QuikSCAT, 1999 - 2009: R.I.P.

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:34 PM GMT on November 24, 2009

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The QuikSCAT satellite is no more. The sad new of QuikSCAT's demise came yesterday in a terse message from NASA:

Several hours ago, shortly past 7:00Z today (23Nov), telemetry received from QuikSCAT indicates that the antenna rotation rate has dropped to zero and remains at zero. The motor remains powered. The system can be operated safely in this state for an indefinite period. The QuikSCAT operations team will be meeting later this morning, but in all likelihood this is the end of the nominal mission".

Launched in 1999, the QuikSCAT satellite became one of the most useful and controversial meteorological satellites ever to orbit the Earth. Forecasters world-wide came to rely on QuikSCAT wind data to issue timely warnings and make accurate forecasts of tropical and extratropical storms, wave heights, sea ice, aviation weather, iceberg movement, coral bleaching events, and El Niño. Originally expected to last just 2-3 years, QuikSCAT made it past ten, a testament to the skill of the engineers that designed the satellite. To show you what a dweeb I am, I'll admit to tearing up a bit when heard yesterday that the venerable old bird had finally bitten the dust. It was like losing a valued friend.


Figure 1. NASA's QuikSCAT satellite, launched in 1999. Image credit: NASA.

Alternatives to QuikSCAT
Two valuable alternatives to QuikSCAT are available, but neither can come close to making up for the loss of QuikSCAT. The Windsat instrument aboard the Coriolis satellite (launched in 2003) measures wind speed and wind direction using a different technique. Evaluation of these data at NHC and NOAA's Ocean Prediction Center (OPC) shown the winds to be unreliable in and around the storm environment. There's also the European ASCAT satellite, launched in 2007. Like QuikSCAT, ASCAT can measure global wind speed and direction twice per day. However, the data is available at 25 km resolution (two times coarser than the 12.5 km QuikSCAT), and ASCAT covers only 60% of the area covered by QuikSCAT in the same time period. QuikSCAT sees a swath of ocean 1800 km wide, while ASCAT sees two parallel swaths 550 km wide, separated by a 720 km gap. I find it frustrating to use ASCAT to monitor tropical storms, since the passes miss the center of circulation of a storm of interest more than half the time. On the plus side, ASCAT has the advantage that the data is not adversely affected by rain, unlike QuikSCAT.

The need for a new QuikSCAT
NOAA has been pushing for a QuikSCAT replacement for years. Former National Hurricane Center director Bill Proenza laudably made a big push in 2007 for a new QuikSCAT satellite. Unfortunately, he made claims about the usefulness of QuikSCAT for improving hurricane track forecasts that were not supported by scientific research, an error that may have ultimately led to his downfall. While there is evidence that QuikSCAT data may improve hurricane track forecasts of some computer models, NHC uses many models to make hurricane track forecasts, and some of these models are not helped by QuikSCAT data. For example, a 2009 model study by Dr. Jim Goerss of the Naval Research Lab found that QuikSCAT winds made no improvement to hurricane track forecasts of the NOGAPS model, one of the key models used by NHC to predict hurricane tracks. QuikSCAT is extremely valuable for many other aspects of hurricane forecasting, though. It provides early detection of surface circulations in developing tropical depressions, and for defining gale (34 kts) and storm-force (50 kts) wind radii. The information on wind radii from QuikSCAT is especially important for tropical storms and hurricanes outside the range of aircraft reconnaissance flights conducted in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific basins, and for the regions where there are no reconnaissance flights (Central Pacific, Western Pacific, and Indian Ocean). Accurate wind radii are critical to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC), and Guam Weather Forecast Office (WFO) watch and warning process, since they affect the size of tropical storm and hurricane watch and warning areas. Between 2003 and 2006, QuikSCAT data were used at NHC 17% of the time to determine the wind radii, 21% of the time for center fixing, and 62% of the time for storm intensity estimates.

