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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Conditions in Cuba are not deteriorating too much:

Conditions at

2010.07.22 1956 UTC
Wind from the S (190 degrees) at 16 MPH (14 KT)
Visibility 2 mile(s)
Sky conditions overcast
Weather Rain
Mist
Cumulonimbus clouds observed
Precipitation last hour 0.08 inches
Temperature 79.0 F (26.1 C)
Dew Point 75.0 F (23.9 C)
Relative Humidity 87%
Pressure (altimeter) 29.89 in. Hg (1012 hPa)
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Quoting mcluvincane:


Where did you copy and paste that from?


Right above you in Dr.M's blog :P
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Quoting mcluvincane:


Hey Reed. How fast is the upper low moving compared to TD3.


Going by the CIMMS shear map, in just 3 hours, the ULL has moved from Miami to the Keys .. 3 hours, that fast. So the ULL is moving quickly to the Southwest.
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I give TD #3 a 50% chance of becoming a hurricane at any point in its life. This should be a TS tonight...8PM or 11PM.
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Quoting hurricanejunky:
TD3 moving definitely north of the forecast points:
Link
By looking at your link, I would have to agree.
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It looks to me like the center is trying to relocate NE'wrd again near some of the fresh convection. If i'm not mistaken that is where the greatest mid level vorticity is located as well. Any opinions from the resident experts?
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@ssmcdavid.... touche'
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Quoting Patrap:
Floater - Visible Loop


Looking a bit ragged. Still fighting the dust slow development until that changes.
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I think this is the most tightly clustered I've seen the models in quite some time.
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Quoting jasoniscoolman2010x:
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 bad news here.


Where did you copy and paste that from?
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353. CJ5
Well, it is clear the ULL has moved well ahead and is not affected the storm with a wall like it was this am. The convection is waining a little this afternoon but it is also becoming more broad and symetrical. It will need to reestablish (or establish to the W and S)its convection. If it is able to do that, it should increase in strength fairly quickly.

Bonnie by 11pm? Not unless it can pull in convection on all sides of the center. Shear is not the problem, dry air and lack of convection all around is the problem.
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NEXRAD Radar
Miami, Base Reflectivity 0.50 Degree Elevation Range 248 NMI

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129904
Quoting hurrkat05:
REED CHECK OUT THE DRY AIR PIURING INTO THE SW SIDE OF THE LLC...YOU CAN SEE..


I see no "dry air".. everything's a go for gradual intensification ;)
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Quoting reedzone:
Funny thing is guys, TD3 is not getting sheared much, maybe not at all. Wind shear is at 10-15 knots according to the CIMMS shear map. I expect an upgrade in the morning if not tonight. Also the ULL continues to track fast to the west which is allowing TD3 to give in to much more favorable conditions. Unfortunately, I'm thinking a Hurricane is on the way.


upcaster! ... very unlike you reed. i will erase my
hardrive if TD#3 becomes a hurricane before
hitting Florida!

possibly in the Gulf but not any sooner i wouldnt think.
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Quoting reedzone:
Funny thing is guys, TD3 is not getting sheared much, maybe not at all. Wind shear is at 10-15 knots according to the CIMMS shear map. I expect an upgrade in the morning if not tonight. Also the ULL continues to track fast to the west which is allowing TD3 to give in to much more favorable conditions. Unfortunately, I'm thinking a Hurricane is on the way.


I concur.
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NEXRAD Radar
Miami, Base Reflectivity 0.50 Degree Elevation Range 248 NMI

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129904
TD 3 is weakening fairly good now. Cloud tops are warming and the ULL is feeding it dry air with some shear as well. The center will probably become exposed again. It would not be out of the question TD 3 never becomes a TS and fizzles out into an open wave. It has happened many times before with a setup similar to this.
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i am starting to sound like broken record player. but before ya starting commenting read the doc's blog. It is kinda of silly to ask a question or express a doubt that he has directly addressed. For example, intensity. He puts Hurrican chance currently at 40%. His opinion, but a learned one. so read!!!
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Quoting Buhdog:
All the action is way north of the fcpts...

It never ceases in here to amaze me the stupid questions and statements by non regulars. People need to back off the bashing on Jeff too... my god, it has seemed North or north of what was expected all day!! Thank god this is approaching from the SE....


The regulars can be just as stupid... true story. :-)
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344. xcool
td3 wnw
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting reedzone:
Funny thing is guys, TD3 is not getting sheared much, maybe not at all. Wind shear is at 10-15 knots according to the CIMMS shear map. I expect an upgrade in the morning if not tonight. Also the ULL continues to track fast to the west which is allowing TD3 to give in to much more favorable conditions. Unfortunately, I'm thinking a Hurricane is on the way.


