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 StormW:
I'm working on an analysis.

I haven't answered anyone, as I am having a problem quoting folks...I click on qoute, and their post doesn't show in the comment box. Anyone else having trouble?

Yes, have to click on it twice,, been having probs all night...
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1336. 789
stormW do you see any development off the carolinas
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1325. No matter how many times I click, it does not show (quoting).
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Quoting StormW:
I'm working on an analysis.

I haven't answered anyone, as I am having a problem quoting folks...I click on qoute, and their post doesn't show in the comment box. Anyone else having trouble?


Sometimes you have to hit the quote button twice.
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10975
Quikscat late tonight.
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Guys all I have too say is wait anybody that thinks this is dead lets just say I have a plate of nice toasty crow I might be eating it my self lets just wait and see
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1331. Relix
Quoting StormW:
I'm working on an analysis.

I haven't answered anyone, as I am having a problem quoting folks...I click on qoute, and their post doesn't show in the comment box. Anyone else having trouble?


I am having some problems like this, but when for example I click on Show on a post that's hidden I can't access the quote function. Very strange. Good Evening by the way StormW, really looking forward to your analysis =D
Member Since: August 3, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2648
1330. viman
Just looking at the RGB satellite image and I am counting at least three circulation centers.... go figure.... anyone up for popcorn???
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Quoting JupiterFL:


Drak,
In the NAM run, it looks like the further North circulation takes over. To me is seems as if it is picking up on both centers. Am I way off base on this. TIA

you know I kep on asking myself why is this guy calling himself TIA and then I finally figured it out......ugggg... Erika has me a discombobulated
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Quoting Herbertsbox:
Evening all. Just got back from class and I don't have time to go through all the wonderful posts (no doubt they are). Would someone please sum up the past 24 hours? Specifically why the dramatic change in course and conjecture on Erika's future.

Thank you so much


Erika was in earlier. She was saying how much she is enjoying your box. Really loves what you've done with the place.
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Storm, I cant quote either.
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My "hide" and "show" buttons aren't working
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1325. Dakster
Quoting StormW:
I'm working on an analysis.

I haven't answered anyone, as I am having a problem quoting folks...I click on qoute, and their post doesn't show in the comment box. Anyone else having trouble?


No... Although, I have always had to click twice though!
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Do we bury Erica in the morning?? What time??
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NHC has been so bad with this storm, they want to move on, thus killing it in about 60-72 hrs. Any thoughts on what future track/intensity would hold IF THE CENTER WERE TO RELOCATE NORTH?
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
This year reminds me of 2006 with how deformed and ill looking the majority of this basins storms look. Only exception being Bill.

I was going to mention 2002, but both of those years were El Nino years. This year looks like it might follow those years.

SST Anomalies
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1320. 789
Quoting jasoniscoolman10:
erika going to have a new friend soon..
cool
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Night Grothar. We'll wake ya IF lol
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It is very possible center relocates north, which would create a whole new ballgame. NHC will likely wait until about 5 am until declaring a relocation (if needed), and will likely keep the old center until then as a weak TS/TD.
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Evening all. Just got back from class and I don't have time to go through all the wonderful posts (no doubt they are). Would someone please sum up the past 24 hours? Specifically why the dramatic change in course and conjecture on Erika's future.

Thank you so much
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1316. tbrett
Quoting forestwedder:

In Dominica it's pretty still. No rain at the moment but getting an amazing lightning show to our E & S. Expect the heavy rains to be with us soon.

In Montserrat (16.74N, 62.19W) We are getting nothing..It is very calm, only the slightest breeze. It seems to be coming from the E or SE.
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1315. 7544
Quoting JupiterFL:


Drak,
In the NAM run, it looks like the further North circulation takes over. To me is seems as if it is picking up on both centers. Am I way off base on this. TIA
If the northern circulation were to take over, Erika will not be dead by no means, she will begin a WNW projection and open warm waters will help her intensify quite

ill have to agree with this if the coc reforms there maybe thats why the gfdl and harwf was keeping her stronger in the bahammas no moutians to kill her off as per the nhc but hows the shear where the n area will head anyone
Member Since: May 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6690
1314. Drakoen
It looks like both centers are competing. The northern one is showing signs of dominance at the lower and mid levels. The NHC track center may be getting sucked in.
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1313. Grothar
For Erika to have lasted this long, there must be some energy which we are not seeing. I think she may surprise us during the night. A system does not hold together this long unless it has something to hide. Which I believe she does. Since the NHC and other models are remaining quiet, perhaps they are playing the same game as we. Just sit and wait for her next move.

Nite all. Wake me if something breaks!
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This year reminds me of 2006 with how deformed and ill looking the majority of this basins storms look. Only exception being Bill.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15776
The models are probably so freaked out if you will, with Erika because it is so weak. The models always have a tough time with weak storms I mean the models are still predicting a Cat 2 Storm... and I would not deny the fact that this is possible, especially with this storm....

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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
If the northern circulation were to take over, Erika will not be dead by no means, she will begin a WNW projection and open warm waters will help her intensify quite rapidly.


I agree on this but I was wondering if this is what the NAM was playing out in the latest run.
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Quoting vince1966:
Hey Reedzone, your the only one calling this thing right, so what do you think it will do? I think it will open back up when it get's to the Gulf.