A QuikSCAT replacement
A replacement dual-frequency QuikSCAT satellite that has superior capabilities to old one is being explored by NOAA and NASA, in partnership with the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA). The new QuikSCAT instrument would fly on the Japanese GCOM-Water Cycle satellite, scheduled to launch in January 2016. However, funding must begin in 2010 in order to meet this launch deadline, and no funding for a new QuikSCAT has been put into the Administration's FY 2011 budget. The proposed QuikSCAT replacement would be able to measure winds as high as 100 mph (Category 2 hurricane strength), and have improved ability to measure winds in heavy rain. The new satellite would have a 20% improvement in spatial resolution. The cost would be less than usual, since the rocket and and satellite are already paid for. However, there are additional costs involved in adapting QuikSCAT to the Japanese engineering requirements. The final costs of such a replacement QuikSCAT have not been determined yet, but would probably be several hundred million dollars. According to the Palm Beach Post, in September, U.S. Representative Ron Kline, D-FL, introduced a bill in Congress to fund a new QuikSCAT satellite. Klein introduced a similar bill in 2007, which failed. "Today's news of its failure simply strengthens our commitment to ensure that a next-generation satellite is constructed and launched as quickly as possible", Klein said in a statement made yesterday.

Thanks to all of you who've written your Senators and Representatives. Let's hope that the final failure of QuikSCAT yesterday will finally motivate Congress to fund a replacement satellite.

Rest in Peace, QuikSCAT.

References
2007 NOAA QuikSCAT user impact study:


Figure 2. Surface weather map for the time when the UK's record 24-hour rainfall event occurred, Nov. 19, 2009. A cold front trailing from a powerful low pressure system with a central pressure of 955 mb stalled over the western UK and dumped prodigious amounts of rain. Image credit: National Weather Service.

Heavy rains on tap for hard-hit flooded regions of the UK
Heavy rains of up to four inches are expected today over regions of the UK still recovering from last week's deadly floods. An extremely moist Atlantic frontal system stalled over across Northern Ireland, Cumbria and south-west Scotland last Thursday and Friday, dumping prodigious amounts of rain that triggered severe flooding in Cumbria. Loops of precipitable water reveal that part of this moisture may have come from the Hurricane Ida-enhanced Nor'easter that brought record storm surges to the U.S. Mid-Atlantic coast. The 24-hour total at Seathwaite (ending 0045 on Friday 20 November) of 314.4 mm (12.37 inches) is a UK record for a single location in any given 24-hour period, according to the UK Met Office. Records go back to 1914. According to wunderground member "Former Aussie", who has been working at the scene of the disaster, "the centre of the small town of Cockermouth was up to the tops of shop windows in water. Downstream, at Workington, bridges were washed away. Police constable Bill Barker was standing on one, stopping traffic as it fell, and he drowned, but the prompt and in cases heroic action of the emergency services meant no other lives were lost, as far as we know. Cockermouth was the birthplace of the poet William Wordsworth. The house where he was born is still standing, but the contents are said to be seriously damaged. Cumbriafoundation.org is where anyone wanting to help some extremely distressed and hard hit people can go. Some thousands of people will be out of their homes for months, and as it's less that 14 months since some of them were flooded out the last time, some will be suffering uninsurable losses.

I'll have a new post on Wednesday.

Jeff Masters

P.S. wunderblogger Patrap attended yesterday's Cuban-American Hurricane Conference in New Orleans, and has posted a nice blog on the affair.

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This sounds like this Nida has the potential to be the worst of the season, if it continues the rapid intensification trend we have been seeing....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
246. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #25
TYPHOON NIDA (T0922)
15:00 PM JST November 25 2009
===========================================

SUBJECT: Category Four Typhoon Near Marianas Islands

At 6:00 AM UTC, Typhoon Nida (925 hPa) located at 11.6N 143.0E has 10 minute sustained winds of 100 knot with gusts of 140 knots. The typhoon is reported as moving west-northwest at 11 knots

RSMC Dvorak Intensity: T6.0

Storm Force Winds
===================
70 NM from the center

Gale Force Winds
================
200 NM from the center

Forecast and Intensity
=====================
24 HRS: 15.0N 140.5E - 105 kts (CAT 5/Very Intense Typhoon)
48 HRS: 17.2N 139.3E - 105 kts (CAT 5/Very Intense Typhoon)
72 HRS: 18.5N 138.9E - 100 kts (CAT 4/Very Strong Typhoon)

---
JMA sets the intensity high.. 140 knot gusts is likely a 120 knot sustained winds in 1 min average.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 44779
245. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Mauritius Meteorological Services
Tropical Cyclone Advisory Number ELEVEN
PERTURBATION TROPICALE, FORMER BONGANI (05-20092010)
10:00 AM Réunion November 25 2009
=========================================

At 6:00 AM UTC, Tropical Disturbance, Former Bongani (1004 hPa) located at 10.7S 50.0E has 10 minute sustained winds of 25 knots with gusts of 35 knots. The disutrbance is reported as moving west at 7 knots

