Tropical Storm Ida a major flood threat for Nicaragua and Honduras

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 9:33 PM GMT on November 04, 2009

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Tropical Storm Ida has arrived, the ninth named storm of the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season. Visible satellite loops show that Ida continues to steadily organize, with surface spiral banding and upper-level outflow now obvious over the northern portion of the storm. An Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft is in the storm, and found a large area of surface winds in the 45 - 50 mph range, with a smaller area of 60 mph winds, prompting NHC to upgrade the storm.


Figure 1. Afternoon satellite image of Ida.

Ida is currently under low wind shear, 5 - 10 knots, and shear is expected to remain in the low to moderate range in the Western Caribbean for the remainder of the week. Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) are 29°C and the Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential is about 40 kJ/cm^2, which is enough energy for a hurricane to form, if the center remains over water long enough. The Western Caribbean is plenty moist, and dry air is not an issue for Ida. Ida is currently too small to be affected by tropical disturbance (Invest 96E) 500 miles to its west, over the Eastern Pacific.

The forecast for Ida
The 1 - 3 day forecast for Ida has come into better focus now that the storm has formed, and models have come into better agreement. The current west to northwesterly motion of Ida should carry it inland over northeastern Nicaragua early Thursday morning. Ida is too small to tap the Pacific as a source of moisture, and it is just the northeastern portions of Nicaragua and Honduras that need to be concerned with heavy rains and mudslides. With Ida expected to spend a full two days over land, rainfall amounts of 10 - 15 inches over northeastern Nicaragua and Honduras will likely make Ida the deadliest storm of the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season. There is a medium chance (30 - 50%) that Ida will dissipate while over land. If Ida survives the crossing and emerges into the Western Caribbean on Saturday, low to moderate wind shear and warm waters await it, and strengthening is likely. An extratropical storm is forecast by GFS and ECMWF models to form in the Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche on Saturday, and the counter-clockwise flow of air around this storm may propel Ida northwards into the Gulf of Mexico by Monday. However, both of these models show a high pressure ridge building in and forcing Ida southwards, back into the Caribbean, by the middle of next week. The long term fate of Ida, should it survive the crossing of Nicaragua and Honduras, remains murky.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting xcool:

that looks as though the eye is still very far from land. is that a updated shot or is that old? what is the movement of ida. i read on here that the movement was now nw. i don't see any northerly movement but i can't really tell where the eye is on most of the images I've looked at. where do you think it will go and how strong do you see it getting?
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Quoting AwakeInMaryland:
Good night, Orca.

Us old fellows call it quits early... its all of 9 pm here :)
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
still seeing a due west movement, still intensifying, and making landfall as we speak.


(why did a storm have to form right when i have two tests 2 days in a row!!! D: Commenting back later probably)
Member Since: July 29, 2006 Posts: 28 Comments: 1790


Not much doubt where it is going when looking at this...
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
Good night, Orca.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
664. xcool
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15670
Quoting sarahjola:

amazing!

its unreal how far these storms travel once inland. cool job you got. sounds interesting.
Member Since: September 10, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1293
662. MTWX
Quoting Orcasystems:
I'm done for the night... wonder what we will have in the morning?

Blog Update




I'm done too. Night all
Member Since: July 20, 2009 Posts: 23 Comments: 1393
Quoting KoritheMan:


I suppose it wouldn't hurt to begin blogging here again, though most of my thoughts are posted on another website, if you're interested.

Oh yes, please post or send WU mail, whichever you are most comfortable with. And thank you.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
Quoting WaterWitch11:
it saddens me to see that the weather channel has turned into the same bullpoop as the rest of our media coverage.

No kidding. Have they at least put Steve Lyons in the studio tonight? Looking at the time, I'm tardy, and would have just missed Tropical Update if they had it.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
I'm done for the night... wonder what we will have in the morning?

Blog Update


Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
658. amd
Quoting winter123:


I don't get it.. the steering patterns are west, its been moving almost due west all day... how its it supposed to make a north turn with weak steering currents and friction keeping it over land?


storms in November in that part of the world have a strong tendency to go north or nne along the coast of Nicaragua and Honduras, so that movement cannot be totally ruled out.

Also, steering currents can change, and if the Bay of Campeche non-tropical system strengthens, it could exert a north to even nne pull of the system, but I would venture to guess that would occur after the storm moves inland by a good amount.



Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1024
Quoting MTWX:


It was a cat 1 when it crossed over us too. I work on the weather equipment on Columbus AFB and we had 75 mph sustained winds and gusts over 100

amazing!
Member Since: September 10, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1293
Quoting AwakeInMaryland:

I hope you start updating your own personal blog soon because everything you've said tonight is clear and makes sense...
uh oh, am I on the right blog? (little j/k...very little)


I suppose it wouldn't hurt to begin blogging here again, though most of my thoughts are posted on another website, if you're interested.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 575 Comments: 20564
655. xcool
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15670
Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:


lol and you base this on what?
Just saying obvious going inland and experts agree.

