Erika dumping heavy rain on the Lesser Antilles

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:12 PM GMT on September 03, 2009

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Tropical Storm Erika is hanging together despite strong wind shear, and is bringing high winds and much-needed heavy rain to the Lesser Antilles Islands. Winds on the south shore of Dominica Island were sustained at 37 mph this morning, and 8.03" of rain have been measured at the airport over the past two days. Winds and rain at nearby islands have been less, according to our wundermap for the region. The Hurricane Hunters are in the storm now, and have generally encountered top winds of 40 - 45 mph at the surface. They did find one spot of 50 - 65 mph winds, but that was likely due to outflow from a strong thunderstorm, and is not representative of Erika's wind field.


Figure 1. Radar image of Tropical Storm Erika at 9:15am EDT 9/3/09. Image credit: Meteo France.

Erika has improved in organization a bit since last night, but remains weak and disorganized, thanks to about 20 knots of shear at the 200 mb level, as seen on last night's Guadeloupe upper air sounding. Radar animations out of Martinique show plenty of heavy rain moving through the Lesser Antilles, but little organization of the echoes. Satellite imagery shows no low-level spiral bands and little upper-level outflow. Long range radar out of Puerto Rico is beginning to show rain echoes from Erika approaching the island.

The forecast for Erika
The computer models have come into better agreement about the track of Erika, taking the storm west-northwest over Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. This track will take Erika into a band of significantly higher wind shear of 25 - 35 knots, Friday through Saturday. Considering that Erika is barely maintaining itself as a tropical storm with 20 knots of shear, the combined effects of the higher shear and the encounter with the high mountains of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico should be enough to cause Erika to dissipate by Sunday. Erika's remains will still be capable of dumping very heavy rains of 3 - 5 inches over the Dominican Republic and 1 - 3 inches over Haiti and the Southeast Bahamas, due to the slow motion of the storm. By Monday, when the remains of Erika should be over the Bahamas, the storm will have penetrated through the band of high wind shear over the Greater Antilles, and shear may fall low enough for redevelopment of the storm. This is a scenario offered by the NOGAPS model, which then takes Erika northward towards North Carolina. The other models predict quite a bit more shear in the region than the NOGAPS, and any redevelopment of Erika early next week remains an iffy proposition. The GFDL and HWRF models continue to insist that Erika will brush off the high shear this weekend, avoid Hispaniola, and intensify into a Category 2 hurricane five days from now. These models have not been giving enough emphasis to how the current shear is affecting Erika, and are being discounted at this time.

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A number of wunderground users with the McAfee virus protection software installed were alerted yesterday that a possible Trojan virus existed on our web pages. After an investigation of the issue, we have determined that this is a false alarm. It appears McAfee updated their virus files yesterday, and included in their list of suspected viruses JavaScript web pages that are compressed using the packer compression system used by wunderground. We've changed the compression technique used on our web pages, and hopefully this will eliminate the bogus McAfee alert messages.

Elsewhere in the Atlantic
A large, strong tropical wave with plenty of spin emerged from the coast of Africa this morning. The wave is not yet generating much in the way of heavy thunderstorms, but has the potential to gradually develop into a tropical depression by early next week. NHC is giving this wave a low (less than 30% chance) of developing into a tropical depression by Saturday. The GFS model has been consistently developing this wave in its runs over the past few days.

I'll have an update this afternoon.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting AllBoardedUp:
The eye in Ike came right over my house in Hitchcock, across the bay from Galveston (wasn't here, vacated to the Hill Country). It's amazing the surge was that high over in the Golden Triangle. Bridge City has to be 70 to 90 miles from Galveston.


Glad to hear you took the warning and got out of town. How did your house make out?

Golden triangle has a bad setup since it is like a funnel to the gulf and the water really stacks up... My worst nightmare is to have a strong storm hit at High Island.
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masonsnana-
glad to see i'm not crazy. lol! we have a few who agree and see the same thing.
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Out of here, got to go the chiropractor. Nice talking with you Jeffs and Random
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I think the spin in the GOMEX is way up high.
Quoting IKE:


I saw that too. Was going to wait for more convection to die off(which it's doing), before commenting on it.


