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 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
129. IKE
Quoting jeffs713:

With how close the storm is to the USVI and PR, they are probably erring on the side of caution in keeping it a TS.


You are correct.

I checked St. Kitts observation again. Located at 17.3N and 62.7W. NHC has Erika at 16.9N and 63.5W...or...48 miles WSW of the island.

Most recent readings....

"St. Kitts, K1 (Airport)
Updated: 23 min 42 sec ago
Mostly Cloudy
81 °F
Mostly Cloudy
Humidity: 84%
Dew Point: 75 °F
Wind: 12 mph from the SSE
Pressure: 29.92 in (Steady)

Heat Index: 86 °F
Visibility: 6.2 miles
UV: 9 out of 16
Clouds:
Few 700 ft
Mostly Cloudy 1400 ft
Mostly Cloudy 10000 ft
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 157 ft"
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Whats the possibility of another COC relocation... It almost looks as though it wants to relocate farther south.
Member Since: June 24, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 487
Quoting SomeRandomTexan:


Down your way last weekend, Galveston is looking better.
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.
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Quoting SomeRandomTexan:


I love the Woodlands... We always go to the car show in houston the day after thanksgiving and then spend the night in the woodlands and go to the mall there... good place to chill.

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.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5883
Quoting IKE:
Why am I not shocked that they kept it at a TS?


Gotta Love it!
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Thanks Dr.' "regeneration" of a circulation after significant disruption with a land mass such as Hispanola is impossible to predict.....Let's just watch what happens and pray that the rain from this system does not cause extensive flooding or deaths in the Antilles. One step at a time folks and the immediate problems are for Puerto Rico and Hispanola.
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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.


Down your way last weekend, Galveston is looking better.
Member Since: August 30, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1857
Quoting jeffs713:

Just north of Houston, in The Woodlands.
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.
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Quoting IKE:
Why am I not shocked that they kept it at a TS?

With how close the storm is to the USVI and PR, they are probably erring on the side of caution in keeping it a TS.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5883
Quoting jeffs713:

Just north of Houston, in The Woodlands.


I love the Woodlands... We always go to the car show in houston the day after thanksgiving and then spend the night in the woodlands and go to the mall there... good place to chill.
Member Since: August 30, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1857
119. ch2os
Good Morning StormW. Always nice to read your updates.
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Quoting AllBoardedUp:
Where you located?

Just north of Houston, in The Woodlands.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5883
116. IKE
Why am I not shocked that they kept it at a TS?
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Quoting jeffs713:
Also, as further to my earlier post, #91, I should mention that I find it terribly amusing to see all of these wishcasters freak out when a storm actually does take a track towards them. I saw it with Ike here locally. Lots of people were talking (when Ike was still in the ATL, before hitting Cuba), that it would be cool to get a good hurricane here, and "break up the monotony". Once Ike was actually taking a track right towards us, and was HUGE... they were freaking out and completely getting all kinds of stressed / worried. I'm pretty sure that when a storm hits the Florida-casters, the same thing will happen to them.
Where you located?
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mornin'
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Quoting TriniGirl26:





LUCKY DEVILS :)


Yeppers, we are. Erica wasn't a major "cane" so all the islands are lucky. Plus, I get to be lazy today.
But here on Montserrat we still have one "major" thing to worry about with all this rain. Too much water on the volcano..in the past large amounts of rain has caused the volcano to go into an active period. Not a good thing. But it has been quiet since last January and the MVO has reported that the dome is very stable. I just hope all this rain does not cause it to become unstable.
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Quoting DocBen:
Could Erica move more directly westward and completely avoid PR and Hispaniola? Ane then hit Jamaica od even skirt into the GOM?


Hard to say "impossible" with this storm but it seems pretty unlikely. There's no reason to expect that to happen. If the storm gets its act together it will be pulled to the north.
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Quoting EarthMuffin:
I dont care for models. They are vague at best, and frequently wrong. Look at last night's models, for instance. Could anyone really draw any conclusion from that mess? One had Erika heading WSW, another W, another WNW, yet another NW, and another nearly due N. A better "model" to use is history. What has happened to the previous 4 named storms this year, and why? This is an El Nino year, which also must be taken into consideration before referencing storms from last year or the year before that appeared to be on similar paths. Of course Erika can still end up in Florida or the GOM, but more than likely, it WONT.

