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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I am looking at the satellite loops, and Erika has not moved since 15:45 UTC in my opinion. It is now 20:15. This is allowing thunderstorms to catch up a bit to the center. Take a look:

Erika stalled...?
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5300
Quoting reedzone:


Yep true that, but it's always entertaining to see the models jump the gun :P
We just don't really know what Erika will do.


Unlike Bill (when I kept telling peeps it wont hit the U.S. directly and Danny)..this 1 isnt set cause the models are diverged and changing and cant grasp the system itself... so yeah I agree this time..we dont know really!
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Looks like my prediction from a few days ago has come true. I said that Erika would tease for a few days then swirl naked. And I'm just an amatuer.
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Patrap yer killin' me with the Dune references...along with the 'Avila Spouts Off' passages yesterday, I know I'm in the right place! LOL.
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LOL
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Quoting Patrap:
As i explained this morning in the other entry. Erika is a Large CV circulation,..always has been. And She can develop a Central CoC due to the Ongoing shear at different Levels.

She has a Good Up Pulse Like Last Night that had even the featured Bloggers crying Havoc,but unless she can Find a way to Maintain a CENTRAL CoC within the Overall Cyclonic Flow,..well
Shes never going to be all that some would Like her to Be.


Have you been much thought to cut off lows in the GOM?
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480. JLPR
443. Drakoen 9:07 PM GMT on September 02, 2009

Look at the satellite loop and you can see two circulations with Erika. The focus will be which one becomes dominant

exactly... right now im thinking a battle to death is occurring and that one of the circulation will then be able to establish as the dominant one, probably strengthening afterward
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Good afternoon! bye all
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Quoting cirrocumulus:
Drakoen, which one are you calling for?


Run the RGB loop on the floater there is a circulation west of the islands that is naked near 16N 62W then there is another circulation near where new convection is trying to blow up near 18N 60.5W
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okay, who started the book club and didn't tell me???
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Quoting Tropicaddict:
Why has no one mentioned the possibility that Erika may continue to go W and just stay in the Caribbean? Is this not a possibility? Why?


Anything is possible.... But I have to say as long as the storm remains unorganized then it could keep going west and stay away from the sheer...
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My thinking as well, kman. That would significantly change the forecast again.
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5300
Quoting SykKid:


It still doesn't change the fact that both of those storms were a mess.


So? So were most of 2007's with the exception of Dean and Felix. NOW to the ignore list ;)
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Quoting scottsvb:
Right now...Erika should hold together tonight...may actually increase T-Storms close or around the center...not 100% sure on that..but tonight is the chance... but the question tomorrow is...if T-Storms dont fire near/over the LLC...will the LLC survive the morning? And if they do fire and pressure is under 1008mbs...Does it go north of Hispaniola or even South...we have seen many times ..systems seem to track over/near Puerto Rico..and hit the D R and get shreaded. Its all a wait and see game...

Right now...forget the models....this is a Nowcasting Tropical system...models are useless cause this system isnt set to be run by models until its fully developed. 1st thing to watch is for T-Storms to try to fire tonight over the center...if T-Storms dont and fall apart to its southeast...then this will be a wave by morning... We will see over the next 12-18hrs!


Yep true that, but it's always entertaining to see the models jump the gun :P
We just don't really know what Erika will do.
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Quoting Floodman:


May I have that as my name?

A fine but curious choice lad



Stilgar: You are now Paul Muad'Dib!

Leader of Invest's
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Quoting WatchingThisOne:


I have subtly suggested that several times, and am almost certainly wrong in doing do. There is no empirical support for that track, other than the models have been shifting south. But Erika has been doing unpredictable things and many possibilities are yet open to her.


right...I'm by no means a professional but am an avid weather watcher...just curious as to how this blog (that has so many different scenarios brought up) haven't brought up why it won't stay going W and into the Carribean.
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Quoting gator23:

this most certainly means you are WS
no i am not, lol, ask him when he goes on, I promise you I am not WS.
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I think it is premature of the NHC to dissipate the cyclone before 5 days because of all the uncertainty. IMO, they should have maintained Erika through 5 days.
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5300
I just took a look at the lower level convergence and it is situated well to the NE of Guadeloupe. It is virtually non-existent in the Caribbean to the West of that island.
It makes you wonder if we may not be in store for yet another center relocation soon.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
I'm out for now, thank you all for looking at my posts, have a great evening! and remember I'm not WS.


lol...
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Erika,Vis Loop,FLASH
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
I'm out for now, thank you all for looking at my posts, have a great evening! and remember I'm not WS.

this most certainly means you are WS
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Quoting Patrap:


What do you call the mouse shadow on the second moon?

We call that one Muad'Dib.


