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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1487. masonsnana
1:31 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Seems to me that the northern LLC just might be the dominant one, that could put Florida in big time danger if I am correct.



Finally a straight answer, TY so much Miami09!!1
Member Since: February 14, 2004 Posts: 2 Comments: 663
1486. surfsidesindy
1:30 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
Okay...FRANCES is the track I was thinking of...once she got North of PR, she took a track very close to what the HWRF is showing...

Member Since: September 7, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 287
1485. midgulfmom
1:30 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
Quoting AllStar17:
I will be back tomorrow morning...going to do some things...and looking forward to the LONG weekend! Will check in on Erika and what her mischievious self is up to.

Good night!
Nite, always learn from you also.
Member Since: July 9, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 1110
1484. Stormchaser2007
1:30 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
Must be rather hard to organize a circulation in 20-25knots of shear.

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15790
1483. southfla
1:30 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
For perspective - a youthful Hurricane Jeanne -- 09/18/2004

Member Since: May 19, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 249
1482. TreasureCoastFl
1:30 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
Quoting surfsidesindy:
not really, Jeanne did a loop in the atlatic, maybe Francis?

My bad...absolutely Frances!!! They all run together from that year.
especially those two that were weeks apart! I remember taking shutters down only to put them right back up,, ugh
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 467
1481. MiamiHurricanes09
1:30 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
Quoting tornadodude:
look at this!Link
LOL, it has two hurricanes with eyes emerging off of Africa, wow.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
1480. Stoopid1
1:29 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
Just got in from night study. So, what's new with Erika y'all?
Member Since: August 6, 2007 Posts: 24 Comments: 2694
1479. sarahjola
1:29 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
Quoting CaneAddict17:
00z GFS (Avno) takes Erika right thru the middle of Miami. That will definately get people interested on here. The only thing is that I have no clue how strong.

Link

awesome link thanks
Member Since: September 10, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1292
1476. MiamiHurricanes09
1:28 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
Seems to me that the northern LLC just might be the dominant one, that could put Florida in big time danger if I am correct.


Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
1475. CaicosRetiredSailor
1:28 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
1401. Chicklit 9:13 PM EDT on September 02, 2009

Now I've got a Trojan that is "generic packed."


...um ...nooooo
Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5999
1474. cjswilmingtoneye
1:28 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
Quoting futuremet:


No they are not, it is a weakening mid-level circulation it seems. It will be gone within 3hrs.
Thanks! I thought that would be a stretch to say the least; but figured I'd ask.
Member Since: June 1, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 107
1473. hydrus
1:27 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
Quoting tornadodude:
Look at this!
That is a very intense tropical wave.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20547
1472. AllStar17
1:26 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
1464. I agree.
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5301
1471. kmanislander
1:26 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
No quikscat tonight for Erika but it looks like she entered the Caribbean, went out the back door and is now about to come in the front door again.

New center taking over.

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15790
1470. 7544
1:26 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
Tno/CI Rules : Constraint Limits : 0.5T/hour
Weakening Flag : OFF
Rapid Dissipation Flag : OFF
Member Since: May 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6700
1469. Dakster
1:26 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
Quoting TheDawnAwakening:


Those islands are small and plus that is not her true center anymore, that center is dying out and the new ball of convection is over the newer center of circulation.


Thanks...
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10034
1468. taco2me61
1:26 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
Quoting Baybuddy:
Taco, I am concerned about the next several weeks in general. Having said that, erika is one to watch for sure. I am working in orange beach and need to stay on top of this.


Orange Beach Very nice place to work.... Not so sure about this one or the possible one that they think will form in the GOM off the Front that went through.... You really want to know thats what bothers me....

Now you be carfull out there though....
Member Since: July 7, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 3242
1467. AllStar17
1:26 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
I will be back tomorrow morning...going to do some things...and looking forward to the LONG weekend! Will check in on Erika and what her mischievious self is up to.

Good night!
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5301
1466. midgulfmom
1:26 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
Quoting futuremet:
I'm out for tonight
G'nite. Thanks. Learned from your posts.
Member Since: July 9, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 1110
1465. tornadodude
1:26 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
look at this!Link
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 24 Comments: 8201
1464. TheDawnAwakening
1:25 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
It appears an outflow channel is opening up for business now with Erika, first I have seen throughout her lifetime as an invest and storm. This could be the beginning of the new DMAX cycle which could help her out immensely.
Member Since: October 21, 2008 Posts: 243 Comments: 3718
1463. futuremet
1:25 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
Quoting cjswilmingtoneye:
Are you talking about the circulation between 18 and 19 north? I was looking at the RGB loop like 5 mins ago, and thought I saw an entire seperate circulation much further north than what the 8 pm position was. Is that in fact a new COC or are my eyes playing tricks on me? lol


No they are not, it is a weakening mid-level circulation it seems. It will be gone within 3hrs.
Member Since: July 19, 2008 Posts: 43 Comments: 4051
1462. hydrus
1:25 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
Quoting surfsidesindy:
not really, Jeanne did a loop in the atlatic, maybe Francis?

