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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It came out at 11 this morning but,

TCFA in Western Pacific

TCFA graphic

Satellite loop
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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!


I agree. I like the NHC track, minus the NW bend. TCVN looks good, GFDL is a little south, Blend of the two IMO. Erika should remain rather weak at least to the Central Bahama's, if it even makes it there.
Erika = Expect the Unexpected

Right, Seflhurricane
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Squak - I was wrong...it's still happening.

Press - thanks - I'll try it! :)
Member Since: September 5, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 3488
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!


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??
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Quoting BoroDad17:
The HH give Vortex message, which doesn't match the NHC 2:00pm fix, which doesn't match Dr. M's analysis of the center... Three different experts giving three different opinions of the current position, and that doesn't even get into where it is going and how strong it is going to be. This is amazing to watch, I am fascinated how complex Erika is, even for the pros. Of course, further highlights the humor in all the "I am sure it is going _____" thrown around.


It seems to me that finding the truth about the center's location is like locating the truth about the Healthcare Reform Bill - it depends which expert you listen to
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Quoting Seastep:
14 Floodman - BINGO!

Victoria Crater, if I remember. If you look at the big pic, it kind of looks like a face. Liked it, so use it. :)


Outstanding...my cardboard cookie prize is in the mail, I suppose? LOL

The Mars rover thing was my first thought, but then I Meteor Crater in sepiatone popped into my head...Nice pic, certainly!
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Quoting IKE:
My current expectation is that Erika will dissipate on Saturday when it encounters Hispaniola.

Probably the best call.
right now i can expect the unexpected this storm is confusing everyone even the pros
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Its not even a guarantee it will ever encounter Hispaniola.
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Quoting TexasHurricane:
Can someone post a picture of the full Atlantic? Thanks!


Link

i like this one
Member Since: August 18, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 157
Quoting justalurker:
i like to see what's going to happen during dmax, if she is going to blow up like last night!!

YES
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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.
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69. IKE
My current expectation is that Erika will dissipate on Saturday when it encounters Hispaniola.

Probably the best call.
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squish 66, I see the same thing as you, I asked that at the end of last blog, guess it got missed.
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i like to see what's going to happen during dmax, if she is going to blow up like last night!!

Member Since: August 18, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 157
is convection starting to build around the coc?
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African wave about to emerge looks very good. Fred may be in a couple days. Hard to believe we had zilch the first two months, and now we are up to Erika.
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HWRF

LOL!!!
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BOY SOME PEOPLE JUST ARE STUBBORN!! WHAT WAS I SAYING BEFORE? SORRY FOR THE CAPS "RUSHING" GOTTA GO BE BACK LATER.
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Squak - Firefox -
but I think it just stopped. I saw a few others in the prior blog having similar issues.
Oh well - it's gone.
Thanks for the help :)
Member Since: September 5, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 3488
Can someone post a picture of the full Atlantic? Thanks!
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Quoting robinvtx1215:
they are back, those crazy people again
which are ???
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Quoting hurricanehanna:
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.


You're using IE? If so you don;t have a full blown install of the trojan...the first thing it does is keep you from getting out with IE (aside fromn making sure you can't do a "real" scan with your VS software...). Check your WUMail...taking this out of the blog **sound of loud applause**
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HIall!

I have noticed that Enrika might become a larger storm, but it currently is in a bad situation due to windshear. The 20knot windshear ahead of it is most likely it own, but still its in 10knots windshear, although that will go away later on. The shear that the storm is moving into is increasing slightly.


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Has a storm ever split in two and formed two distinct cyclones? The western swirl/center is developing convection, at the same time the main area of activity looks to be rotating separately but back south and east ??
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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!
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So much for the ECMWF being king.
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If thats the center, then why isnt convection wrapping around it?? There is barely any shear there
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they are back, those crazy people again
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Quoting watchingnva:


another name...imagine that...

Believe me my friend I am not JFV/WS
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Quoting stormpetrol:
I think the winds will be upgraded to 45-50mph at 5pm, jmo.
unlikely because of the state of organization lets wait for dmax tonight to see if it can reorganize
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Quoting hurricanehanna:
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.


Don't know what else to tell you. If no one else is having the problem, it has to be something unique to your system. What browser are you using?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Seastep:
14 Floodman - BINGO!

Victoria Crater, if I remember. If you look at the big pic, it kind of looks like a face. Liked it, so use it. :)


Yep as imaged by the rover Opportunity here is a giant panorama of the same image

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap071022.html
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That swirl though naked has become more vigorous and better defined in the last 2 hours imo, the blob is still playing catch up.
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8134
That new wave about to come Africa should declared an Invest as soon as it hits water...run the loop and you'll see that it's more organised than Erika...at least the CoC in enbedded in the middle on the convection :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The HH give Vortex message, which doesn't match the NHC 2:00pm fix, which doesn't match Dr. M's analysis of the center... Three different experts giving three different opinions of the current position, and that doesn't even get into where it is going and how strong it is going to be. This is amazing to watch, I am fascinated how complex Erika is, even for the pros. Of course, further highlights the humor in all the "I am sure it is going _____" thrown around.
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Quoting WeatherStudent:
Thank you, Dr M.! You're the best, :)
how was your little break from the blogs
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i am looking at the visible images loop and the vortex the HH indicates is very hard to see
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Quoting WINDSMURF:
I still think that JFV/WS is the only one that can come up with an accurate forecast. What do you think?


another name...imagine that...
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Quoting TheCaneWhisperer:
These probably won't be valid very long but here is the 18Z. TCVN has direct impact on PR then onwards WNW missing The DR.



Seems that these keep going south.
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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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