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 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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Quoting OnTheFlats:
I agree with you Reed. The latest GLMGLB model has it re-generating between the Yucatan and estern Cuba and then steering south Texas. I was going to say a few days ago that these feather storms (the feather like appearance in the outflow) seem to have more bark than bite and seem to flare up so fast they never get too organized. The fact that it is still holding up that enormous blob is a little unsettling but only time will tell with this one.


I sure hope it doesn't come to Texas. When did the GLMGLB have it arriving in Texas?
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Quoting justalurker:
it was a joke, modified my post..relax.
so was mine...that station is a joke as is every waether forecaster they have ever had...led my the sexual offender himself.
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Quoting P451:
Wind reports are just sad... it's windier on Puerto Rico than anywhere in the islands.



I know I say it a lot but Ana passed really close to where I live in the south of PR and we only got some puny showers and a light breeze. The north of PR got the brunt. Maybe the center did pass just over us, and the thunderstorm activity was not organized around it = Erika
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Quoting serialteg:


Yeah, I'm no Google Map either :P

In fact, country names in my default Google Earth are hidden. I've heard St. John's name so much, I thought it was the actual island itself. Kind of like those who think San Juan is Puerto Rico.



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.
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Quoting hunkerdown:
shhh...Phil "the expert" Ferro may pick up on it.
it was a joke, modified my post..relax.
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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.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
that kinda wind may drop a few coconuts from the palms therefore a falling coconut warning should be issued

lol


Maybe this guy should hire Erika....

Link
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Quoting justalurker:


"WSVN" would be all over that!! that's news..
shhh...Phil "the expert" Ferro may pick up on it.
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2727. 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!?" :-)
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2726. surfmom
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
its finish surfmom once the day effect takes hold of her and the shear to the nw grabs her its all but over for this one she had her chance but failed to take advantage of it nothin but a little wind some good rain showers


Well, I'll take that cookie......
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Quoting JadeInAntigua:

Do you mean St. John's as in the capital of Antigua (the island just above Guadeloupe) or St. John USVI?


St johns capital of antigua I believe.
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Quoting IKE:


Guadeloupe...Wind: 8 mph from the SE
Pressure: 29.92 in (Rising)


St. John's...looked at 4 reporting stations. Highest gust I could find was 19 mph.


Yup, again the heaviest winds the HH found are probably not over the islands yet.
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Quoting reedzone:
IKE may be right, it might be downgraded do to the surface obs. You guys really think he's making all that up? No, Erika is weak, yet strong.. Hmm I hate this storm. Looks can be deceiving, I certainly don't believe this is the end of Erika though.
I agree with you Reed. The latest GLMGLB model has it re-generating between the Yucatan and estern Cuba and then steering south Texas. I was going to say a few days ago that these feather storms (the feather like appearance in the outflow) seem to have more bark than bite and seem to flare up so fast they never get too organized. The fact that it is still holding up that enormous blob is a little unsettling but only time will tell with this one.
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Quoting IKE:


LOL!


"WSVN" would be all over that!! that's news..LOL J/K
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Some strengthening was forecast today, they may leave it alone. IMO the circulation is becoming better defined. Definitely back to square 1 though.
2720. JRRP

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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
that kinda wind may drop a few coconuts from the palms therefore a falling coconut warning should be issued

lol
would that be a death directly or indirectly related to the storm ???
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Quoting JadeInAntigua:

Do you mean St. John's as in the capital of Antigua (the island just above Guadeloupe) or St. John USVI?


Yeah, I'm no Google Map either :P

In fact, country names in my default Google Earth are hidden. I've heard St. John's name so much, I thought it was the actual island itself. Kind of like those who think San Juan is Puerto Rico.

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2717. hydrus
Quoting fmbill:
This has got to be the prettiest dissapated-storm I've ever seen, LOL!!!

I know, Look at the good ventilation shown by the cirrus deck,this storm is tough.
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2715. ncstorm
Good Morning Everyone,

its seems our local NWS isnt counting Ericka out yet in our forecast


.LONG TERM /SUNDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY/...
AS OF 3:00 AM THURSDAY...NO SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO THE EXTENDED
FORECAST THIS MORNING AS THERE IS DECENT CONFIDENCE IN THE OVERALL
SCENARIO. A SOUTHWEST FLOW WILL CONTINUE AT THE MID LEVELS WITH
HIGH PRESSURE CENTERED ACROSS THE NORTHEAST THE MAIN PLAYER AT THE
SURFACE. THE WILD CARD REMAINS WHAT HAPPENS WITH ERIKA EITHER IN
HER CURRENT STATE AS A TROPICAL STORM OR AS A TROPICAL
WAVE...WHICH COULD BRING SOME SIGNIFICANT TROPICAL MOISTURE LATE IN THE
PERIOD. OVERALL...MAINTAINED THE SLIGHT CHANCE POPS VIA DIURNAL
CONVECTION ESSENTIALLY EACH DAY WITH NO CHANGE IN TEMPERATURES.
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2714. IKE
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
that kinda wind may drop a few coconuts from the palms therefore a falling coconut warning should be issued

lol


LOL!
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting P451:


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


Very, very often!

