Little change to Erika; Jimena makes landfall as a Category 2 hurricane

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:30 PM GMT on September 02, 2009

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Tropical Storm Erika remains weak and disorganized, and the future track and intensity of the storm remain highly uncertain. The center has jumped several times over the past 12 hours, and now lies exposed to view, west of the main area of heavy thunderstorms. Radar animations out of Martinique show little organization of the echoes, and satellite imagery shows no low-level spiral bands or upper-level outflow. Wind shear analyses from the University of Wisconsin diagnose a moderate 10 - 15 knots of shear over Erika, a decrease from yesterday. SSTs are warm, 29°C. The Hurricane Hunters are in the storm now, and have found a slight increase in the surface winds, up to 45 mph. They noted that the surface center was displaced 12 miles north of the center they found at 1500 feet, which is the sign of a disorganized storm undergoing wind shear.

The forecast for Erika
Erika is embedded in a weak steering current pattern, and the storm's current state of disorganization is allowing the center to make random jumps as it reforms near the heaviest thunderstorm activity. This makes for a low-confidence forecast. The future track of the storm will depend upon how strong the storm gets over the next few days. A stronger Erika will extend higher into the atmosphere and be steered more to the northwest by upper-level winds. A weaker Erika will be steered more by the low-level winds, which will keep the storm on a more westerly track. The intensity forecast models did a poor job with Tropical Storm Danny last week, and appear to be repeating that poor performance with Erika. All of the major intensity forecast models predict substantial strengthening of Erika. This seems unlikely to occur, given the storm's current disorganization, and the predicted increase in wind shear along the path of Erika to 20 - 25 knots 3 - 5 days from now. The more southerly than expected track of the storm also brings the possibility that Erika will encounter the high mountains of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. The GFS, GFDL, and Canadian models predict Erika will pass near Puerto Rico on Friday, then move over Hispaniola on Saturday. Erika in its current weak state would probably not survive an encounter with these islands. A wide range of scenarios is still possible for Erika, from outright dissipation (as forecast by the GFS, Canadian, and ECMWF models) to intensification to a Category 3 hurricane (as forecast by the HWRF model). Erika is a long-term threat to the Bahamas and U.S. East Coast if it is still around five days from now. Potential landfall locations range from Florida on Tuesday to North Carolina on Wednesday. The NOGAPS model has Erika potentially missing the U.S. entirely, scooting northwards between North Carolina and Bermuda. My current expectation is that Erika will dissipate on Saturday when it encounters Hispaniola.


Figure 1. Afternoon image of Tropical Storm Erika. The swirl of clouds just west of Guadeloupe island is the center. This center was what I had labeled a "false center" in this morning's post, and has taken over as the main center this afternoon.

Hurricane Jimena hits Baja
Hurricane Jimena made lanndfall on Mexico's Baja Peninsula late this morning near Cabo San Lazaro as a Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph winds. Jimena is the 2nd strongest hurricane to hit Baja's west coast since record keeping began in 1949. The only stronger storm was Hurricane Norbert, which made landfall in 2008 on the central Baja coast with sustained winds of 105 mph. Jimena has now weakened to a Category 1 storm, and will continue to weaken as it hits colder waters and interacts with land. No deaths or major damage have been reported from the storm.


Figure 2. Hurricane Jimena on Tuesday, Sep. 1, 2009, as seen by NASA's MODIS instrument. Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory.

California fire webcams
As I discussed in yesterday 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.

I'll have an update Thursday morning.

Jeff Masters

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2437. msphar
No thoughts from me, I'm going to bed now. My interest lies about one blob width to the west of the North blob after that, its history.
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even though my name has wishcaster in it-i"m not one- models are all off...this storm is gonna make a name for itself...defying all the models- its staying relatively weak, moving due west....it might make the skip in between cuba and the keys, strengthening substantially once it hits the gulf stream....watch out GOM....just my thoughts....the front going across florida is now retrograding....very weakly...there is no way the front will pull weak-for-now erika anywhere...these are the most devastating storms....the ones that stay weak and reorganize themselves slowly.... katrina did this....but i'm worried for tampa bay....any thoughts anyone?
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2435. msphar
It makes sense that one would eventually dominate. I'd prefer it to be the southern blob, oh well...
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I understand that, VortMax, but I thought I saw it there, went to the Martinique radar, and there certainly looks to be an obvious radar rotation right where the IR showed. Have you looked at that radar, please?

