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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2237. 7544
looks like the pres is now droping also this is getting good now
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2236. msphar
what winds has HH seen ??
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Thanks ice thats all may weather skills are good for. But some of the models are scary, looks like it will panic everyone in fl. and the Carolinas. I can say that because press is sleeping.
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Quoting THUNDERPR:
jlpr the gfdl and the hwrf turn erika to hurricane very near of puerto rico very warm waters


Saw that. Thanks for the link. Not good at all. :-s
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jlpr the gfdl and the hwrf turn erika to hurricane very near of puerto rico very warm waters
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2227. 7544
Quoting silverstripes:
Here is some sat shots from the ADDS site showing Erika growth over the past few hours during blackout.

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whoaaaaaaaaaa is that a joke or for real ekkkk
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2226. JLPR
Quoting iceman55:
SHESHE NOT POORLYORGANIZED .TAKE THAT NHC LOL


lol easy....they are trying =P
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 5223
What's up with the system off the African Coast?
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2224. JLPR
NWS service in San Juan PR statement

.SITUATION OVERVIEW...
IT IS VITAL THAT YOU DO NOT FOCUS ON THE EXACT FORECAST TRACK. TO
DO SO COULD RESULT IN BAD DECISIONS AND PLACE YOU OR THOSE YOU
ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR AT GREATER RISK. ERIKA IS STRUGGLING FOR LIFE
AND IS EXPECTED TO WEAKEN IN ABOUT 24 HOURS...BUT WARM
CARIBBEAN WATERS CAN CAUSE UNEXPECTED INTENSIFICATION.
IT IS TOO
EARLY TO PROVIDE EXACT WIND AND SURGE FORECAST VALUES FOR
SPECIFIC LOCATIONS. A GENERAL CONCERN SHOULD BE FOR THE
POSSIBILITY OF AT LEAST MINOR TO LOCALLY MODERATE DAMAGE
SOMEWHERE WITHIN PUERTO RICO AND THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS DUE TO
WINDS OR...MORE LIKELY...FLASH FLOODING.
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 5223
Quoting Bordonaro:

The answer to that question is, only God knows! The rest of us have to wait, watch and see! This TS is the weirdest system I've seen in the 41 yrs I've followed tropical systems!!


*sigh* Yeah, I know. Just a bit frustrated probably 'cause I'm tired & that's making me a bit grouchy. :-P Normally I enjoy all the uncertainty and weirdness. Hey, anything that keeps me guessing and making me use my brain is fine with me and Erika has certainly provided that. First time I've seen anything like this. Can't wait to see what she finally brings to PR. :-s
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5 utc met sat Link
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2219. msphar
Erika has PR in check.
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Quoting 7544:


3am est dot go to bed yet lol
Thanks, I'll try to make it, been up since about 8am CDT & it's now 1:14am CDT! My grandson, who's 18 mos will be up at 7:30am!! Erika is just having fun over the islands!!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Here is some sat shots from the ADDS site showing Erika growth over the past few hours during blackout.

Photobucket

Photobucket
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Well its nice to know all of us on the WU are just as smart as the computers. Feel like Gary Kasparoz.
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06:06:30Z 16.550N 62.683W
1008.8 mb
(~ 29.79 inHg) From 295° at 5 knots
(From the WNW at ~ 5.8 mph
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2209. msphar
about one more hour from now the GOES sat. will show new view
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2207. 7544
Quoting Bordonaro:
Does anyone know what time the GOES satellite will be out of the current sclipse?


3am est dot go to bed yet lol
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Is it possible a new center might be reforming to the north?
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2203. 7544
Quoting btwntx08:
2186. 7544 6:03 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
pretty wild at this time right peeps

how shes looking on the e musat iceman and btwntx08

wow both coc's a growing and coming together wow!


thanks blackout will be over soon she should look fatter on the rainbow
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Does anyone know what time the GOES satellite will be out of the current sclipse?
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
2199. msphar
the next 24 hours are big for me. after that, it moves on.
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About the LOVELY computer models, on this storm, throw a dart on the map between GOM & Nova Scotia, you'll probably be more accurate then these "MODELS"!! Put numbers on a wheel from 35-150MPH, spin he wheel, you'll probably be closer than the models! This storm has done almost everything the OPPOSITE of what was forecasted so far,LOL!!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Le Raizet, Guadeloupe, Guadeloupe Wind from the S (180 degrees) at 21 MPH (18 KT) gusting to 32 MPH (28 KT)
Visibility greater than 7 mile(s)
Sky conditions mostly cloudy
Weather Thunder in the vicinity
Cumulonimbus clouds observed
Temperature 78 F (26 C)
Dew Point 73 F (23 C)
Relative Humidity 83%
Pressure (altimeter) 29.80 in. Hg (1009 hPa)
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Quoting 7544:


maybe at 5 am anyone keeping track on the hh on what they find


They are nearing the 2am NHC coordinates as we speak. Should be right near it in the next ten minutes. Be interesting if the center has jumped again and they can verify it.
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2189. msphar
not very reassuring - Bordonaro
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Quoting alpha992000:
OK, I no longer have nails from all the biting. Can Erika get her act together and decide once and for all what she's going to do? I need to sleep, you know. I've been glued to WUnderground for a full week now wondering what 94L was going to do and I've barely slept. Too addictive. :-s

The answer to that question is, only God knows! The rest of us have to wait, watch and see! This TS is the weirdest system I've seen in the 41 yrs I've followed tropical systems!!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785

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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.