Altough I'm sure I downplay winds - my body anemometer may be faulty, I need to buy one
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Quoting Chiggy007:
Wow, not much mention and analysis of the new wave that came off Africa?
give it time over water to show if it has any stuff, and can maintain or increase/organize...
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Quoting serialteg:


Your best bet is Guadeloupe and St. John's.

Do you mean St. John's as in the capital of Antigua (the island just above Guadeloupe) or St. John USVI?
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2710. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting Chiggy007:
Wow, not much mention and analysis of the new wave that came off Africa?
not till its at least been over open water for 24 hrs then it may be mention
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2709. fmbill
This has got to be the prettiest dissapated-storm I've ever seen, LOL!!!

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2708. IKE
Quoting serialteg:


Your best bet is Guadeloupe and St. John's.


Guadeloupe...Wind: 8 mph from the SE
Pressure: 29.92 in (Rising)


St. John's...looked at 4 reporting stations. Highest gust I could find was 19 mph.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
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?<
BR>
I will never understand that but it seems to be quite common.
exactly, sometimes the logic is not there...but as said, its their call.
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Antigua and Barbuda observations

Some gusty South winds with rain and thunderstorms at 4am, before the last HH (6am)
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Wow, not much mention and analysis of the new wave that came off Africa?
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2704. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting IKE:


LOL! St. Kitts is 24 MILES northeast of the center.

Their winds>>>>Wind: 13 mph from the SE


Does that look like tropical storm force winds?
that kinda wind may drop a few coconuts from the palms therefore a falling coconut warning should be issued

lol
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53841
Quoting IKE:


Here's what that big building put out just 3 hours ago in their discussion...

THE SYSTEM MAY BE OPENING UP INTO A
TROUGH ORIENTED FROM SOUTH-SOUTHWEST TO NORTH-NORTHEAST.


That's probably what is happening.
Im sure if we looked back we could find the blogger that posted that...boy, they sure don't miss a thing down there in Miami.
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Observations from Guadeloupe

It either hasn't arrived there yet, or Erika is pulling an Ana
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2700. fmbill
This has got to be the prettiest dissapated storm I've ever seen. LOL!!!

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2699. IKE
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?


Here's what that big building put out just 3 hours ago in their discussion...

THE SYSTEM MAY BE OPENING UP INTO A
TROUGH ORIENTED FROM SOUTH-SOUTHWEST TO NORTH-NORTHEAST.


That's probably what is happening.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting markymark1973:
Look at that mid level shear!!! NOTHING can form in the western atlantic right now. It seems to be staying put for a while too. Caribbean is really brutal. Link


It's not even hitting 25kts in the Caribbean. It's not that bad. Upper level is worse, but there are areas where things are favourable.

Erika, gladly, isn't in one of those.
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2697. amd
Quoting markymark1973:
Look at that mid level shear!!! NOTHING can form in the western atlantic right now. It seems to be staying put for a while too. Caribbean is really brutal. Link


that tells the entire story right there. It isn't the upper level winds causing the problems, its the mid level winds ripping apart any circulation trying to form inside the heavy convection associated with Erika.

Eventually the LLC will hit the mountains of PR or Hispaniola, and then Erika may finally be RIP.
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Quoting IKE:


LOL! St. Kitts is 24 MILES northeast of the center.

Their winds>>>>Wind: 13 mph from the SE


Does that look like tropical storm force winds?


Your best bet is Guadeloupe and St. John's.
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2695. NEwxguy
This looks like another Danny,where its just impossible for Erika to gather itself,the environment is too much of a mess down there for anything to intensify.
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Quoting IKE:


Can you post a surface observation with winds that high?


Probably referring to the recon, which found a couple of 50mph recordings.. though a little suspect given a lot of the readings around it were flagged as possibly incorrect.

A few 40mph ones seemed believable, but that's it - only a few. It'll stay as a TS, but maybe more on a technicality.
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The wave that is rolling off Africa is impressive!



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2691. IKE
Quoting serialteg:


Thats because it hasnt arrived yet its still at sea...


LOL! St. Kitts is 24 MILES northeast of the center.

Their winds>>>>Wind: 13 mph from the SE


Does that look like tropical storm force winds?
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
clouds & some wind...but no rain yet in st barts. maybe later?
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Look at that mid level shear!!! NOTHING can form in the western atlantic right now. It seems to be staying put for a while too. Caribbean is really brutal. Link
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2687. IKE
Quoting serialteg:


Maybe not within 25, but certainly farther east. Almost 50mph surface


Can you post a surface observation with winds that high?
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858

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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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