Intensifying Hermine closes in on the Texas/Mexico coast

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 9:47 PM GMT on September 06, 2010

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Steadily intensifying Tropical Storm Hermine is closing in on the coast near the Texas/Mexico border, and should move ashore late tonight. Hermine became a tropical depression at 11pm last night, and could become a minimal hurricane by 11 pm tonight. Hermine's rate of intensification from nothing to a strong tropical storm is one of the fastest on record. It turns out that the extreme southwestern Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche, where Hermine formed, is prone to these sort of rapidly intensifying tropical storms. The curvature and topography of the land help induce a counter-clockwise spin to the air over the region, which helps get tropical storms spinning up unusually quickly. Helping the spin-up process are the very warm 30°C waters, low 5 - 10 knots of wind shear, and moist atmosphere. Hermine promises to be a very wet storm, and latest long range radar out of Brownsville, Texas shows a large area of heavy rain has been drenching southern Texas and northern Mexico all afternoon, with radar estimated rainfall amounts exceeding two inches in a few areas along the coast. Radar loops show that an eyewall is attempting to form, but a region of dry air from over land spiraled into Hermine's core between 4 - 5pm EDT, disrupting eyewall formation. However, it now appears that Hermine has closed off its eye from this dry air, which should aid in intensification. Satellite imagery shows Hermine has vigorous thunderstorms with very cold tops, and improving low-level spiral banding.

Forecast for Hermine
Hermine doesn't have much time over water before it comes ashore, which is a good thing. The storm is steadily organizing, and has a shot at reaching hurricane strength before the center moves ashore late tonight, near midnight. Heavy rain will be the main threat from Hermine, though isolated tornadoes may also cause damage, particularly over South Texas. Hermine is expected to accelerate through Central Texas Tuesday and Wednesday, and the storm's rains will help alleviate moderate to severe drought conditions affecting Central Texas.


Figure 1. Late afternoon radar image of Tropical Storm Hermine. Note the band of dry air spiraling into the core of the storm from the north.

Gaston continues to suffer from dry air
An Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft spent the afternoon in Gaston's remains, and found a weak 1012 mb center of low pressure with only a limited region of westerly winds on the south side of the center of circulation. Top surface winds uncontaminated by heavy rain seen by their SFMR instrument were in the 30 - 35 mph range. The airplane found plenty of dry air in the storm's environment, and there are not enough heavy thunderstorms in ex-Gaston's circulation for it to qualify as a tropical depression. The remains of Gaston are now approaching the northern Lesser Antilles, and residents can expect a few heavy rain showers and wind gusts up to 40 mph beginning early this evening and continuing into the night. Latest radar out of Martinique doesn't show much in the way of heavy rain, and satellite imagery confirms that the thunderstorm activity associated with Gaston's remains is quite sparse. A large amount of dry air surrounds Gaston's remains on all sides, as seen on water vapor satellite loops.


Figure 2. Afternoon satellite image of the remains of Gaston, approaching the Lesser Antilles Islands.

Forecast for Gaston
There is little change to the forecast for Gaston's remains. Dry air will continue to be the major impediment to development, and the system is unlikely to become a tropical depression today. However, wind shear, which is currently a moderate 10 knots, is forecast by the latest SHIPS model run to fall very low, 0 - 5 knots, tonight through Wednesday. With almost no wind shear affecting it, Gaston will a better chance of keeping the moisture from its heavy thunderstorms near its core on Tuesday. This will insulate the storm from the dry air surrounding it. The atmosphere is also moister in the eastern Caribbean, further increasing the chances of development. I believe it is probable Gaston will become a tropical depression again on Tuesday. NHC is currently giving Gaston a 70% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Wednesday, which is a reasonable forecast.

Heavy rain showers and gusty winds from the storm will affect Puerto Rico Tuesday morning through Wednesday afternoon. This activity will spread to the Dominican Republic Tuesday afternoon through Thursday morning. Assuming dry air and an encounter with Hispaniola's high mountains do not destroy Gaston, heavy rain from the storm should move over Haiti, eastern Cuba, and Jamaica Wednesday night and Thursday morning. The models don't give much support for Gaston surviving past Wednesday. The ECMWF, GFS, NOGAPS, Canadian, and HWRF models all dissipate Gaston. However, two models--the GFDL and UKMET--predict that Gaston will survive the dry air and an encounter with Hispaniola, and pass far enough south of the island to find a favorable environment in the Central Caribbean for development on Wednesday. Wind shear will be low, water temperatures will be hot, and the atmosphere will be plenty moist. Gaston could intensify into a hurricane in the Western Caribbean by the end of the week, as predicted by the latest run of the GFDL model.