Yes, msphar, but this one is right under what CDO there is in the northern blob, and the southern blob is melting away now.

Jo
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2432. msphar
Before eclipse period, there looked to be several COCs rotating. Now I think there are still several. Martiniques radar is definitely showing one of them. But I don't see any others, not that that is significant.
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No, go look at Dr. Master's Martinique radar link up above. A very definite rotation over Guadalupe now... right over the island.

Jo
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2429. msphar
I've lost all my island radar sites thanks to disk crash...other that San Juan. But its too soon for San Juan to reveal much.
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I swear on the GOES rainbow IR loop that Erika has a more major circulation going just north, and almost right on top of, Guadalupe. Is there a radar there we can look at?

Jo
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2427. msphar
5AM report was very reassuring for me. Don't mind the rain. Its the wind/rain combo that gets to be troubling and I'm way over here to the Left where I can't do much about it.
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Sure don't think so, this storm is about to be, as some people say, OWNED by Wind Shear, if I use the rough expression.

It still could be a very heavy rain producer...

Well I am off to bed, nite all!
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2425. msphar
Probably talking to myself now.
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000
WTNT41 KNHC 030836
TCDAT1
TROPICAL STORM ERIKA DISCUSSION NUMBER 7
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL062009
500 AM AST THU SEP 03 2009

ALTHOUGH THE HURRICANE HUNTERS FIXED A FLIGHT-LEVEL CENTER...THERE
ARE A FAIR NUMBER OF SURFACE OBSERVATIONS OVER THE NORTHEASTERN
CARIBBEAN SEA REGION...AND THESE SHOW THAT THE SURFACE CIRCULATION
IS AT BEST POORLY-DEFINED. THE SYSTEM MAY BE OPENING UP INTO A
TROUGH ORIENTED FROM SOUTH-SOUTHWEST TO NORTH-NORTHEAST. THERE
WERE A FEW 34 TO 37-KT SFMR SURFACE WIND READINGS SOME 40-75 N MI
NORTH AND NORTHEAST OF THE FLIGHT-LEVEL CENTER...SO THE INTENSITY
IS MAINTAINED AT 35 KT. EVEN THOUGH THERE MAY NO LONGER BE A
DEFINITE SURFACE CENTER OF CIRCULATION...WE WILL MAINTAIN
ADVISORIES ON THE SYSTEM PENDING ADDITIONAL DATA FROM THE
RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT AND VISIBLE IMAGERY. RADIOSONDE DATA FROM
THE EASTERN CARIBBEAN SEA AREA SUGGEST THAT THE STORM HAS BEEN
EXPERIENCING WESTERLY SHEAR DUE TO FLOW AT ABOUT THE 250 MB
LEVEL...WHICH IS LIKELY JUST BELOW THE TROPICAL CYCLONE OUTFLOW
LAYER. GLOBAL MODELS SHOW INCREASING WEST-SOUTHWESTERLY SHEAR OVER
ERIKA DURING THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS DUE TO STRENGTHENING
UPPER-TROPOSPHERIC WINDS. IN SPITE OF THE STRONG SHEAR...THE GFDL
AND HWRF MODELS CONTINUE TO FORECAST THAT ERIKA WILL INTENSIFY
SIGNIFICANTLY. THE SHIPS AND LGEM GUIDANCE ARE MUCH LESS
AGGRESSIVE...PARTICULARLY THE LATTER. THE OFFICIAL INTENSITY
FORECAST IS THE SAME AS THAT FROM THE PREVIOUS ADVISORY AND
ANTICIPATES THAT THE TROPICAL CYCLONE WILL DISSIPATE BY 72
HOURS.

