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 IKE:
That's a nice healthy blob about to roll off of Africa. If it develops quickly after reaching the Atlantic, the odds are it will.....er, shutup IKE....don't go there.

***Reaches for xanax***


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Quoting Patrap:

Look carefully below the western Cuban Southern Coast




Weak ULL
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Very impressive wave coming off of Africa

img src="Photobucket" alt="" />

WOW,maybe this one , will survive the Sahara Dessert dust ahead. Have one things on its favor,climatology.
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Quoting gordydunnot:
I have watched this system for the last 3-4 days there has always seemed to be two centers, one ne of the other. NE one mid-level, SE low level. At night they seem to be closer to one another. Ne center more mid level pushed off more to the north se center has always been pushed westward. Question for anybody who might know Does high pressure mostly exist at surface and can a or does a ull exist above a high vertically stacked wise.


No, an anticyclone stays in the upper levels above a stacked storm or hurricane. Surface ridges are areas of high pressure that steer storms at lower levels. ULL are harmful to a cyclone's intensification, as Dr. Masters said in previous blog, upper level lows bring cold drier air into tropical cyclones which chokes their heat, moisture and thunderstorm source. Upper level lows normally have an upper level pocket of cold denser air. Upper level anticyclones act to ventilate or push away anvil blow over so the updrafts of thunderstorms don't collapse, something which happened numerous times with Danny.
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My virus software is blocking and removing a trojan with every mouse click here at WU. Anyone else haveing this happen? Not happening anywhere else but here.
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Quoting Baybuddy:
Quoting Grothar:


I thought it was Fred and Ginger.


Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, only she did it backwards and in high heels!


Whoa! You have to be over 70 to know that. Very good. Hope I don't get banned for injecting a little levity. No one responds to my serious comments. I feel so left out. boo hoo.
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Quoting Baybuddy:
Okay..lets see

Dune
Blazing Saddles
Hunt For Red October

First person to squeeze in Fast Times At Ridgemont High wins an autographed picture of Louie Anderson


Jeff Spicoli: People on 'ludes should not try to forecast!
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730. JLPR
looks like Erika's old center is producing some new convection while the one more to the NE is doing that too =S

and.... Who which one will win?
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 5223
I'll be damned...Patrap, I just got the McAfee message for the trojan...first time all day, so it most be something added after I logged off a few minutes ago...
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Quoting Patrap:

Look carefully below the western Cuban Southern Coast




hmmmm, a spin?
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Quoting Tazmanian:
my new rule


read my commets 1st be for you even think about posting back too me about what i have said
I always HAVE to reread your posts several times to understand them. :D
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Erika seems to have stalled....
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If Erika *should* wander into the Caribbean conditions may be favorable for development. SST and OHC are both off the charts, and shear does not look as if it would be a problem either if Erika does not ramp up too quickly.

I had a look at 850 to 500 shear forecasts for CMC, GFS, and NOGAPS and the only one that kicks up significant shear is CMC ... in the area that Erika is now leaving behind, after she has moved west (if she does, lol).

850 to 200 is a different story. If Erika does not keep her head down, she will be looking at some serious shear. But as kman has pointed out, she has some work ahead of her if she is to reform on the COC west of Guadiloupe.

Off for a bit.

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Quoting Floodman:


You're right...most here are impatient and if you want to watch these storms and make sense of them you have to have that virtue in large quantities


june and july 2009 was the worst
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Quoting Patrap:


Erika has to Survive the Caribbean to even consider the GOM,.and there are Hints now that a system is Forming in the GOM along the Lower part of that front..



got this from our local..

For the Labor Day Holiday Forecast, new model data this morning does not agree. One model brings a disturbance into the area Friday and Saturday while the other takes it in the Middle-Mississippi Valley - farther to the north. For now, the forecast calls for scattered showers and rain with below-normal temperatures due to the clouds and rain.

Guess, we will se how that plays out...

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Look carefully below the western Cuban Southern Coast


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Quoting Patrap:


Erika has to Survive the Caribbean to even consider the GOM,.and there are Hints now that a system is Forming in the GOM along the Lower part of that front..



shut the front door!!! where
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Is it just me or is the last frame on the SSD floater 20:45 and not moving? Should be 21:15.
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Quoting Hurricane009:
nope, its Grace.


It was a joke meant for the older folks on the blog. Referring to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. One of the most famous dancing couples in history.
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Quoting Patrap:


Erika has to Survive the Caribbean to even consider the GOM,.and there are Hints now that a system is Forming in the GOM along the Lower part of that front..


