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 cant imagine NHC changing much about their track due to so much uncertainty, its best to not show the public that u dont have a clue.
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Quoting TexasHurricane:


Thanks! :)


NO problem, but hey, do you have a humidity map for the atlantic? Or the centers of troughs and low and high pressure systems? Thanks
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Based on recent recon, I think this disorganized mess of Erika is forming a a new center under the convection between 15-16N and 58-59W, imo.

Who knows. Data is all over the place. Have to wait for better organization, if any, but will still be TS at 5pm.
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131. jipmg
Quoting WPBHurricane05:


Exactly...the outflow is caused by favorable shear conditions.


No, im saying how can there be shear if there is an anticylcone over the ball, and its pushing Upper level winds towards the EAST away from the ball and anything around the ball would likely be pushed East (in the upper levels), but instead the small T storms were sucked into the ball at the surface..
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Good Evening!

I am brand new to Weather Underground and I would enjoy very much to get acquainted with you guys. I am studying tropical meteorology at the University of Miami, and i am striving for my masters degree. I will try very hard to post the best information I can give.

-MiamiHurricanes09


Thank You and "Welcome to the Boards" we are glade you chose to be here...

Taco :0)
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Quoting Floodman:


Have you watched the motion on this storm over the last 12 hours or so? They're watching it hon, but only as an outside chance...


Yes I have, and again very interesting! Just caught my attention that our local Mets must now be picking up on something...Wish I knew what it was :)
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Hey,

We Missed Bill,

Now We Miss Erika,

Please a Hurricane, Please !!!!
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This sure is one covert operation Mother Nature is springing on us. She keeping Erika on the low down out of the typical steering dynamics just showing how defiant weather can behave.
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I believe that if Erika is strong and is able to make it pass PR, then we have a different scenario I trully see a NW track along the hispanola North coast, which will put S.florida and most of the east coast in danger
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Good Evening!

I am brand new to Weather Underground and I would enjoy very much to get acquainted with you guys. I am studying tropical meteorology at the University of Miami, and i am striving for my masters degree. I will try very hard to post the best information I can give.

-MiamiHurricanes09

Love to hear your thoughts on this weird storm called Erica!!!
Member Since: February 14, 2004 Posts: 2 Comments: 664
Quoting DataPilot:
Squak - I am a paying member. No other site I visit is doing this. Happens when I come on here, or hit refresh. Have run system checks - nothing.

Every time I click or refresh on this site only - McAfee alerts that it blocked a trojan... I have cleared cache - it's really getting irritating...

Ditto. I'm a paying member and have the most current virus signatures updated on my machine. McAfee keeps blocking JS/Exploit-Packed.c.gen. This is the one and only website that is affected.


That trojan was just discovered today. Check McAfee for an updated DAT file 5728.

From the McAfee site info


1 - 3 of about 26 results

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JS/Exploit-Packed.c.gen
Trojan Discovered : 09/02/2009,Risk: Low

vil.nai.com/vil/content/v_218755.htm - 31k - Cached


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best thing to do is wait for the 5Pm advisory which will be out within the hour and wait and see what the HH found and take it from there
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The center beneath the convection mass seems to be the predominant one, because the surface convergence is more prevalent and intense near it. It is also closer to the upper level ridge axis that has been enhancing convection over the past few days.

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Quoting TexasHurricane:


Welcome!! Erika is being difficult to figure out. Got any thoughts on her?
thank you, currently Erika is moving westward at around 8 or so MPH, if she does not begin to start to move WNW she could become a problem for the US coast, for now she is a little to unpredictable to give you a very accurate forecast, but if you live on the eastern U.S coast i believe you should continue to monitor the progress of Erika... Other than that the Antilles, Virgin Islands, Leeward islands, and Puerto Rico will most like recieve some strong gusts and a lot of rainfall over the next 72 hours, imo
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The 4PM update I sent out...

