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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Quoting TampaSpin:


You could be correct but, i just don't see any shear coming from the direction that would casuse the blob to the south of that possiblity.....i don't know
I don't think I would say shear related but more of a balancing organization. A shift in energy from the dominant eastern side to the western side...trying to become more symmetrical.
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2515
Quoting JLPR:


you have a good point =|
I guess we will have for the center fix to be sure xD

Erika is a very unpredictable storm


I was confused by this too. Maybe some things are not meant to be understood. Like the Rays' pitching lineup....
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Quoting TexasHurricane:


Hi Tampa. Just checning in tonight. What are your thoughts on Erika? Track?


I just put out an new Update
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AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI


Good night... say a small prayer for the people on the Baha
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on page 49 i mentioned the sw movement and asked what you all thought and no one answered. am i to understand that most of you see the same thing? i also made the comment that most people said that this storm would stay well north of the islands, and as we can all see it is not well north of anything but Brazil. these models make no sense to me. as i said before i'm no met. but my eye sight is pretty good and i see sw movement and imo the models have been all wrong from jump. i am no wish-caster as i see you all call people when they say where they think something is going. all have been wrong so far including the nhc. so i am asking where do you(anyone) think this is going? this storm is blowing up and not following the rules or the models. imo i don't believe this is a fish storm at all. it is going to hit the islands hard. scary part is where it may be going from there.
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Erika is full of surprises. Now the storms build southward.
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Quoting PackerFan2:
Stormno's lurking until Erika weakens, then lay the "i told you so...stormno" bomb on all of us.

I can feel his presence.
May the force be with you.....lol
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Where are the HH?
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This storm has turned somewhat toward the island of Barbados!
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2697. Patrap
Quoting crAAzyCane:
Hi all -

Been lurking for several years and have posted a few questions over time. Live in Milwaukee but bought a small house for dad and the dog in Miami after mom died a few years ago and I try visit once or twice a month.

I was wondering if that convective blow up would be considered one major hot tower or does there need to be a better defined ring of convection around the COC for it to be cosidered a hot tower?



A Video On Hot Towers from NASA

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 431 Comments: 131416
Despite the impressive appearance of Erika on the standard sat loops, Erika remains highly asymmetric, which is illustrated by this microwave image:

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Quoting violet312s:


Where you from in cheeseland? I also went to madison for undergrad.


I'm not from Winsconsin. I'm about 6,000 miles from it. Closest I've been to Pack-land is upstate New York for vacation.
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2694. JLPR
Quoting TampaSpin:


You could be correct but, i just don't see any shear coming from the direction that would casuse the blob to the south of that possiblity.....i don't know


you have a good point =|
I guess we will have for the center fix to be sure xD

Erika is a very unpredictable storm
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Are there any troughs on the east coast that will send Erika into the open waters?
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Hi all -

Been lurking for several years and have posted a few questions over time. Live in Milwaukee but bought a small house for dad and the dog in Miami after mom died a few years ago and I try visit once or twice a month.

I was wondering if that convective blow up would be considered one major hot tower or does there need to be a better defined ring of convection around the COC for it to be cosidered a hot tower?
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Quoting Patrap:

Storm Relative 16km Geostationary Water Vapor Imagery



Wow Erika is in her own little island surrounded by lots of dry air. Let's hope she swallows that up and dissipates.
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2690. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 431 Comments: 131416
Quoting PackerFan2:


An occluwhut?
Quoting CosmicEvents:
Erika is NOT moving WSW.
What you're seeing is a tropical occlusion.... Um i don't think this is an extratropical to tropical event....it's all tropical baby!!! Now Danny on the other hand,could have had some of that Occlusion goin on... ..Link
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Stormno's lurking until Erika weakens, then lay the "i told you so...stormno" bomb on all of us.

I can feel his presence.
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2687. Patrap

Storm Relative 16km Geostationary Water Vapor Imagery

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 431 Comments: 131416
Quoting hunkerdown:
I would say the center is almost directly under the new beginning burst on the NW portion.


You could be correct but, i just don't see any shear coming from the direction that would casuse the blob to the south of that possiblity.....i don't know
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2685. centex
all this pics of going N of islands are wrong. Am I alone?
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Quoting PackerFan2:


YOU KNOW IT!

I got Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre as my fantasy QB's.

(to haters) Go ahead, flag me as off-topic. Here's Martinique Radar so as to keep you at bay.

One of my dreams is to watch a couple of games @ Lambeau.