My bad...absolutely Frances!!! They all run together from that year.
Jeanne did the loop.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20547
1461. tornadodude
1:25 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
Look at this!
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 24 Comments: 8201
1459. Twinkster
1:24 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
haven't you guys noticed that the MLC is at 18N 56W which means erika is no longer vertically stacked something will have to dramatically cahnge if this is to stay a TS through 5AM advisory
Member Since: June 7, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 937
1458. Drakoen
1:24 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
Both centers are still competing and the surface observations do not support one being significantly more dominant than the other.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29942
1457. futuremet
1:24 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
I'm out for tonight
Member Since: July 19, 2008 Posts: 43 Comments: 4051
1456. midgulfmom
1:24 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
Quoting Elena85Vet:
Thanks all. It's apparently a Mcafee issue.

I'll await the fix.
So the fix is in. Sorry couldn't resist. :)
Member Since: July 9, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 1110
1455. AllStar17
1:24 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
Erika hates life I guess. Couldn't care less about the NHC forecasts, model predictions, etc. Never obeyed any forecasts as an invest....intensified when not expected, weakening when not expected, centers reforming all the time.....and now it is casting a fake virus on this blog! I hope she does not hate anybody in the US!
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5301
1454. cjswilmingtoneye
1:24 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
Quoting futuremet:
The southern COC is converting into an inflow band.

Are you talking about the circulation between 18 and 19 north? I was looking at the RGB loop like 5 mins ago, and thought I saw an entire seperate circulation much further north than what the 8 pm position was. Is that in fact a new COC or are my eyes playing tricks on me? lol
Member Since: June 1, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 107
1453. casadunlap
1:24 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
Quoting TheDawnAwakening:

Wow, look at her. Wilma was a beautiful storm, perhaps once in a century.


I worked that storm...I've never seen it from that view though. Pretty amazing!
Member Since: August 12, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 26
1452. surfsidesindy
1:24 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
not really, Jeanne did a loop in the atlatic, maybe Francis?

My bad...absolutely Frances!!! They all run together from that year.
Member Since: September 7, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 287
1451. Dakster
1:23 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
Quoting stormpetrol:
That's one huge system exiting the African Coast.


Yep. Although most storms exiting Africa look ominous, until they hit the water. If it can hold istelf together...

BTW - The gray (or grey) in the center of the storm is not missing data, it is data that is off the chart.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10034
Quoting AllStar17:
future, you said the same thing I did :)

Great minds think alike, I guess.


Yup...The CIMSS convergence map is showing evidence of that. Notice the elongated convective south of the northern COC axis.


Member Since: July 19, 2008 Posts: 43 Comments: 4051
Quoting HIEXPRESS:

I was thinking 2007 only in that ATL storms I, K, & M all went *poof* mid Basin, O in the Gomex & J too in the N Atl. It's GW LOL
Then there was Noel. Story sound familiar?


I was also thinking of that as well. Pretty interesting.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15790
1448. 7544
. TheDawnAwakening 1:16 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
It looks like shear is decreasing simply looking at the satellite images of the new convection and convection to the southwest of the newer and stronger center of low pressure. This southern band of convection could be the beginning of a southern outflow channel. It is trying to spiral in towards the new ball of convection. She is ready to take off again and this northern relocation will help her stay away from shear.
Action: Quote | Ignore User


YEAP and all flags are now off on the cimms site things are about to get interesting get you caffine ready for another good dmax tonight where the north will be the area to watch as it takes over imo
Member Since: May 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6700
1447. hydrus
Quoting stormpetrol:
That's one huge system exiting the African Coast.
Yes it is.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20547
Quoting Elena85Vet:
Hello

I asked this earlier and didn't get a response.

Is the Show/Hide post button working for everyone else? TIA
Works for me.

Also no problem with quotes etc.

Using FF3 with Adblock and NoScript, ZoneAlarm and Avast

Not using McAfee
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Dakster:


Works for me too..

BTW, I never got a chance to finish scanning with google earth, but are the Islands Erika passing over at the moment have moutains on them?

Just because the convection looks even MORE distorted than normal...


Those islands are small and plus that is not her true center anymore, that center is dying out and the new ball of convection is over the newer center of circulation.
Member Since: October 21, 2008 Posts: 243 Comments: 3718
Quoting tornadodude:
Erika is blowing up again


It looks like the convection is splitting, kind of like cell division. There will probably be two centers of circulation, and one will eventually dominate the other.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 104 Comments: 503
Quoting Relix:
I am pretty sure if the northern COC forms that north then it will quite probably miss PR altogether, at least the center of circulation. Or w/e, I have been following this system for 72 hours NONSTOP... I am tired =P
But you still think that Puerto Rico will be affected by this invest, because as it is now, I could not talk about TC.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting surfsidesindy:
1417. Funkadelic 9:16 PM EDT on September 02, 2009

HWRF 102knot hurricane plowing into south/central florida 18Z lol

Not agreeing witht he gungho HWRF, but that track would be worst case scenario for FL, very similar to Jeanne once she got to PR.
not really, Jeanne did a loop in the atlatic, maybe Francis?
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 467
1441. hydrus
Quoting TheDawnAwakening:

Wow, look at her. Wilma was a beautiful storm, perhaps once in a century.
I can not imagine being in a storm like that, and I have been through a 4.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20547
Thanks all. It's apparently a Mcafee issue.

I'll await the fix.
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 628
That's one huge system exiting the African Coast.
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 7716
Any indications of center relocating from official forecasters?
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5301

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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.