May I have that as my name?

A fine but curious choice lad
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Right now...Erika should hold together tonight...may actually increase T-Storms close or around the center...not 100% sure on that..but tonight is the chance... but the question tomorrow is...if T-Storms dont fire near/over the LLC...will the LLC survive the morning? And if they do fire and pressure is under 1008mbs...Does it go north of Hispaniola or even South...we have seen many times ..systems seem to track over/near Puerto Rico..and hit the D R and get shreaded. Its all a wait and see game...

Right now...forget the models....this is a Nowcasting Tropical system...models are useless cause this system isnt set to be run by models until its fully developed. 1st thing to watch is for T-Storms to try to fire tonight over the center...if T-Storms dont and fall apart to its southeast...then this will be a wave by morning... We will see over the next 12-18hrs!
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Quoting LariAnn:
In the updated blog entry above, the good Dr points out that the swirl he referred to as a "false center" this morning is now the real center. So Erika really is going naked, at least for now . . .

the doc has been way off with this one
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I'm out for now, thank you all for looking at my posts, have a great evening! and remember I'm not WS.
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Quoting Patrap:



Good to see ya coming around to reality reed.
Always read the er,NHC words ,..that helps a great deal as to whats occurring always.


Yeah, people get so interested in this stuff that they just glaze through the words and say the incorrect stuff lol. Still learning here as well as everyone else on this blog!
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Quoting Tropicaddict:
Why has no one mentioned the possibility that Erika may continue to go W and just stay in the Caribbean? Is this not a possibility? Why?


I have subtly suggested that several times, and am almost certainly wrong in doing do. There is no empirical support for that track, other than the models have been shifting south. But Erika has been doing unpredictable things and many possibilities are yet open to her.
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Link

Good view on how the path for Erika has shifted today.
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Drakoen, which one are you calling for?
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The 5 pm update is out. More S and further W she goes.
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Quoting Drakoen:
Look at the satellite loop and you can see two circulations with Erika. The focus will be which one becomes dominant
and depending on which will end up being the dominant one the cone could alter/change considerably.
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Quoting reedzone:
All these self righteous people need to stop making bold predictions. WE DON'T KNOW!! Give it a few days. Erika is a complicated storm and still will remain a TS at 5 p.m. with 40-45 mph. winds. So many downcasters in here tonight, figured I'd see this.
For the people lurking..
Continue to monitor Tropical Storm Erika. Models have no clue on strength and track as of today, really depends if it can grab that next Anticyclone. The NHC has low confidence but they're right, Erika may dissipate, a 50/50 chance. Give it time and don't listen to the people who are declaring it gone. :)

Amen brother!
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Quoting reedzone:
Oh and apologies about the center relocation.. I read the NHC discussion a bit fast. Thought it said the center was not west of that Island. The center is surely that naked low level swirl. We'll see what Erika can do tonight.



Good to see ya coming around to reality reed.
Always read the er,NHC words ,..that helps a great deal as to whats occurring always.
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It is also important to note that the center of Erika could relocate under the large ball of deep convection at any time.
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5300
Quoting southfla:


I have to admit that Erika's chances of strengthening are not looking good -- but I will continue to watch just in case.


Exactly what I've said, will continue to monitor Erika
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Quoting Patrap:
As i explained this morning in the other entry. Erika is a Large CV circulation,..always has been. And She can develop a Central CoC due to the Ongoing shear at different Levels.

She has a Good Up Pulse Like Last Night that had even the featured Bloggers crying Havoc,but unless she can Find a way to Maintain a CENTRAL CoC within the Overall Cyclonic Flow,..well
Shes never going to be all that some would Like her to Be.
Ana 2
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All we need now Rare is a stall or a loop
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Quoting cirrocumulus:
Is anyone else getting trojan alerts from McAfee when they click on this website?


All frigging day,.. Ive spoken again,to the Sites Highest authority on it. Id expect we may see some words on that soon,here.

Hopefully.

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Look at the satellite loop and you can see two circulations with Erika. The focus will be which one becomes dominant
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I did forward this to tech support, but apparently they are unaware of the problem or unable to remove the trojan.
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Quoting OSUWXGUY:
The storm at the 18UTC NAM Develops is not Erika, but the wave behind her...

Oh, and by the way, that's in the face of 30 knots of westerly shear. LMAO.


It almost looks as if the wave behind it absorbs what is left of Erika on its way by.
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i was just thinking the same thing. its possible the way shes been moving
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This storm is a mess if you look on the visible you can see two naked swirls that seem to be rotating around each other. Its to the ne of the one that went through guadeloupe And a possible third on the eastern side.
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can't wait and see. that would not be consistent with this blog's attitude.
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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.