Rick weakens; Lupit headed to the Philippines; Western Caribbean brewing a storm?

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:09 PM GMT on October 19, 2009

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Hurricane Rick has weakened significantly over the past 24 hours, thanks to moderate wind shear of 15 - 20 knots. Although still a powerful Category 3 hurricane with 125 mph winds, this is a far cry from the spectacular Category 5 hurricane with 180 mph winds and 905 mb pressure Rick was early Sunday morning. At that time, Rick was the second most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Eastern Pacific. The only Eastern Pacific hurricane that was stronger was Hurricane Linda of 1997, which had 185 mph winds and a 902 mb pressure. Reliable satellite measurements of Eastern Pacific storms go back to about 1970, and Rick is the 11th Category 5 hurricane in the Eastern Pacific since 1970.


Figure 1.Hurricane Rick just after peak intensity at 17:55 UTC October 18, 2009. A this time, Rick was a Category 5 hurricane with 175 mph winds. Image credit: NASA.

Recent microwave satellite imagery suggests that wind shear may have eaten away the southwest portion of Rick's eyewall, allowing dry air to intrude into the core of the storm. The Hurricane Hunters will visit Rick this afternoon to learn more, and I suspect Rick is weaker than the Category 3 hurricane with 125 mph winds that is currently advertised.

Wind shear will increase to the high range, 20 - 30 knots, in the 24 hours before landfall, and ocean heat content and sea surface temperatures will steadily decrease over the next two days as Rick approaches Baja. The latest GFDL and HWRF model runs put Rick at Category 1 strength at its closest approach to Baja, and this appears to be a reasonable forecast given the current appearance of Rick. NHC is currently giving both Cabo San Lucas and San Jose Cabo on Baja's southern tip a 20% chance of receiving hurricane-force winds from Rick. Rick will make a second landfall in Mainland Mexico on Wednesday night, and the moisture from Rick should reach southern Texas by Friday, possibly leading to heavy rains there on Friday and Saturday.

Typhoon Lupit a potential major disaster for the Philippines
Category 4 Super Typhoon Lupit has begun its turn to the west over the Philippine Sea, and is headed towards a landfall early Thursday morning on the northern portion of Luzon Island in the Philippines. Thanks to the departure of a trough of low pressure that was pulling the super typhoon to the northeast and creating a region of weak steering currents, a strong ridge of high pressure is now building in over Lupit and will force it slightly south of due west. The models are all in excellent agreement on the forecast track taking the super typhoon over northern Luzon as a major Category 3 or 4 typhoon, and Lupit--the Filipino word for cruel--is very likely to live up to its name. The northern Philippines are still reeling from the rains and mudslides unleashed by Super Typhoon Parma last week, which crossed over the northern Philippines three times, dumping over twenty inches of rain in many locations. Parma killed 438 people, and 51 are still missing. A week prior to Parma, Typhoon Ketsana brought the heaviest rains in 42 years to the capital of Manila, killing 420 people, with 37 still missing.


Figure 2. Rainfall forecast for Super Typhoon Lupit for the 24-hour period ending at 06 UTC Tuesday 10/20/09. Lupit is expected to dump 8 - 12 inches of rain (orange colors) in a small region near its center. Image credit: NOAA/NESDIS.

Wind shear over Lupit is in the low range, 5 - 10 knots, and the typhoon is embedded in a very moist environment with warm sea surface temperatures of 28 - 29°C. Total heat content of the ocean is too low (20 kJ/cm^2) to permit much additional intensification over the next two days, but in the final 12 hours before landfall, the total oceanic heat content will rise to 80 kJ/cm^2, which should allow Lupit to retain at least Category 3 strength right up until landfall, despite interaction of the storm with land. Lupit will move relatively quickly over the Philippines, but the typhoon is likely to dump 12+ inches of rain over the already saturated soils of northern Luzon Island. These rains will create life-threatening flash floods and mudslides capable of killing hundreds more Filipinos.


Figure 3 Morning visible satellite image of the area of disturbed weather in the Western Caribbean.

