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 TheCaneWhisperer:


From Dr. Masters Blog and Echoed by the NHC

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 steering I posted was for a storm of Erika's strength. Sometimes strength alone is not the determining factor. The usual adage of weak equals West and strong equals North remains true but you can see that with present steering even a weaker system would be inclined to move more to the N than the W. WNW is a blend of those motions.

Conversely, look at Ivan. As a Cat 5 it couldn't make its way N due to a very strong ridge of High pressure. A lot will depend on the atmospheric conditions to the N of the storm.

Finally, I thought I would post this image of Erika making a "scary face " LOL

Bye for now

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Quoting Tazmanian:
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.




the nhc is calling it RIP and so is me



not from the nhc
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Big Blob coming off does not appear to be making that immediate Northerly jog that the most recent waves have taken...
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Quoting Grothar:


Don't want to be annoying by posting this twice, and not in reference to the little smile she is giving us this morning. But does anyone else thing she is elongated but still holding herself together quite well?


Considering a couple of hours ago she was split in half, and hours before that the HH found stronger winds and 1004mb (vis a vis 1008 at 6AM EST today)...
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2780. JLPR
looks like a decent LLC


there, I know this must have been posted a while back but I just logged in xD
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Quoting Grothar:


Don't want to be annoying by posting this twice, and not in reference to the little smile she is giving us this morning. But does anyone else thing she is elongated but still holding herself together quite well?

I believe that is the consensus this AM. I for one went to bed last night thinking that Erica was RIP. Surprise once again!
Member Since: February 14, 2004 Posts: 2 Comments: 664
Quoting StormW:


Workin' on it.

*snap snap* well hurry up! ;)
Morning Storm.

Morning gang. Our little girl is having some fun with us I see.
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AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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.




the nhc is calling it RIP and so is me
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Quoting kmanislander:


I don't see a quick motion though given the steering I just posted. Erika will have to tough it out to survive IMO


I believe her stopping short of ripping shear saved her. Sometimes we talk like these (and other) things behave on luck or have a mind of it's own, and there are steering factors and they behave according to their environment. I hate not understanding >:(
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Quoting TheCaneWhisperer:


Thanks KMAN & SW

I always thought this was a strength guided system, things must be changing as usual.


From Dr. Masters Blog and Echoed by the NHC

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.
Erika and Danny boy both had high wind shear with them


Erika will be RIP come later today
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2771. Grothar


Don't want to be annoying by posting this twice, and not in reference to the little smile she is giving us this morning. But does anyone else thing she is elongated but still holding herself together quite well?
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Quoting StormW:


No.


Storm, hope you haven't gone out and maybe you answered my question back a while ago and I didn't get to read it, in that case ...

Could anyone had predicted that Erika would stall like this? She was moving regular-like and just stopped. Some systems run into the high shear, but she just stopped a bit behind it... was it because of the Mid-Level shear I wasn't watching? What features should I (and others) have been looking, what indicators?

This seems to happen a lot especially here close to the Caribbean and I would like to be able to tell it better.
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That's all I have time for this morning so will have to wish everyone a good day and return later.

Out for now
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Will Erika remain a low or disspate?
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Quoting kmanislander:


I don't see a quick motion though given the steering I just posted. Erika will have to tough it out to survive IMO


Agreed, I was just thinking that if she wants to pull a fast one, she only has about 24hrs. to do it!
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Quoting StormW:


No.


Thanks KMAN & SW

I always thought this was a strength guided system, things must be changing as usual.
Taz, your right that Danny had a much better circulation and a strong one at that. I could not have imagined if Danny had the convection that Erika had.
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Erika is better than Danny ever was Taz.
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Quoting SBG:


I get it that most people on here for the science and something meets the definition of something or doesn't. However, it comes down to what is the responsibility of the NHC. I am not a science person so I am not hung up on them getting it 100% right. I only care about people protecting life primarily and property. That is what I think the NHC cares most about as well. So what is so bad about them erring on the side of caution?

