Tropical Storm Erika likely soon; a weaker Jimena powers towards Baja

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:48 PM GMT on September 01, 2009

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Hurricane Jimena has weakened to a low-end Category 4 hurricane with 135 mph winds, thanks to the collapse of its inner eyewall. The hurricane is undergoing a process common in intense hurricanes called an Eyewall Replacement Cycle (ERC), where the eye shrinks to a size too small to be stable, resulting in the disintegration of the eyewall, and the formation of a new eyewall from one of the outer spiral bands. Once the new eyewall becomes stable tonight, Jimena has an opportunity to re-strengthen.

The latest set of 12Z model runs show little change in Jimena's track. The hurricane is still expected to make landfall Wednesday along Mexico's Baja Peninsula. If the hurricane makes landfall over the southern portion of Baja, it would likely be at major hurricane strength. However, SSTs cool quickly to 23°C at the middle of the Baja Peninsula, and Jimena would likely weaken to a Category 2 or 1 hurricane if it makes a strike towards the middle of Baja. The computer models are split on what might happen once Jimena makes landfall on Baja, with one camp predicting a northeast turn bringing the storm over Mainland Mexico and eventually into Arizona, and the other camp stalling Jimena out over or just west of Baja. Regardless, the main threat from Jimena will be flooding and mudslides due to heavy rains.

Baja's hurricane history
The most powerful hurricane on record to hit the west coast of Baja occurred last year, when Hurricane Norbert made landfall on the central Baja coast with sustained winds of 105 mph (Category 2) . Norbert's central pressure of 956 mb at landfall made it the 3rd strongest hurricane to hit the Pacific coast of Mexico since record keeping began in 1949. Norbert killed eight, knocked out power to 20,000 homes, and damaged or destroyed 40% of the homes on the islands of Margarita and Magdalena. Norbert crossed the Baja Peninsula and made landfall on Mainland Mexico as a Category 1 hurricane with 85 mph winds.

Only two major hurricanes have made landfall on Baja since record keeping began in 1949. Both hurricanes hit the east (Gulf of California) side of Baja. The first was Hurricane Olivia of 1967. Olivia made landfall on October 13, 1967 as a Category 3 hurricane with 125 mph winds. Due to its small size and the unpopulated region of coast it hit, damage was minimal. The second major hurricane was Hurricane Kiko, which made landfall on August 27, 1989, as a Category 3 hurricane with winds of 115 mph (minimal Category 3). Kiko was a small hurricane and hit a relatively unpopulated area, resulting in no loss of life and only scattered reports of damage.


Figure 1. A plot of all the major hurricanes to pass within 200 miles of Mexico's Baja Peninsula since 1949. Image credit: NOAA Coastal Services Center.

Invest 94L almost Tropical Storm Erika
The Air Force Hurricane Hunters are investigating tropical wave 94L, about 200 miles east of the Lesser Antilles Islands. So far this afternoon, they have found a broad circulation with top winds of 45 - 50 mph in heavy thunderstorms on the east side. The circulation may be too broad for 94L to be considered a tropical storm, but visible satellite imagery shows that the circulation is getting better defined, and 94L's heavy thunderstorms are moving closer to the center of circulation. Recent satellite wind shear analyses by NOAA/Colorado State University and the University of Wisconsin show that wind shear is a moderate 10 - 20 knots over 94L, and this shear is keeping any thunderstorms from developing on the system's west side.

The forecast for 94L
The latest of 12Z model runs are more in tune with the idea that 94L will become a tropical storm, with the latest ECMWF run now on board. The storm will be steered west-northwest to northwest over the next three days thanks to the presence to two upper-level lows to the northwest of the storm. Since most of 94L's heavy thunderstorms and high winds are on the east side, the northern Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico will probably be spared tropical storm force winds from this system. The best guess track for 94L, assuming it does intensify into a tropical storm in the next 24 hours, is on a northwest path between the Bahamas and Bermuda. If 94L stays weak, a more southerly path, along the northern edge of the Bahama Islands, is more likely.


Figure 2. Infrared satellite image taken at 12pm EDT, Tuesday Sep 1, 2009. Five major African tropical waves are apparent. Image credit: Navy Research Lab, Monterey.

