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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2569. scott39
Levi, Is the ULLs position still in line with Bonnie not having the most favorable conditions in the GOM for further developement? Im on the E side edge of that cone and I dont like it! Give me some good news!
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Quoting angiest:


You ever try to do anything with the government, period?

Disclaimer, I am a public servant.


You must work for FEMA :)
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I'm prepared for an all-nighter tracking Tropical Storm Bonnie since we're under Tropical Storm Warnings here.
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Quoting gator23:

huh?
1)I am quite sure they have roads in Louisiana and I expect Patrap will be along shortly to confirm it.
2)Apparently you are not familiar with the term "food for thought" its like a fun fact.
Nope. Air boat is the only way to get to MS or TX. We all keep our cars in the Wallyworld parking lot in Gulfport.
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Quoting Patrap:


You really havent a clue what your talking about ,..ever.



I rarely even post Patrap but I don't think LA declaring a State of Emergency was a bad idea. If nothing else because of the oil situation. Gator is trying to compare LA declaring a SOE with Miami/Dade not.
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Quoting centex:
looks almost like xtrap. Just an extrapilation. The point I've not been making all night. Not to ignore the ridge.


It appears the Ridge is going to break down faster then thought....i further track to the right will be coming.....Could be a Panhandle storm....IMO
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2563. gator23
Quoting atmoaggie:
It's about the numbers that live below 5 feet above sea level or less, not who's food is better.

my state meant was unrelated the the state of emergency comment. Let me clarify that. It was a passing comment. A fun fact.
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2561. xcool


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2560. angiest
Quoting RobertM320:


Actually, Sunday night is only 72 hours away. And there's a weekend involved. You ever try to do anything with the government on a weekend??? LOL


You ever try to do anything with the government, period?

Disclaimer, I am a public servant.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
Bonnie looks like a bat or a bird kind of. Doesn't look too great.
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I have to disagree with you on this one. If the fact the two centers are decoupled (which I think is very questionable at this point based on lack of evidence) the supposed LLC that you can see on the visible right before dusk is already so far removed at that time and moving so quickly away from the MLC that there is no way those two centers could be realigned in the future. That LLC will dissipate and the only chance Bonnie has of becoming vertically stacked again is forming a new LLC under the MLC.

Again I don't think the centers are decoupled, maybe not perfectly stacked, but not decoupled. I'm basing this on shortwave imagery which shows low level clouds pretty well at night and I see nothing south of Bonnie that resembles a naked LLC.

Just my 2 cents.

Quoting Levi32:


They could eventually get back together out in the Gulf of Mexico if the upper low backs far enough away to allow the mid-level and surface flows to become more aligned again, which would give Bonnie a chance to become vertically stacked. There is also just as much chance that they never become re-aligned, and in that case we would see all the convective action remain north of the center which would appear as a near or half-naked swirl of low clouds.
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TropicalStorm Bonnie was^heading for a SouthAndrosIsland,Bahamas landfall in ~4hours on its way toward NorthKeyLargo,Florida
(Straightline^projection using its last 2 positions. Take with HUGE grain of salt)
Copy&paste 22.3N74.9W, 22.7N75.4W, 23.1N75.9W, 23.1N75.9W-23.4N76.5W, 23.4N76.5W-23.9N77.5W, 23.4N76.5W-25.3N80.4W, BIX, TAM, 18.5N87W, 28.7N88.4W into the GreatCircleMapper
Shortest red line denotes the movement between last two positions. Below the map shows:
TS.Bonnie had a heading of 298.5degrees (6degrees north of WestNorthWest) while traveling
a distance of 43miles(~69kilometres) over 3hours at a speed of ~14mph(~23k/h),
and was 72miles(~116kilometres) away from the coast in the direction of its heading.

^ Straightline projections are not forecasts of what will happen in the future,
especially not for TropicalCyclones. They aftcast what has already happened.
* DeepwaterHorizon is marked at 28.7N88.4W
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2556. gator23
Quoting Detrina:


But we still have roads in Miami...

huh?
1)I am quite sure they have roads in Louisiana and I expect Patrap will be along shortly to confirm it.
2)Apparently you are not familiar with the term "food for thought" its like a fun fact.
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Quoting gator23:


a million more people live in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties than in the entire state of Louisiana. food for thought.
also only one way out they forcasted andrew to be much more north alot of broward people went south to dade
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2554. help4u
RobertM320,agree the president has called this one.He is on top of this storm!
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geez....I don't like being in the cone of uncertainty!..it was nice being OUT of the cone area yesterday..lol..if the cone moves further east, then my good friends in the panhandle will be in there with me and Pat!..sorry if this offends anyone just putting some humor in here before things get tense over the coming hours..
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http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/flt/t1/ir2-l.jpg
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Quoting bappit:

Nice pic. Shows the dilemma.

As long as the low level center stays within that tongue of moist air I think it can survive. Looks iffy. I think the NHC is erring on the side of caution--which is what they should do.