I was 25 when Andrew hit. It was written off as dead several days before. Surprise!! Now, I am not saying Erika will become an Andrew or that danny wase ever poised to do so. However, I think NHC learned a valuable lesson there. I applaud them when they are over cautious. Let the bloggers and Dr. Grays of the world debate the science all they want. I want the NHC to always err on the side of caution. If keeping a name one advisory longer keeps 1 small boat out of the water and saves 1 life as a result, it is a good thing.


You have a point here.
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Quoting surfsidesindy:


Looking at the sheer maps, it seems like Erika's best chance of growing stronger would be if she makes a quick move to the Northwest in the next 24 hours?


I don't see a quick motion though given the steering I just posted. Erika will have to tough it out to survive IMO
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Quoting StormW:


No.
good morning storm what is you analysis on erika at this time
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Erika looks more like danny boy
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Quoting TheDawnAwakening:
Convection is showing tremendous ventilation and with the thunderstorm growths, the NHC will probably leave it as a tropical storm for now until the convection shows no signs of organization, which currently it shows organization as the both convective masses converge. It will be an interesting day nonetheless to see if the convection persists in the same region. The last several days it has persistent convection, but always exposes the low level circulation. I have reasons to believe that low level circulation in under the convection and organizing given the appearance of the low level cumulus field showing NE to SW movement on the NW quad of the storm. Convection looks to be stacking itself now and outflow is good in all quadrants.


But it's a "young" system and it's obviously being sheared...
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Erika is three times at least the storm Ana or Danny ever were.
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Quoting kmanislander:
Probably in response to the weak steering that favours a more Northerly motion. Look how light the winds are to the NW


Looking at the sheer maps, it seems like Erika's best chance of growing stronger would be if she makes a quick move to the Northwest in the next 24 hours?
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Good Morning........I do not know if the overall sheer levels in the MD Regions, which is a bit elevated in many parts for this time of the year, is related to the El Nino issue (or persistent ULLs, etc), but with the exception of struggling Erika, not much of a "peak" to the season as we head towards September 10th. If nothing significant spins ups somewhere else over the next two weeks, the "experts" may well have called it right on a lower than average season because conditions will start to get more hostile after September 15th; then we'll be looking at frontal remnants for possible development closer to the US.
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2753. SBG
Quoting P451:


Remember the same thing with Danny - apparently if they find a single wind gust at a single point within 300 miles of the COC in a random TStorm rated above 40mph then they will call it a TS.

I find that faulty logic but as you said it is their call to make.

In fact I find it extremely rare that you ever see a sustained wind of a storms "maximum sustained winds" recorded on land or by a ship or a buoy.

How many times do you see, let's say, a 75mph storm make landfall and the highest sustained wind recorded is about 50mph?

I will never understand that but it seems to be quite common.


I get it that most people on here for the science and something meets the definition of something or doesn't. However, it comes down to what is the responsibility of the NHC. I am not a science person so I am not hung up on them getting it 100% right. I only care about people protecting life primarily and property. That is what I think the NHC cares most about as well. So what is so bad about them erring on the side of caution?

I was 25 when Andrew hit. It was written off as dead several days before. Surprise!! Now, I am not saying Erika will become an Andrew or that danny wase ever poised to do so. However, I think NHC learned a valuable lesson there. I applaud them when they are over cautious. Let the bloggers and Dr. Grays of the world debate the science all they want. I want the NHC to always err on the side of caution. If keeping a name one advisory longer keeps 1 small boat out of the water and saves 1 life as a result, it is a good thing.
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Quoting TheCaneWhisperer:
Models shifting back North, Strengthening?

Probably in response to the weak steering that favours a more Northerly motion. Look how light the winds are to the NW
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Quoting Grothar:


Is she laughing at us. Do you see the little grin she has???? What is she up to now?


If it wasn't Erika and just 94L again, you'd see the "This is the best-looking invest I've ever seen" and "Why don't they upgrade?" comments go up again.

