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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2637. MahFL
If you look carefully the 40 kts of shear is pretty small, mostly Erika is in 25 kts, which can still allow slow strengthning, or at least able to maintain it's self. Later who knows what might happen ?
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Different view of the QuikScat pass from the EUMETSAT Ocean and Sea Ice Wind Processing Center.
I don't know why their processing of the data shows a somewhat different view, it may be due to a slightly
different automatic algorithm. Anyway, it shows a "trough" like appearance extending to the southwest
from the LLC, which can also be seen in the Manati QuikScat plot.

Click on image to view original size in a new window



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reed i agree, it's definatly getting better organized...this could be one of those storms that won't make up it's mind till it hits those sts's...granted it's in some warm waters now but just wait......think this could be one of those (pop-tart) storms.....lol love the way stormW put it......kinda like.....suprise!!!
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if erika continues moving WNW it will only clip puerto rico and have more time over water, does anyone know if the NHC has noticed this info before putting out the 8Am advisory, seems to me erika is getting its act together
Member Since: July 14, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 3029
Quoting cchsweatherman:


Based upon the most recent QuikSCAT (just about a half hour ago) and the early visible satellite imagery that both you guys have posted, it would appear that it has finally come to an agreement with itself as to where it will establish its low-level circulation center. It appears to be somewhat better organized than previously thought based upon that QuikSCAT data. Will be interesting to see whether or not this will bring back life to the system and whether or not this needed organization has happened a little too late. Even though the current forecast calls for this storm to degenerate, I'm not going to agree with that for right now given this new organization.


based on projected path, NHC has erika TS for 6 more hours, becoming a L in 12hrs, will see what 11am or 2pm advisory data shows..
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Quoting cchsweatherman:


Based upon the most recent QuikSCAT (just about a half hour ago) and the early visible satellite imagery that both you guys have posted, it would appear that it has finally come to an agreement with itself as to where it will establish its low-level circulation center. It appears to be somewhat better organized than previously thought based upon that QuikSCAT data. Will be interesting to see whether or not this will bring back life to the system and whether or not this needed organization has happened a little too late. Even though the current forecast calls for this storm to degenerate, I'm not going to agree with that for right now given this new organization.


Whats your take on the NW movement of the anticyclone on CIMMS? It seems to be splitting the 20-40 knots wind shear in half.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7438
2631. IKE
Winds from 10 minutes ago at Guadeloupe...Wind: 8 mph from the SE


Winds from 10 minutes ago at Antigua/Barbuda...Wind: 2 mph from the East



Erika is hours away from being downgraded.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
I do think she is a depression right now. Starting from ground zero this morning.
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the center is still pretty well defined hmm no its not not any more that is from the nhc


SURFACE CIRCULATION
IS AT BEST POORLY-DEFINE
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I agree!!
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The fact that the anticyclone has started a NW movement, splitting the high wind shear shows me that I shouldn't write Erika off.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7438
Quoting stormpetrol:

I know this was posted earlier but the center is still pretty well defined.
Quoting reedzone:


That center is inside convection showing that Erika is a bit more organized then what people think, including the NHC.



Based upon the most recent QuikSCAT (just about a half hour ago) and the early visible satellite imagery that both you guys have posted, it would appear that it has finally come to an agreement with itself as to where it will establish its low-level circulation center. It appears to be somewhat better organized than previously thought based upon that QuikSCAT data. Will be interesting to see whether or not this will bring back life to the system and whether or not this needed organization has happened a little too late. Even though the current forecast calls for this storm to degenerate, I'm not going to agree with that for right now given this new organization.
Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5169
Quoting Cotillion:
Is Erika stacked by now though? Last time I heard it wasn't.


Looking at RGB, she is. I don't see any circulation outside of the convection. I do see the circulation becoming better defined though.
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00
WTNT41 KNHC 030836
TCDAT1
TROPICAL STORM ERIKA DISCUSSION NUMBER 7
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL062009
500 AM AST THU SEP 03 2009

ALTHOUGH THE HURRICANE HUNTERS FIXED A FLIGHT-LEVEL CENTER...THERE
ARE A FAIR NUMBER OF SURFACE OBSERVATIONS OVER THE NORTHEASTERN
CARIBBEAN SEA REGION...AND THESE SHOW THAT THE SURFACE CIRCULATION
IS AT BEST POORLY-DEFINED. THE SYSTEM MAY BE OPENING UP INTO A
TROUGH
ORIENTED FROM SOUTH-SOUTHWEST TO NORTH-NORTHEAST. THERE
WERE A FEW 34 TO 37-KT SFMR SURFACE WIND READINGS SOME 40-75 N MI
NORTH AND NORTHEAST OF THE FLIGHT-LEVEL CENTER...SO THE INTENSITY
IS MAINTAINED AT 35 KT. EVEN THOUGH THERE MAY NO LONGER BE A
DEFINITE SURFACE CENTER OF CIRCULATION...WE WILL MAINTAIN
ADVISORIES ON THE SYSTEM PENDING ADDITIONAL DATA FROM THE
RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT AND VISIBLE IMAGERY.
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Is Erika stacked by now though? Last time I heard it wasn't.
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Quoting FLGatorCaneNut:


Maybe you meant the Who ????


no you what i meant 'U'= UNDERESTIMATE!!
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Quoting caneluver:
Well, it looks as if everyone is calling for RIP for Erica. Even stormw said it was toast. I myself will never wright a storm off until it's official


I personally think she has one more trick up her sleeve. GFDL & HWRF, together, ya have to give them some respect.
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Quoting reedzone:


That center is inside convection showing that Erika is a bit more organized then what people think, including the NHC.


Exactly!
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


That center is inside convection showing that Erika is a bit more organized then what people think, including the NHC.

Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7438

I know this was posted earlier but the center is still pretty well defined.
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2617. rs985
Wow, looks like Erika's not giving up yet.

btw, what's the forecast for that stationary front that's draped off the east coast and into the Gulf of Mexico? Will it still be there when Erika's takes her turn towards the north and help deflect it from coming onshore in the mid-atlantic?
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Quoting TheDawnAwakening:
Quickscat shows a closed well defined surface circulation close to the deep convection.
so if that is the case what is the problem ????????
Member Since: July 14, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 3029
Quoting justalurker:
ohhhh and one other important factor, Monday night at 8pm in Tallahassee ...all about the "U"..back to the tropics.


Maybe you meant the Who ????
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2613. Relix
Reporting from North Puerto Rico! (Morning StormW!)

1. Schools close at midday
2. Government closes at 2Pm
3. My father has to work today, tomorrow and Saturday nonstop. Yes, 72 hours. He works at the Electric Power company here as a supervisor.
4. I see a dark omnious cloud over here. haha.
5. StormW's statement on Erika strengthening scares me lol.
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Quickscat shows a closed well defined surface circulation close to the deep convection.
Member Since: October 21, 2008 Posts: 248 Comments: 3970
Quoting masonsnana:

Are u seeing wsw?? Just looked at the unenhanced IR, jogging south again maybe??

not wsw, just barely moving west, then again i could be wrong the quickscat suggest around 16.5/63
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Quoting IKE:
Erika centered at 16.9N and 63.1W.

St. Kitts is at 17.3N and 62.7W, or 24 miles NE of the NHC coordinates.

Note their winds and pressure....

"St. Kitts, K1 (Airport)
Updated: 44 min 1 sec ago
Mostly Cloudy
79 �F
Mostly Cloudy
Humidity: 89%
Dew Point: 75 �F
Wind: 9 mph from the East
Pressure: 29.86 in (Rising)

Visibility: 6.2 miles
UV: 1 out of 16
Clouds:
Few 700 ft
Scattered Clouds 4000 ft
Mostly Cloudy 10000 ft
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 157 ft"


Multi-platform winds from RAMMB have decreased significantly. Back down to where she started from.

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2609. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
good morning all i see the e storm still there lookin better than i expected this am but that is all going to change today by the end of the day there should not be much left of her
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 186 Comments: 57778
Quoting stormpetrol:
Good Morning. i'm sorry I just don't see a wnw movement.

Are u seeing wsw?? Just looked at the unenhanced IR, jogging south again maybe??
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Quoting TheCaneWhisperer:


The HWRF I understand but, the GFDL? I am puzzled. I haven't looked yet this morning but I assume it is still battling a couple LLC's. This is what kept Ernesto from intensifying once off Cuba back in the day. Maybe the lower circulation gets dragged over the mountains and allows the northern circulation to flourish? Still the shear to deal with though. Could her hindrance be her best friend down the road?

Morning SJ! Morning All.


I'm wondering if both models are doing it because of the anticyclone. Pure conjecture, but if it is moving NW, that would mean it'd pop out over the Bahamas (eventually). Which could explain how Erika suddenly bombs over no shear/hot waters.

Or maybe that's just too complicated... It is a long shot. (maybe the anticyclone dissipates.)
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Quoting StormJunkie:
06z GFDL and HWRF making it a impressive cane as it nears the Southern Bahamas...


The HWRF I understand but, the GFDL? I am puzzled. I haven't looked yet this morning but I assume it is still battling a couple LLC's. This is what kept Ernesto from intensifying once off Cuba back in the day. Maybe the lower circulation gets dragged over the mountains and allows the northern circulation to flourish? Still the shear to deal with though. Could her hindrance be her best friend down the road?