So, if this LLC is not closed off, then that would certainly be a good sign for those of us wanting this to dissipate, correct? It looks like this could be acting as a conveyor to pull the dry air from the NW into the storm. I hope this thing dies... I am scheduled for a cruise in the Bahamas Monday - Friday...
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Quoting P451:


Yes, but, why not just classify it as a depression, which it might not even be really, and just state that it has gusty winds and flooding rains?

I have had a real time understanding the desire to post such high wind intensities for Danny and now Erika.

Yes, I'm sure if you park right under a specific TStorm you may find a wind gust to TS force.

Yet to me there should be a "percentage of storm" requirement to be met when classifying an entire entity as a 45mph TS. When 99.999% of the area affected by a 45mph TS fails to see sustained winds over 20mph or wind gusts over 30mph I have a really hard time with the logic of naming an entire entity a 45mph TS with gusts to 60.

I just don't like it but then again I never did.

On the one hand I DO understand "Maximum Sustained Winds" and if by chance one person's house gets a 45mph sustained wind and a 60mph gust and the other 99.999% of those affected never get over a 20mph wind gust - then I do understand the logic in wanting to call it a 45mph/60mphG storm.

Yet, I think what would be more proper is to classify this exactly what it is, a 25mph depression (if it's COC even meets the criteria) and just state that..

"In isolated events within the large area of convection wind gusts to 60mph are possible."


--I mean, I know I'm splitting hairs here, and to some degree I just validated WHY they label the intensity of these systems as they do - but I think a more detailed description IS necessary especially in terribly organized storms.

Danny and now Erika show why more detailed descriptions of storm intensity should be required.

Both storms had very light winds except for a precise pinpoint location - of which can't even be verified because they are rain contaminated sectors anyway.


You can't issue a TS warning for a TD. Keep in mind one of the points for a TCFA is whether it is in within xxx miles of a DoD (Department of Defense) resource. There are certain actions governmental agencies can't do to prepare for a tropical cyclone unless a TS warning/watch is put into place. Also, with how unpredictable Erika has been, who is to say it couldn't find some way to suddenly organize into a solid TS?
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5885
Quoting largeeyes:
Woohoo, blog is off the work place blocklist!
They took the entire Internet away from us except for supervisors. It's killing me, and I work 12 hour shifts.
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Quoting IKE:


I saw that too. Was going to wait for more convection to die off(which it's doing), before commenting on it.


Ike you also said this would not hit land and would be out to sea by now....j/k

These things are so hard to figure out....no one ever knows!
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Quoting SomeRandomTexan:


Oh ok.. I guess you know where it is then :D Luckily we were on the Western eyewall of Rita so were spared the surge... amazing wind event though with Rita, never seen anything like it in my life.


Canes are quite a feat, aren't they?

I'm especially interested in tornadoes... they seem to be twice as intense as canes, just lasting less. Reminds anyone of anything? ;)
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 1983
Quoting IKE:


I saw that too. Was going to wait for more convection to die off(which it's doing), before commenting on it.


Ike -- what is your take on Erikas current situation? Do you think she has more suprises in store, or are her party girl days over?
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Woohoo, blog is off the work place blocklist!
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Quoting P451:
24 Hour IR Loops




i see the spin in gom right under miss/ala
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Quoting IKE:


I saw that too. Was going to wait for more convection to die off(which it's doing), before commenting on it.


Hey Ike, sorry about the LLC's earlier today. I totally missed the time on them. Winds are starting to pick up from the SSE on Guadeloupe, though.
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 1983
Quoting SomeRandomTexan:


Oh ok.. I guess you know where it is then :D Luckily we were on the Western eyewall of Rita so were spared the surge... amazing wind event though with Rita, never seen anything like it in my life.
The eye in Ike came right over my house in Hitchcock, across the bay from Galveston (wasn't here, vacated to the Hill Country). It's amazing the surge was that high over in the Golden Triangle. Bridge City has to be 70 to 90 miles from Galveston.
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Quoting futurenavymet:
yeah since we r floridacasters i guess we are like usc every yr thinking they are number one in college football when they have the weakest conference. how bout schedule sec or acc and see if you can beat them then sees whos number one. man ericka is looking like bow echoe. oh i would say for fred anywhere from fl to nc watch out for that one only because the high setup


Gotta include Ohio State....too.....LOL
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Quoting leftovers:
look at the system as a whole definitely some north in it. i find these kind of systems way more interesting that a storm like bill. really gets alot of clicks on the website


Are you the webmaster Admin? If so, Please stop banning me! :D
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 1983
162. IKE
Quoting AbsoluteXer0:
Hey all! First time posting on WU. Here is something I was staring at for about 2 or 3 minutes. I think there is still a strong surface LLC just to the west of the larger area of convection. I have it circled in red in my attached screen cap. Can someone look at the loops and see if I am seeing what I think I am seeing?

