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 xcool:
wraping around COC



It can wrap around all it wants but the TS tops are still being blown off by the ULL, = very slow intensification.
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StonedCrab... most here have Jeff9641 on Ignore... please stop reposting everything he says. TY :o)
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Quoting neonlazer:
If they have to evacuate the well area then they will be forced to take the cap off...allowing oil to flow again..as the currents from the storm will possibly rip the cap off and damage the wellhead.


negative, Admiral Allen just said they will be leaving the cap on and then send in the ROV's to monitor while absent...check your facts before posting bud.
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Wow.. I am in SWLA and here they are pretty much saying not to worry its not expected to organize, will just bring some rain. That is unreal. I see otherwise.
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Quoting FLdewey:


LOL... if a hurricane made currents at that depth the oil would be the least of our problems. :-|


I don't know where the currents thing came from, but what I heard was they would need to remove the cap because they would have no way to service it with ROVs if they have to abandon operations due to a storm. I'm sure they would rather a gusher than possibly another blowout and doing further damage to what is left of the BOP.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
I don't see why it shouldn't. Satellite presentation is good, plus recon found plenty of 40+mph wind readings.
They said from what they read from the recon data
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Oh say it ain't so Joe please Joe.
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HH continue to find near TS force winds near Acklins island still going through NE side
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Funny how the ECMWF refuses to develop TD#3...but it does have a surface low with through the next 24-48 hours, then loses it in the Gulf. The shear vector is slowly turning from S-N to SE-NW which should keep it together overnight.

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Quoting Hurricanes101:


no nrti, these readings occurred after the plane had descended all the way
Yep, most readings came in when recon was at 970-980mb.
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Quoting Jeff9641:


You thinking 40 to 45 mph winds? I see it could go either way.


40mph
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If I had to guess 5 pm.. 35 mph with 1006 mb pressure with the tag line being 'close to storm strength'.
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Just be patient and wait for the next vortex message...that should be of the NE quad and we'll be able to determine if it's a TS or not.
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In case anyone might enjoy.....ABC13 here in Houstn has live camera feed from deep under the Deepwater Horizon location

http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/feature?section=news/national_world&id=7557281
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I am eating crows right now for saying 97L won't become a tropical cyclone. At least with the last system, TD 2, I correctly expected that wouldn't become Bonnie. You win some, you lose some in the forecasting world. At least my forecast I made in the wee hours of the morning about 98L not becoming anything stronger than a TD is holding up so far.

Right, now TD 3 looks like a classical healthy, small tropical cyclone that is poised to strengthen briskly. I am expecting a 60 mph wind tropical storm to an extreme case scenario of 90 mph wind cat 1. hurricane by the time TD 3/Bonnie makes it to the southern end of the Florida peninsula and/or the Florida Keys.
Member Since: September 15, 2009 Posts: 466 Comments: 3654
Quoting Jeff9641:
We should have Bonnie at 5pm 40 or 45 mph winds.


There are No 40-45 mph winds! where are you getting this info from?
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I thought it looked like it also

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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Plane was changing altitude at that time. I doubt a TS at 5, but only the NHC knows. Maybe later on tonight, before the plane leaves at 7 PM they will find higher winds.


no nrti, these readings occurred after the plane had descended all the way
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


the local METs down in S Florida last night said this system would not become anything before Friday, if it did at all

oops lol
I'm watching WSVN (Channel 7) right now but without a doubt WPLG (Channel 10) has the best mets, they also are the most accurate.
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Quoting Jeff9641:
We should have Bonnie at 5pm 40 or 45 mph winds.


Who is Bonnie?
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22nd
JUL
Tropical Depression Three may soon be “Bonnie”

Posted by Sheena Parveen under Daily updates

Tropical Depression Three formed early Thursday, now having developed a more defined center. Enhanced satellite imagery shows shower and thunderstorm activity near the center, with well defined cloud bands on the outer edges. It is moving near the Bahamas where a tropical storm warning is in effect. This system is forecast to strengthen over the next 6-12 hours, possibly becoming Tropical Storm Bonnie.
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if you look at visible satellite, you can clearly see the surface ridge over Alabama
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I'd expect the forecast intensity to be up for the 5:00 pm update. If the ULL continues to rapidly move away, this system should have no problems intensifying, especially past 50 mph.
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Quoting FLdewey:
Just got a phone call from a buddy in Kissimmee... says all of his cows have been walking in a circle since noon. He says the spiral is starting to tighten.

Tighten your boots kiddies. :-o


Funny stuff!
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TD 3 looks to me like a going to try to pull a quick one on us i cant help but not to think it will not intensify near the gulf stream aproaching se florida
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If TD3 isn't Bonnie its pretty darn close!
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136. xcool
F5F5F5F5F5
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15648
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Recon found loads and loads of TS winds. As soon as they turned on the SFMR over the system it showed 44 mph winds.


Plane was changing altitude at that time. I doubt a TS at 5, but only the NHC knows. Maybe later on tonight, before the plane leaves at 7 PM they will find higher winds.
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Quoting scasky:
Is there a website that updates Hurricane Hunter data live? I thought at one time I found a map that shows the trajectory of the flight into and out of the storm and plots the data live. Please advise... Thanks

Link

This link requires Google Earth.
It shows every dropsonde, and the readings realted to it. Also shows the plane's current position. Really cool toy.
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So many F5 keys are being worn out this week... ~*rest in pieces*~
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Wow... 3 blogs in 1 day... Thanks, Doc!!

From previous blog:

Quoting StormHype:


That goes against the NHC and models in both track and intensity, but then again, any kid with a photo of the NHC for their avatar must know what they are doing. I'm just a monkey.
Well, u sure don't know where Miami-Dade county is, or u would realize it's actually in the forecast cone. CCH's forecast is quite reasonable and actually not hugely different from NHC.

What about you? What's your opinion, and what have you based it on? What's your contribution to this afternoon's discussion?
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Quoting masonsnana:
Our local METs said will not be upgraded to TS tonight.
I don't see why it shouldn't. Satellite presentation is good, plus recon found plenty of 40+mph wind readings.
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Quoting masonsnana:
Our local METs said will not be upgraded to TS tonight.


the local METs down in S Florida last night said this system would not become anything before Friday, if it did at all

oops lol
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Quoting neonlazer:
If they have to evacuate the well area then they will be forced to take the cap off...allowing oil to flow again..as the currents from the storm will possibly rip the cap off and damage the wellhead.


Currents generated by even the most intense hurricane would be nowhere near that deep.
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Quoting neonlazer:
If they have to evacuate the well area then they will be forced to take the cap off...allowing oil to flow again..as the currents from the storm will possibly rip the cap off and damage the wellhead.
last I heard that decision had not been made yet. sure hope they dont have to remove the cap.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
03L should get upgraded to Bonnie at 5PM.
Our local METs said will not be upgraded to TS tonight.
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122. xcool
wraping around COC

Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15648
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Quoting Jeff9641:
Landfall in Miami??? Looks that way system is aimed right in that direction by looking at the WV sat.


I agree. It's been heading NW at a good pace.
Member Since: June 21, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 528
Quoting hurricane23:
Nothing there in my view to upgrade to a TS.Not very impressive wind speeds found by recon.


Recon found loads and loads of TS winds. As soon as they turned on the SFMR over the system it showed 44 mph winds.
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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.