Elsewhere in the tropics
The models are fairly unanimous in predicting development late this week of a tropical wave expected to emerge from the coast of Africa on Tuesday or Wednesday. The next storm will be called Igor.

Next post
I'll have an update in the morning.

Jeff Masters

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1286. leo305
here comes pt2 brownsville..

the esat side is going to slam in..
Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
I haven't followed much of the conversation. That being said, please allow me to state (for the record) that winds sustained at 50 mph+ and wind gusts up to and/ or exceeding HF can do quite a bit of damage-especially from falling tress.
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Quoting 789:
thx dude hows met class


no problem!

I actually have to take a year off, couldnt afford to go this year :(

bummer, but I work full time pretty much right now instead
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Quoting Jedkins01:


Whether someone is a teen or not, if they act like one that it sure appears that way to me, also I certainly am not making personal attacks, I am tired of people acting like 8 year olds, and being rude in a weather blog as if there is something to prove.

lets grow up people.


Looks like a ring-neck and a black racer...but hard to tell from the pic. BTW I believe you are the only one being rude.
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Quoting GBguy88:


Given the large gaps in the updates on wind gusts out of Brownsville, I will agree in saying that it's quite likely there were 75+ gusts, whether or not they were reported. Tiny windfields don't leave a lot of time to waste in gathering reports.



Yeah exactly!


Based on the massive power outages being reported, I bet post term reports will find pretty impressive winds recorded. Damage reports currently are reflecting that comparable to a strong T.S. to near minimal hurricane force, at least wind gusts anyway. The NHC would have known if Hermine somehow actually packed hurricane force winds. But I bet it is producing hurricane force gusts.
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Quoting stillwaiting:
.......what about ike and gustav in 08'?????both made landfall as canes,gustav hit NO.......I kinda blew your theory then,huh????


missed 2008 in the C/P to the post, but you are right it wasn't included, but it doesn't change the about HAARP, funny you bring up Gustav, he didn't make the NHC list...Link
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1280. 789
Quoting tornadodude:
CycloneOz live from Kingsville Texas, heading towards Harlingen,

check him out!

link
thx dude hows met class
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I am in Brownsville and just spent the past 1 hour outside in this with an anemometer ... mostly had sustained winds around 30-35mph... but there were a couple good squalls where sustained winds were 42 and 46, respectively. The strongest gust I measured was 59.

Obviously that doesn't mean there wasn't stronger stuff in other areas... just what I personally observed. Either way - power is out and overall the wind here was worse than Alex.
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Quoting Jedkins01:
I don't know if its just me, but Hermine looks like it has strengthened over land!

Hermine is a Charley like storm, and I think the eyewall feature is really gonna catch people off guard in Brownsville! Winds have already ramped way up in Brownsville to above T.S. Force, and that eyewall feature contains extremely intense convection...


Hi Jedkins...I appreciate many of your points and respect your opinion/knowledge. That being said, TS Hermine most certainly did not continue to intensify after it crossed the shoreline. If you review the radar loops, you will see that the eye-like feature began to fill in immediately after it came ashore and the radial velocities from the WSR 88D scan had decreased.

It is not unusual for the convection around the eyewall to develop colder cloud tops after landfall occurred-but that doesn't translate into a deepening storm.

It is also important to note the disparity between the MSW and the peak 3 second gusts over land as well. In the case of the Brownsville, TX observation being discussed...it was a 44 mph sustained wind with a gust to 69 mph. That is basically a 6 to 1 ratio between the two when most are 3 to 1 over marine exposure. Consequently, it is a mistake to make assumptions of the MSW 1 minute wind speed based upon a 3 second gust measurement.

In short, there is no data available to support Hermine having come ashore as anything greater than a 65 mph strong TS. That being said, it is still a very significant storm that should be taken seriously by those who are being affected by it. It is most certainly conceivable that some areas have experienced HF wind gusts and that can and does cause damage.
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Quoting fatlady99:


I'm not trying to argue with anyone here. But in 2004, my old '70's single wide in the forest took cane force winds and gusts from Frances, Jean, and Charley. No damage. We were lucky. But's it's not an experience I want to have again.

Fortunately, I'm not in that trailer anymore, but I think with the wrong gust smacking the wrong corner or a weak spot, or a flying branch or piece of debris... almost any home can be damaged when winds get that high, no matter which code they are built to.