RSMC Dvorak Intensity: T1.5

Forecast and Intensity
======================
12 HRS: 11.0S 48.5E - 25 kts (Perturbation Tropicale)
24 HRS: 11.5S 46.9E - 25 kts (Perturbation Tropicale)
48 HRS: 13.7S 43.0E - 25 kts (Perturbation Tropicale)
72 HRS: 16.5S 40.5E - 20 kts (se Dissipant)

Additional Information
========================
Position is based on extrapolation from AMSU 0109z. Convection has flared up on infrared imagery during last night, but collapses over the last hours. Microwave shows that convection is restricted to the southwest quadrant.

Available Numerical Weather Prediction models show no major change for the intensity forecast. Environmental conditions seem less favorable for a re-intensification. Actually, if upper level conditions are good, lower level inflow is expected to weaken with a poor monsoon inflow that should now disappear within the next 24 hours and a tradewind inflow that should be disrupted by the northern tip of Madagascar. For now, none of the guidance deepen significantly the system.

Latest available Numerical Weather Prediction models remain in good agreement: The system is expected to move along the northwestern edge of a low tropospheric ridge and track west-southwest within the next 36 hours towards the Comoros Achipelago, and then southwestwards.

Heavy rains associated with gusty winds are expected today over the northern tip of Madagascar. Total rain amounts of 50 MM is possible with higher values over elevated areas (according to EUMETSAT and NOAA rain estimate products).

This is a weakening system that should therefore reach the Comoros Archipelago Thursday evening. A deterioration from east to west of the weather condition is possible tonight for this area.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 44779
244. xcool



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243. xcool
you welcome any time.
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Yeah, that's it! Thanks xcool!!
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 67
Quoting xcool:
natrwalkn new update i just post it ,


Oh, ok. It only goes out 168 hours instead of 348. The one you posted earlier shows snow cover out to 348 hours I thought. Oh well. Just hoping for that southern snow to move up through the NC piedmont next week.
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 67
239. xcool



here you go
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238. xcool
natrwalkn new update i just post it ,
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Thanx Jeff, just bought a new anemometer and it would be nice to have a chance to try it out!
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It has been a long time since we had a well organized, contiguous squall line move all the way across the Fl. peninsula. Do you have a link to the GFS that is showing this? Thank you.
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Next week is looking to be an interesting week, GFS shows a massive squall line pounding Florida from the Panhandle down to Miami, even Cuba gets this..
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Quoting xcool:



SNOW BY 18Z GFS SLIDELL LA TO M.S


An update of this one.
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 67
Can you get me a link to the 348 hour forecast? Is it still showing the snow moving into the Carolinas?
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 67
Quoting xcool:
i was just looking model show snow in n.y at 372 hr


Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 67
230. xcool
i was just looking model show snow in n.y at 372 hr
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Quoting xcool:
168hr


That last one you posted looks much different than the one you posted earlier today. Is that as far out as the forecast model goes?
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 67
228. xcool
168hr
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Quoting xcool:


here we goo !! snow .this make 6 time models show snow imo


Is the 348hour forecast still showing snow for NC?
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 67
226. xcool


here we goo !! snow .this make 6 time models show snow imo
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i must be a sleep or am i seeing thing this cant be right could it Raw T # 7.7???




UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 8.1.1
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 25 NOV 2009 Time : 043200 UTC
Lat : 11:34:02 N Lon : 143:04:56 E


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
6.5 / 917.8mb/127.0kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
6.5 7.2 7.7

Latitude bias adjustment to MSLP : +3.8mb

Estimated radius of max. wind based on IR : 21 km

Center Temp : +21.6C Cloud Region Temp : -80.5C

Scene Type : EYE

Positioning Method : RING/SPIRAL COMBINATION

Ocean Basin : WEST PACIFIC
Dvorak CI > MSLP Conversion Used : PACIFIC

Tno/CI Rules : Constraint Limits : 1.7T/6hr
Weakening Flag : OFF
Rapid Dissipation Flag : OFF
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Oceansat, ASCAT and the others will have to Man up and do the Work Load, its not the end all of things in that regard.

SEAWINDS




Scatterometry Text
Overview
Swath Data Sets

Data from polar orbiting satellites is observed and archived in swaths, relative to the satellite track, rather than a global grid. The pattern of observations is nearly regular, and forms a grid with axis parallel and perpicular to the satellite track. The spatial resolution of the data sets is usually 25 or 50 km.