Hey Reed. How fast is the upper low moving compared to TD3.
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And its only July. Aug and Sept gonna be nasty folks . Lets put our nasty hats on shall we? TTTT
Member Since: July 5, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 578
Floater - Visible Loop
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129904
All the action is way north of the fcpts...

It never ceases in here to amaze me the stupid questions and statements by non regulars. People need to back off the bashing on Jeff too... my god, it has seemed North or north of what was expected all day!! Thank god this is approaching from the SE....
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ThAnks DRM. My first glance at the track had it pointed at me. So I thought we were good. Sure nuff 10 seconds later it shifted.
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NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL032010
500 PM EDT THU JUL 22 2010

...AIR FORCE RECONNAISSANCE PLANE FINDS THAT THE TROPICAL DEPRESSION
HAS NOT STRENGTHENED...


SUMMARY OF 500 PM EDT...2100 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...22.7N 75.4W
ABOUT 205 MI...325 KM SE OF NASSAU
ABOUT 425 MI...685 KM ESE OF KEY WEST FLORIDA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...35 MPH...55 KM/HR
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NW OR 310 DEGREES AT 14 MPH...22 KM/HR
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1006 MB...29.71 INCHES
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Its still moving NW...I thought by now it be heading more W...im going with Miami/Fort Lauderdale landfall
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


guess all those TS force winds were just a figment of our imagination

I know what I saw and I know what column to look under and there were a good amount of them


actually scratch that 33-34mph. Got mixed up
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Quoting catastropheadjuster:
Just thought I would throw this in. My son just called he in Grand Isle,LA working and he just told me that tommorrow morning there suppose to start evacuating grand isle, he want be leaving until 20yrs before it comes in, there take the cranes apart and everything. He called me to let me know, I told him I didn't think it was gonna get bad. Heck I just don't know what to think.
Sheri


If he's not leaving until 20yrs before landfall then he needed to leave back in 1990. :)
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i think the models will even shift a lil right on the next runs
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Why?


it's not out of the question but the further North it goes the more
it will interact with the ULL and it will not strengthen much if any.

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if the cone death as they call it pans out, it is gonna push all that oil into lake ponch. bad news
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Quoting btwntx08:
Quoting hurrkat05:
lol gang where is TROPICAL STORM BONNIE AT...i wonder why they didnt name it ..maybe they didnt want to look like fools...i said and ill say it again if bonnie isnt a tropical storm by 11pm it will never be one...guys look at the dry air going into the sw of the llc...plus the shear waiting ahead of it and they are going to close down operations in the gom...the NHC will take a big hit on this one...IKE YOU BELIEVE ME NOW..

liar POOF cant u read the shear tendency it shows blue dash lines meaning ITS DECRASING and white increasing look at the path its ahead yea that right in the DECRASING AREA OF SHEAR so better have 1000 lbs of crow ready hahahaha


This is the exact kind of screed that keeps me coming back. Its like the insane rantings of Hurely on Lost. Endless entertainment I tell ya.
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Quoting ElConando:
37 mph was the highest surface wind found in this flight.


guess all those TS force winds were just a figment of our imagination

I know what I saw and I know what column to look under and there were a good amount of them
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Funny thing is guys, TD3 is not getting sheared much, maybe not at all. Wind shear is at 10-15 knots according to the CIMMS shear map. I expect an upgrade in the morning if not tonight. Also the ULL continues to track fast to the west which is allowing TD3 to give in to much more favorable conditions. Unfortunately, I'm thinking a Hurricane is on the way.
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Just thought I would throw this in. My son just called he in Grand Isle,LA working and he just told me that tommorrow morning there suppose to start evacuating grand isle, he want be leaving until 20 hours before it comes in, there take the cranes apart and everything. He called me to let me know, I told him I didn't think it was gonna get bad. Heck I just don't know what to think.
Sheri
oops put years instead of hours. thank Angie
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129904
Quoting TropicalNonsense:


u have to be kidding.


No why should i be kidding?? I'am stressing my view that a sfl landfall can still happen. Those center relo's have something to do with that. Regardless some nasty weather is almost a guarantee as sfl will be on the dirty side of this cyclone.
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Quoting robert88:
That ULL is turning out to be a blessing for GOM residents. Future Bonnie looks to be nothing but a sheared mess. There was a good reason that the global models were not too excited about this system. You can see the dry air and shear taking a toll on it on satellite and water vapor. At least we have something to track though. What a boring month of July it has been in the tropics. It looks to be that way for the next 10 days at least.


read the doc's blog........lol
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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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