I think I'll go back to lurking and amuse myself with the never-ending Floridacasting. After all, I lack a PhD so I cannot possibly be right, and besides, every storm must hit Florida. (*rolls eyes*)
Just a little observation from across the GOM (Galveston area). From my perspective, looking to the east, it seems like every other storm hits Florida anyways. Maybe, just maybe it ain't Floridacasting. Florida sticks out into a body of water some 450 miles. It is always in a path of a storm in my opinion. If a batter in baseball held his bat over the plate and never swings it, sooner or later, a ball is going to hit it. Nevertheless, his bat is still in the path of the ball. Just an observation.
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Quoting SeVaSurfer:


well said, thats why I moved away from Florida 17 years ago from the Palm Beach area. Maybe it's the heat and humidity that causes them to be.....


Is this floridians day? Did I miss something
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107. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
SUBJECT: Tropical Storm Warnings Continue.. Dumping Heavy Rains

At 12:00 PM UTC, Tropical Storm Jimena (1001 hPa) located at 27.9N 112.6W or 40 NM north-northwest of Santa Rosalia, Mexico has sustained winds of 40 knots with gusts of 50 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving north-northwest at 4 knots.

Gale/Storm-Force Winds
========================
90 NM from the center

Tropical Cyclone Warnings
==========================
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING is in effect for the Baja California Peninsula north of Puerto San Andresito to San Jose de Las Palomas on the west coast.. and north of Loreto to Calamajue on the east coast northwestern mainland Mexico from Huatabampito northward to Puerto Libertad

Forecast and Intensity
=====================
12 HRS: 28.1N 112.9W - 30 kts (Overland TD)
24 HRS: 28.0N 113.5W - 25 kts (Low Pressure Area)
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With the consolidation to 1 COC, today through tonight, this system could become a little more organized, if shear relaxed a little. jmo
Member Since: August 30, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1857
Could Erica move more directly westward and completely avoid PR and Hispaniola? Ane then hit Jamaica od even skirt into the GOM?
Member Since: May 16, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 98
Quoting SomeRandomTexan:


Likewise, to me it looks to be moving due West.
And I don't see anything at 11AST position.
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Quoting jeffs713:

It is foolhardy to focus on a single model at any point during the season, ESPECIALLY with a weak/ill-defined storm such as Erika. It is much better to look at a model consensus, and take into account how well the models are in agreement. If there is a large spread between the models - good luck getting a track out of them. If the models are well-clustered, then you can project with good confidence their track is fairly good.

As for the Florida-casters... get used to them. There are a disproportionate number of people from Florida here on the main blog, and too many of them are "children" who think its fun to be in a storm. (I use children in quotes knowing full well that quite a few of these bloggers I am speaking of are actually adults, and they just act like children on here)
Well the models look pretty clustered to me right now. And pretty much following this season's "history".
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Also, as further to my earlier post, #91, I should mention that I find it terribly amusing to see all of these wishcasters freak out when a storm actually does take a track towards them. I saw it with Hurricane Ike here locally. Lots of people were talking (when Ike was still in the ATL, before hitting Cuba), that it would be cool to get a good hurricane here, and "break up the monotony". Once Ike was actually taking a track right towards us, and was HUGE... they were freaking out and completely getting all kinds of stressed / worried. I'm pretty sure that when a storm hits the Florida-casters, the same thing will happen to them.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5883
like i've been saying..she is a woman..been changing her mind every hour. i agreewith jeffmasters, but the thougt of being a cat 2 in 5-7days could be..she's changed her mind before
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Quoting stormpetrol:
Sorry I still don't see WNW movement!


Likewise, to me it looks to be moving due West.
Member Since: August 30, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1857
Quoting jeffs713:

It is foolhardy to focus on a single model at any point during the season, ESPECIALLY with a weak/ill-defined storm such as Erika. It is much better to look at a model consensus, and take into account how well the models are in agreement. If there is a large spread between the models - good luck getting a track out of them. If the models are well-clustered, then you can project with good confidence their track is fairly good.

As for the Florida-casters... get used to them. There are a disproportionate number of people from Florida here on the main blog, and too many of them are "children" who think its fun to be in a storm. (I use children in quotes knowing full well that quite a few of these bloggers I am speaking of are actually adults, and they just act like children on here)


well said, thats why I moved away from Florida 17 years ago from the Palm Beach area. Maybe it's the heat and humidity that causes them to be.....
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While it was debatable yesterday, based on HH and the QS at 6:30am EDT this morning, there is no "supposed" center. It seems pretty clear to me that there is a definitive center atm, however weak.

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Erika is a large tropical cyclone and while it may interact with some land masses, the size of the circulation will probably not allow the land masses (Puerto Rico, Hispaniola) and shear to dissipate it entirely. My guess is that it will try to regenerate after it gets into the Bahamas north of Hispaniola.
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Quoting SomeRandomTexan:
News Update--

BP (British Petroleum) has discovered the largest deposit of oil in the GOM since the 80's, over 1/2 billion barrels. This could spell huge implications for gas prices, making them fall in the long term and possibly short term due to speculation.