BECAUSE OF THE UNCERTAINTIES IN THE LOCATION...OR EXISTENCE...OF THE
SURFACE CENTER...THE INITIAL MOTION ESTIMATE OF 295/6 IS MORE OF AN
EDUCATED GUESS. A WEAK MID-LEVEL RIDGE LIES TO THE NORTH OF ERIKA.
AS THE MODELS BUILD THIS RIDGE SOMEWHAT DURING THE NEXT COUPLE OF
DAYS...A SLIGHT INCREASE IN FORWARD SPEED IS LIKELY. LATER IN THE
PERIOD A MORE NORTHWESTWARD TRACK IS FORECAST AS THE CYCLONE NEARS
THE WESTERN PERIPHERY OF THE RIDGE. THE OFFICIAL FORECAST IS
SHIFTED A LITTLE NORTH OF THE PREVIOUS ONE PRIMARILY DUE TO A
SLIGHT NORTHWARD RELOCATION OF THE INITIAL POSITION.

EVEN IF ERIKA LOSES ITS TROPICAL CYCLONE STATUS...IT COULD MAINTAIN
VIGOROUS DEEP CONVECTION WHICH WOULD PRODUCE VERY HEAVY RAINS OVER
THE NORTHERN LESSER ANTILLES AND PUERTO RICO.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INITIAL 03/0900Z 16.5N 62.7W 35 KT
12HR VT 03/1800Z 17.1N 64.1W 35 KT
24HR VT 04/0600Z 17.9N 65.6W 30 KT
36HR VT 04/1800Z 18.7N 67.1W 30 KT
48HR VT 05/0600Z 19.5N 68.5W 30 KT
72HR VT 06/0600Z 21.0N 70.8W 25 KT...REMNANT LOW
96HR VT 07/0600Z 22.5N 73.0W 20 KT...REMNANT LOW
120HR VT 08/0600Z...DISSIPATED

$$
FORECASTER PASCH
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2423. msphar
I took a little nap. Still looks like a binary. Hope it stays that way into the day time hours.
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The winds from the hurricane hunters say its a Tropical Storm thought, brly a Tropical Storm. The convection seems to be not lacking anymore, but it still is not a very storng storm, it still could get stronger because of the moisture.
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Tropical Deppresion Enrika isn't doing too good, but it's convection cells have merged at least, and it is gaining some strength.
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Okay, didn't think you could, or anyone could, but wanted you to see that... thank you for looking, TampaSpin, and have a great Thursday. :)

Jo
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Good night or good morning to everyone, will be back after 8AM CDT!! Peace out!!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting flibinite:
Night, Tampa, though I was hoping you'd look at those images I mentioned. It shows up as a green pointer on the 6:15 UTC GOES sat picture, too.

Jo


Dont know.
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strong gusts and heavy rain in antigua presently
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DMAX is about here, its about 1 hr or so before sunrise! Erika, the LADY IS FULL OF SUPRISES!!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
2412. JLPR
well my brain and eyes hurt lol xD

im off to bed
later
will have a check at morning
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 5223
2410. JLPR
Quoting TampaSpin:


You really can't look at radars unless they are a very well defined as a very strong TS or hurricane.......otherwise its very deceiving.


we were able to find the LLC of Claudette since its beginnings very clearly with radar so why not Erika?
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 5223
Quoting JLPR:
Erika is now starting to gain a little rotation on radar
Link

so after saying that I will say that she is trying to organize


You really can't look at radars unless they are a very well defined as a very strong TS or hurricane.......otherwise its very deceiving.
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Sorry i was looking at something before logging off and the new convergence map came out.....SOUTH IT GOES

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2406. JLPR
Erika is now starting to gain a little rotation on radar
Link

so after saying that I will say that she is trying to organize
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 5223
Quoting apocalyps2:


In the heat of the fire i write stupid posts to annoy people,lol.


YOU? Never! Lol ;) Good night all!
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Night, Tampa, though I was hoping you'd look at those images I mentioned. It shows up as a green pointer on the 6:15 UTC GOES sat picture, too.

