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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Quoting Stormchaser2007:


Shear would likely accompany it if it gets near the Bahamas. I doubt it would be much of a surprise let alone much of a storm.
yes but there is an anticyclone placed over it which is intensifying.
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Quoting Chicklit:
The NHC forecast appears to be in favor of the northernmost circulation. This could be something only if it "does a Jeanne" (see my last comment). However, if the southern center defies the odds and dominates, things could get interesting, and quick. The SSTs are higher, wind shear is lower, and the environment is just overall more favorable for development.
Good obs imho nyhurricane


Thanks. Erika should be very interesting to watch, and a great resource for tropical cyclone research, by the way.
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Quoting jipmg:


mhm it could happen, there convection is catching up to the current LLC, and the Northern one is erupting..
I was just joking cuz I don't think that would be a good thing.
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1583. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
looks like it is moving WNW my friend.
looks can be deceiving but ya i think its trying to do somthing but the sw shear is preventing it from happening we will know more the next full updated at 11 pm imo i beleive we are watching a dying system thats fighting to stay alive
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Quoting Drakoen:


It will have a better chance but will still be combating shear


I think that the northern circulation has the potential for some minor to moderate intensification, but will have a harder time with shear and dry air. The southern circulation may surprise us, though...
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The NHC forecast appears to be in favor of the northernmost circulation. This could be something only if it "does a Jeanne" (see my last comment). However, if the southern center defies the odds and dominates, things could get interesting, and quick. The SSTs are higher, wind shear is lower, and the environment is just overall more favorable for development.
Good obs imho nyhurricane
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11424
I can see another upper-lever swirl at notheast of Erika:
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
<>IMG src="http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/tropic/real-time/marti/2009_06L/webManagerIR/gifsBy12hr_03.gif" width="468" height="419" alt="">


Are those ghosts??? re post 1555 Well the shear sure has been ghosts busting.
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I see spins everywhere in this blob which one is gonna be the final center. I believe the one with the new convention blow up.
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Quoting surfsidesindy:
1550. tornadodude

I'm in Merritt Island, East Central Florida.


oh ok, I saw "indy" in your name, and thought indiana, but i believe that it is your name, Sindy? lol sorry
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting Stormchaser2007:


Hostile shear would likely accompany it if it gets near the Bahamas. I doubt it would be much of a surprise.

Dr. Lyons saying that TS Erica will be TD at 11pm update...any thoughts?????
Member Since: February 14, 2004 Posts: 2 Comments: 664
1575. Patrap
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Interesting analysis there, because this is based on satellite so it occasionally going to have its error's and well this is one of it's error's, I know for a fact that there is no way in hell that Erika has such a well defined circulation.


LOL..your way in over yer head on that sport..
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1574. jipmg
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Wouldn't it really be weird if the two circulations split and became two separate entities.


mhm it could happen, there convection is catching up to the current LLC, and the Northern one is erupting..
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If the northern LLC is the dominant one then the NHC will have to move the come northerly a bit, and make the cone 5 days long.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
IF the northern LLC is the dominating one and Erika begins WNW movement quickly then I would have to say Florida might be in for a hell of a surprise.

BUT not so fast, it is still moving west:


Shear would likely accompany it if it gets near the Bahamas. I doubt it would be much of a surprise let alone much of a storm.
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Quoting stormpetrol:
I actually think the new COC is slightly below 15N
Wouldn't it really be weird if the two circulations split and became two separate entities.
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1550. tornadodude

I'm in Merritt Island, East Central Florida.
Member Since: September 7, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 287
1569. Drakoen
Quoting TheDawnAwakening:
Oh thanks Drak, I had an idea of what it was, but thanks for that clarification. So do you think Erika will have a better chance at strengthening if indeed the northern coc is indeed the more dominant one?


It will have a better chance but will still be combating shear
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30838
Quoting Patrap:
Erika,Multiplatform Satellite Surface Wind Analysis,wind Field 00 UTC 3 Sept
Interesting analysis there, because this is based on satellite so it occasionally going to have its error's and well this is one of it's error's, I know for a fact that there is no way in hell that Erika has such a well defined circulation.
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1567. jipmg
North LLC is moving towards puerto rico
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Nothing's going to form in the GOM anytime soon.
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Quoting Drakoen:
Center reforming?:


Yeppers, just off to the west of the new thunderstorm blow up, imo.
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Quoting TexNowNM:
Someone mentioned a good book about the Labor Day hurricane. What was it? I was running out the door and didn't write it down. I am always on he lookout for books about historical hurricanes. Feel free to recommend, and I appreciate it in advance.

By the way, no book would be too arcane or archaic, as long as the documentation is decent. (Many of your are Meteorologist; I'm an historian.)

Thanks

I don't have any, but look here, & scroll down to book reviews.
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1563. tkeith
Quoting southfla:
Great post, zoomiami!
yep...
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Quoting OracleDeAtlantis:
McAfee just blocked a trojan when signing on to this site, which is a first for me. The name of the critter is JS/Exploit-Packed.c.gen. This site was the only thing I had open in my browser.

I also can't quote anyone tonight, which is new.


Dr M posted a note earlier that McAfee has a false positive for this site.
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Quoting kmanislander:


The Northern one has the better lower level convergence signature as well as more convection. This would lead one to assume that it has the best chance of becoming the new center.

Having said that, the center to the SW of Guadeloupe has an established "spin" but convection and convergence is not as good. Odds are that this one loses to race to be the dominant center but Erika has been an enigma from the beginning.