Several forms of NSCAT gridded data will be available on-line. Links to descriptions of the data sets are available. The following general table outlines the available gridded data products. Further explanations of winds, pseudostresses, and stresses are available.
Information on Swath Data Sets
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127592
Quoting thelmores:
RIP QuickScat!

Pains me we can spend "Billions" on nonsensical vote buying programs, but can't seem to have the wisdom to realize the importance of losing QuickScat!

We have absolutely no common sense left in Washington DC!
pains me to see next season having a hard time with confirmation of closed coc's for early dev. systems may prove to be quite challenging to say the least
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Shoot. Probably too late to ask for the next installment of Pottery's Diary, "As the Wheel Turns." What sick joke is this NIDA after N(or)IDA??
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
220. jipmg
How is it moving NNW?

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219. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #24
TYPHOON NIDA (T0922)
12:00 PM JST November 25 2009
===========================================

SUBJECT: Category Four Typhoon Near Marianas Islands

At 3:00 AM UTC, Typhoon Nida (935 hPa) located at 11.2N 143.4E has 10 minute sustained winds of 90 knot with gusts of 130 knots. The typhoon is reported as moving north-northwest at 12 knots

RSMC Dvorak Intensity:

Storm Force Winds
===================
70 NM from the center

Gale Force Winds
================
200 NM from the center

Forecast and Intensity
=====================
24 HRS: 14.4N 140.7E - 105 kts (CAT 5/Very Intense Typhoon)

---
bad that they have to upgrade the system in between the full advisories
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 44779


AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI

Humor in Comments
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
RIP QuickScat!

Pains me we can spend "Billions" on nonsensical vote buying programs, but can't seem to have the wisdom to realize the importance of losing QuickScat!

We have absolutely no common sense left in Washington DC!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
00
WTPQ31 PGUM 250040
TCPPQ1

BULLETIN
TYPHOON NIDA (26W) INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER 12A
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TIYAN GU WP262009
1100 AM CHST WED NOV 25 2009

...TYPHOON NIDA MOVING NORTH-NORTHWEST AND INTENSIFYING...

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR FAIS AND ULITHI.

AT 1000 AM CHST...0000Z...THE EYE OF TYPHOON NIDA WAS LOCATED BY THE
GUAM RADAR NEAR LATITUDE 10.7 DEGREES NORTH AND LONGITUDE 143.8
DEGREES EAST.

THIS IS ABOUT 200 MILES SOUTH-SOUTHWEST OF GUAM
330 MILES SOUTH-SOUTHWEST OF SAIPAN
230 MILES EAST-NORTHEAST OF FAIS AND
290 MILES EAST-NORTHEAST OF ULITHI.

TYPHOON NIDA IS MOVING NORTH-NORTHWEST AT AROUND 11 MPH. LITTLE
CHANGE IN MOTION IS EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE 110 MPH. NIDA IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE
INTENSIFYING DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS. TYPHOON FORCE WINDS EXTEND
OUTWARD UP TO 50 MILES FROM THE CENTER AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE
WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 110 MILES FROM THE CENTER.

REPEATING THE 1000 AM POSITION...LATITUDE 10.7 DEGREES NORTH AND
LONGITUDE 143.8 DEGREES EAST...MOVING NORTH-NORTHWEST AT 11 MPH
WITH MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS OF 110 MPH.

THE NEXT SCHEDULED ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER
SERVICE AT 200 PM THIS AFTERNOON.

$$

MUNDELL
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215. beell
)
Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 141 Comments: 16243
Quoting P451:
aida is 85mph? What? That thing looks 125 .


Well it now has 110-115mph.
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There have been four minor dips in the temperature record since anthropogenic forces took over from natural cycles over 30 years ago

Funny.
;-)
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
I'm also concerned for a major outbreak of severe weather in Florida next week, GFS model shows a major squall line blasting through the state. Something to watch for right now..
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Looks like a good severe weather event in Central/South Florida, maybe a bit of isolated severe weather in North Florida.. Looks bigger then what the models showed.. check this out

Notice the LATEST GFS shows a squall line, but not much moisture near it.. a very weak low..