The organization of Erika has continued to deteriorate this afternoon as the low level center of circulation has raced west out ahead of the deep thunderstorm activity to its east. The overall circulation has been elongated in an oval shape from west to east, which is not favorable for a storm to strengthen. Given its current state of organization, it is quite possible that Erika may be downgraded this evening back to a remnant low.

Dry mid-level air and some moderate 15 knots of wind shear have combined to cause the weakening in Erika. Some forecast models continue to show significant intensification into a hurricane, while others now dissipate the storm within 24 hours. The models have not performed well with this system, as the lack of good upper air data over the oceans has caused the models not to show shear that was present and also significant dry air.

Further complicating the forecast is the southern shift in the models, now making it likely that what remains of Erika will pass close or over Puerto Rico or Hispaniola. Obviously, land interaction with a system so weak would likely lead to dissipation.

I don't have a strong feeling for what this system will do, other than I believe it will head further south than the NHC was forecasting previously.
Quoting jipmg:


That makes no sense? There is ouflow coming out of the ball and over the center causing "easterly" shear, and the storms were sucked towards the east, not ripped off..


Exactly...the outflow is caused by favorable shear conditions.
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Quoting F5Tornado:


Sure, you want the NOAA NHC GRaphics? Or wind shear, or try this:

National Hurricane Center
Link
Stormpulse Hurricane tracking:
Link
Or even try this, its very handy:
http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/tropic2/real-time/windmain.php?&basin=atlantic&sat=wg8&prod= sht&zoom=&ti me=
Wind shear tracking, thanks to a good freind. Anyway, hope you like the links!


Thanks! :)
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http://www.stormpulse.com/
I just came across this website. Just wanted to share it. Dont know if it had been on here before. The activity for anything this year has not met its expectations.
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If I can throw my own theory out here, I think we're seeing a mini fujiwhara effect with the LLC that raced out now slipping south as it rotates around the larger cyclonic circulation. I think the HHs found another vortex underneath the convection, but everything is rotating around the actual low pressure center (which was picked out by the HH to be east of the 'naked' LLC).

We'll have to see if that's the actual case, but with the naked LLC slipping to the south, it lends credence to the idea of multiple vortices swirling around a larger cyclonic circulation.
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Quoting hurricanehanna:
Flood - thanks! Don't know why I said Press -
ya'll are both sweet guys!


My pleasure, hanna...
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Looks like Erika doesnt like the NHC and experts telling her where she cant go.
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Well - since she's so unpredictable using modern forecasting tools - we could by the Farmer's Almanac...it says that the Northern GOM states can expect a hurricane between Sept. 26-28. Probably not Erika...
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Quoting justalurker:


really no one knows at this time, just be patient, no need to worry, it's still far away to be concerned..basically what i can understand is that everyone here is trying to find where the center of circulation is located based on the model runs..i am no expert but i sit back and listen to all opinions and facts that are given.


Oh I don't worry. I have been through alot of storms, and really don't get worried until something is 3 days out and still headed in my direction. I am merely trying to learn, but this storm is keeping me confussed. Erika is giving everyone a run for their money. Very interesting!

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In my honest unscientific prediction, I'm thinking Erika will likely drift over Hispanola, especially if the center relocates
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Quoting cajunmoma:


Am trying to learn as always...but I gotta say I'm veeerryyy confussed?? And to add to it, I just heard on the local radio station that they were watching Erika? First time I have heard them mention it? Some have said it could end up in the GOM, others say it won't??


Have you watched the motion on this storm over the last 12 hours or so? They're watching it hon, but only as an outside chance...
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the biggest issue for Erika is the anticyclone being displaced, it is creating havoc on the system
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Good Evening!

I am brand new to Weather Underground and I would enjoy very much to get acquainted with you guys. I am studying tropical meteorology at the University of Miami, and i am striving for my masters degree. I will try very hard to post the best information I can give.