The moral of the story is that what should happen may not happen, but then again it just might.

That is the nature of an enigma.


The NHC forecast appears to be in favor of the northernmost circulation. This could be something only if it "does a Jeanne" (see my last comment). However, if the southern center defies the odds and dominates, things could get interesting, and quick. The SSTs are higher, wind shear is lower, and the environment is just overall more favorable for development.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
looks like it is moving WNW my friend.
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Quoting kmanislander:


The Northern one has the better lower level convergence signature as well as more convection. This would lead one to assume that it has the best chance of becoming the new center.

Having said that, the center to the SW of Guadeloupe has an established "spin" but convection and convergence is not as good. Odds are that this one loses the race to be the dominant center but Erika has been an enigma from the beginning.

The moral of the story is that what should happen may not happen, but then again it just might.

That is the nature of an enigma.
Especially one wrapped in a riddle, lol, thanks, will be interesting to see.
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So.. were those who posted that this storm was due to RIP.. not rip it up but rest in peace correct. While it bears watching if something happens, it sure has had its difficulties.. could it just hang out and not move from where it is for a while?
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McAfee just blocked a trojan when signing on to this site, which is a first for me. The name of the critter is JS/Exploit-Packed.c.gen. This site was the only thing I had open in my browser.

I also can't quote anyone tonight, which is new.
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1555. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
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Oh thanks Drak, I had an idea of what it was, but thanks for that clarification. So do you think Erika will have a better chance at strengthening if indeed the northern coc is indeed the more dominant one?
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1553. ssmate
Interesting take on things Zoo.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
IF the northern LLC is the dominating one and Erika begins WNW movement quickly then I would have to say Florida might be in for a hell of a surprise.

BUT not so fast, it is still moving west:
Looks to be moving at around 10 MPH now.
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Quoting Drakoen:
Center reforming?:


From what I've seen, it's very possible. In fact, I this new center may become dominant. That would likely take Erika farther north and fend off dissipation. For now.
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Quoting surfsidesindy:
1539 ZOOMIAMI

Totally agree. The archives are full of those stories, I've been reading them myself. Anything can happen, even if Erica goes all the way back to a remnant low as currently predicted by the NHC, once she hits the gulf stream around the Bahamas, who knows...


hey, im curious, where are you from?
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting WeatherStudent:



Right...and this is coming from an individual whom would bet his pention/social security, daily govermental pay-check on the ECMWF Model! Anyways, and on that note, good evening, everyone!!! :)
look who it is... How could I be WS, huh? lol
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1539 ZOOMIAMI

Totally agree. The archives are full of those stories, I've been reading them myself. Anything can happen, even if Erica goes all the way back to a remnant low as currently predicted by the NHC, once she hits the gulf stream around the Bahamas, who knows...
Member Since: September 7, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 287
1547. Patrap
This Image from Earlier shows the Old center before the action tonight well.

from earlier at 1800 UTC

Visible Imagery (1 km Mercator, MODIS/AVHRR)

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IF the northern LLC is the dominating one and Erika begins WNW movement quickly then I would have to say Florida might be in for a hell of a surprise.

BUT not so fast, it is still moving west:
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The southern convection is acting like a safety belt to any shear from the southwest. Outflow is pretty good in this area with the lack of convection on the west and northwest sides. Should be interesting to see if this southern convective band becomes the southern outflow channel.
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Great post, zoomiami!
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1542. centex
I've been on the S team all day, but I'm thinking about jumping on N bandwagen. Convection really blowing up in past couple of hours. I'll wait couple more hours before I put my head between my legs and jump.
Member Since: August 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 3293
1541. Drakoen
Quoting TheDawnAwakening:
Drak by that image how could you tell?


It is microwave imagery which looks through the clouds and sees the surface. That microwave pass would suggest a reformation of the center to the norther as the low level flow and curvature is beginning to wrap into that direction. I would wait for the navy to update it's microwave images post 00z before determine with confidence that that is what is happening.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30838
QUOTE: And there wasn't a November like front off the southeast coast which is creating a ton of shear.

I am not a MET, but I thought that the front was supposed to lift out of here and the High was supposed to fill in, long before Erica is anywhere near.
Member Since: September 7, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 287
Since Erika is being tempermental, I decided to go back and look at some archives.

Reading the archived advisories and discussions of the past storms with the knowledge that I have now makes such a difference.

First I looked at Andrew, for obvious reasons, but the first one being because it was an El nino year, and one of only six storms in that year. It might surprise you to know that there are about 3 days of reports that the convection was waning, and that it was a good possibility that it may not survive to even make landfall.

The second one was Katrina. Same deal, at least 3 days of it's going to dissipate, weak convection, can't locate the center, elongated center, with sluggish circulation, etc.

Not to say that Erika will become either of these two storms. More to say that this type of activity occurs even in the storms that go on to be imprinted on our images forever.

I think that it goes more to that there must have been lots of storms over the years that acted like Erika, but its only today, with all the advances in technology that we can see every little spit & giggle, and wonder where its going to go/survive/evolve etc.

Erika may possibly die, or it might not. But watching frame by frame will surely make everyone nuts!
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1538. Patrap
2km Storm Relative IR Imagery with BD Enhancement Curve



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1508. Ossqss 1:37 AM GMT on September 03, 2009 Hide this comment.
BTW, the McAfee virus item has been fixed in their new update. Just in case ya need it :)

You saying update McAfee then? TIA
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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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