Since there is a V forming that would be the start of a low?
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Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:
seems to me on this blog, the only way to make the masses happy is if all systems develop immediately, no cat and mouse

Why?

because there is such a lack of patience on here its very obvious


You're right...most here are impatient and if you want to watch these storms and make sense of them you have to have that virtue in large quantities
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Quoting JamesSA:

I noticed that StormW recognized that the models were spitting out garbage on this one very early and basically went back to figuring out the steering currents, lows and highs, and plotting it with a ruler. He has done pretty well with it IMO.


yes he did very well, but there were others.
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Quoting Grothar:


I thought it was Fred and Ginger.


Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, only she did it backwards and in high heels!
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While the 2 waves over Africa may eventually recurve to the north as the GFS is indicating (there has been a continuous trough of low pressure off the east coast of the U.S that is recurving most of everything out to sea), I think that they will get further west than the current GFS run.
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I think Erika stands a very strong chance of going South of the all the islands completely. We might just have real problem looming if that was to happen. I was looking at the BAM models and the take it over the DR but keep it off shore of Cuba...that would not be good.
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710. CUBWF
701.Even like that you are going to find people yelling about what track it will take, even if the models looks tide like a rope. Very good point you have.
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Quoting Weather456:


It needs to stop. We should be more objective rather than subjective.

If you look back a week or so you notice that those who post the water vapor charts, the concise data and discounted the models were all right about Erika.

You had the others who pick out models that suit them fine. Despite the models are not verifying, they continue to forecast it to go north of the islands and out to sea. Some believe the ECMWF track but not its strength. They were as inconsistent on track as the models.

As someone said this morning, Erika indirectly separated those who are old fashion forecast and those who look at models to best suit them.

It is becoming something where if you dont like hurricanes you will only post data against them. Not accurate at all.

I noticed that StormW recognized that the models were spitting out garbage on this one very early and basically went back to figuring out the steering currents, lows and highs, and plotting it with a ruler. He has done pretty well with it IMO.
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Quoting weatherman874:
Patrap, if Erika comes towards the Gulf wont it just ride up the front and not affect the Gulf coast?


Erika has to Survive the Caribbean to even consider the GOM,.and there are Hints now that a system is Forming in the GOM along the Lower part of that front..

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While you guys are just chatting away....T-Storms are firing near the LLC for the 1st time in 48hrs
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705. IKE
Quoting taco2me61:


OMG that would be back on the 30yr of Fredrick too....

Can you send me some xanax too


PM me an overnight address! LOL.
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well the gfs certainly thinks more of taz's future 95l than it does of ts erika
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told ya
lol

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seems to me on this blog, the only way to make the masses happy is if all systems develop immediately, no cat and mouse

Why?

because there is such a lack of patience on here its very obvious
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Patrap, if Erika comes towards the Gulf wont it just ride up the front and not affect the Gulf coast?
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knowing this season, it'll take 128 hours for this wave to even get organized enough. :P
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Boy...that is one of the most dramatic shifts in models that I have seen in a long time.
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Quoting IKE:
That's a nice healthy blob about to roll off of Africa. If it develops quickly after reaching the Atlantic, the odds are it will.....er, shutup IKE....don't go there.

***Reaches for xanax***


OMG that would be back on the 30yr of Fredrick too....

Can you send me some xanax too
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Okay..lets see

Dune
Blazing Saddles
Hunt For Red October

First person to squeeze in Fast Times At Ridgemont High wins an autographed picture of Louie Anderson
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Quoting Weather456:


It needs to stop. We should be more objective rather than subjective.

If you back a week or so you notice that those who post the water vapor charts, the concise data and discounted the models were all right about Erika.

You had the others who pick out models that suit them fine. Despite the models are not verifying, they continue to forecast it to go north of the islands and out to sea.

As someone said this morning, Erika indirectly separated those who are old fashion forecast and those who look at models to best suit them.

It is becoming something where if you dont like hurricanes you will only post data against them. Not accurate at all.


well said
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This is the DMIN R.I.P. peak. Lets see what happens when the sun sets.
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18 Z Dynamic Models (More sophisticated models)

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17N 60W and 16N 62W is where I see the two competing centers.

The one near 17N seems to have the advantage both in terms of convergence and divergence. Both appear to be heading due W but the one near 16/62 is moving slower.

Both are firing new convection so it looks like the race is on.

Alternatively, the NHC seem to view this all as one elongated center.

What a mess !
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Very impressive wave coming off of Africa

img src="Photobucket" alt="" />
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Quoting Grothar:


I thought it was Fred and Ginger.


lol
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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.