Morning SJ! Morning All.
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2603. KBH
great work by Herbert. That was backin the 70's but systems are more rapidly intensifying now, so there is a posibility that it could happen to a storm...
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Good Morning. i'm sorry I just don't see a wnw movement.
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ohhhh and one other important factor, Monday night at 8pm in Tallahassee ...all about the "U"..back to the tropics.
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2600. IKE
Erika centered at 16.9N and 63.1W.

St. Kitts is at 17.3N and 62.7W, or 24 miles NE of the NHC coordinates.

Note their winds and pressure....

"St. Kitts, K1 (Airport)
Updated: 44 min 1 sec ago
Mostly Cloudy
79 F
Mostly Cloudy
Humidity: 89%
Dew Point: 75 F
Wind: 9 mph from the East
Pressure: 29.86 in (Rising)

Visibility: 6.2 miles
UV: 1 out of 16
Clouds:
Few 700 ft
Scattered Clouds 4000 ft
Mostly Cloudy 10000 ft
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 157 ft"
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Good Morning Everyone! Our little Erika seems to be hanging in there!
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Thats pretty much what i just said.
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Quoting viequessun:
stormw good morning will you give us a updated we are here in Puerto Rico and we are confused about the news here in the island about the future 24 hours.

Thanks
Quoting KBH:
any further thoughts about the storm splitting into two systems,noaa website has a word called 'splitting storms', can't seem to find anystorms that did that in the past

Thank you, I asked this last night if 2 storms ever split from one?? I never got a response so thought it was a stupit question LOL
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2596. Dakster
This may have been answered, but Hebert's boxes only apply to Hurricanes, and I believe strong to Major Hurricanes. Therefore, Erika does not "count".
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Quoting StormW:


Good morning!
stormw good morning will you give us a updated we are here in Puerto Rico and we are confused about the news here in the island about the future 24 hours.

Thanks
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Quoting Cotillion:
Think the main questions would be...

Can it actually keep its centre under the convection? And the most strong convection. Unlike Ana which just couldn't really make any, Erika's having little problems.

Plus, can it survive the increasing wind shear as well as possible interaction with Hispaniola. Storms 10x stronger than Erika can die over those mountains.

If there's something left by the time it reaches the T&C/Bahamas area, then it could get interesting. Or it may not.

Maybe Erika will massively relocate and the entire forecast ends up changing, who knows.


the main question for me is, if erika is going to ruin my golf day on monday morning?
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2593. KBH
any further thoughts about the storm splitting into two systems,noaa website has a word called 'splitting storms', can't seem to find anystorms that did that in the past
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2592. Dakster
It's hard to read "body language" on a blog, however, I've been able to figure out that StormW doesn't take forecasting just as a job.

More of an enjoyable hobby of weather/storm forcasting. Kind of like how a fisherman goes fishing every chance he/she gets. (Mobilegirl - feel free to jump in about this)

I mention this because, I've noticed that he will be up all night answering questions on the blog and then he is back at it again early in the morning. and in between does a very neat and detailed analysis of weather patterns affecting any type of "weather" in the Atlantic.

Dr. M has a love of weather too - He runs this blog, chimes in when neccessary and updates his blog often. He, too, supports his opinions with facts and cites. (Unlike you know who, who just cuts and pastes into the blog)

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Think the main questions would be...

Can it actually keep its centre under the convection? And the most strong convection. Unlike Ana which just couldn't really make any, Erika's having little problems.

Plus, can it survive the increasing wind shear as well as possible interaction with Hispaniola. Storms 10x stronger than Erika can die over those mountains.

If there's something left by the time it reaches the T&C/Bahamas area, then it could get interesting. Or it may not.

Maybe Erika will massively relocate and the entire forecast ends up changing, who knows. She is a jumpy character.
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Quoting StormW:


Good morning!




Good morning to you Sir..
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2589. IKE
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 40 MPH...65 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS. GRADUAL WEAKENING IS LIKELY DURING THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Quoting Rlennon:
Just a quick note, Is this storm right in the middle of "The HebertBox", and does anyone have some updated data for the last couple of year for storms in this area and there tracks. And does it have to be a hurricane or just a TS?


Thanks Richard

Yep...its in a herbert box
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2587. IKE
...DISORGANIZED ERIKA CENTERED JUST SOUTHWEST OF ST. KITTS...MOVING WEST-NORTHWESTWARD...
8:00 AM AST Thu Sep 3
Location: 16.9°N 63.1°W
Max sustained: 40 mph
Moving: WNW at 7 mph
Min pressure: 1008 mb
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860

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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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