A Western Caribbean tropical storm coming?
In the Atlantic, an area of disturbed weather has developed in the Western Caribbean from Costa Rica to the Cayman Islands, in association with the remains of a cold front, a tropical wave, and a broad 1010 mb low pressure region that has developed over the extreme southwestern Caribbean off the coast of Costa Rica. Last night's QuikSCAT pass showed that the low off the coast of Costa Rica had a broad and disorganized surface circulation. The thunderstorm activity associated with this large and complicated area of disturbed weather is disorganized and under 10 - 30 knots of wind shear, and any development over the next three days will be slow. However, by Friday, wind shear over the Western Caribbean is expected to drop significantly, and development of a tropical depression in the Western Caribbean becomes a more real possibility. Numerous runs over the past few days of all of our reliable global forecast models have shown a tropical depression developing in the Western Caribbean by early next week. The timing, location, and track of such a such a storm are all pretty hazy, but I think there is a 60% chance of a named storm forming in the Western Caribbean sometime in the next 10 days. The regions most likely to be affected by such a storm would be Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Cayman Islands, and it is possible that such a storm may stay trapped in the Western Caribbean for many days (as predicted by the GFS model). Alternatively, the storm could move steadily northwards after formation, affecting western Cuba, the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, South Florida, and the Bahamas. This is the solution preferred by the ECMWF model. In either case, a long period of disturbed weather is likely for the Western Caribbean. Heavy rains will affect northeast Honduras, eastern Nicaragua, and the Cayman Islands this week, and could spread to adjacent countries as the area of disturbed weather evolves.

Jeff Masters

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547. XL
Evening Kman
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Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30825
Its been a rainy day across the Western Caribbean. Caymans picked up 166 mm (6.5 inches)of rain

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
From Tallahassee discussion:

By Monday morning...front is stationary across South Florida. Upper
jet has parked itself across the southeast U.S. GFS and European model (ecmwf) remain
dry across North Florida and moist across South Florida. However...
confidence is not high that this will remain so. Therefore...have
added a slight chance of rain in the grids across North Florida and
coastal waters on Monday. Both the GFS and European model (ecmwf) have a tropical
cyclone in the western Caribbean at this time. Something to watch
over the next week or so.
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Almost like a monsoon trough out there for AOI


There is a monsoon trough over Panama but you might see it as the ITCZ. The NHC/TPC has hopelessly diluted the word ITCZ and uses it to describe the entire intertropical front. I do not believe in this since the ITCZ is between NE and SE trades and the monsoon trough is between NE trades and SWesterlies (Northern Hemisphere). A monsoon trough exists over the EPAC and extends either over Panama or south thereof into Colombia where it becomes the NECZ. The Colombian Low is a heat low which is embedded along this trough. Occasionally, the monsoon trough can extend northward over the SW Caribbean, where cyclogenesis can occur like Mitch 1998 and Beta 2005.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
541. JRRP
???
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538. IKE
SYNOPSIS FOR THE GULF OF MEXICO
430 PM CDT MON OCT 19 2009

.SYNOPSIS...HIGH PRES OVER GULF STATES MOVE E THROUGH SAT. COLD
FRONT MOVE INTO NW GULF THU AND REACH FROM 30N87W TO 22N90W LATE
FRI. FRONT EXTEND FROM SW FLORIDA TO NE YUCATAN LATE SAT.
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Well..we covered it all seems.

Time to make da Chow.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129833
Quoting stormpetrol:
This time of year the steering currents are very weak in the AOI and they usually meander for quite sometime depending.


I would like to add, the system appears to be embedded within 0-10m/s steering flow, it will meander for some time.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Also to the downcasters, conditions have improved somewhat for development in the Western Carribean. YOU do your homework and look at the surprises we've had in the past. Tell me that Mother Nature will do what YOU say it would do. That's foolish!
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Hopefully the quickscat will catch it tonight
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30825
Almost like a monsoon trough out there for AOI
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531. IKE
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
I pretty much agree Ike...perhaps they will put in the standard quote..."Development, if any, should be slow to occur.


