably passed over Buoy 41040, located at 14.5N, 53W over the past hour. Winds blew northeasterly early this morning, then went calm, then shifted to southerly late this morning. The winds were less than 10 knots during the center passage, so the circulation of 94L is not yet well-defined. The pressure fell significantly as 94L moved over the buoy (seen only after one removes the wiggles due to daily atmospheric tide effect present in the tropics). 94L will appear on Martinique radar on Tuesday.

The forecast for 94L
Shear will remain low, 5 -10 knots, over the next 5 days, SSTs will be warm, in the 28 - 29°C range, and dry air should have only a minor inhibiting effect, so I can't see anything that will prevent 94L from developing into a tropical depression over the next 1 - 2 days. The HWRF model develops 94L into a hurricane 4 days from now, as does the SHIPS intensity model, but other models, such as the GFDL, ECMWF, and GFS, do not develop 94L at all.

Model solutions for the track of 94L are divergent. Water vapor satellite loops show two upper-level lows to the north and northwest of 94L that are pulling the storm to the west-northwest, and 94L's motion is expected to range between the west-northwest and northwest over the next three days. By Tuesday, 94L will slow down from its current 15 mph forward speed to about 10 mph. Most of the models predict that the steering influence of the upper-level lows will pull 94L far enough north that the storm will miss the Lesser Antilles, with a closest approach occurring Wednesday and Thursday. However, the ECMWF and HWRF models have 94L passing within 200 miles of the islands, and the northern Lesser Antilles may experience tropical storm conditions on Thursday.

At the longer ranges, the fate of 94L is highly uncertain. The Canadian model turns 94L to the north near Bermuda, then out to sea, while the NOGAPS model foresees a threat to the U.S. East Coast early next week. Both of these solutions are believable. The Hurricane Hunters are scheduled to make their first flight into 94L on Tuesday afternoon at 2pm EDT.

Elsewhere in the Atlantic
The remains of an old cold front are bringing cloudiness and showers to the northern Gulf of Mexico and waters offshore North and South Carolina. The GFS and NAM models indicate an area of low pressure may develop along this old front near the Florida Panhandle or off the coast of North Carolina by Thursday. However, such a low may be extratropical and not tropical.

My next post will be between 3 - 5pm this afternoon.

Jeff Masters

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If anyone's concerned about those living in Jimana's path, I'd have a look at this link. The potential exists for Jimana to make landfall at or near Cabo as a cat 3 or 4, then cross over toward the eastern Baja, possibly near Mulege, on its way to the Mexican mainland. With the expected storm surge, and the shallow little river running up into the town from the sea, I'd be worried about the people there. If you're a member of the Baja Bush Pilots, or just happen to know, I'd like to hear about the preparations there and at Hotel Serenidad.

Link
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i have a question... IF (big if) 94L were to develop and move towards South Florida what time frame are we looking at? I am asking because I live in S. Florida and am going up to NJ for a wedding this weekend.
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Quoting SykKid:


C



B. Too early to say
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Tropical wave faces uphill battle with hostile wind shear

That’s because there is large low-pressure area east of the Bahamas, creating wind shear, said James Franklin, branch chief over the hurricane specialists at the National Hurricane Center.
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Quoting serialteg:


People here go crazy for the GOM or Florida.


I'm not going crazy for the GOM. It just seems that this one might would have more of a chance to do so than the others that have formed. I'm not saying it will,just saying it may have a chance....
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a. florida east or now west side of florida possible.
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Quoting Seastep:


Good morning pottery. Trust all is well.

A more recent ASCAT pass shows hints of it closing off and not as elongated.

Also, windshift here is supportive of same.


It had those closed-looking W winds yesterday too, so... fluctuation?
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 1975
Quoting tropicfreak:




I'd hate to tell you this but bands are really starting to extend and it is in a very favorable environment. Development a 5pm is a strong possibility. I could be wrong but it's likely.


