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 zebralove:
I have a question that will probably show just how ignorant I really am, but I am trying to learn and this is driving me nuts. Where exactly is Hispanola? People keep talking about it and puerto rico and I find puerto rico on the map but nothing says Hispanola. Anyone care to help the completly lost? Is it because Hispanola goes by another name? Thanks for helping to educate me

You're ok, this is a place to LEARN!! Hispanola is the island containinh Haiti and the Dominican Republic! It has 10,000' mountains that will tear Erika apart!! Island just west or Puerto Rico
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
The Gulf feature looks interesting... wonder if it has anything to do with what the CMC is forecasting off the N.C. Coast shortly?
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The smart monies on 16N
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Quoting stormsurge39:
which one are you going with?


Umm..er..umm..south or north...south or north

the Nourthern one.
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Quoting zebralove:
I have a question that will probably show just how ignorant I really am, but I am trying to learn and this is driving me nuts. Where exactly is Hispanola? People keep talking about it and puerto rico and I find puerto rico on the map but nothing says Hispanola. Anyone care to help the completly lost? Is it because Hispanola goes by another name? Thanks for helping to educate me

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the models are generally not as accurate as experienced meteorologists, they are there for guidance not to base a forecast on.
Quoting Gumbogator:
Holy cow, the GFS is all over the exiting monster coming off Africa. Fred by Friday?? Drop dead Fred!! Systems exiting Africa are generally a crap shoot anyway. This one appears to be the real deal*****


then again, the GFS has been all over pretty much every tropical wave this season. Actually, I believe according to the GFS a few days ago we're supposed to have a Cat 3 Hurricane Erika by now.
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Quoting zebralove:
I have a question that will probably show just how ignorant I really am, but I am trying to learn and this is driving me nuts. Where exactly is Hispanola? People keep talking about it and puerto rico and I find puerto rico on the map but nothing says Hispanola. Anyone care to help the completly lost? Is it because Hispanola goes by another name? Thanks for helping to educate me
Right next it on the right.
Quoting Baybuddy:
523. hurricanehanna 9:25 PM GMT on September 02, 2009
"i'm so tired...so tired of all this coming and going and going and coming"...oh Erika

From Dune to Blazing Saddles ? I picked the wrong day to quit sniffing glue.


ROFL
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Yeah, tropic, 'cept I wrote 11 instead of 15 on the latitude. This one's not done yet imo.
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Quoting poknsnok:
like I said earlier, TD tomorrow am and dissipation at end of weak.. NHC is all over it


Noted!
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Quoting foggymyst:
rwdobson, thanks for your reply.. here is the model i saw



this run seems to be from last night...
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Looks to me like the center to the south is dying (the swirl we have been watching) and that there is a larger "center" that is starting to tighten up a little bit to the NE of the swirl (near the latitude of Puerto Rico). Thunderstorms are popping up near the swirl center and the NE center so tonight we should find out which one will become dominant and if Erika survives.
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I have a question that will probably show just how ignorant I really am, but I am trying to learn and this is driving me nuts. Where exactly is Hispanola? People keep talking about it and puerto rico and I find puerto rico on the map but nothing says Hispanola. Anyone care to help the completly lost? Is it because Hispanola goes by another name? Thanks for helping to educate me
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Evening all...Erika i swear is a hooker!
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
Ridging is expanding over Erika...this will be interesting tonight into the morning.. make or break her tonight!
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Sorry that's 15.8N or about 16N 62W where the center'll reform tonight and she'll move into the Caribbean. No guts, no glory.
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Quoting futuremet:


The TUTT axis still extends somewhat into the Caribbean, which will cause marginal shear if it were to move there. If the southern COC wins, then will likely go to the Caribbean, and toward the Bahamas if the northern one wins.
which one are you going with?
Quoting Chicklit:
I am very tired of eating crow. However, just for the sake of thinking something, I wager Erika will reform a center around what is now about 11.8N 61.7W, keep the anticyclone, and shift west into the Caribbean.


I was thinking she would move more into the Carribean, rather than more north as well.
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Quoting btwntx08:

wow u mispelled week wrong


and you misspelled misspelled.... wow
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One Year ago today..

2 Sept 2008..

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Quoting stormsurge39:
If Erika continues going W, wont it go in the Carribean? If it were to go in the Caribbean wouldnt that give it a chance to strengthen?


