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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"-" 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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Quoting KimberlyB:


Understood. Thank you very much for taking a moment to respond.
no problem sir, lol
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
C tropical disturbance


Can I change my answer?
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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
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yup
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Mcafee blocked trojan while loading blog. Just a note.
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230. IKE
Quoting SQUAWK:
the one on the left


Why are you making posts like this? And have been all day.

Why?
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
.."I see Swirls Within Swirls"..

The Spice must Flow!!!!!!!!!
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Quoting scottsvb:


yeah it was my bad on reading..but still HWRF his a horrible model compared to the CMC
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.
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are you two at it again? Ya'll crack me up! :)
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A

Vortex message is 1007mb / 35kt.

Can't imagine they'll go against recon, regardless of appearance.
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the one on the left
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
In meteorology, an anticyclone (that is, opposite to a cyclone) is a weather phenomenon in which there is a descending movement of the air, and with surface systems, higher than average atmospheric pressure over the part of the planet's surface. Effects of surface-based anticyclones include clearing skies as well as cooler, drier air. Fog can also form overnight within a region of higher pressure. Mid-tropospheric systems, such as the subtropical ridge, deflect tropical cyclones around their periphery and inhibit free convection near their center, building up surface-based haze under their base. Anticyclones aloft can form within warm core lows, such as tropical cyclones, due to descending cool air from the backside of upper troughs, such as polar highs, or from large scale sinking, such as the subtropical ridge. Anticyclonic flow spirals in a clockwise direction in the Northern Hemisphere and counter-clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.


Understood. Thank you very much for taking a moment to respond.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Funkadelic:
5pm poll:
Will Erika be a tropical storm or a TD at 5pm?

A. Tropical storm
B. Tropical Depression

Im going with B
C tropical disturbance
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting KimberlyB:
Could someone tell me briefly the significance of an Anti-cyclone being present over a tropical system? I was searching online and have found plenty of information on what an Anti-cyclone is but nothing to explain it's effects on a system.

An upper level anticyclone acts to ventilate a tropical system, and create upper level divergence needed to maintain convection. Basically, it acts as an "exhaust", so warm moist air can continue to come in at the surface.

Also, it helps to protect developing systems from shear.
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Quoting markymark1973:
Going by the center being further south and moving west this what is most likely to happen now. Erika will move south of PR into the DR and weaken to a TD. If the shear forecast holds then it will become a open wave headed for S FL. Thats my forecast peeps.


Anyone remember Fay. Rare event, but anything is possible.

Tropical Storm Fay forms over Dominican Republic
Sat Aug 16, 2008 5:36am IST
MIAMI (Reuters) - The sixth tropical storm of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season formed on Friday over the Dominican Republic and was expected to track westward in the direction of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
Computer models used to predict storm tracks indicated Tropical Storm Fay was likely to cross the mountainous center of the island of Hispaniola, shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic, then hit Cuba and emerge somewhere near south Florida by Monday.

The storm was not projected by the Miami-based hurricane center to strengthen into a hurricane, with winds of at least 74 miles per hour (119 km per hour). The high mountains of Hispaniola and the amount of time it seemed destined to spend over land in Cuba would most likely drain it of energy.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25458
Quoting Hurricane009:
A.
A
Quoting masonsnana:

What do you think the 5pm update will bring?? Track more south? A RIP??
I 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.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Im pretty sure i know what im talking about, just read it again, and think before you post.


yeah it was my bad on reading..but still HWRF his a horrible model compared to the CMC
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B
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By the way texas hurricane, try this site, I forgot to give it to you, incase a hurricane hits the U.S. or your a general weather enthusiast like me:

Link
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A
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the other guy
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Quoting Hurricane009:
A.


Tropical Storm, No Change In Organization, Multiple Centers Around One Mean Center. Track shift slightly south more in line with the TCVN. Remnant low at the 5 day mark.
211. Relix
I will say the NHC track will somewhat be shifted to the left a bit more. Reason? The "center" was located about 20 miles NE of the current one. Models are not to be trusted at the moment in all honesty.
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Quoting Funkadelic:
5pm poll:
Will Erika be a tropical storm or a TD at 5pm?