Member Since: August 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 3233
Quoting KoritheMan:


We're going to feel at least some peripheral effects from Ida, regardless of whether or not it ultimately ends up making landfall here -- strong vertical shear may advect moisture from the system northward.

I hope you start updating your own personal blog soon because everything you've said tonight is clear and makes sense...
uh oh, am I on the right blog? (little j/k...very little)
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
651. MTWX
4:50 AM GMT on November 05, 2009
Quoting sarahjola:
armywifeinga- i have noticed that with hurricanes and tropical storms the flooding potential gets worse as the storm moves north and east. when Katrina hit we had to pull off in sardis Mississippi because the weather was so bad. we later find out that Katrina was a cat.1 all the way up there, and then went on to cause all kinds of problems up north. it also seems like tornadoes form more once the storm gets further north. that's weird to me. seems like the land would kill alot of the storms not feed them. and if a cold front happens to be coming in then that's really bad for north eastern states. i hope s.a. citizens are getting prepared for this. hope they make out alright.


It was a cat 1 when it crossed over us too. I work on the weather equipment on Columbus AFB and we had 75 mph sustained winds and gusts over 100
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650. xcool
4:48 AM GMT on November 05, 2009
Ida is partially onshore in Nicaragua
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15670
649. sarahjola
4:47 AM GMT on November 05, 2009
armywifeinga- i have noticed that with hurricanes and tropical storms the flooding potential gets worse as the storm moves north and east. when Katrina hit we had to pull off in sardis Mississippi because the weather was so bad. we later find out that Katrina was a cat.1 all the way up there, and then went on to cause all kinds of problems up north. it also seems like tornadoes form more once the storm gets further north. that's weird to me. seems like the land would kill alot of the storms not feed them. and if a cold front happens to be coming in then that's really bad for north eastern states. i hope s.a. citizens are getting prepared for this. hope they make out alright.
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648. MTWX
4:44 AM GMT on November 05, 2009
Hopefully Ida stays on the west side of the cone and central america kills her off. Just my thoughts
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647. KoritheMan
4:43 AM GMT on November 05, 2009
Quoting MTWX:


A lot of the areas in the gulf states broke their record rainfalls last month. Here in Columbus, MS we still have rivers and creeks above flood stage. We really don't need anymore rain.


That's the bad thing, I know.

It's certainly not impossible for a November hurricane to be present in the Gulf of Mexico, even though it is rare. In November 1980, Hurricane Jeanne produced storm surge along the coast of Louisiana. Hopefully Ida pulls a Jeanne and dissipates prior to Gulf Coast landfall.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 575 Comments: 20564
646. winter123
4:43 AM GMT on November 05, 2009
Quoting amd:
looks like Ida is trying to make a run at hurricane status before landfall.

Just by following the RGB loop, it seems like Ida will make landfall in the next 3 to 6 hours.

The question now comes whether Ida goes far enough inland to penetrate the hills of Nicaragua and eventually the mountains of Honduras and possibly dissipate, or if the storm stays just inland along the Nicaragua and Honduras coastal plain, and is able to maintain much of its structure (even if the storm slowly weakens).


I don't get it.. the steering patterns are west, its been moving almost due west all day... how its it supposed to make a north turn with weak steering currents and friction keeping it over land?
Member Since: July 29, 2006 Posts: 28 Comments: 1790
645. TampaSpin
4:42 AM GMT on November 05, 2009
For those that want and need i did put up 2 interactive Floaters on my home page.

TampaSpin
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
644. MTWX
4:40 AM GMT on November 05, 2009
Quoting KoritheMan:


We're going to feel at least some peripheral effects from Ida, regardless of whether or not it ultimately ends up making landfall here -- strong vertical shear may advect moisture from the system northward.


A lot of the areas in the gulf states broke their record rainfalls last month. Here in Columbus, MS we still have rivers and creeks above flood stage. We really don't need anymore rain.
Member Since: July 20, 2009 Posts: 23 Comments: 1393
643. BurnedAfterPosting
4:39 AM GMT on November 05, 2009
Quoting centex:
00z gfs is flat wrong. Takes no expert to know that.


lol and you base this on what?
642. BurnedAfterPosting
4:39 AM GMT on November 05, 2009
Quoting TampaSpin:

Here is a 4 day shear forecast loop....some use other shear forecast but, i find this the best IMO. Click the graphic to loop!

Don't know that when it gets to the GOM that much will be left of it..as shear will start hitting it pretty hard unless things change....which it might....you can see the shear is relaxing some in the next 4 days....Shear is one thing that can change in a forecast in 24hrs...it is very tough for the best of models to be accurate in shear forecasting beyond 48hrs and that is not great.