I don't believe anyone, including me is right. It might have a chance at regenerating if conditions are favorable and its not near landmass. It's under marginal to somewhat favorable conditions do to anticyclonic flow over the whole storm. Might be the reason why convection is popping up (again).
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7340


north circulation has won officially IMO, developing a CDO over it.
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fla.east coast Palmbay 83* wind 4mp gust to 14mp direction N. rain,lightning,wind...not good! Ericka has a face an the top of south america there is another face of old man, an ericka is winking at him.
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1296. Southern one being tracked, but northern one still battling.
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Advisory 3 to 3a
09GMT 09/02/09 17.0N 59.0W
12GMT 09/02/09 16.5N 59.5W
5south to 5west ... InvTan(5/5/cos16.5) = 46.2degrees south of W
heading 1.2degrees south of SW

Advisory 3a to 4
12GMT 09/02/09 16.5N 59.5W
15GMT 09/02/09 16.5N 60.4W
0north to 9west ... heading due West

Advisory 4 to 4a
15GMT 09/02/09 16.5N 60.4W
18GMT 09/02/09 16.2N 61.1W
3south to 7west ... InvTan(3/7/cos16.2) = 24.05degrees south of W
heading 1.55degrees south of WSW

Advisory 4a to 5
18GMT 09/02/09 16.2N 61.1W
21GMT 09/02/09 16.4N 61.7W
2north to 6west ... InvTan(2/6/cos16.4) = 19.16degrees north of W
heading 3.34degrees west of WNW


Advisory 5 to 5a
21GMT 09/02/09 16.4N 61.7W
00GMT 09/03/09 15.9N 62.0W
5south to 3west ... InvTan(5/3/cos15.9) = 60degrees south of W
heading 7.5degrees west of SSW

Heading changes of 46.2degrees, 24degrees, 43.2degrees, and now 79.1degrees...
Been doing the same since Erika was first declared a TropicalStorm.
Are these real center relocations? Or just reflecting an inability to find a definitive center?
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Evening y'all. I don't know if Erica still has two COC'S but on funktop it looks to me like theres one near 17-20ish. And its firing up convection. Or is there a delay on the funktop?
Flairing up to a lesser extent on nhc's coordinates.
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Hey Reedzone, your the only one calling this thing right, so what do you think it will do? I think it will open back up when it get's to the Gulf.
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Wow! Really exploding!!!?
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10975
Quoting JupiterFL:


Drak,
In the NAM run, it looks like the further North circulation takes over. To me is seems as if it is picking up on both centers. Am I way off base on this. TIA
If the northern circulation were to take over, Erika will not be dead by no means, she will begin a WNW projection and open warm waters will help her intensify quite rapidly.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
Quoting centex:
Been out, how is COC battle going.


northern one seems to have started to win
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Good Evening Folks,

I became an adic to this blog, only sleep 3 hrs yesterday watching TS Erika that Still a TC an likely streagthen a little bit maybe into a 50mph before landfalling in PR or pass just south, this looks better than Ana and comparable with Danny. I knew that this one was going to make it into the caribbean as Tampa Spin or stormchaser2007 call it not developing into a TC before reach 50w and making into the caribbean at 16 or 17N. Seems like shear is decreasing over the NE caribbean so don't be surprise if this one start to see better in the Prime time hrs. (DMAX)
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1296. centex
Been out, how is COC battle going.
Member Since: August 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 3224
1295. eddye
WAKE UP ERIKA SHOW EVERYONE HOW BAD YOU ARE AND SHOW THEM A STRONG SYSTEM
Member Since: August 12, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1204
Quoting Drakoen:
Erika has a low chance of surviving if the center being tracked by the NHC becomes dominant. It needs the northern circulation.


Yep, land and wind shear = death

However, shear is only 30 knots (down from 50-60 knots 2 days ago). If it goes north of the Islands, it could be interesting, if it goes south of the Islands, could still be interesting. No one has a handle at Erika, such a confusing piece of trash. Guess we'll have a better idea by morning, at least on if it's going to survive or die.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7340
Quoting Ossqss:


Yup, they are calling for wet weather for FL starting Sunday.
It's wet here now!
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Quoting Drakoen:
Erika has a low chance of surviving if the center being tracked by the NHC becomes dominant. It needs the northern circulation.


Drak,
In the NAM run, it looks like the further North circulation takes over. To me is seems as if it is picking up on both centers. Am I way off base on this. TIA
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Quoting Bordonaro:

Well look at her NOW!! DMIN is on & so is Erika!! Go Erika GO!!
someone is a little bit over themselves.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
Quoting Drakoen:
Erika has a low chance of surviving if the center being tracked by the NHC becomes dominant. It needs the northern circulation.


agreed.....

southern circ = Hispanolia = no circ!
Member Since: September 8, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3805
1289. JLPR
1282. Drakoen 12:43 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
Erika has a low chance of surviving if the center being tracked by the NHC becomes dominant. It needs the northern circulation.


Shh drak she might hear you lol xD
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Quoting Drakoen:
Erika has a low chance of surviving if the center being tracked by the NHC becomes dominant. It needs the northern circulation.


hey drak, based on satilite wouldnt you say the northern one is becoming more dominant though?
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Quoting Drakoen:
Erika has a low chance of surviving if the center being tracked by the NHC becomes dominant. It needs the northern circulation.

Well look at her NOW!! DMIN is on & so is Erika!! Go Erika GO!!
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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.