I thought about that too. They may.
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Good afternoon

Little change today in the SW Caribbean. This state of affairs could last for days this time of year.
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ECMWF
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This time of year the steering currents are very weak in the AOI and they usually meander for quite sometime depending.
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Rita, I understand you dont want a system to form, we all don't want a hurricane. Though saying stuff isn't gonna stop Mother Nature. You read what the Doctor said, there is about a 60% chance for a named storm to form in the next week or so. Whatever happens, happens.
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Quoting stormsurge39:
456 could you please explain how this AOI in the Carribean could get trapped?


I explained it on my blog.

Now, the likely motion of any such system will be slow to occur, initially, as a ridge will build over the Southeastern United States through day 4, slowing any northward motion.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
I pretty much agree Ike...perhaps they will put in the standard quote..."Development, if any, should be slow to occur."
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Quoting Weather456:


ok. I will do my homework. Thanks.
456 could you please explain how this AOI in the Carribean could get trapped?
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Can someone please post the latest ECMWF.
Member Since: June 16, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 134
All NOAA Imagery,Floaters

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129833
TACOMAN!!! Dude, Henri left some crow for you buddy! :P

Stop while your ahead, you were proved wrong when Henri formed.
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Quoting tacoman:
one because the nhc is not stupid why scare the folks for no reason it will be torn apart..this system doesnt have a chance...you can take that to the bank...tacoman


one quick question for you, you claimed the season was over and that we wouldnt see anymore named systems, then we had Grace and Henri, so I dont think anyone can take anything you say to the bank.
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Shouldn't we have sat pics of Rick instead of the blob
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With a full fledge hurricane you know what to expect and where it maybe headed , with AOI you're not too sure what you're going be dealing with especially when conditions appear ripe for a system to develop, the most scarey thing it is forcasted to stall for few days, not too comforting when you could be in the line of fire, just my personal feelings after battling & surviving a monster like Ivan for 30 hours in 2004.
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Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30825
514. IKE
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
I think we will see code yellow tonight or tomorrow.


I do too, but I think they'll say conditions aren't favorable for development at this time.

"Meander" is about all it can do now to survive. Looks like it's boxed in....

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Quoting Patrap:
I was gonna do my Homework after MNF.


haha same here
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Looks a bit better organized.
Member Since: June 16, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 134
and when it starts its NE movement its gonna turn on the after burners and sky tail it
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I was gonna do my Homework after MNF.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129833
Quoting tacoman:
nothing will happen 456 you see the monster trough coming down late next week..it will cause increasing wid shear over the gulf and caribbean...you guys are scaring people for nothing in fla...wise up do your homework...tacoman


ok. I will do my homework. Thanks.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting Patrap:


I doubt it,..the motion vector would have to be west to wnw thru time.


ah, good call
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Quoting stormsurge39:
why is the nhc not putting a yellow on thi yet 456?


I guess they are seeing how things play out.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting Weather456:
Also the NWS discussion is hinting a N to NW motion. This implies a N then NW motion, that should not bring it over land, though very close.


Yea. I don't see strong steering that would take it into land or at least take the whole low pressure center into land.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30825
Maybe a Pink circle is in order for the AOI.
We can raise BC awareness and calm some nerves all with one crayon too..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129833
Whatever happens, in the long run its gonna go NE or E
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I think we will see code yellow tonight or tomorrow.
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Quoting tornadodude:


could this invest move to the EPac though?


I doubt it,..the motion vector would have to be west to wnw thru time.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129833
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30825
Quoting Weather456:
Cyclonic turning evident on visible imagery. Lowest central pressure near the focal point - 1006 mb, 1 mb lower than yesterday at this time.




why is the nhc not putting a yellow on thi yet 456?
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The AOI has become a lil better looking,but that western Outflow boundary shows us it isnt gonna Blow up overnight,nor tomorrow.
Patience.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129833
Also the NWS discussion is hinting a N to NW motion. This implies a N then NW motion, that should not bring it over land, though very close.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076

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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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