Most shear models also show the anticyclone following Ida on her trek northward, which for the msot part would shield her from the shear
641. WaterWitch11
4:37 AM GMT on November 05, 2009
it saddens me to see that the weather channel has turned into the same bullpoop as the rest of our media coverage.
Member Since: August 11, 2008 Posts: 3 Comments: 1607
640. xcool
4:37 AM GMT on November 05, 2009
Loading


Tropical Storm 11L




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
UW-CIMSS Automated Satellite-Based
Advanced Dvorak Technique (ADT)
Version 7.2
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Estimation Algorithm


Current Intensity Analysis




UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 7.2.3
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 05 NOV 2009 Time : 031500 UTC
Lat : 12:30:54 N Lon : 83:07:19 W


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
3.3 / 996.4mb/ 51.0kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
(3hr avg)
3.3 3.5 4.3

Latitude bias adjustment to MSLP : +0.0mb

Center Temp : -75.4C Cloud Region Temp : -76.0C

Scene Type : UNIFORM CDO CLOUD REGION

Positioning Method : FORECAST INTERPOLATION

Ocean Basin : ATLANTIC
Dvorak CI > MSLP Conversion Used : ATLANTIC

Tno/CI Rules : Constraint Limits : 0.7T/6hr
Weakening Flag : OFF
Rapid Dissipation Flag : OFF

****************************************************


History File Listing
Satellite Imagery (JAVA movie)
Time Series

Experimental Wind Field Product
McIDAS | MATLAB

Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15670
639. TampaSpin
4:36 AM GMT on November 05, 2009

Here is a 4 day shear forecast loop....some use other shear forecast but, i find this the best IMO. Click the graphic to loop!

Don't know that when it gets to the GOM that much will be left of it..as shear will start hitting it pretty hard unless things change....which it might....you can see the shear is relaxing some in the next 4 days....Shear is one thing that can change in a forecast in 24hrs...it is very tough for the best of models to be accurate in shear forecasting beyond 48hrs and that is not great.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
638. amd
4:36 AM GMT on November 05, 2009
looks like Ida is trying to make a run at hurricane status before landfall.

Just by following the RGB loop, it seems like Ida will make landfall in the next 3 to 6 hours.

The question now comes whether Ida goes far enough inland to penetrate the hills of Nicaragua and eventually the mountains of Honduras and possibly dissipate, or if the storm stays just inland along the Nicaragua and Honduras coastal plain, and is able to maintain much of its structure (even if the storm slowly weakens).
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1024
637. centex
4:35 AM GMT on November 05, 2009
00z gfs is flat wrong. Takes no expert to know that.
Member Since: August 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 3233
636. winter123
4:35 AM GMT on November 05, 2009
Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:


yea I agree, the structure on Ida is very impressive and she should survive



Shame it wasnt a fish, this storm is looking so impressive, I'd like to see it as a cat 3... it'd be beautiful to look at... looks like that wont happen unless it pulls a Beta in the next like 6 hours.

Member Since: July 29, 2006 Posts: 28 Comments: 1790
635. KoritheMan
4:34 AM GMT on November 05, 2009
Quoting sarahjola:

thanks for your service and sacrifice!
now to answer your question, i think its when the eye wall hits land. i don't think the whole eye has to be ashore. i live in Louisiana and it looks to headed to us from all the models I've been seeing. its OK if its a tropical storm, or even a cat. 1, but anything stronger makes me worry. our crap still isn't together, lol! our levees aren't really good yet and that's what concerns me. hope this storm doesn't get too big.


We're going to feel at least some peripheral effects from Ida, regardless of whether or not it ultimately ends up making landfall here -- strong vertical shear may advect moisture from the system northward.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 575 Comments: 20564
634. sarahjola
4:32 AM GMT on November 05, 2009
Quoting ArmyWifeInGa:
When is it considered hitting landfall? When the wall hits land or when the whole eye is on land?

thanks for your service and sacrifice!
now to answer your question, i think its when the eye wall hits land. i don't think the whole eye has to be ashore. i live in Louisiana and it looks to headed to us from all the models I've been seeing. its OK if its a tropical storm, or even a cat. 1, but anything stronger makes me worry. our crap still isn't together, lol! our levees aren't really good yet and that's what concerns me. hope this storm doesn't get too big.
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633. BurnedAfterPosting
4:31 AM GMT on November 05, 2009
Quoting TampaSpin:


Sure does look like it might....either way the sturcture of Ida is so good right not the land will not destroy its structure before emerging back into water....as long as the shear is not bad.


yea I agree, the structure on Ida is very impressive and she should survive

632. TampaSpin
4:29 AM GMT on November 05, 2009
Quoting taco2me61:


Yes it is Tampaspin.... So what is your take on Ida???? Do you think she will make Hurricane before Land fall????

