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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Quoting stormsurge39:
The way i understand this systems future track is simple------- if stays a weak system futher south and west-------------- if it stengthens to a strong tropical storm or hurricane futher North and west. Thats why the models are split.
Is this right??
Quoting RufusBaker:
94 wont go in gulf


Foot will go in mouth
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Quoting CycloneOz:
I have arrived at Cabo San Lucas. My room has wifi...so I'll be attempting a live hurricane webcam...although I'm very limited on static shots at this hotel...I'm blocks away from the ocean.

Everything is okay, but Cabo-people are beginning to freak out a bit. There are huge lines of waiting cars for gas and grocery stores are packed. The only places that seem calm are the poorer villages to the east. Everyone there is just sitting around looking at the sky.

I'm very busy getting my equipment ready to go first thing in the morning...so not many updates between now and then.

Current conditions. Hot, humid, overcast, light rain...and no wind to speak of.

It is the calm...

Wow! be safe!



CycloneOz---
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 467
Quoting IKE:
Oh yeah....the season is now over half way over, time-wise. Today at 12 noon was the half way point....

91 1/2 days done.
91 1/2 days left.




.


Thanks for noting that. Always good to know the downhill part.
Member Since: October 18, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 3052
Quoting TropicalNonsense:
94l is beginning to wind up strong and move westward toward the northern islands
and then likely on to florida.

the ull is also looking quite interesting and will lay the track quiet nicely for 94l!

STORMCHASERS ACTIVE!!!! lol

I agree, SFLA in particular, SFLA might be getting a CAT 1+ hurricane in 4 to 7 days depending on foward speed.
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Greetings from San Diego. Morning all. Hope that the folks in Baja are ready for Jimena - good thoughts sent their way.
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94L has gotta be the scariest invest i've seen in a long time. You can just look at it and see future trouble.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I have arrived at Cabo San Lucas. My room has wifi...so I'll be attempting a live hurricane webcam...although I'm very limited on static shots at this hotel...I'm blocks away from the ocean.

Everything is okay, but Cabo-people are beginning to freak out a bit. There are huge lines of waiting cars for gas and grocery stores are packed. The only places that seem calm are the poorer villages to the east. Everyone there is just sitting around looking at the sky.

I'm very busy getting my equipment ready to go first thing in the morning...so not many updates between now and then.

Current conditions. Hot, humid, overcast, light rain...and no wind to speak of.

It is the calm...

CycloneOz---
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting connie1976:
Thanks Ike!! ;)
Hey connie! I know u r the type that panics when u r in the cone of a TD, but this time around i am advising you there is a 50+ chance SFLA will be getting 94L, lets wait and see, but that is the current status.
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Quoting TropicalNonsense:
94l is beginning to wind up strong and move westward toward the northern islands and then on to florida.
the ull is also looking quite interesting and will lay the track quiet nicely for 94l!


Something caught my eye on the top left corner.
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Quoting CaneAddict:


Good, I really don't care if your here or not. Should of not evacuated for Rita. Maybe you wouldnt be on this blog.

Wow. people are getting harsh! lol
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 467
792. IKE
Quoting connie1976:
Thanks Ike!! ;)


You're welcome.
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Quoting TropicalNonsense:
94l is beginning to wind up strong and move westward toward the northern islands
and then likely on to florida.

the ull is also looking quite interesting and will lay the track quiet nicely for 94l!



exactly!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The way i understand this systems future track is simple------- if stays a weak system futher south and west-------------- if it stengthens to a strong tropical storm or hurricane futher North and west. Thats why the models are split.
Quoting amd:
Update on Jimena:

Pressure estimated now at 925.9 mb.
Max flight level winds: 149 knots

Jimena is an absolute monster

WOW.
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786. IKE
Quoting hurricanejunky:


Off-topic image. I got banned for COMMENTING on one much less posting one. (JFV/WS stormcenter...LOL)


You must to have gotten grouped in. That happens sometimes.

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94 wont go in gulf
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
94l is beginning to wind up strong and move westward toward the northern islands
and then likely on to florida.

the ull is also looking quite interesting and will lay the track quiet nicely for 94l!

STORMCHASERS ACTIVE!!!! lol

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Thanks Ike!! ;)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
HH southeast of Turks and Caicos, north of DR, seeing essential no wind at 26,400 ft (376 mb).
Member Since: July 15, 2005 Posts: 3 Comments: 1262
779. IKE
Oh yeah....the season is now over half way over, time-wise. Today at 12 noon was the half way point....

91 1/2 days done.
91 1/2 days left.


Quoting stormsurge39:
ill take that bet and ill send you my address for that check! LOL


LOL...okay.
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Quoting PBG00:


Thats worth a ban?


Off-topic image. I got banned for COMMENTING on one much less posting one. (JFV/WS stormcenter...LOL)
Member Since: August 28, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 2895
Quoting AllStar17:
Still well-organized
Good outflow to all quadrants.


