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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6-10 day climo tracks

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting WxLogic:


Indeed... also note that its motion has slowed some. If it continues to be on the water and strengthen further then a more N component is likely to materialize sooner.


Agree.
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317. xcool
looking quite nice at this moment
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316. unf97
The BOC disturbance is also beginning to flare-up convection as well. Along with Ida, I'm paying close attention to that system as well.
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this reminds me a bit of Beta, back in 2005, just strength and location wise
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Quoting Chicklit:
Strange stuff going on in the EPAC.



hmmm,

that image is 1700 UTC 3 November.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting Drakoen:
Very impressive tropical storm:



Indeed... also note that its motion has slowed some. If it continues to be on the water and strengthen further then a more N component is likely to materialize sooner.
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 4976
Quoting Weather456:
The right forward band of convection maybe a sign of where Ida wants to go.


456, I agree, the convective pattern can give the clue of future movement regardless of it's present direction
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P451:


Can you convert the last six images of this loop to one of your great moving image posts?

http://rammb.cira.colostate.edu/products/tc_realtime/4kmirimg_loop.asp?storm_identifier=AL112009&st arting_image=2009AL11_4KMIRIMG_200908211130.GIF
Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6048
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Please explain. Thank you for your patience with me and my many questions.


sometimes you can tell where a storm is going by looking the banding features. Usually a westward moving storm like Dean had intense banding feature just west of it. Re-curving storms like Bertha have some convective bands on the NW facing sides.

With Ida the convective band covers between NW and N so it might foretell where Ida is going. It is one of those rule of thumbs that is useful but never always right.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Strange stuff going on in the EPAC.

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SUMMARY OF 700 PM EST INFORMATION...
LOCATION...12.2N 82.9W
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...65 MPH
PRESENT MOVEMENT...WEST-NORTHWEST OR 300 DEGREES AT 6 MPH
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...996 MB

THE NEXT ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL
HURRICANE CENTER AT 1000 PM EST.

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Quoting Weather456:


she is 3rd to Fred and Billy boy
Quoting Weather456:
The right forward band of convection maybe a sign of where Ida wants to go.


And something tells me that's more North than West. We'll see...
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Quoting Weather456:
The right forward band of convection maybe a sign of where Ida wants to go.
Please explain. Thank you for your patience with me and my many questions.
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Very impressive tropical storm:

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Quoting jrweatherman:
18Z GFDL has Ida as a Cat 5 over the Yucatan Channel. I'm not going to put too much faith into that one.

That computer model is way off, in my opinion
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
You are not the only one feeling queasy. 18z GFDL brings it right over Cayman. This is the latest one right ?


Yep. Hot off the presses.
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Quoting portcharlotte:


I always heard that the GDFL was one of the most reliable hurricane models. I wonder how this might influence the future NHC track


While that is true, the GFDL went from taking this thing well inland to keeping it off-shore and intensifying dangerously. I'm sure this change in the GFDL track is associated with the recent strengthening of Ida.
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Quoting P451:
dvorak + trop fcst points





Might be slightly north of the next point IMO
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The right forward band of convection maybe a sign of where Ida wants to go.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting stormpetrol:
Man looking at this Ida makes me feel a little queezy, this things sames to be RI imo.
You are not the only one feeling queasy. 18z GFDL brings it right over Cayman. This is the latest one right ?
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Quoting Bordonaro:


That is the prettiest Tropical Storm that I have seen in awhile


she is 3rd to Fred and Billy boy
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting Weather456:
Small CDO with banding



That is the prettiest Tropical Storm that I have seen in awhile
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Quoting Drakoen:


She has 6 hours to change her direction more poleward. That will be key.


Shes certainly trying to do so.
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Some Green,Lime Like noted in the 23:15 Funktop...cold Boomers
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Quoting Drakoen:
Big shift on the GFDL 18z and it seems, based on the initialization that it received the updated strength of the system. Forecast for the system to intensify dramatically over water heading for the western tip of Cuba.


I always heard that the GDFL was one of the most reliable hurricane models. I wonder how this might influence the future NHC track
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Quoting P451:
18Z GFS



that is very interesting to see as i live near pensacola in the fla panhandle and have been through my share of rough storms in the past i.e Ivan, Erin etc etc........
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Quoting P451:
18Z GFS


That's an interesting forecast track!!
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Hopefully that 18Z GFDL is an outlier and the storm tracks more towards the consensus.
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 11209
Small CDO with banding

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Not too Much disparity with the Current forecast,thru time 120..but being there,or in the Channel,is a Major difference in the "end" solution,as for Intensity.



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Quoting ElConando:
If Ida is going to miss central America is going to have to start a NNW course very soon.


She has 6 hours to change her direction more poleward. That will be key.
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Quoting portcharlotte:


The 18Z GFDL keeps the storm offshore versus the 12Z run. Do you agree or is the GFDL too far to the right?


it could a little too right, I have not seen any definite trend NNW with Ida.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting Weather456:


Intensity will be affected by land which would justify the northwestward motion...at the end of the forecast cycle the storm begins to restrengthen as a more northerly component takes over.

However, I did not anticipated the system moving so far northwest, which is why I am keeping the NNW motion open.



The 18Z GFDL keeps the storm offshore versus the 12Z run. Do you agree or is the GFDL too far to the right?
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If Ida is going to miss central America is going to have to start a NNW course very soon.
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Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:



If you page back through the daily wx for previous days, it only reports from 6 am to 4 pm daily... 4pm... time to go home mon



Cool...and good news for sure.
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
18Z HWRF coming out on the NCEP site.


That one is close to the NHC forecast path.
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Quoting P451:
18Z GFDL

YIKES!!!!

This can't be right can it?


Unfortunately, that is 1 possible track, hopefully, it does not come to pass!!
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Quoting Drakoen:
If Ida manages to remain offshore as the GFS, ECMWF, GFDL and UKMET insist then this would be a whole different ballgame so to speak.


a dangerous ball game too
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
278. jipmg
It may be influenced by the upper level steering currents, thats why some models catch on it moving more north than west.. if it gets stronger it may be influenced by the upper level winds..
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Quoting Patrap:

Corn Island, Nicaragua wu site failed Updated: 1 hr 29 min 28 sec ago

Closet wu-station to the CoC,Approx,30 miles west.



If you page back through the daily wx for previous days, it only reports from 6 am to 4 pm daily... 4pm... time to go home mon

EDIT... when I look closer at that WU page, the data is from Bluefields on the mainland
Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6048
Quoting Patrap:


Ida is no Monster,,..and Has a very tiny wind field as of now.



Thankfully... as long as it interacts with land it should keep itself in check. Else, we know what might happen...
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 4976
Just so you know...this is the first time the name Ida has been used, along with Fred which replaced Fabian and Ida replaced Isabel from the 2003 hurricane season.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
274. jipmg
you mean as of 4pm, and ida is exploding right now..

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If Ida manages to remain offshore as the GFS, ECMWF, GFDL and UKMET insist then this would be a whole different ballgame so to speak.
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18Z GFDL has Ida as a Cat 5 over the Yucatan Channel. I'm not going to put too much faith into that one.
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Big shift on the GFDL 18z and it seems, based on the initialization that it received the updated strength of the system. Forecast for the system to intensify dramatically over water heading for the western tip of Cuba.
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18Z HWRF coming out on the NCEP site.
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 11209

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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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