Taco :0)


Sure does look like it might....either way the sturcture of Ida is so good right not the land will not destroy its structure before emerging back into water....as long as the shear is not bad.
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631. AwakeInMaryland
4:26 AM GMT on November 05, 2009
Quoting KoritheMan:


SSTs don't affect track -- theoretically, Ida could make landfall along the Gulf Coast despite the cold SSTs, it would just be significantly weaker by that time.

Thank you! I understood that perfectly!

There's still some nebulous weather there that's going to cause gales, wave action, and some trouble along there, anyway, I read in here earlier. Does it have a label; I just don't know what to call it...uh, stormy weather? :)
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
630. BurnedAfterPosting
4:26 AM GMT on November 05, 2009
Quoting Stormchaser2007:


Looks extra-tropical


or sheared, but really intensity is so problematic at this point, I am looking more at the track
629. Orcasystems
4:24 AM GMT on November 05, 2009
Centre is almost ashore



Seismic Monitor

AOI

AOI
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
628. KoritheMan
4:21 AM GMT on November 05, 2009
Quoting AwakeInMaryland:

Yep, StormW posted a very clear pic of those cooler waters yesterday, actually all the waters in play -- I'm sure others posted similar -- and even I could "get" it. Thanks, I think you could be exactly right.

So cooler waters would keep it from LA or TX? Or am I off there?

Anyone is welcome to comment. Thanks, T'Dude.


SSTs don't affect track -- theoretically, Ida could make landfall along the Gulf Coast despite the cold SSTs, it would just be significantly weaker by that time.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 575 Comments: 20564
627. tornadodude
4:21 AM GMT on November 05, 2009
Quoting AwakeInMaryland:

Oh no, pilin' on. Pls. remember I helped out during spring floods (waves white flag.)


LOL youre fine :P

Quoting nocaneindy:


Purdue is a great school, i'm actually looking to get into a met school and i looked at Purdue's courses. I'll likely end up here at B.S.U. however. I browsed you're blog and saw you have eas courses, are you going for a met degree? If so,what track? Wu-mail me if you are, i have to get to bed, but would like to talk to someone who's doing what i want to do.
Goodnight all, have fun cane tracking.


Yes I am pursuing a degree in meteorology, not sure which branch yet, to be honest, I'm kind of looking into broadcast, not sure yet, as I have plenty of time to decide.

have a goodnight
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626. Stormchaser2007
4:19 AM GMT on November 05, 2009
Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:


00Z GFS at 144 hours


Looks extra-tropical
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625. Stormchaser2007
4:19 AM GMT on November 05, 2009
00z suite will have the recon data.

Should be some of the more accurate runs.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15889
624. nocaneindy
4:19 AM GMT on November 05, 2009
Quoting tornadodude:


oh wow, I go to Purdue, and am form Washington Indiana


Purdue is a great school, i'm actually looking to get into a met school and i looked at Purdue's courses. I'll likely end up here at B.S.U. however. I browsed you're blog and saw you have eas courses, are you going for a met degree? If so,what track? Wu-mail me if you are, i have to get to bed, but would like to talk to someone who's doing what i want to do.
Goodnight all, have fun cane tracking.
Member Since: September 21, 2007 Posts: 34 Comments: 515
623. AwakeInMaryland
4:19 AM GMT on November 05, 2009
Quoting tornadodude:


whoa, three Indiana people on at once :P

Oh no, pilin' on. Pls. remember I helped out during spring floods (waves white flag.)
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
622. tornadodude
4:18 AM GMT on November 05, 2009
Quoting AwakeInMaryland:

Yep, StormW posted a very clear pic of those cooler waters yesterday, actually all the waters in play -- I'm sure others posted similar -- and even I could "get" it. Thanks, I think you could be exactly right.

So cooler waters would keep it from LA or TX? Or am I off there?

Anyone is welcome to comment. Thanks, T'Dude.


Well the cooler waters would hinder it from being anything significant if it moved that way, but I dont think it will go in that direction, more likely towards Florida, but who knows at this point.

Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8331
621. BurnedAfterPosting
4:18 AM GMT on November 05, 2009


00Z GFS at 144 hours
620. taco2me61
4:18 AM GMT on November 05, 2009
Quoting TampaSpin:
Evening all.....nice blow up of Ida i see...


Yes it is Tampaspin.... So what is your take on Ida???? Do you think she will make Hurricane before Land fall????

Taco :0)
Member Since: July 7, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 3261
619. KoritheMan
4:17 AM GMT on November 05, 2009
Quoting TampaSpin:
Evening all.....nice blow up of Ida i see...


A recent 37 GHz SSMIS overpass indicates that an eye feature is evident at the mid- and upper-levels. Had it not been for land interaction with Central America, Ida would probably have been a hurricane by now.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 575 Comments: 20564

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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.