Jo
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I said last night, right about this time, that I thought Erika was being pushed south, and would end up going south of PR. I see nothing to change my opinion about that. As totally bizarre as this storm has been, I also see no reason to change my feeling that it's being weather modified, and that's one of the reasons no model seems to be able to touch it.

Please feel free to laugh, though it's only a feeling on my part. But in line with that, could any of you go to this link... Link ...look at the 6:31 UTC, 6:45, and 7:01 pictures, right out in front of where the "old" center was purported to be. What is that nearly perfectly shaped, and separate, rectangle, there? Thanks...

Jo
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Nite everyone....gotta get up early tomorrow....! Again great conversation! Thanks everyone.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


She has the same satellite signature that Ana did when she was in the same vicinity.

Yeah exactly! Ana part 2 lol...or you could say she is similar to her bro Danny boy. It seems to all run in the family. :)
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Amazing how the friendly people are the night owls......seems better conversation without violent attacks at nite....Thanks everyone...
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Quoting TampaSpin:
Here is where the models are messing up.....Our storm in the Pacific has pumped a larger High in the NE corner of Jimena into the Central ConUS. This high will be moving to the EAST Coast much stronger then Models are forecasting. That will cause the Trough that has dove into the GOM short lived and lift out fast......That is what i see happening.



I agree, Jimena is the big butterfly in the ointment, that I mentioned here last night. We've seen this happen in years past. A large hurricane around Baja can open the door way to the East by magnifying high pressure downstream. I can't think of a specific example by name, because my memory isn't that good. However, I've seen this door open, when it might not otherwise have, for this exact reason.

Not only that but the smoke and added particulate matter from the fires in the LA Basin, injected into the stream could have more butterfly consequences for CONUS.
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Quoting btwntx08:

whyy don't u post it here besides the link is not blue

Tried twice it wouldn't work, sorry!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
2395. JLPR
Currently in Saint John's, AC as of 2009-09-03 07:00 UTC

Heavy T-Storm and Windy 77°F / 25°C
Feels like 82°F / 28°C Humidity: 94%
Wind: E 31 mph
Pressure: 29.80 in.
Dewpoint: 75°F / 24°C


Currently in Nevis, SC as of 2009-09-03 07:00 UTC:


Heavy T-Storm and Windy 77°F / 25°C
Feels like 82°F / 28°C Humidity: 94%
Wind: E 31 mph
Pressure: 29.80 in.
Dewpoint: 75°F / 24°C


Winds in the islands seem indicative of a TD
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 5223
2394. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #3
TROPICAL DEPRESSION
15:00 PM JST September 3 2009
=========================================

SUBJECT: Tropical Depression In Sea East Of The Philippines

At 6:00 AM UTC, Tropical Depression (996 hPa) located at 17.8N 128.4E has 10 minute sustained winds of 30 knots with gusts of 45 knots. The depression is reported as moving west slowly

RSMC Dvorak Intensity: T1.5

Forecast and Intensity
=======================
24 HRS: 17.9N 128.8E - 35 knots (CAT 1/Tropical Storm)
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Lastly Erica may have the record for being in Herbert's box for the longest time.
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Quoting TampaSpin:


That trough goes bye bye.....there goes the protection and the high builds in....


Ok Thanks Tampa. I just read Charleston and Miami NWS. they both talk about a high in the area. But don't say which one. The one over the states or the one over Atlantic. And Miami says the high off them after Fri??? I can't find anything bout the trough along the east coast. Ah well, may not matter anyway. We'll see. :)
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Quoting Bordonaro:
Link
Navy website for Microwave images is www.nrlmry.navy.mil/
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Link
Navy website for Microwave images is www.nrlmry.navy.mil/
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting markymark1973:

Thats what i am thinking. She has to be close to an open wave now. Nice convection but looks pathetic. Looks like a strong plains t-storm.


She has the same satellite signature that Ana did when she was in the same vicinity.
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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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