Also are there any maps or charts with wind vectors that would correspond to this area I have circled?



I saw that too. Was going to wait for more convection to die off(which it's doing), before commenting on it.
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Quoting serialteg:


Here are your links:

Martinica Radar (good for until it clears the Leewards & Windwards)

Puerto Rico Radar (good for tonight + tomorrow)

Current Conditions for any country worldwide (my areas of interest (Antigua, Guadeloupe) have been updated once hourly)

More Current Conditions (caribbean)


Thank You!!! Still very new at this. The links are always helpful.

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Quoting AllBoardedUp:
I know one Bridge City's football coaches (might be head coach now). His neighbor (I won't mention his name) delivers some chemical the plant I work at and I see him 2-3 times a year. He told me he got 4' of water in his house. Much worse than Rita.


Oh ok.. I guess you know where it is then :D Luckily we were on the Western eyewall of Rita so were spared the surge... amazing wind event though with Rita, never seen anything like it in my life.
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thanks for the update storm hope u feel better :)
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Quoting keys33070:


Please keep us updated


Here are your links:

Martinica Radar (good for until it clears the Leewards & Windwards)

Puerto Rico Radar (good for tonight + tomorrow)

Current Conditions for any country worldwide (my areas of interest (Antigua, Guadeloupe) have been updated once hourly)

More Current Conditions
(caribbean)
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 1983
yeah since we r floridacasters i guess we are like usc every yr thinking they are number one in college football when they have the weakest conference. how bout schedule sec or acc and see if you can beat them then sees whos number one. man ericka is looking like bow echoe. oh i would say for fred anywhere from fl to nc watch out for that one only because the high setup
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Quoting SomeRandomTexan:


Bridge City area.. It is East of you by Orange, it sits on lake Sabine and like Galveston was completely inundated with water.
I know one Bridge City's football coaches (might be head coach now). His neighbor (I won't mention his name) delivers some chemical the plant I work at and I see him 2-3 times a year. He told me he got 4' of water in his house. Much worse than Rita.
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Some 'swirling' in the GOM....

I think Erika is a fighter...looking stronger.

The east side of FLA/GA bears watching as well (not related to Erika).

Nice visuals P451
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Quoting masonsnana:

Been saying that all morning, I didn't get a strong reaction!! Anyone else see this "jog"??


I do
Member Since: June 24, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 487
Hey all! First time posting on WU. Here is something I was staring at for about 2 or 3 minutes. I think there is still a strong surface LLC just to the west of the larger area of convection. I have it circled in red in my attached screen cap. Can someone look at the loops and see if I am seeing what I think I am seeing?

Also are there any maps or charts with wind vectors that would correspond to this area I have circled?

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Quoting AllBoardedUp:
It's a shame you have to put a disclaimer on any opinion on this blog if your not a weather guru, or you will get your head bit off.


This has been especially true the last couple of days
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Quoting sarahjola:
i know this is going to cause a frenzy on here and people are going to get mad, but i see another southerly jog from erika. just my opinion. but if the coc is at 16.9n 63.5w when they issued the latest then it looks as though it has moved a pinch south of that. like i said just opinion

Been saying that all morning, I didn't get a strong reaction!! Anyone else see this "jog"??
Member Since: February 14, 2004 Posts: 2 Comments: 664
Quoting sarahjola:
i know this is going to cause a frenzy on here and people are going to get mad, but i see another southerly jog from erika. just my opinion. but if the coc is at 16.9n 63.5w when they issued the latest then it looks as though it has moved a pinch south of that. like i said just opinion
It's a shame you have to put a disclaimer on any opinion on this blog if your not a weather guru, or you will get your head bit off.
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Quoting sarahjola:
i know this is going to cause a frenzy on here and people are going to get mad, but i see another southerly jog from erika. just my opinion. but if the coc is at 16.9n 63.5w when they issued the latest then it looks as though it has moved a pinch south of that. like i said just opinion


Someone here said in a post "Every post should be made to start "In my humble opinion..." and "I may be wrong, but..." and you reminded me of that hehe.
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 1983
147. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Philippines Atmospherical Geophysical Astronomical Services and Administration

Tropical Storm "LABUYO" has intensified slightly as it continues to move towards Northern Luzon.

