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 btwntx08:

oh really look at the shear map it hasn't got to that area of 20-30 shear yet which is south of pr right now its in 10 kts of shear

Not all shear shows on the maps. Some of it only shows in soundings and cloud drift.
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Erika is slowly becoming a bit more organized on satellite:


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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
You see what i highlighted "this season so far" yes i do agree the CMC has been a good model this year but what about 3 or maybe 5 years ago. But you do have to agree, the HWRF is a good model.

No. A good model would be a step forward from it's predecessor, the GFDL. Not a step back.
If I took away your PC and gave you a slower one, would you call it a good PC?
HWRF doesn't do anything for us the GFDL didn't already do and is usually worse at it than GFDL.
Didn't take long to figure you might be BB, but that is fine. Just don't do what BB was doing.
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are stormno and apocolypse related? Seems to be from the same gene pool...
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Quoting btwntx08:

oh really look at the shear map it hasn't got to that area of 20-30 shear yet which is south of pr right now its in 10 kts of shear


THANK YOU!!! Dry air is the problem, NOT shear.
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After analyzing the Hurricane Hunter data for the past couple hours, it appears that we indeed do have a new circulation center pretty much covered with convection somewhere around 16.8N and 59W. The Hurricane Hunters have been sending in very good data and it appears that Erika may be trying to regather itself as they did report some decent tropical storm force winds near 45-50 mph winds. But the data does show that Erika remains rather disorganized as the system isn't really stacked which has been caused by some isolated wind shear.
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18 Z Dynamic Models (More sophisticated models)

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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
no problem sir, lol

Check the name. That would be ma'am. Or chick or broad or hun or babe or just plain Kim, but not sir. ; )

Quoting Patrap:
.."I see Swirls Within Swirls"..

The Spice must Flow!!!!!!!!!

A "Dune" reference! Nice.

Now, I'm reading everyone's varying opinion's on the models, but I was curious as to which model has been used the longest?



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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
You see what i highlighted "this season so far" yes i do agree the CMC has been a good model this year but what about 3 or maybe 5 years ago. But you do have to agree, the HWRF is a good model.



Both models have performed horrible this year, period!!
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What we've got here is a failure to... extrapolate.
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Quoting Hurricane009:
What will Dmax do to Erika??


She is still doing her daily fluctuation with the diurnal cycles so expect more of the same. Until there is a predominant center, no strengthening will occur. This should make all the daym Floridacasters happy, you may get your wish. It might be a sheared mess but, hey!
18 Z Statistical/Simple Models (CLIPER,BAMs,LBAR,other Statistical Models)

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Yeah, Nassau to Cayman. Again, the models are blindfolded in a cornfield and hopelessly lost.

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Quoting Hurricane009:
What will Dmax do to Erika??


blow her up like a blow fish
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Quoting iluvjess:
She is just a young, confused vampiress. Sit back and watch her feed again this evening.



I agree, she seems to have a real dislike for daytime hours. She comes alive at night.
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Someone said loop...been watching Kevin?? Another storm not wanting to stay on the forecasts...loop is possible, and more likely than GOMEX imho...
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Quoting atmoaggie:

Ummm, CMC has less error than any of them so far this season, I think. They made a major convective parameterization upgrade.

nrt, where are you? Who had that model error comparison?
You see what i highlighted "this season so far" yes i do agree the CMC has been a good model this year but what about 3 or maybe 5 years ago. But you do have to agree, the HWRF is a good model.
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Quoting Floodman:


If we use our family Atomics against the shield wall, it will open a way for Erika...LOL




.."I set my Mind In Motion and I sense the GOM Ocean"..

There,..near the V,beware the Development,..



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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
other way around, CMC has been improving over the last several years but it is still not a reliable model, even though the HWRF model is over doing the intensity, it is very good with tracking a system, it is usually accurate on where a system will end up, and that has been proven many times before.