Elsewhere in the tropics
It's September, the most active month for hurricane activity in the Northern Hemisphere. There's every indication that the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season will have an active first half of September, since SSTs are 0.5 - 1.0°C above average, wind shear is near average, and the African monsoon is sending a long parade of African waves spinning off the coast of Africa. An IR satellite image from noon today shows this activity well (Figure 2). We can see a line-up of five African waves stretching from the Lesser Antilles to eastern Africa. The GFS model develops the waves numbered "2" and "3" into tropical depressions next week, and the waves labeled "1" and "4" also have a chance to develop into tropical depressions, as well. The wave labeled "1" is mentioned on NHC's Tropical Weather Outlook as having a low (less than 30%) chance of developing into a tropical depression by Thursday. This wave is under a moderate 10 - 15 knots of wind shear, and is over sufficiently warm waters (27 - 28°C) that some development may occur this week. The wave is far enough north that it will be hampered by dry air from the Sahara Desert.

California fire webcams
As I discussed in this morning's post, you can use our wundermap for Los Angeles with the fire layer turned on to see where the fire and smoke are located, and track the temperatures and winds during today's air pollution event. We also have two webcams with views of the fire: Altadena and Tujunga.

Jeff Masters

Backing Down (Fotoguy77)
Part of the massive Station Fire backs down toward Sunland, Ca in this shot taken around 1am. The fire has burned through over 122,000 acres and killed two.
Backing Down
getting out (Fotoguy77)
This fire Chief from El Dorado County in Northern California is chased out of Aliso Canyon by a wall of flames. This was in the Acton area just off the 14 Freeway.
getting out

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...seriously...I was referring only to my own personal interests...and I wish I had phrased that so as not to seem to minimalize other interests...
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Antigua

The wind is gusty but not constant. There are lulls with an occasional period of windy spells.it is quiet at the moment.

Alan

Sent from my iPod Touch
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
I don't think Erika knows what she is doing. She has not followed one forecast yet!
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5315
well looking to be an interesting day
Member Since: July 10, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 833
Quoting AllStar17:


Oh...no! GOM would not be good!


Swings it up the coast @ 180hrs....

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What? I thought for sure I would wake up this morning and see Erika more Northerly by now. Geez, now the models have completely changed from yesterday!
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Every now and then a higher power says," good luck Try to figure this one out"!LOL
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Lol.... only if u live in SC.....



...ah...yes...you are 100% correct...I should have made that point...
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3152. Relix
Quoting leftovers:
sensitive this morning relix. it happens (forest gump)


=( i am nervous. Sorry! lol
Member Since: August 3, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2741
Quoting IKE:
GFS 6Z @ 138 hours shows Erika just SE of JFV/WS....



Oh...no! GOM would not be good!
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5315
Quoting AllStar17:
Erika just refuses to follow its forecast.


YES, noticed they moved the forecast points more west this morning..

Link
Member Since: August 18, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 157
Cloudy (especially to the North) and drizzly here in Barbados.

She is now rolling in.

Ah well,off to work and kids to school. Authorities here are fairly....okay I'll stop there.
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Quoting connie1976:
Am I the only one who thinks that this storm isn't going to last much longer? lol....I really think it will be an open wave soon...
I read that if a high builds to the N of Erika then it will help it with sheer. If it doesnt the sheer will be rough on it.
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Erika just refuses to follow its forecast.
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5315
3145. kachina




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Quoting presslord:
keith...cool...

local met (not Chucktown, but his station) just did a very levelheaded Erika update...says Monday we'll have a decent handle on her...which makes pretty much everything said here 'til then for entertainment purposes only...
Lol.... only if u live in SC.....
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Quoting IKE:
GFS 6Z @ 138 hours shows Erika just SE of JFV/WS....



And It shows a vigorous storm out in the mid atlantic.
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3142. IKE
GFS 6Z @ 138 hours shows Erika just SE of JFV/WS....

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3141. Relix
Quoting leftovers:
eventually the disaster crew will get what they want but as it is now all is well good morning

Are you serious? All is well? It's getting closer to us in the Antilles that's not good at all. be it strong or weak trust me there will be disasters at certain points especially thanks to the movement.
Member Since: August 3, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2741
Am I the only one who thinks that this storm isn't going to last much longer? lol....I really think it will be an open wave soon...
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3139. kachina
Quoting IKE:


I have issues with Java sometimes with the latest Firefox(out-of-memory errors).


I've been having that problem with Firefox too. I hope they find a fix soon!