This is sooooooDade, Broward and Palm Beach
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2549. Levi32
Quoting ElConando:


Potential in your mind to become something down the road?


Possibly a sneaky little mischief-maker popping up under our noses behind Bonnie next week. Not an immediate threat but something to keep an eye on.
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2548. hydrus
Quoting Levi32:
Lol....sneaky little devil...there's a little bit of mid-level rotation just north of the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic evident on satellite imagery, associated with the wave behind Bonnie.

If you have an imagination you can even dream up some mid-level turning in the very NW portion of the Puerto Rico radar:

There might be a small spin south of Puerto Rico on that radar loop. Probably a convective low.
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Quoting gator23:


a million more people live in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties than in the entire state of Louisiana. food for thought.
It's about the numbers that live below 5 feet above sea level or less, not who's food is better.
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Blow up of convection over the center:

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Quoting gator23:

no one is saying they should not declare a state of emergency I think people are laughing at the timing. Better to do this tomorrow or the next day not 3 and a half days out.


Actually, Sunday night is only 72 hours away. And there's a weekend involved. You ever try to do anything with the government on a weekend??? LOL
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Click the image button, then paste the image location.
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2543. gator23
Quoting Kristina40:


Except they are not going to evacuate for a TS.

my point exactly.
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2541. Detrina
Quoting gator23:


a million more people live in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties than in the entire state of Louisiana. food for thought.


But we still have roads in Miami...
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how do u post pictures from the nhc?/
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2539. gator23
Quoting bappit:

It takes that long for them to prepare. Got to be done that way.


prepare for what?
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Quoting gator23:


a million more people live in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties than in the entire state of Louisiana. food for thought.


Except they are not going to evacuate for a TS.
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Ehh.



Yeah
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This is truly a unique little storm been stuck between a rock and a hard place from the beginning. Looking at that water vapor is fascinating for what ever reason I think it survives through Fl. but that big hungry ull looks ready for a feast.
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3113
Quoting Levi32:
Lol....sneaky little devil...there's a little bit of mid-level rotation just north of the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic evident on satellite imagery, associated with the wave behind Bonnie.

If you have an imagination you can even dream up some mid-level turning in the very NW portion of the Puerto Rico radar:



Potential in your mind to become something down the road?
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2533. bappit
Quoting gator23:

no one is saying they should not declare a state of emergency I think people are laughing at the timing. Better to do this tomorrow or the next day not 3 and a half days out.

It takes that long for them to prepare. Got to be done that way.
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2532. gator23
Quoting texascoastres:
with that many people on the La coast, it would take 3 days to move them all to safety despite what size the storm is. why wait and spend 12, 15 or 30hrs trying to get out. If it is planned ahead of time things will/would go easier IMO


a million more people live in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties than in the entire state of Louisiana. food for thought.
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Ehh.

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2530. scott39
Quoting CyclonicVoyage:


Just saying the NHC track looked like the 5pm location in that image.
The cone of doom shifted a hair to the right.
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2529. Levi32
Quoting SeniorPoppy:


Bonnie almost looks dare I say cute in this loop.


Like a Trill? Lol.
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recon flying 3 hours to bonnie
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2526. bappit
Quoting scott39:
How is Bonnie a TS with current conditions like that?

Seems there was a tiff over 95L and a similar question.
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how do i post images from the NHC??
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I am still going with the Cauchy distribution and predicting 92% chance of hurricane Bonnie.
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2523. Levi32
Lol....sneaky little devil...there's a little bit of mid-level rotation just north of the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic evident on satellite imagery, associated with the wave behind Bonnie.

If you have an imagination you can even dream up some mid-level turning in the very NW portion of the Puerto Rico radar:

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Quoting bappit:

Nice pic. Shows the dilemma.

As long as the low level center stays within that tongue of moist air I think it can survive. Looks iffy. I think the NHC is erring on the side of caution--which is what they should do.


Bonnie almost looks, dare I say, cute in this loop.
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Quoting CaneWarning:


They do this every year, you can't blame it on the oil spill.


Actually, they don't do it every year. Mostly only since Katrina, when the rest of the USA complained that we didn't call a SOE sooner. And, considering the few roads that lead down to the Gulf through Plaquemines, Jefferson, Lafourche, etc, and the increased number of people, workers and equipment that need to be moved because of the oil, its totally warranted.
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2520. bappit
Quoting thelmores:


a tropical depression, or a tropical storm has to have a low level circulation at the surface....... or it cannot be considered a tropical depression or a tropical storm......

Amen, brother thelmores.
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2519. centex
Quoting TampaSpin:


Yes they are current.....here is the BAM models....also. A further Right move will probably come on the next update as well. The front is pretty strong as you can see how is is breaking down the High already



looks almost like xtrap. Just an extrapilation. The point I've not been making all night. Not to ignore the ridge.
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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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