Very impressive for just an invest. Outflow is very well established and the spiral bands are becoming more pronounced. Once a circulation becomes well defined in association with 94L..WATCH out. This can be one to ramp up very quickly.
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Quoting jeffs713:

Short term, Hurricanes are devastating to a local economy. Longer term, they are a boon to the local (and regional) economy. Anything related to construction, fast food, insurance companies, attorneys (unfortunately), and landscaping companies all benefit from a storm long-term. Overall, it ends up being a wash, though.


That's a bit of a fallacy. Destruction is the loss of wealth. It might appear to be a boom in the recovery, but ultimately you're spending money to simply fill in a hole, not create anything that wasn't there before. Destruction sucks for an economy long after the storm hits.
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Good afternoon everyone!
I see Jimena is a monster Cat 4 and 94L looks like it's at Tropical Depression now.
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774. amd
Quoting BrockBerlin:


Are surface generally reported as 80% or 90% of flight lvl?


it depends heavily on the convection and flight level, and in some cases, the forecaster.

Generally, it's about 90%, but there is some evidence to suggests that it varies from 60% to 110%. I think nrti would be a better source than I though on that last statement.

Personally, I think we will see a 155 mph hurricane at the next advisory.
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1024
773. IKE
Quoting connie1976:


Do you agree with this? Thanks Ike!


See post 761.

I may not need that crow after all.
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Quoting amd:
Update on Jimena:

Pressure estimated now at 925.9 mb.
Max flight level winds: 149 knots

Jimena is an absolute monster
I pray and hope anyone on the Baja who is reading this helps to get the word out to THEIR LOCAL RESIDENTS! This storm can be FATAL if you are not prepared! Hopefully, the local Mexican Government is getting the word out!!
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Quoting CaneAddict:

lol, your right, but really don't care,
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Quoting IKE:
ECMWF is the most reliable model. If it shows 94L doing the same on the next couple of runs, I would bet my paycheck that is what will happen.

I'm not ready to say it is now, but if it shows it on a couple of more runs....
ill take that bet and ill send you my address for that check! LOL
looking really good for DMIN
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6127
Quoting canesrule1:
Good Afternoon! Looking at latest models they are predicting an Andrew track, WNW until it is Northeast of Puerto Rico then west straight to Florida.
Little early for Andrewcasting isn't it? It's still a poorly initialized invest. Turn the doom and gloom back down to 3, please.
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
Based on the HPC discussion in post #711, we will have another week of 94L and/or whatever it is designated as. That means

14 ECMWF/CMC model cycles
28 GFS/NOGAPS/GFDL/HWRF model cycles
28 TWO
28 TWD

Lots of information to "discuss": shear, motion, intensity etc.


Wow...talk about putting it into perspective.

That is great comment. Thank you!
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766. IKE
Quoting mikatnight:


These are questions for bigger heads than mine, but patterns do matter - though it seems to be an observation best made after the fact. There are trends in lottery numbers too, but picking exactly when that overdue ball will shoot into the tube is rather hard to predict.


You're right...patterns do matter in the tropics.
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Jimena



The Island to the West of Jimena is
Isla Socorro, unfortunately I can find no
weather data from the island.
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Quoting BrockBerlin:


Are surface generally reported as 80% or 90% of flight lvl?


Depends what level they're flying at, but usually about 90%.
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29912
761. IKE
ECMWF is the most reliable model. If it shows 94L doing the same on the next couple of runs, I would bet my paycheck that is what will happen.

I'm not ready to say it is now, but if it shows it on a couple of more runs....
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Quoting AllStar17:


No offense, but not really at all. Previous patterns does not mean very much at all. Just because all these troughs have been saving us....what's to say that the high will build in this time forcing it more west?


These are questions for bigger heads than mine, but patterns do matter - though it seems to be an observation best made after the fact. There are trends in lottery numbers too, but picking exactly when that overdue ball will shoot into the tube is rather hard to predict.
Member Since: October 18, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 3052
Quoting IKE:
I see the 12Z ECMWF shows 94L doing a Bill.

I'm not surprised. I guess that's what these discussions mean as "weak high pressure".


Man...that hard right turn is more than a "Bill". That looks like the storm will come to an intersection, stop, turn on its turn signal, and turn right. :-)
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Quoting TreasureCoastFl:


That's not true. The whole state most certainly does not feel it. I am born and raised in Miami, Fl and now live north of there and it is a fact that the whole entire state does NOT feel a storm that hit's somewhere in Florida. How silly.


I agree... I was living in Pasco County (north of Tampa) when Andrew hit... we had a BEAUTIFUL day. Barely a cloud in the sky for most of the day.
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
Based on the HPC discussion in post #711, we will have another week of 94L and/or whatever it is designated as. That means

14 ECMWF/CMC model cycles
28 GFS/NOGAPS/GFDL/HWRF model cycles
28 TWO
28 TWD

Lots of information to "discuss": shear, motion, intensity etc.


Exactly.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29912

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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.