TD 3 growing more organized

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8:01 PM GMT on July 22, 2010

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Tropical Depression Three is steadily organizing, and appears poised to become a much stronger storm than was forecast. Water vapor satellite loops show that the upper level low to the west of TD 3 that has been bringing high levels of wind shear to the storm is now moving faster to the west than predicted. This faster motion has resulted in a reduction in wind shear over TD 3, to a moderate 10 knots. Satellite images of TD 3 show that the storm is taking advantage of the lower shear by developing several low-level spiral bands to the north and east of the center. However, the center of circulation is still exposed to view, and dry air is still getting injected into the core of the storm from the southwest. The storm's heavy thunderstorms have not increased in intensity this afternoon, and the amount of heavy thunderstorm activity near the core of the storm is still limited. TD 3 will need to build more intense thunderstorms near its center before significant intensification can occur. TD 3 is a small storm, and surface observations in the Bahamas do not show the circulation very well. An outer rain band of TD 3 is now visible on Miami long-range radar, and a flood watch has been issued for all of South Florida. The Hurricane Hunters are in the storm at present, and have found top surface winds of 35 - 40 mph.


Figure 1. Afternoon satellite image of TD 3.

Track Forecast for TD 3
The storm is in a straightforward steering current environment, and TD 3 should progress steadily to the west-northwest through Sunday. This will bring the storm ashore over the Florida Keys or South Florida on Friday, and into the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday. The latest set of model runs from 8am EDT (12Z) foresee a track more to the north than the previous set of model runs. This increases the threat to the oil spill region, and I give a 40% chance that the oil spill region will see tropical storm force winds of 39 mph or higher this weekend. Oil recovery and relief well drilling operations should cease. If TD 3 makes a direct hit on the oil spill region as a tropical storm with 50 - 60 mph winds, it will likely drive a storm surge of 3 - 6 feet with high waves on top into the Louisiana marshlands, fouling a large area with oil. Oil would also penetrate into Lake Pontchartrain, which lies just two feet above sea level. However, the wave action of the storm will dilute the oil to some degree, which may limit the damage to the marshlands.

If you are wondering about the specific probabilities of receiving tropical storm force winds at your location, I recommend the wind probability product from NHC. The latest 5 pm probabilities of various locations getting tropical storm force winds, 39 mph or higher:

Marathon 55%
Marco Island 43%
Miami 34%
New Orleans 33%
Galveston 13%

Intensity Forecast for TD 3
The primary detriment to development of TD 3 for the next three days will be the presence of the large upper-level low to its west. If the low remains in its present location, relative to TD 3, it will bring wind shear of about 10 knots to the storm. This will allow for steady intensification of perhaps 20 mph per day, and TD 3 could be a hurricane by Sunday at that pace. However, if the upper-level low slows down a bit, relative to TD 3, more shear and dry air will affect the storm, potentially weakening it. None of the computer models is calling for TD 3 to strengthen into a hurricane, but if the shear continues at 10 knots, I expect TD 3 will become a hurricane. My low-confidence intensity forecast gives TD 3 a 40% chance of becoming a hurricane. NHC is putting the odds of TD 3 being a hurricane at 2 pm Sunday at 15% with their 5pm advisory.

98L
An area of disturbed weather (98L) has developed in the Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche. This system is under a low amount of shear, 5 - 10 knots, and probably does not have enough time to organize into a tropical depression before making landfall along the Mexican coast a few hundred miles south of the Texas border on Friday.

Resources for the BP oil disaster
Map of oil spill location from the NOAA Satellite Services Division
My post, What a hurricane would do the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
My post on the Southwest Florida "Forbidden Zone" where surface oil will rarely go
My post on what oil might do to a hurricane
NOAA's interactive mapping tool to overlay wind and ocean current forecasts, oil locations, etc.
Gulf Oil Blog from the UGA Department of Marine Sciences
Oil Spill Academic Task Force
University of South Florida Ocean Circulation Group oil spill forecasts
ROFFS Deepwater Horizon page
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery from the University of Miami

Next update
I'll have an update in the morning. ABC World News Tonight will probably show a sound bite I did for them today, on their 6:30pm broadcast.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting extreme236:
TAFB gave Bonnie a T3.0/45kt intensity estimate.
SAB at 2.5.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting TampaSpin:
Gotta love Dr. Lyons! I was just Chatting with him on FB....good man he is and always there for me!


well, spell the beans man..... what did he say about Bonnie??
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TAFB gave Bonnie a T3.0/45kt intensity estimate.
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Quoting duprk452:


The ships have already been sent inland. They go inland far enough to be safe and stay on standby.


All non-essential vessels were sent in yesterday. (I'm on one of them) The remaining vessels and personnel are coming in tonight and tomorrow. Shoreside support personnel in Port Fourchon and Grand Isle will be evacuating tomorrow as well.
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Quoting omgonozohshite:


Is meteorology the only profession where you can be wrong 90% of the time and still keep your job?

Honest question here, no knock to you storm just curious as to your thoughts


psychiatry. most people just need to get over it, but instead they are told they are bipolar etc. they are wrong 90% of the time and keep their jobs.
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Quoting Tazmanian:



LOL that was too funny

;) glad you liked it
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Quoting thelmores:


With the location of the ULL west, and the High north, I would say that is unlikely. Possible, but unlikely.......


ok, thanks!
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Thanks Storm. If the vertical winds over Miami are going in two different directions, does this increase the danger of tornadoes ? I know nothing about that topic.
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2060. scott39
Quoting SouthDadeFish:
I never understood how quickly the mood changes on the blog. 4 hours ago Bonnie was looking great and ready to bomb. Now its not looking good at all. Could it be that the NHC forecast is right and its slowly strengthening? People don't realize that this is a PROCESS and it doesn't happen in three hours.
Answer--- Some people get bored during slow times and impatient, and during growth, excited and they become a cheerleader!
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2059. SLU
The history of BONNIE.