(rolleyes)
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Convection is showing tremendous ventilation and with the thunderstorm growths, the NHC will probably leave it as a tropical storm for now until the convection shows no signs of organization, which currently it shows organization as the both convective masses converge. It will be an interesting day nonetheless to see if the convection persists in the same region. The last several days it has persistent convection, but always exposes the low level circulation. I have reasons to believe that low level circulation in under the convection and organizing given the appearance of the low level cumulus field showing NE to SW movement on the NW quad of the storm. Convection looks to be stacking itself now and outflow is good in all quadrants.
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2749. Grothar


Is she laughing at us. Do you see the little grin she has???? What is she up to now?
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Models shifting back North, Strengthening?

Anyone got some up-to-date links on Antigua's and other island's weather conditions? All I get is 12UTC (8AM EST) and it's already an hour past that. NHC is 12UTC and Google Earth goes by that.
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Quoting TriniGirl26:


How is it right now in Antigua?


Woke up to gusty winds but clear skies... now it's gotten very dark outside with lots of rain but hardly any wind. I see from here that the bulk of the precipitation is yet to come though. Radar
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Quoting serialteg:


Remember Ana was mantained in advisories even when she was said to be less than a storm/depression just because of her proximity to land

Correct, but honestly I can't help but notice much more emphasis is placed on these systems when they are very near/close to the USA.
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8134
Quoting DestinJeff:
... if tropical weather forecasting required only a laptop and internet access, we'd all be a genious. unfortunately, there is more to it than that, or else the big building down there in Miami with all that Smart in it is a big waste of money.

i still think they have a NORAD like setup down there, with huge projection screens up front that display this blog's comment section. otherwise, how would they ever know when or what to designate a system?


True, but sometimes the NHC has to consider socio-political aspects of storms as well. Sometimes, they may feel the need to name a storm just because it's about to hit land, even if it doesn't neccessarily warrant naming. They do this so the people in the area will take it more seriously. The people on this blog have no need for such consideration. They look at the straight facts and make their own observations.
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Good morning all

Just a post or two then off.

Based upon the quikscat pass, the lower level convergence and the deep comvection this is probably the best Erika has ever been since the night it first developed a closed low ( which was about 30 hours ago ).

Shear has been on the increase ahead of the storm and the anticyclone that has been following it is still off-center to the system.

Erika's challenges look to be continuing in the hours ahead but for now it is looking relatively good even though not that potent as storms go. Lots of flash flooding for some of those islands today would seem to be highly likely.
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Quoting fmbill:
I think what is so funny about our conversation this mornning is that IF this were a tropical wave, it would have a red circle around it from the NHC...and this blog would be going nuts about "why doesn't the NHC just call it a storm!?" :-)


Actually, that happened for about a day and a half on the blog. We were finding it to have a circulation, etc. and saying "why don't they upgrade?". Then finally NHC sent the Hunter and lo and behold, but we were seeing these conditions for a while. Just like Claudette.
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2741. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
well iam off too work be back at noon to see whats going on enjoy the debate with erika i say at 11 am it will be the final advisory on this storm and it will be mark my words

later
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Quoting JadeInAntigua:


Yeah I saw it being mentioned by others last night too and wondered if they realized it was our capital and not the name of the island. lol I can say that at the moment the winds have died right down with dark skies and rain. I'm on the western side of the island.


How is it right now in Antigua?
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Quoting stormpetrol:
According to the quikscat it does have winds of 35-45 knots to North, East and South of COC, well removed from the COC, so i guess if Danny could maintain TS status for as long as it did, I don't why Erika can't, oh wait or isn't close enough to the lower 48 to qualify.


Remember Ana was mantained in advisories even when she was said to be less than a storm/depression just because of her proximity to land
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Quoting JadeInAntigua:


Yeah I saw it being mentioned by others last night too and wondered if they realized it was our capital and not the name of the island. lol I can say that at the moment the winds have died right down with dark skies and rain. I'm on the western side of the island.


If the HH readings from 10:48Z (6:48AM EST) hold, you should get some decent 25-50mph winds soon.
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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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