Where you from in cheeseland? I also went to madison for undergrad.
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whats the intensity on the recent model runs?
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2682. 789
Quoting OracleDeAtlantis:


Thanks for your relative front seat play by play, I'll look forward to it.
ty
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Quoting TampaSpin:
If i went by a map with all the road construction in Tampa i would end up in the middle of the GOM. Sometimes with developing systems you just gotta look whats on visible...problem is when don't have a visible and infared can fool one big time.


Hi Tampa. Just checning in tonight. What are your thoughts on Erika? Track?
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2680. LemieT
Quoting OracleDeAtlantis:


Thanks for your relative front seat play by play, I'll look forward to it.


No problem. I am an avid weather fan and I think this storm rates as one of the most interesting Atlantic cyclones I have ever watched. Just has a short shower a while ago, now its all still again. The breeze has slowly been picking up in the last few minutes or so, nothing much more than 5 knots but certainly more than 0kts for the last few hours.
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Quoting violet312s:


I'm from Racine WI orignally. Go Pack!


YOU KNOW IT!

I got Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre as my fantasy QB's.

(to haters) Go ahead, flag me as off-topic. Here's Martinique Radar so as to keep you at bay.

One of my dreams is to watch a couple of games @ Lambeau.
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2678. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 431 Comments: 131416
Quoting mikatnight:
Beginning to get the feeling I'm on everyone's ignore list...oh well, bedtime for me; everyone have a good night. Reckon we'll all know more in the a.m....


You aren't on mine...
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2675. JLPR
Quoting hunkerdown:
I would say the center is almost directly under the new beginning burst on the NW portion.


exactly
its in that area xD
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If i went by a map with all the road construction in Tampa i would end up in the middle of the GOM. Sometimes with developing systems you just gotta look whats on visible...problem is when don't have a visible and infared can fool one big time.
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Quoting JLPR:
The center apparently is a little to the south of the new area of convection developing farther north
I would say the center is almost directly under the new beginning burst on the NW portion.
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2515
According to NHC 11pm advisory:

TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 120 MILES...195 KM
MAINLY TO THE NORTH AND EAST OF THE CENTER.

WOW! She's a pretty large storm. Let's hope she stays at TS status, because if she did become a hurricane - she will be very large. I am also concerned that the track will keep moving further West, closer to land. I think Erika is a very real threat to the East coast.
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Quoting LemieT:
Well ladies and gentlemen, this is officially my favourite blog in the world. I live in Barbados which is currently SW of Erica. At the moment the heat is INTENSE, almost like midday, winds calm to less than maybe 2 knots. Cloud motion throughout the day has been towards the NE-NNE, and it's still like that. Over the last few minutes the sky has become a lot cloudier. Interesting watching this girl fire up her convection...


You seem to be OK, no worries as she has her south side with least amount of precip & winds
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good night everyone.
"tomorrow is another day."
- katie scarlett o'hara
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Quoting PackerFan2:


Genuinely funny hehe


I'm from Racine WI orignally. Go Pack!
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Quoting SykKid:


I dont see any "Jog to the south"
sorry had to jump in here before bed...you wouldn't see anything that is happening after you said it would be a fish storm last night or rather will dissipate...whatever...off to bed now...
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Beginning to get the feeling I'm on everyone's ignore list...oh well, bedtime for me; everyone have a good night. Reckon we'll all know more in the a.m....
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Quoting violet312s:
I wouldn't call these tips hurricane preparedness but more power-outage preparedness as drunk drivers keep taking out our neighborhood transformer


Genuinely funny hehe
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Quoting LemieT:
Well ladies and gentlemen, this is officially my favourite blog in the world. I live in Barbados which is currently SW of Erica. At the moment the heat is INTENSE, almost like midday, winds calm to less than maybe 2 knots. Cloud motion throughout the day has been towards the NE-NNE, and it's still like that. Over the last few minutes the sky has become a lot cloudier. Interesting watching this girl fire up her convection...


Thanks for your relative front seat play by play, I'll look forward to it.
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Does anybody here think that Erika might be trying to form a new COC?
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2663. JLPR
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2662. 7544
Quoting SykKid:


I dont see any "Jog to the south"


new convection building to nw now also shes like a time bomb
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2661. JLPR
The center apparently is a little to the south of the new area of convection developing farther north
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2660. LemieT
Well ladies and gentlemen, this is officially my favourite blog in the world. I live in Barbados which is currently SW of Erica. At the moment the heat is INTENSE, almost like midday, winds calm to less than maybe 2 knots. Cloud motion throughout the day has been towards the NE-NNE, and it's still like that. Over the last few minutes the sky has become a lot cloudier. Interesting watching this girl fire up her convection...
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About

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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