-MiamiHurricanes09

Welcome Valuable information is very needed with this storm
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Quoting TexasHurricane:
Can someone post a picture of the full Atlantic? Thanks!


Sure, you want the NOAA NHC GRaphics? Or wind shear, or try this:

National Hurricane Center
Link
Stormpulse Hurricane tracking:
Link
Or even try this, its very handy:
http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/tropic2/real-time/windmain.php?&basin=atlantic&sat=wg8&prod=sht&zoom=&ti me=
Wind shear tracking, thanks to a good freind. Anyway, hope you like the links!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
102. jipmg
Quoting WPBHurricane05:


There is little shear. Dry air is whats causing all the problems.


That makes no sense? There is ouflow coming out of the ball and over the center causing "easterly" shear, and the storms were sucked towards the east, not ripped off..
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Quoting cchsweatherman:


Thats for sure man. This has been really testing me and pretty much all forecasters out there. Right now, I'm starting to become more confident that this will not curve north like a few models still believe. Its just too weak to feel any deep layered steering currents.

But of course, still without a definitive center and with how unpredictable this storm has already been, I could be wrong and anything could happen. This has been such a wacky storm.
this has been the hurricane season that disturbances and storms have had a hard time developing
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Good Evening!

I am brand new to Weather Underground and I would enjoy very much to get acquainted with you guys. I am studying tropical meteorology at the University of Miami, and i am striving for my masters degree. I will try very hard to post the best information I can give.

-MiamiHurricanes09


Welcome!! Erika is being difficult to figure out. Got any thoughts on her?
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Quoting AllStar17:
The NHC should take the NW turn out at the next update, and should maintain a WNW motion through 5 days.

CCHS, That would make a whole new ballgame.

If anyone is trying to learn how to forecast, use this storm, because pretty much anything could happen!


Thats for sure man. This has been really testing me and pretty much all forecasters out there. Right now, I'm starting to become more confident that this will not curve north like a few models still believe. Its just too weak to feel any deep layered steering currents.

But of course, still without a definitive center and with how unpredictable this storm has already been, I could be wrong and anything could happen. This has been such a wacky storm.
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to reinterate what is going on.
* no one knows where its going
* no one knows where the center is
* No one knows ?????
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My quote feature is not working, neither is my Modify Comment.

85. Well, if it does, lets hope shear is not favorable, or else, if this storm makes it, it would intensify under fav. conditions.
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Quoting jipmg:


Quoting myself, anyone notice how the storms that were on the center were sucked into that ball of convection?


There is little shear. Dry air is whats causing all the problems.
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Flood - thanks! Don't know why I said Press -
ya'll are both sweet guys!
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Good Evening!

I am brand new to Weather Underground and I would enjoy very much to get acquainted with you guys. I am studying tropical meteorology at the University of Miami, and i am striving for my masters degree. I will try very hard to post the best information I can give.

-MiamiHurricanes09
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Quoting cajunmoma:


Am trying to learn as always...but I gotta say I'm veeerryyy confussed?? And to add to it, I just heard on the local radio station that they were watching Erika? First time I have heard them mention it? Some have said it could end up in the GOM, others say it won't??


really no one knows at this time, just be patient, no need to worry, it's still far away to be concerned..basically what i can understand is that everyone here is trying to find where the center of circulation is located based on the model runs..i am no expert but i sit back and listen to all opinions and facts that are given.
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The fact that we can't even tell where the center is right now tells you all we need to know. The odds are against this thing even surviving a trip through the islands.
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89. IKE
Quoting Hurricane009:
Ericka may look bad but not as bad as it did earlier.


It looked worse than this????>>>>>>>>



Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Quoting jipmg:
If thats the center, then why isnt convection wrapping around it?? There is barely any shear there


Quoting myself, anyone notice how the storms that were on the center were sucked into that ball of convection?
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It came out at 11 this morning but,

TCFA in Western Pacific

TCFA graphic

Satellite loop
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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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