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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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: 37858
2586. JRRP
...SUMMARY OF 800 AM AST INFORMATION...
LOCATION...16.9N 63.1W
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...40 MPH
PRESENT MOVEMENT...WEST-NORTHWEST OR 295 DEGREES AT 7 MPH
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1008 MB
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2585. scCane
That to XD 2573
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Quoting leftovers:
i'll be grey haired by then. oh oh already a grey ghost. hey did your character stay at a holiday inn last night?
although a TS is highly unlikely.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting StormW:


Well, just looked at the shear forecast...she gonna be like a pop tart...headed for the toaster.


Yeah wind shear has increased to Erikas northwest. Though if the anticyclone moves northwest into that area of high wind shear, shouldn't it destroy it? Still learning here :)
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7396
06z GFDL and HWRF making it a impressive cane as it nears the Southern Bahamas...
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Florida will most likely be affected by either a TS or a tropical wave, lets wait and see.


doesnt matter on intensity? even a cat 1 or 2, which might not even happen, i know..
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2578. 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
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Good Morning....

Erika relocating?


95L????
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2575. Dakster
Quoting lurkn4yrs:


I know I didn't really want to mention it since some people around here will bite your head off or call you a caster..LOL.. But I was reading about the details of the storm last night. All i can say is interesting.


It isn't my favorite storm to be reminded of. I won't bite your head off for saying it. Especially since that is a good example of a storm that looked like it wasn't going to make it and then became a really powerful storm that destroyed alot of "lives". I was living in South Dade at the time.

Just like Patrap likes to hear the word "Katrina" mentioned!
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2574. RJT185
Good Morning!
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The question is not can she sustain her convection as she has been able to the last 48 hours, the question now becomes will she stay under the strongest convection?
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2572. WxLogic
Good morning...
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 4977
Quoting StormW:


Good morning!


Morning StormW, what's your take on Erika this morning and the anticyclone that is now moving NW?
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7396
Quoting DaytonaBeachWatcher:


Florida will probably be affected either way, just wont be much to it.
Florida will most likely be affected by either a TS or a tropical wave, lets wait and see.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Good morning all!
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good morning storm.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
If Erika can make it without becoming a remnant low before 3 days, I would think that Florida will be affected by Erika.


Florida will probably be affected either way, just wont be much to it.
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Quoting reedzone:
Just noticed something.. The anticyclone is now moving NW, this could deteriorate the 30-40 knots of wind shear and a new ballgame could be in game. Something else to think about this morning. Erika may actually be setting up for intensification if the anticyclone continues to move NW. Maybe this is what the 06Z NOGAPS is also showing as well as the hurricane center models.
That is true...The 00z NOGAPS intensity is dead on if what you wrote is correct, but the track is a little off because I don't think it will curve because according to the NOGAPS it has winds of 42 knots and that is not strong enough to be in the steering layer that will curve Erika.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
2564. scCane
Erika has always had convection blows ups at night the question for today is can she keep it throughout the day.
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Quoting Dakster:


I was afarid you were going to say that... Andrew formed in an El Nino Year, not unlike this El Nino Year... (Not wanting or saying that this COULD happen - just an observation)


I know I didn't really want to mention it since some people around here will bite your head off or call you a caster..LOL.. But I was reading about the details of the storm last night. All i can say is interesting.
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Quoting hunkerdown:
that would be the obvious one she was referring to...I believe Jeanne was knocked down pretty bad after skirting Hispaniola then reintensified into a 3.


Katrina looked even worse before it spun by the Bahamas. I guess that's a slightly different example though.