The TUTT axis still extends somewhat into the Caribbean, which will cause marginal shear if it were to move there. Moreover, it would run into the ragged mountains of Hispaniola. If the southern COC wins, then will likely go to the Caribbean, and toward the Bahamas if the northern one wins.
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Quoting foggymyst:
I'm confused..local mets (yeah, sofl)say Erika can possibly decipated, I just looked on the WWU tropical section..the GFDL has it developing to cat 3.. can someone PLZ clear this for me.. Thanks.


the models are generally not as accurate as experienced meteorologists, they are there for guidance not to base a forecast on. Most are in agreement that the models are not correctly picking up on weakening factors for this system, therefor they are suggesting a much more robust storm than what is probable. Still need to be cautious and see how it unfolds.
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I gtg all, b back later! Thanks!
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thank you, rwdobson. just trying to understand.
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Quoting Bordonaro:

TS Erika has more personalities than "Sybil"! This little monster has headed in the direction is wasn't supposed to go, had or has 2 COC, explodes during DMIN, has a stronger wind field not associated with the main system (I do not understand how the NHC determined that one) somewhere in the SE quadrant! I believe this storm is gonna drive the NHC and forecasters nuts for a few days!!
Afternoon all. LOL, She definitely has my attention for her many incarnations. It's like watching the Russian Costume Change Artists at the circus. So entertaining.
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Quoting futuremet:


Convection is increasing with both COCs; both are trying to become dominant. They may merge into one COC.
If Erika continues going W, wont it go in the Carribean? If it were to go in the Caribbean wouldnt that give it a chance to strengthen?
Quoting Patrap:


Good Luck with that theory then.




LOL There is a <5% it will happen; it is just another one of these possibilities.
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557. CUBWF
May be I'm not that off. The center may continue to improve and win the battle and become the first player at 60.5 and 16.9
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Holy cow, the GFS is all over the exiting monster coming off Africa. Fred by Friday?? Drop dead Fred!! Systems exiting Africa are generally a crap shoot anyway. This one appears to be the real deal*****
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like I said earlier, TD tomorrow am and dissipation at end of weak.. NHC is all over it
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@foggymyst, i think that's an old run...says it was initialized on Sept 1.

according to this GFDL is only predicting a tropical storm, but HWRF has a
hurricane.
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st. simons, been observing since last year, learned enough to be dangerous i guess. just decided today was as good as any to speak up.
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Anyone see the 20:45 frame?

Three pops. Two by the official llc and on by the N one. Also, almost looks like the official llc is being pulled back E into the convection.

Craziness, I tell ya!

http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/flt/t2/flash-vis.html
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Quoting futuremet:


Yes...they can. A mesoscale Fujiwhara might take place and the two vortices will subsequently merge. Then again, is uncertain what Erika will do.


Good Luck with that theory then.


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549. JLPR
Quoting stormpetrol:
Look at the latest visible satelite loop of Erika, the 2 centers will be consolidating soon to become one imo.


that would be bad =|
Erika would consolida once and for all after that
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 5223
Looks like Erica is gonna start throwing another fit, new convection in the N central part of the CDO!!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
523. hurricanehanna 9:25 PM GMT on September 02, 2009
"i'm so tired...so tired of all this coming and going and going and coming"...oh Erika

From Dune to Blazing Saddles ? I picked the wrong day to quit sniffing glue.
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If we walk without rhythm, we won't attract the worm.
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Okay, gotta go...PCs need some tending...BBL, maybe
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shearmap
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543. jipmg
Quoting foggymyst:
I'm confused..local mets (yeah, sofl)say Erika can possibly decipated, I just looked on the WWU tropical section..the GFDL has it developing to cat 3.. can someone PLZ clear this for me.. Thanks.


they are basing it off NHC's latest information
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Quoting Patrap:


The Front has some interesting Mojo occurring seems Floodman.





The movement seems interesting...pressures are still very high: 1016-1014
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Quoting Patrap:


That dosent Happen FM,..angular momentumn will either have one Dominate,or they will both spin Out and another form, They cant merge,Physics 101


Yes...they can. A mesoscale Fujiwhara effect might take place and the two vortices will subsequently merge. Then again, is uncertain what Erika will do, and it is unlikely that they will merge. Small vortices like this are too eratic, and one tends to be more predominant.
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Quoting AllStar17:
kman, if the anticyclone was to center over the storm, it would throw yet another wrench into the forecast.


It would do more than that as it might finally give it the chance to develop and intensify. The high is very small and not really providing the level of upper support the system needs to effectively ventilate. A small off-center high is going to impart shear from one direction or another.
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I am very tired of eating crow. However, just for the sake of thinking something, I wager Erika will reform a center around what is now about 11.8N 61.7W, keep the anticyclone, and shift west into the Caribbean.
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If she continues to remain slow and in struggle for a coc that can be both good or bad as it will drastically affect the direction she finlly goes. And as DRAK stated it could go south of the big rocks and we have a whole new set of problems!
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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.