Well its a good difference of opinion then... I never look @ the CMC except for a laugh.... and speaking of laughing...5 runs in a row the CMC had Erika as a Cat 3 or higher... now 12z run has nothing @ all... go figure.

Also HWRF has been simular to the Clipper model...way right on Danny and Erika.

Best models to follow are the GFS along with the GFDL ... and also the ECMWF if its inline.
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258. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Disturbance Summary
3:00 AM JST September 3 2009
=========================================

SUBJECT: Tropical Depression In Sea East Of The Philippines

At 18:00 PM UTC, Tropical Depression (996 hPa) located at 18.2N 131.7E has 10 minute sustained winds of 30 knots with gusts of 45 knots. The depression is reported as almost stationary
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Quoting taco2me61:


I agree to this and with this storm we still have no choice but to wait and see what happens over the next 3 days...

Now as for the pole it will still be a TS at this point anyway...

(A)
yes correct
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254. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Philippines Atmospherical Geophysical Astronomical Services and Administration

Tropical Depression "LABUYO" has maintained its strength as it moves Northwesward slowly.

Tropical Cyclone Bulletin #2
========================
At 11:00 PM PhST, Tropical Depression Labuyo located at 18.1°N 130.3°E or 790 kms East of Northern Luzon has 10 minute sustained winds of 30 knots.

Additional Information
======================
This disturbance is expected to enhance the Southwest Monsoon and bring occasional rains over Southern Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

The public and the disaster coordinating councils concerned are advised to take appropriate actions and watch for the next bulletin to be issued at 11 AM tomorrow
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This blog is intense today.
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I say A as well.
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251. Relix
I have to change my stance, it will definitely be a TS at 5PM. Gotta wait how DMIN and DMAX do for her and where will she ultimately head.
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Quoting Patrap:
.."I see Swirls Within Swirls"..

The Spice must Flow!!!!!!!!!


If we use our family Atomics against the shield wall, it will open a way for Erika...LOL
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
other way around, CMC has been improving over the last several years but it is still not a reliable model, even though the HWRF model is over doing the intensity, it is very good with tracking a system, it is usually accurate on where a system will end up, and that has been proven many times before.

Ummm, CMC has less error than any of them so far this season, I think. They made a major convective parameterization upgrade.

nrt, where are you? Who had that model error comparison?
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She is just a young, confused vampiress. Sit back and watch her feed again this evening.
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Quoting keys33070:
This is a strange storm. She seems to be driving people to madness, in their attempts to guess her next move. She is slow moving, and unpredictiable. I wouldn't give up on her just yet, even if NHC downgrades her.

I agree with you, this is a dangerous storm. The moisture is off, and Enrika may weaken because the high pressure sysytem, but it will move away (I hope) and strengthin. All I need is a low and high pressure system site for the Atlantic and a humidity chart. Its a little off, but if the High is to the West, as I estimate, the storm will curve to the left a little more, (thus its track) so this storm has a few more tricks in its bag.

I wsure don't want to say:
R.est I.n A.tmosphere
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
AI think still a TS, and now the cone will shift a bit more southerly to accommodate the model consensus, The center of the cone will probably be pointing to Florida with the latest batch of models i have seen.


I agree to this and with this storm we still have no choice but to wait and see what happens over the next 3 days...

Now as for the pole it will still be a TS at this point anyway...

(A)
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Quoting reedzone:
Erika will remain a Tropical Storm at 5 p.m. Hurricane Hunters are finding winds of 45 mph. No TD at 5, sorry downcasters :P
That is true, regardless of appearance, The NHC cannot lie and give false info because Recon has found winds of 45MPH and the 5 PM advisory will probably be 40 or 50 MPH.
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Not an expert by any stretch, but I agree! A bit gun shy after Charlie...not saying this is another Charlie!! But live in Cape Coral, just south of Charlie's land fall...
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I'm gonna' take a wild guess and go with:

A

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"-" for polls and votes...useless blog space waste.

Someone was saying dry air on the WV...it really isn't as much dry air as it was 2 days ago. Has been moistening.



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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.