If you look at the Gulf storm on the IR, you can see the models initialized this weaker then it actually is. Accuweather Met. Henry Margusity (weather madness) has pointed out this possible scenario of the storm being stronger then forecast.
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Does anybody notice that the Gulf system is more well defined and stronger then what was forecasted by the models?? Maybe it's just me...
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209. beell
Those are all good hints from Haby. Of the ones listed, the most important for severe would be the trough's ability to advect or move cooler/cold upper air over warm moist air at the surface. Usually from S to N more or less for the surface air. and greater instability through a taller column of the atmosphere. The "lapse rate".

But none of these hints address the fact that divergence aloft is greater in a negative tilt trough. Strong divergence aloft leads to strong convergence at the surface and a stronger surface low. The vorticity advection thing. It still occurs with a neutral or positive tilt. Just stronger in a negative tilt. As soon as I understand why, I'll come back and let everybody know. Maybe mid 2010?

ADDED: So with strong E or SE winds at the surface and a SW wind at the mid-levels leaving the base of the trough you are well on the way to producing good directional shear (winds changing direction with height) for rotating storms-not always tornadoes-but sometimes...
Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 141 Comments: 16243
Pat is that negative tilt when gravity waves take over.
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3112
A "Negative tilt" would explain the New years Day after effect from too Much New years Eve..Libations.

"Hic"...scuse me,

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127592
positively tilted, means it thinks the economy's improving.
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Quoting weatherbro:
What's the difference between a positively tilted and negatively tilted low pressure system?

Check this site. Explains it well(or much better than I could ever hope to)
Link
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Quoting weatherbro:
What's the difference between a positively tilted and negatively tilted low pressure system?


A negatively tilted low pressure system is a sign that the low pressure system has reached maturity, strong thermodynamic instability and good wind shear.

Habby Hints
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202. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #23
TYPHOON NIDA (T0922)
9:00 AM JST November 25 2009
===========================================

SUBJECT: Category Three Typhoon Near Marianas Islands

At 0:00 AM UTC, Typhoon Nida (950 hPa) located at 10.7N 143.8E has 10 minute sustained winds of 80 knot with gusts of 115 knots. The typhoon is reported as moving west-northwest at 11 knots

RSMC Dvorak Intensity: T5.5

Storm Force Winds
===================
70 NM from the center

Gale Force Winds
================
200 NM from the center

Forecast and Intensity
=====================
24 HRS: 13.9N 141.2E - 95 kts (CAT 4/Very Strong Typhoon)
48 HRS: 16.5N 139.6E - 95 kts (CAT 4/Very Strong Typhoon)
72 HRS: 18.4N 139.0E - 95 kts (CAT 4/Very Strong Typhoon)
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 44779
201. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Mauritius Meteorological Services
Tropical Cyclone Advisory Number TEN
PERTURBATION TROPICALE, FORMER BONGANI (05-20092010)
4:00 AM Réunion November 25 2009
=========================================

At 0:00 AM UTC, Tropical Disturbance, Former Bongani (1004 hPa) located at 10.9S 51.1E has 10 minute sustained winds of 25 knots with gusts of 35 knots. The disutrbance is reported as moving west at 6 knots

RSMC Dvorak Intensity: T1.5

Forecast and Intensity
======================
12 HRS: 10.9S 49.9E - 25 kts (Perturbation Tropicale)
24 HRS: 11.1S 48.1E - 30 kts (Depression Tropicale)
48 HRS: 12.7S 44.6E - 25 kts (Perturbation Tropicale)
72 HRS: 14.9S/42.1E - 20 kts (se Dissipant)

Additional Information
========================

Position is based on extrapolation from AMSRE (2207z). If convection has flared up on infrared imagery, NW shows that it is restricted to the southwest quadrant.

1200z model run shows no major change for the intensity forecast: Environmental condition looks less favorable for re-intensification. Actually, if upper level conditions are good, lower level inflow is expected to weaken with a poor monsoon inflow that should now disappear within the next 24 hours and a tradewind inflow that should be disrupted by the northern tip of Madagascar. In fact now, none of the guidance deepen significantly the system.

Latest available Numerical Weather Prediction models remain in good agreement. The system is expected to move on the western edge of a low tropospheric ridge and track west-southwestward within the next three days toward the Comoros archipelago. Only minor adjustments has been done to the previous forecast.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 44779
It was like losing a valued friend.

Amen. We will certainly miss it next year.
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Yes xcool...supposed to have miserable weather down here tomorrow. Cloudy and rainy. Let's see if it pans out.
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198. xcool



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197. xcool


cold air comeing soon


at http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/sfc/namscsfcbw.gif
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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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