PS - Good morning everyone!
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3137. RJT185
Next HH recon mission flies out when??

thanks.
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is the trough splitting already? or eroding at GOM?
Member Since: August 18, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 157
While Erika is picking which shoes(center) shes going to wear, will this make her weaker in the meantime?
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3134. Relix
Quoting Weather456:


HHs determine it was relocated around 3AM


Yeah I've been reading pages. Wow now THIS is truly unexpected. I woke up and BAM, surprise. If it entered the caribbean it would be a crazy trip to be honest. Is it expected to weaken? What a stressful morning, I thought it would be at 18N already =(
Member Since: August 3, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2741
HH Recon deserves a medal for this one. Trying to find a true center in that mess is like finding a good needle in a stack of broken needles.
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3132. RJT185
So Hugo or Georges ... 50/50 until steering or the storm's fwd speeds resolves a bit better.
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Quoting Relix:

I have been reading W456...

The center moved WSW
It weakened? How so?
It's now gonna get closer or pass over the islands?


HHs determine it was relocated around 3AM
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
keith...cool...

local met (not Chucktown, but his station) just did a very levelheaded Erika update...says Monday we'll have a decent handle on her...which makes pretty much everything said here 'til then for entertainment purposes only...
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3129. IKE
6Z NOGAPS....
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3128. Relix
Quoting Weather456:


she has multiple centers and official one remains on the edge of the convection


Thank you. Well... this is weird. lol
Member Since: August 3, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2741
The NHC SAYS that it Appears that the COC has reformed SW of previous!
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3126. Relix
Quoting Weather456:
Erika is so weird she could pull a Danny, Jeanne or Fay.

I have been reading W456...

The center moved WSW
It weakened? How so?
It's now gonna get closer or pass over the islands?
Member Since: August 3, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2741
Quoting Relix:


Oh sh... it did move WSW? Oh wow... wow. Why is she weakening? I just woke up I need details! lol


she has multiple centers and official one remains on the edge of the convection
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Erika is so weird she could pull a Danny, Jeanne or Fay.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting A4Guy:


Don't confuse the convection flaring up to the south with a southern movement. the center could be wobbling, sure...and it's nearly impossible to locate a center..but the center is probably moving more west than anything (and prob wnw).
Did u actually go LOOK at the imagery?
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3122. Relix
Quoting Weather456:
if she continues west, those will not be NE of the islands. but thankfully she remains a moderate TS.



Oh sh... it did move WSW? Oh wow... wow. Why is she weakening? I just woke up I need details! lol
Member Since: August 3, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2741
3121. tkeith
Quoting presslord:


Kelly's dog...we need to talk...You around this weekend?
yep...I'll call you.
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3120. IKE
Quoting A4Guy:


I am so glad you said that. i have been having issues for a couple of days - posted abt it here a few times, but nobody responded. : (


It's updating on the floater of Erika, but not the full tropical Atlantic view. Yesterday afternoon it wouldn't update on the floaters.

I noticed on the NHC satellite page they added flash, which is good. I have issues with Java sometimes with the latest Firefox(out-of-memory errors).
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3119. Relix
What's going on guys?
Member Since: August 3, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2741
if she continues west, those will not be NE of the islands. but thankfully she remains a moderate TS.

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
good morning,

why is erika more SW this morning? and crawling? what is happening making her do this?
Member Since: August 18, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 157
Quoting tkeith:
you're up early...


Kelly's dog...we need to talk...You around this weekend?
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3115. Relix
So.. now that it's freaking coming to Puerto Rico and I am eating crow... what the heck has gone on for the last hours?
Member Since: August 3, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2741
3114. tkeith
Quoting presslord:


i take your point...but...it sure looks sw to my old eyes...
you're up early...
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3113. A4Guy
Quoting IKE:
SSD continues to have problems updating satellite images


I am so glad you said that. i have been having issues for a couple of days - posted abt it here a few times, but nobody responded. : (
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Quoting A4Guy:


Don't confuse the convection flaring up to the south with a southern movement. the center could be wobbling, sure...and it's nearly impossible to locate a center..but the center is probably moving more west than anything (and prob wnw).


i take your point...but...it sure looks sw to my old eyes...
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Quoting palmasdelrio:


what island are you located at?


Saint Kitts
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
I said something last night about Erika making a jog to the SW around 11pm and i was told i was just seeing things!! hmmmm
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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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