LOL - yes, that's what I was trying to say, but I think my bad use of grammar (double negative) confused you ;)
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I wonder when the next Quickscat will come out? Maybe NHC will do what they need to and number or name this puppy. As far as locations and such, here's what I have been pondering:

Since 12z on 8/27 (Thursday) through 0z from last night, Mrs. Invest94 has traveled 2.1 degrees north, and 22.7 degrees west.
*For the moment, I'm not totally in synch with today's 12z reading of 15 N 52.1 W....I still feel like it's moving WNW and will skirt north of Puerto Rico

The intensity forecast looks wide open...cat 1 to cat 4...who knows, because we know the models don't right now. We'll have to watch what happens, but I think on Friday we'll know whether or not it's heading into the GOM, the Atlantic seaboard, or out to sea.
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Tropicalnonsense, your graphic in #73 looks like a guide for a Hugo type track.



was pretty much thinking the same thing StSimons.
could be possibly one for you to watch as i know the
mid atlantic southeast coast area is far over due.
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145. jpsb
They must all live in Ohio. Here on the Texas gulf coast we do not like big Hurricanes.
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Quoting eddye:
and where could it hit

a florida

b to early to say

c out to sea

d florida then into the g mexico

(B) too early to tell
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143. 7544
this 94l could be a td at anytime today but they will wait for the hh to call it as a ts unlesss they make a special plan for today instead .

remeber we had a system like this form and we all couldt belive it was just a invest and after the plane went they found a 65mph ts and shocked ewveryone this system may do the same thing
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Hi Seastep,
I am not surprised at that. The system looks good now. I would not be surprised to see it as a TS soon.
I have to say that it looks better than I thought it would !
But then, this one has been quite baffling... to me, anyway.
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Quoting gator23:

he is a troll with no back up to his statement.


Why do you say that, I believe that everyone is welcome to state their opinions. This is a weather blog and that is what everyone should be doing.
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Quoting carolinabelle:
The way 94L is starting to present on the satellite images, I don't see much possibility that it won't be upgraded for the 5pm update.




I'd hate to tell you this but bands are really starting to extend and it is in a very favorable environment. Development a 5pm is a strong possibility. I could be wrong but it's likely.
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94L 2km Storm Relative IR Imagery with BD Enhancement Curve 1545 UTC


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127543
Quoting truecajun:
dr. m didn't mention the gom, just fish or east coast.


People here go crazy for the GOM or Florida.
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 1975
Quoting junie1:
if you live in the central to northern islands you should be preparing for a storm.Most systems that are at or below 15n past 50w and moving west to WNW have some impact on the islands


Looks like we've been graced with 2 weaknesses on those anticyclones (Bill, 94L)



Wondering how long our luck will run...
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 1975
Quoting gator23:

he is a troll with no back up to his statement.


ummmm,ok
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The way 94L is starting to present on the satellite images, I don't see much possibility that it won't be upgraded for the 5pm update.
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.
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execept for a trough coming off the east coast. Rgiht now Texas seems unlikely
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dr. m didn't mention the gom, just fish or east coast.
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Quoting TheCaneWhisperer:
This wouldn't be good.



And then we will have to deal with another wave behind what probably or most likely would be erika.
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Quoting louisianaboy444:


Thats how it starts for many of us its a passion that we have always had its in our blood so to speak and if you here then i think its in yours too thats why you gain knowledge on here to where one day you can contribute on here and who knows maybe make it a career


what would alaina think of you talking to a woman???? hmm
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im sure if a HH plane was to go out there right now they would find a LLC and this wouldnt even be a TD more like a TS
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Quoting TexasHurricane:


That is what it seems to me, but some think it will not go into the GOM. Why do you think it will?

he is a troll with no back up to his statement.
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Quoting TexasHurricane:


That is what it seems to me, but some think it will not go into the GOM. Why do you think it will?