I know this is a little off topic but since hurricanes and tropical storms typically close these rigs down, it directly effects the petro industry.

nice observation. drill here drill now save americans and make americans money.
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Whats that phrase everyon on here likes to say: "Dont quote the trolls"

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Sorry I still don't see WNW movement!
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Quoting EarthMuffin:
I dont care for models. They are vague at best, and frequently wrong. Look at last night's models, for instance. Could anyone really draw any conclusion from that mess? One had Erika heading WSW, another W, another WNW, yet another NW, and another nearly due N. A better "model" to use is history. What has happened to the previous 4 named storms this year, and why? This is an El Nino year, which also must be taken into consideration before referencing storms from last year or the year before that appeared to be on similar paths. Of course Erika can still end up in Florida or the GOM, but more than likely, it WONT.

I think I'll go back to lurking and amuse myself with the never-ending Floridacasting. After all, I lack a PhD so I cannot possibly be right, and besides, every storm must hit Florida. (*rolls eyes*)

It is foolhardy to focus on a single model at any point during the season, ESPECIALLY with a weak/ill-defined storm such as Erika. It is much better to look at a model consensus, and take into account how well the models are in agreement. If there is a large spread between the models - good luck getting a track out of them. If the models are well-clustered, then you can project with good confidence their track is fairly good.

As for the Florida-casters... get used to them. There are a disproportionate number of people from Florida here on the main blog, and too many of them are "children" who think its fun to be in a storm. (I use children in quotes knowing full well that quite a few of these bloggers I am speaking of are actually adults, and they just act like children on here)
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5883
Quoting EarthMuffin:
I dont care for models. They are vague at best, and frequently wrong. Look at last night's models, for instance. Could anyone really draw any conclusion from that mess? One had Erika heading WSW, another W, another WNW, yet another NW, and another nearly due N. A better "model" to use is history. What has happened to the previous 4 named storms this year, and why? This is an El Nino year, which also must be taken into consideration before referencing storms from last year or the year before that appeared to be on similar paths. Of course Erika can still end up in Florida or the GOM, but more than likely, it WONT.

I think I'll go back to lurking and amuse myself with the never-ending Floridacasting. After all, I lack a PhD so I cannot possibly be right, and besides, every storm must hit Florida. (*rolls eyes*)
EarthMuffin read post number 76.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21408
Quoting jeffs713:


One thing to point out with that is that a good chunk (not sure how much of it) of the estimated reserves are in "oil equivalent"... which is natural gas. I'm interested to see the breakdown between the natural gas and crude oil once they get a few more test wells dropped into there.


Me too Jeffs...
Member Since: August 30, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1857
Quoting NWWNCAVL:
BBL...It's a beautiful day here in the mountains of NC...Time to take a spin on the Harley...
that sounds cool,those mountains are awesome.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21408
Quoting tbrett:

Rains like we are getting today are what makes the Islands green and beautiful, let it rain. The only problem I have with it, is I live in an area that is prone to flash flooding, the valley gets lahars from the volcano when ever we get to much rain. I live high enough my property is not in danger but it tends to smell pretty bad at times. Oh well, I guess I will just have to stay home today, darn. LOL


Quoting JadeInAntigua:


This area has had flash flooding in the past as well - the roads were like rivers. Not fun huh? I'm pretty broken up about having to stay home doing nothing today as well. ;)



LUCKY DEVILS :)
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Quoting rwdobson:
It doesn't take much to bring flooding to Haiti and a TD/open wave is more than capable of that.
It happens all the time.Even when it is not hurricane season.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21408
BBL...It's a beautiful day here in the mountains of NC...Time to take a spin on the Harley...
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
It looks to me like the "supposed" COC is still pushing west. IMO


i would say wnw IMO..look at this imagery,

Link
Member Since: August 18, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 157
I dont care for models. They are vague at best, and frequently wrong. Look at last night's models, for instance. Could anyone really draw any conclusion from that mess? One had Erika heading WSW, another W, another WNW, yet another NW, and another nearly due N. A better "model" to use is history. What has happened to the previous 4 named storms this year, and why? This is an El Nino year, which also must be taken into consideration before referencing storms from last year or the year before that appeared to be on similar paths. Of course Erika can still end up in Florida or the GOM, but more than likely, it WONT.

I think I'll go back to lurking and amuse myself with the never-ending Floridacasting. After all, I lack a PhD so I cannot possibly be right, and besides, every storm must hit Florida. (*rolls eyes*)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

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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.