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Quoting StormW:


Good evening.


Hi you stormy man you :P
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Quoting FLdewey:
What's up party people?


Yo, Yo- Dewey's in the house!! Bonnie is still sticking around.
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Quoting HurricaneGeek:
Now with the Stronger convection not where the Low Level Circulation, does that mean that where the stronger T storms are, the MLC could work to the Surface and take over o what?


With the location of the ULL west, and the High north, I would say that is unlikely. Possible, but unlikely.......
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Quoting WeatherLoverinMiami:
I was just looking at channel 7 weather guy is a idiot he is telling people that bonnie is not looking to good what is this idiot looking at


Well. It's not really looking that good. What are you looking at? In reality, this is quite a minor event, but as the first storm to hit S FL in a while, it brings a lot of attention nonetheless. Consider it a good dry run, pardon the pun.
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Quoting thelmores:
As long as the storm is not "stacked", don't see how you could call it healthy..... but if the shear relaxes any at all, some intensification can happen..... I just don't see that happening in the next 4-6 hours......


Shear is 10 - 20 knots.
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I'm not impressed with Bonnie. Too many hostile conditions for this storm to contend with. A couple of nights ago I thought she had a chance but it's always 1 step forward and 2 steps back. Thankfully, SFL will only get some rain and wind.
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Quoting Patrap:
Floater - Rainbow Color Infrared Loop

yah tomorrow is gonna be a nasty drive to work here in ft laud
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Quoting Levi32:
Tropical Storm Bonnie Thursday Evening Video Update, July 22nd


Excellent stuff.
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
2049. Patrap
The Loop shows the Convective Uptick ..and the High Scooting here off to WNW easily now..
A lil Breathing room as she slides west WnW.

Loop de' Loop"
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Quoting HurricaneGeek:
Now with the Stronger convection not where the Low Level Circulation, does that mean that where the stronger T storms are, the MLC could work to the Surface and take over o what?


I was judging by the picture that
2016 thelmores posted.
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Senior Chief…great job on the show tonight…very informative…kind of tough sometimes to hear when it sounds like a very narrow band audio filter has been applied…like trying to listen through a tin can…thanks and take care.

v/r

Jon
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Gotta love Dr. Lyons! I was just Chatting with him on FB....good man he is and always there for me!
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 179 Comments: 20448
Quoting centex:
Not because of strength but I'm impressed how it fights off adverse conditions and takes advantage of every little opportunity.


Me too, but I think the window has closed on its last opportunity before a Florida landfall. Levi has convinced me that the system is decoupled. Makes sense. If you really look at the Miami radar that Patrap has been posting, the lower levels are streaming WSW and the upper levels NW. Really interesting. I don't know that I've ever seen that on radar before.
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Quoting Orcasystems:


ROFL, your aware Levi lives in Alaska right?


Bonnie is small, don't think its windfield is that big! LOL
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2043. angiest
Several pages back some people were asking about CMC having two systems in the Gulf, Bonnie and one following her a couple of days behind. I first saw this in CMC last night and in ECWMF earlier today.
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2042. Levi32
Quoting MiamiWarnings:
levi, what part of dade county do you think will see the strongest winds?


I don't think you can really pinpoint that right now. It depends on exactly where the center comes in, and whether it comes into the Miami area or passes just south and into the keys, that entire county will get the worst of the weather, which will be found north of the center.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26684
Quoting Orcasystems:


ROFL, your aware Levi lives in Alaska right?


Levi must be a popular name in Alaska;)
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Now with the Stronger convection not where the Low Level Circulation, does that mean that where the stronger T storms are, the MLC could work to the Surface and take over o what?
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As long as the storm is not "stacked", don't see how you could call it healthy..... but if the shear relaxes any at all, some intensification can happen..... I just don't see that happening in the next 4-6 hours......
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Bonnie is getting squashed by that high. There is no way that this thing becomes a hurricane.
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I never understood how quickly the mood changes on the blog. 4 hours ago Bonnie was looking great and ready to bomb. Now its not looking good at all. Could it be that the NHC forecast is right and its slowly strengthening? People don't realize that this is a PROCESS and it doesn't happen in three hours.
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Quoting kuppenskup:
Is it me or is Bonnie organizing by the hr?

it's you.
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From the WV motion it looks like the ULL is pulling the system into the main land of Florida. I'm not sure what the LLC is doing but the main weather looks to be moving toward a point further north.
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The squeeze is on...Link

ULL to its West, ULL to its East!
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Quoting MiamiWarnings:
levi, what part of dade county do you think will see the strongest winds?


ROFL, your aware Levi lives in Alaska right?
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2027. centex
Quoting scott39:
Is anybody impressed with Bonnie right now?
Not because of strength but I'm impressed how it fights off adverse conditions and takes advantage of every little opportunity.
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2026. Patrap
Floater - Rainbow Color Infrared Loop
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Almost looks clasic here.
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Quoting scott39:
Is anybody impressed with Bonnie right now?


Shear is def. relaxing. Looks healthy to me.
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Quoting scott39:
Is anybody impressed with Bonnie right now?

Not. At. All.
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Quoting FTLSTRMCHSR:
Anyone else in South Florida, think the center will cross North of Miami at or near Cantore at the Miami Dade/Broward Line...Indications pointing to a more northern center of circulation, therefor, even with a turn more WNW later, could be to northern side of the swath currently being shown....just asking?


Cantore better not take a potty break during the landfall or he will miss the whole thing. The entire convection blob of Bonnie fits in an area about the size of Dade county and at a fwd speed of 15mph, it will be over as soon as it starts.
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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.