If the storm continues on the current path, it will have very little land interaction allowing it to intensify and at the same time maintain a decent forward speed; since there is nothing in the pipeline right now that will turn this storm I believe that a west or northwest track is possible
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Quoting eddye:
i mean when do you guys think this could be a td

a today

b tonight

c tommorrow


Probably today or this evening.
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This wouldn't be good.

Quoting pottery:
Quoting Dr. Masters... re: 94L this morning
".... this mornings Quikscat pass do not have a surface circulation as yet".


Good morning pottery. Trust all is well.

A more recent ASCAT pass shows hints of it closing off and not as elongated.

Also, windshift here is supportive of same.
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123. eddye
and where could it hit

a florida

b to early to say

c out to sea

d florida then into the g mexico
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C and C
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Quoting TexasHurricane:


That is what it seems to me, but some think it will not go into the GOM. Why do you think it will?


I hope it doesn't go into the GOM. Another thing worth mentioning, when Jinema moves n into S California then the rainfall would really help the firefighters to contain the wildfires there.
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Quoting eddye:
i mean when do you guys think this could be a td

a today

b tonight

c tommorrow

(B)tonight
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94L Floater - RGB Color Infrared Loop
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127543
118. jpsb
Quoting TexasHurricane:


ok, well like I said. I am no expert....I guess time will tell.


The blob (convection) is growing fast. But no matter how hard I look I can't see any spin. No spin, no worries. lol. Got a real cool front here in Galveston last night, my experience is no CV storms here after the first real cool/cold front. However a real cool front in Aug is very unusual, so maybe the rule will break down this year.

I think maybe global warming is going to give us a very cold winter this year.
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Quoting louisianaboy444:


I think that Herbert box or whatever its called is a bunch of bull...its basically like a climatology model and how often are those correct


I don't see the Herbert boxes as models. They are more of "points of no return" It is extremely difficult for a storm to approach Florida without passing through one of those boxes.

That doesn't mean ALL storms passing through the box will hit, just that if Florida gets hit....it most likely passed through a Herbert box.

I think anytime a storm gets in these two boxes, Florida should start thinking about being hit. It is no different than when a storm makes its way into the GOMEX and all of Texas starts to pay attention.
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Quoting BrockBerlin:


I will give you that a GOM scenario while unlikely, is a little more plausible today then say 2 days ago, but I would still say east coaster or out to sea are considerably more likely.


Good assessment.
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115. eddye
i mean when do you guys think this could be a td

a today

b tonight

c tommorrow
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Quoting WINDSMURF:
94L will continue on its current track coming very close to the North coast of puerto Rico. Once in the warm waters it will intensify into a cat2 and it will not curve to the north The entire Southeast coast should be looking at this storm. This storm has a greater chance of ending up in the gulf of mexico rather than turning north and becoming a fish storm


That is what it seems to me, but some think it will not go into the GOM. Why do you think it will?
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113. 7544
94l already looks like ts imo and its getting larger in size
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112. eddye
who thinks this will be today

a today
b tonight
c tommorrow

and where do you think this could hit

a florida
b to early
c out to sea
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111. IKE
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
Seems the 12Z GFS loses the 850 mb vortex after 132 hours north of Haiti.




At least you can see where it puts it at 120 hours...approaching the eastern Bahamas.

Earlier runs had it heading toward Bermuda.
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Quoting WeathermanAG:
Comne on NHC....94L is already a storm!

no it isnt. No LLC
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109. JRRP
Link
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Sheer prognosis aside, 94L is one good looking "wave" at the moment......; if it keeps this up into tommorow morning, then we may get a "pass" from TD right to TS if the Hunters can locate a closed low tommorow.
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94L will continue on its current track coming very close to the North coast of puerto Rico. Once in the warm waters it will intensify into a cat2 and it will not curve to the north The entire Southeast coast should be looking at this storm. This storm has a greater chance of ending up in the gulf of mexico rather than turning north and becoming a fish storm
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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.