Another coming to mind is Gustav, it nearly impaled itself on Hispaniola before jumping into the bath water. And we all know what happened from there.
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Quoting Weather456:


the flood watches are being taken seriously. I don't how much businesses will operate under those conditions.
BE SAFE, now go do your 8am update so i can catch up on atlantic storms..
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Just noticed something.. The anticyclone is now moving NW, this could deteriorate the 30-40 knots of wind shear and a new ballgame could be in game. Something else to think about this morning. Erika may actually be setting up for intensification if the anticyclone continues to move NW. Maybe this is what the 06Z NOGAPS is also showing as well as the hurricane center models.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7396
Quoting hunkerdown:
oh, and morning feisty ;)




Morning to you.. And you love it...lol
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.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting robie1conobie:
It looks like that trough over fl. is moving on finally. Anyone think it will miss erika all together?
If Erika can make it without becoming a remnant low before 3 days, I would think that Florida will be affected by Erika.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting hunkerdown:
that would be the obvious one she was referring to...I believe Jeanne was knocked down pretty bad after skirting Hispaniola then reintensified into a 3.


i'm glad you are a mind reader..can you tell me what erika will be in 24hrs? J/K
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Quoting StormHunter89:


How long is it going to be there? she's moving slow.


It's 30 knts.
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Anticyclone to the southeast of Erika's center of circulation:
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Good Morning...Erika is definately full of suprises...Hot sun here in Trinidad...how are things further up the islands?
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Quoting justalurker:
i can name one of my head "ANDREW"




That's what I meant about the obvious one.. LOL..
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2551. Dakster
Quoting justalurker:
i can name one of my head "ANDREW"


I was afarid you were going to say that... Andrew formed in an El Nino Year, not unlike this El Nino Year... (Not wanting or saying that this COULD happen - just an observation)
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Erika moving WNW and is increasing its convection considerably, I think the NHC is being very premature with this becoming a remnant low in 3 days. If Erika moves morth of the Dominican Republic the NHC will be dead wrong with their current intensity cone.


I dont mean to "beat a dead horse" but she hasnt done well during DMIN, so i agree with their advisory, will just to wait and see if she can make it today
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It looks like that trough over fl. is moving on finally. Anyone think it will miss erika all together?
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Quoting lurkn4yrs:
Good morning everyone.. One question how many storms have actually turned into hurricanes after looking like this besides the obvious one.
oh, and morning feisty ;)
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Quoting Weather456:


earlier we has some gust blowing leaves around and a shower but now its overcast and still. The bulk of the rain is ever so slowing inching towards us.


Good morning 456... we're just waiting for the rain now as well. Gusty winds at the moment.
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Quoting justalurker:


is it like business as usual there, are people taking the warnings seriously?


the flood watches are being taken seriously. I don't how much businesses will operate under those conditions.
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Quoting BenBIogger:
40 KTS of shear ahead of erika.


How long is it going to be there? she's moving slow.
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The fact that the center is not exposed makes Erika a better storm, but shear is higher. It should take its toll today, but tomorrow or Saturday may be a whole new story as it could enter that area of favorable conditions near the Bahamas. The 06Z NOGAPS sees this and foms Erika near Hurricane status steering northward up the coastline.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7396
Quoting justalurker:
i can name one of my head "ANDREW"
that would be the obvious one she was referring to...I believe Jeanne was knocked down pretty bad after skirting Hispaniola then reintensified into a 3.
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Quoting JRRP:
Erika moving WNW and is increasing its convection considerably, I think the NHC is being very premature with this becoming a remnant low in 3 days. If Erika moves north of the Dominican Republic the NHC will be dead wrong with their current intensity cone.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Morning all. Report from the mountains in Dominica. 3.95" of rain. No storm force winds that I noticed but some very intense thunder & lightning at times. Still raining steadily with what little breeze there is from the SE.
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Fairly strong circulation currently over the islands according to the Martinique radar. THis corresponds to the heaviest areas of convection. If this is the center which won out, Erika now is fully dressed.
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Quoting justalurker:


good morning miami,

i see you are a up early, getting addicted to this blog huh..?




That's easy to do.. LOL..Last thing i do before I get to bed first thing in the morning...
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2537. Dakster
Looks like Erika turned on her windshear wipers.

Not giving up on trying to get herself together...

In My Amatuer Weather Opinion:

As far as splitting into two... Anything is possible, but if Erika were to split into two it is going to have a "fujiwara affect" and I don't think that both stomrs would survive because of the already hostile environment. One of two things happen and this may be why we don't have multiple storms. The first is that the larger storm absorbs the smaller storm (I think this is happening and why the center keeps "jumping). The other is that they rotate around each other... Wiki has a very good article on the "Fujiwara Affect".
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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.