A. Tropical storm
B. Tropical Depression

Im going with B
A
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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.
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Quoting scottsvb:



You dont know what your talking about... HWRF has been overdueing intenisty all year... best model is the GFDL and that model has also been overdone..but not as much as the HWRF!
Im pretty sure i know what im talking about, just read it again, and think before you post.
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Quoting atmoaggie:

like the blog boss said, no rips. So we will have to stick with tears.


I'll just say, I will be shocked if this storm survives...
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And everyone thought GFS was loco for losing Erika in the forecasts a few days ago and forecasting nothing much to develop.
Is a possible scenario.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Buoy C6OM8 reporting a relatively high pressure at 29.92 inches but it is reporting winds comming from the SSE at 37 MPH, which is somewhat impressive.

What do you think the 5pm update will bring?? Track more south? A RIP??
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Quoting KimberlyB:
Could someone tell me briefly the significance of an Anti-cyclone being present over a tropical system? I was searching online and have found plenty of information on what an Anti-cyclone is but nothing to explain it's effects on a system.
In meteorology, an anticyclone (that is, opposite to a cyclone) is a weather phenomenon in which there is a descending movement of the air, and with surface systems, higher than average atmospheric pressure over the part of the planet's surface. Effects of surface-based anticyclones include clearing skies as well as cooler, drier air. Fog can also form overnight within a region of higher pressure. Mid-tropospheric systems, such as the subtropical ridge, deflect tropical cyclones around their periphery and inhibit free convection near their center, building up surface-based haze under their base. Anticyclones aloft can form within warm core lows, such as tropical cyclones, due to descending cool air from the backside of upper troughs, such as polar highs, or from large scale sinking, such as the subtropical ridge. Anticyclonic flow spirals in a clockwise direction in the Northern Hemisphere and counter-clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.
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agree
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:


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Quoting CaneWarning:
RIP?

like the blog boss said, no rips. So we will have to stick with tears.
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look at it from the other direction. The upper levels are stable and the LLC was outrunning the upper levels. Erika is titled. The current LLC is looking elongated. Maybe its gonna decouple and get replaced? If it doesn't and Erika stacks in the present location of the LLC then westward she will go... IMO
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AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIAMI FL
244 PM EDT WED SEP 2 2009


T.S. ERIKA WAS VERY NEAR GUADELOUPE IN THE LEEWARD ISLANDS AT 2 PM
AST. THE OFFICIAL TRACK TAKES THE T.S. EVENTUALLY NORTHWEST AND
WEAKENS IT TO A DEPRESSION SUNDAY MORNING NORTH OF HAITI. THIS
SOLUTION IS SLIGHTLY TO THE LEFT OF THE ECMWF. THE GFS40 TAKES IT
FURTHER SOUTH OVER THE NORTHERN COASTS OF THE BIG ISLANDS AND INTO
THE STRAITS AND KEYS BY TUESDAY. THE FORMER SOLUTION LOOKS BEST
ATTM SINCE THE ECMWF HAS BEEN DOING VERY GOOD THIS YEAR. THE
WEAKENING TO A DEPRESSION SUNDAY MORNING WITH EITHER SOLUTION IS
DUE TO INCREASING UPPER LEVEL SHEAR. STAY TUNED TO LATER FORECASTS
FROM THE NHC AND DON`T PAY ATTENTION TO THE EXACT TRACK BUT WATCH
THE CONE OF UNCERTAINTY.
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Could someone tell me briefly the significance of an Anti-cyclone being present over a tropical system? I was searching online and have found plenty of information on what an Anti-cyclone is but nothing to explain it's effects on a system.
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I hope that the ones in here that are RIP are hungry just my opion this storm is crazy
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absolutely not
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One thing I will say...

Erika still have quite impressive 850, 700 and 500 mb vorticity centers associated with it!


850 Vorticity
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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.