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 Stormchaser2007:
Looks to be intensifying rapidly but the HH found otherwise.
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IDA

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Where is Kman? Must be on vacation...
Member Since: April 5, 2007 Posts: 83 Comments: 12345
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Still 996mb


996.1 mb
(~ 29.41 inHg)


so no rapid intensification there, which I find good.
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Quoting jdcweatherky:
Any update on chances of the Cayman Islands getting a impact. Im supposed to leave tomorrow I need help thanks:)
Another Caymanian, haven't seen you on here before and you asked exactly what I was wondering.
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Quoting StormW:


Actually...no. That's a decent upper level anti-cyclone.


my bad didn't see it at first. Will deflect the shear a bit. Would expect slow strengthening then.
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Thanks, Doc.

I think I am going to ignore the 18 Z models completely...they will have a bad, non-representative initialization...

The 0 Z models will be the first cycle with an actual system initialized, thanks to the recon.

(P.S. If anyone feels the need to shout, at least learn how...)

That was cool! Just as cool as TS Ida forming within the last 48 hrs

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Quoting Drakoen:
Though the GFS has bad strength initialization it has decent position initialization. It has a hard time getting the system onshore.


Interesting the contrast from before... it was all over land now... it wants to keep it offshore like NAM.
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
The question is, what the shear will be like in the NW Caribbean this weekend if Ida makes it there.


Shear will continue to remain favorable as long as surface convergence remains firm over the area. Strong surface convergence also causes a positive feedback at the upper atmosphere when the mid to upper levels are not capped.
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Still 996mb


996.1 mb
(~ 29.41 inHg)
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
The November hurricane in Galveston, extracted from this link: Link

November 1527: There is record of a hurricane destroying a merchant fleet on Galveston Island. Up to 200 lives were taken by the storm. This is the first record known of a hurricane along the Texas coastline and also one of the most unusual...it struck during the month of November; only one other hurricane has ever struck during November (1839).

The November 5, 1839 hurricane that hit Galveston, extracted from this link: Link

November 5th, 1839: Hurricane struck Galveston unusually late in the season.


Whoa! and the only other one to hit the Gulf states other than Florida, was 1985. This is a rare event if it does enter the Gulf. Hope Dr. Master's is correct! Thanks for the info.
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Quoting reedzone:


(sigh) you again.. You downcast everything, news is, Ida COULD move in the GOM.
I am 99.999999999999999% sure that Ida will at some point enter the Gulf. But chances are that it will not effect Texas or bordering states. Most likely (at this point) Florida (Notice how i'm not saying north or south or central Florida) or close-by states.
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Quoting KerryInNOLA:
No matter what this storm does, one thing is ironclad. IT won't affect the central north Gulf Coast. We have history and meterology on our side!

Never say never...we are usually lucky this time of year due to cold front coming through....but you never know.
Member Since: September 5, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 3482
Blog Update
Reflector site for those at work, includes Dr. Masters & Weather456, daily update.

Seismic Monitor

AOI

AOI
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Humor in Comments
TS BUSTED FORECAST, to be used in the event you make a minor discrepancy in your forecast.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Though the GFS has bad strength initialization it has decent position initialization. It has a hard time getting the system onshore.
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Quoting StormW:




A brick wall seemingly.
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Remember the aftermath...
Link
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Recons moving in for another important pass.
I'm expecting a pressure of somewhere around 990 or so.
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Quoting hurricanejunky:
Great TCHP down where it's at now but north of Cuba it's not very impressive. Weak hurricane / strong TS not out of the question though.

Yeah but TCHP isn't great where it is now either.
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Quoting 1900hurricane:

I believe the reason that 115 kts is rounded to 135 mph is because the 132.34 mph, while closer to 130 than to 135, lies above the threshold for a Category 4 hurricane, while 130 mph does not.

Good observation....whoop!
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Will the NHC be posting a 5PM advisory?


Since time change, 4PM is the new 5PM.
Member Since: April 5, 2007 Posts: 83 Comments: 12345
Great TCHP down where it's at now but north of Cuba it's not very impressive. Weak hurricane / strong TS not out of the question though.
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Kerry in NOLA called for no GOM hurricanes?
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
not completely KerryInNola, looking back we found November hurricanes that hit Galveston in 1527 and 1839.

And 1590...I think.
And, of course, all Jeanne (1980) needed was steering to give us a cat 1 or 2 landfall.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
Historical data doesn't always mean everything either. Hurricanes make history all the time!
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Dude, someone on your "team" could hopefully tell you how to spell the word....
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
45 kts converts to 52 mph, so it rounds to 50 mph. 50 kts converts to 58 mph, so it rounds up to 60 mph. 55 mph is skipped. The same thing happens to 95 mph--80 kts converts to 92 mph, and is rounded to 90 mph--85 kts converts to 98 mph and rounds to 100 mph.

30 kts - 34.52 mph, rounds to 35 mph
35 kts - 40.28 mph, rounds to 40 mph
40 kts - 46.03 mph, rounds to 45 mph
45 kts - 51.79 mph, rounds to 50 mph
50 kts - 57.54 mph, rounds to 60 mph (55 mph skipped)
55 kts - 63.29 mph, rounds to 65 mph
60 kts - 69.05 mph, rounds to 70 mph
65 kts - 74.80 mph, rounds to 75 mph
70 kts - 80.55 mph, rounds to 80 mph
75 kts - 86.31 mph, rounds to 85 mph
80 kts - 92.06 mph, rounds to 90 mph
85 kts - 97.82 mph, rounds to 100 mph (95 mph skipped)
90 kts - 103.57 mph, rounds to 105 mph
95 kts - 109.32 mph, rounds to 110 mph
100 kts - 115.08 mph, rounds to 115 mph
105 kts - 120.83 mph, rounds to 120 mph
110 kts - 126.58 mph, rounds to 125 mph
115 kts - 132.34 mph, rounds to 130 mph (for some reason, they round it up to 135 mph, and skip 130 mph)
120 kts - 138.09 mph, rounds to 140 mph
125 kts - 143.85 mph, rounds to 145 mph
130 kts - 149.60 mph, rounds to 150 mph
135 kts - 155.36 mph, rounds to 155 mph
140 kts - 161.11 mph, rounds to 160 mph
145 kts - 166.86 mph, rounds to 165 mph
150 kts - 172.62 mph, rounds to 175 mph (I can't remember if 170 mph is skipped or not)
155 kts - 178.37 mph, rounds to 180 mph
160 kts - 184.12 mph, rounds to 185 mph

I believe the reason that 115 kts is rounded to 135 mph is because the 132.34 mph, while closer to 130 than to 135, lies above the threshold for a Category 4 hurricane, while 130 mph does not.
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Recons moving in for another important pass.
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HH making another run at the center.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Will the NHC be posting a 5PM advisory?


7PM
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Thanks, Doc.

I think I am going to ignore the 18 Z models completely...they will have a bad, non-representative initialization...

The 0 Z models will be the first cycle with an actual system initialized, thanks to the recon.

(P.S. If anyone feels the need to shout, at least learn how...)
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
Quoting Stormchaser2007:


7pm.
Thanks
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Quoting NRAamy:
I'm still waiting for tacoman's update on the TD.
Uhh, I feed tacoman his info--none of it based on fact, he believes I'm a met with inside information, LOL!
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Will the NHC be posting a 5PM advisory?


7pm.
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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.