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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Quoting Weather456:


The time of that pass is around 0300Z 19 October, in other words 11PM last night.


Sorry i didn't look at the time....LOL....my bad
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 177 Comments: 20430
Quoting Chicklit:
And what would this one be called?
Loop


12N 81W
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I think ketchup and candy corn were reclassified after RR left office PressL.
Sure glad the Caymans are getting some rain for their fruits and vegetables!
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Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 177 Comments: 20430
Quoting TampaSpin:


The time of that pass is around 0300Z 19 October, in other words 11PM last night.
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And what would this one be called?
Loop
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I'm pretty upset with you myself, Pat...

Since when is candy corn not a vegetable?!?!?!?!?!
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Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 177 Comments: 20430
Maybe the Ascat will catch it.
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Quoting Drakoen:


I doubt the circulation is east of 80W. This thing is broad in nature.


And this is why, the surface obs dont support something east of 80W (red line), rather that wind obs indicate what ever is spinning is west of 80W.

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Quoting Drakoen:
I thought the Quickscat would have caught it. That sucks...


I had a disagreement with PAB about the same thing a few days ago....just because an area was missed on the previous run does not mean it will get picked up the next run....from what i can tell it is very random......
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 177 Comments: 20430
Go Ascat!
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Quoting Drakoen:


I doubt the circulation is east of 80W. This thing is broad in nature.


I didn't think it was either. The Hi Res gives a more interesting presentation.
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Quoting Patrap:
Mini-Snickers are not finger food too.

But they sure go well with A Mountain Dew..

Ummm,ummmm....


While I drink my MountainDew and eat my 5th small Snickers Bar

Thank you so much Patrap
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Quoting kmanislander:
Another miss from Quikscat this evening but from what we can see it almost looks as if the low is east of 80. Maybe what we are seeing in IR imagery is not at the surface.

Descending pass this evening


I doubt the circulation is east of 80W. This thing is broad in nature.
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Darn

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I thought the Quickscat would have caught it. That sucks...
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Appears to be getting more concentric..

Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10589
Another miss from Quikscat this evening but from what we can see it almost looks as if the low is east of 80. Maybe what we are seeing in IR imagery is not at the surface.

Descending pass this evening
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725. xcool



Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15603
A disturbance staying in the same place over 3-4 days, thats blasting VERY strong storms can cause SST's to drop a bit in other parts of the basin. I'm not sure it is affective in the Western Caribbean.
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You decide.
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Quoting ElConando:
disturbances cause upwelling, just not in the way a TC would.


Pat explained it how it can happen. It is possible for it to happen where it is right now but it is low. If it was in the NW Caribbean there would be a minute chance.
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Quoting ElConando:
disturbances cause upwelling, just not in the way a TC would.

What are the Isotherm levels in this area? I think pretty deep so I doubt any upwelling this feature could cause would be very significant.
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Thank you both.
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10589
disturbances cause upwelling, just not in the way a TC would.
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Good evening...

I see NHC has given our AOI a <30% chance.
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Drak & 456...Invest by this time tomorrow? I believe so.


I think it's nearing that point.
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Quoting TampaSpin:
456 do you think our AOI in the Western Caribbean could become SubTropical in nature before Tropical because of its attachment to the Trough. I believe their is an early chance of that happening first.


normally when storms become subtropical below 20N it is becuz interaction with a trough as you said and shearing in the vertical, two features the models are not showing. If a trough was superimposed in some way, the feature would not meander, but rather head NE. In addition, there is no evidence of shear affecting the system, atleast from the rainfall patterns.

An example is Barry 2007, which had subtropical characteristics at one point.
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OMG! What is the deal? If a person wants to become a "featured blogger", I would guess the best place to start is via e-mail to Dr. Masters. I KNOW Dr Masters is extremely talented and I'm more than certain either he or his staff review this blog.

At 48, I missed many opportunities to get promoted, NOT because I wasn't good enough, but because I would not "kiss up to anyone"!
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Drak & 456...Invest by this time tomorrow? I believe so.


Don't know about that; the low level vortex is still broad.
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On the yellow/orange/red circle thing, I think the problem is that the NHC is trying to address two audiences with one map. Audience One, y'all here, et al. Audience Two, ordinary people who see this page when they google NHC. I agree that the definitions are wrong for Audience One and should be reworked to better fit your needs. For Audience Two (like me), I'd suggest:
Yellow: Start paying attention.
Orange: It's getting serious.
Red: Look at our track models. And get your gear in gear.
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Quoting Drakoen:
Nice observations out there to support a surface low, W456.

AROUND 11-81 looking interesting....
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Quoting Drakoen:
Nice observations out there to support a surface low, W456.


I think QS should show something similar. Winds are still light though and it appears broad, but the obs are consistent.
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we'll when is this storm coming...publix, hm depot..liquor store...
Member Since: August 18, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 192
Drak & 456...Invest by this time tomorrow? I believe so.
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10589
456 do you think our AOI in the Western Caribbean could become SubTropical in nature before Tropical because of its attachment to the Trough. I believe there is an early chance of that happening first. Could be cold core first.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 177 Comments: 20430
Rick mercifully has weakened and I see there is yellow but no floater on SW Caribbean.
Will read what y'all have to say after I make dinner!
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Geez We need a Storm to calm Everyone down then this Bickering would stop It's tough to see respected Bloggers argue .
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Nice observations out there to support a surface low, W456.
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TampaSpins Tropical Update....NEED TO WATCH THE CARIBBEAN VERY CLOSE!

Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 177 Comments: 20430
Surface obs are in good agreement

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Quoting hurricaneseason2006:


You remember when you told StormW that you kiss up just to become a featured blogger. You said he was doing alot of butt kissing. I remember that day vividly. The other day you snapped at Weather456 for no reason because he said the NHC do tagged systems over Africa just prior to when Fred was tagged and you said you have to keep those featured bloggers in checked.



LOL..Id like to see those quotes,O one without a single entry.

..,your not even part of the conversation.

And now,your dismissed as well.

MNF,..O yeah.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 415 Comments: 125736
8 to 10 DAY 500MB MEAN
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698. xcool


Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15603
I see the NHC finally put a yellow circle on the AOI. Now it might get designated an Invest by the morning, it's normally how these things work now and days.
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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.