Tropical Cyclone Bulletin #4
========================
At 11:00 PM PhST, Tropical Storm Labuyo located at 17.2°N 127.3°E or 540 kms east of Tuguegarao City has 10 minute sustained winds of 75 km/h (40 knots) with gustiness up to 90 km/h (50 knots).

Signal Warnings<
===============================

Signal Warning #1 (30-60 kph winds)

Luzon Region
1.Cagayan
2.Isabela Provinces

Additional Information
======================
This disturbance is expected to enhance the Southwest Monsoon and bring occasional to frequent rains over Luzon and Visayas particularly the western sections.

Residents in low lying areas and near mountain slopes specially the western sections of Southern Luzon and Visayas are advised to take all the necessary precautionary measures against possible flashfloods and landslides.

The public and the disaster coordinating councils concerned are advised to take appropriate actions and watch for the next bulletin to be issued at 5 AM tomorrow.
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Quoting AllBoardedUp:
Where are you?


Bridge City area.. It is East of you by Orange, it sits on lake Sabine and like Galveston was completely inundated with water.
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Quoting serialteg:
Winds picking up in Guadeloupe. At 11AM,

Wind from the S (180 degrees) at 18 MPH (16 KT) gusting to 31 MPH (27 KT)

This could go up to 50 mph gusts, as stronger barbs found in 6AM EST HH pass found SSE winds of that magnitude in the East side of Erik-a.


Please keep us updated
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Quoting P451:
24 Hour IR Loops





Interesting scenario there... Erika looks to be pushing WSW, and the front is dissipating.
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 1983
i know this is going to cause a frenzy on here and people are going to get mad, but i see another southerly jog from erika. just my opinion. but if the coc is at 16.9n 63.5w when they issued the latest then it looks as though it has moved a pinch south of that. like i said just opinion
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Quoting SomeRandomTexan:


much like our local community here
Where are you?
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Quoting AllBoardedUp:
Yes it is. But kind of deceiving as well. A lot of the houses look good on the outside, but are gutted on the inside. But it is all coming along.


much like our local community here
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Quoting Seastep:


Thanks as always.

So, in your opinion, the QS pass this morning is not enough to support a definitive center?



True, it looked real definitive...
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 1983
StormW - Forgot to say "feel better." :)
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Quoting SomeRandomTexan:


That is the beauty of the Woodlands :D
George Mitchell had some great vision. And of course, lots of money!
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Winds picking up in Guadeloupe. At 11AM,

Wind from the S (180 degrees) at 18 MPH (16 KT) gusting to 31 MPH (27 KT)

This could go up to 50 mph gusts, as stronger barbs found in 6AM EST HH pass found SSE winds of that magnitude in the East side of Erik-a.
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 1983
Quoting StormW:
Greetings again!

Hot off the press.

TROPICAL STORM ERIKA SYNOPSIS SEPTEMBER 03, 2009 ISSUED 11:00 A.M. EDT


Thanks as always.

So, in your opinion, the QS pass this morning is not enough to support a definitive center?

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Quoting jeffs713:

My g/f (from Sugarland) remarked how it was like going to a completely different city once you exit off I-45 into The Woodlands. I love it up here. (makes living in the heat and humidity tolerable)

Hurricane Ike did some damage up here, though. Lots of trees down, but one thing I do like is that unless the tree was blocking something, or caused structural damage, the county and community association left it as is. Nature will take care of it just as well. That is something you don't see often down here.


That is the beauty of the Woodlands :D
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Quoting jeffs713:


Hehe, thank you for the comment on my avatar. The signature on my personal e-mail is "I will have a PhD in Procrastination... when I get around to it".
Could Erika be procrastinating?
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Quoting AllBoardedUp:
Pretty up that way. I like the avatar. I was going to write a paper in college on procrastination, but just never got around to it.


Hehe, thank you for the comment on my avatar. The signature on my personal e-mail is "I will have a PhD in Procrastination... when I get around to it".
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5885
Quoting IKE:
Why am I not shocked that they kept it at a TS?


Hopefully the next wave just rolling of africa wont be another discombobulated mess with 10 coc's.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13804

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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.