It is most likely because you were sheltered in the woods, also, sometimes hurricanes can flatten some buildings, while sparing others right next door, that's just the nature of storm damage.

Other then that, there is no such thing with luck, there is either science, or there's just God of the Universe having mercy.
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0Z GFS almost done...

Still has 'Igor'(?) doin' a 'Danielle'.
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1274. Walshy
Death toll reports already in for Texas.


09/05/2010 1030 PM

Jamaica Beach, Galveston County.

Rip currents, reported by Emergency Mngr.


*** 1 fatal *** a 44 year Old Woman drowned because of
rip currents
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Quoting KanKunKid:


Well, this blog is not about you and it's not about me. It's about the weather. We're not supposed to do this: Please do not engage in personal attacks or bickering. Please stop.

By the way, I haven't been a teen for over 30 years. Don't judge a book by its cover. I'm not going to discuss it further with you Jedkins but for those interested in the FACTS about wind speed and damage, you can find a handy chart here: Link


Whether someone is a teen or not, if they act like one that it sure appears that way to me, also I certainly am not making personal attacks, I am tired of people acting like 8 year olds, and being rude in a weather blog as if there is something to prove.

lets grow up people.
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Browntown in zone 2 rare...also all HUD data subject to HUD specified instalation practices by approved contractors...not I got 5K to pour runners and I take 2k AND give my cousin 2K to do it and the xtra is for meth lab supplies
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Quoting PrivateIdaho:
I thought I was mocking KKid (who enjoys the attention) sorry about your home. I lived in a trailer in N.C. that would not have withstood a hard sneeze!


I'm not trying to argue with anyone here. But in 2004, my old '70's single wide in the forest took cane force winds and gusts from Frances, Jean, and Charley. No damage. We were lucky. But's it's not an experience I want to have again.

Fortunately, I'm not in that trailer anymore, but I think with the wrong gust smacking the wrong corner or a weak spot, or a flying branch or piece of debris... almost any home can be damaged when winds get that high, no matter which code they are built to.
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Conch never to my knowledge. Weve seen damage in areas that had very little sustained winds but gust that did crazy damage. No method to the madness.
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all coastal counties in Tx are Wind Zone II
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1268. leo305
With hermine moving NW right now.. the east side may come and slam into brownsville
Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
1267. Seawall
Quoting leo305:


and sadly despite that, the hurricane almost broke through the levees , remember the water was overflowing a bit during the highest surge.. and they barely got CAT 1 winds, and a CAT 2 surge


Yes, they did have Levee damage, it was scary and one of my friends from Entergy stayed in the area for weeks. I certainly didn't mean to diminish the damage from Gustav, just trying to correct the track; Central LA, around Baton Rouge had tremendous damage as well.
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CycloneOz live from Kingsville Texas, heading towards Harlingen,

check him out!

link
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1265. Walshy

09/06/2010 1131 PM

Brownsville, Cameron County.

Tropical storm, reported by Emergency Mngr.


Numerous trees and signs blown down across city of
Brownsville. Port of Brownsville is completely without
power. Utb Campus has lost main power.
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mfg home wind zone charts, Texas is Zone 1
Link
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1263. GBguy88
Quoting leo305:


and sadly despite that, the hurricane almost broke through the levees , remember the water was overflowing a bit during the highest surge.. and they barely got CAT 1 winds, and a CAT 2 surge


We had surge from Gustav over here in Pensacola. I drove to Mobile as he was passing to the south, and they had a substantial amount of water rise as well. Some of the on-ramps had to be shut down, and parts of downtown were seeing flooding.
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Quoting KanKunKid:


Well, this blog is not about you and it's not about me. It's about the weather. We're not supposed to do this: Please do not engage in personal attacks or bickering. Please stop.

By the way, I haven't been a teen for over 30 years. Don't judge a book by its cover. I'm not going to discuss it further with you Jedkins but for those interested in the FACTS about wind speed and damage, you can find a handy chart here: Link


well said! Now lets all get serious!
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Bingo Rare...and when was the last time you saw a wobly goin down I-35 at 70mph?
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1260. xcool
Brownsville Texas power outage 2,850
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1258. GBguy88
Quoting Jedkins01:


Yeah, just because winds were based on estimation, and Hermine popped up sure fast!


Given the large gaps in the updates on wind gusts out of Brownsville, I will agree in saying that it's quite likely there were 75+ gusts, whether or not they were reported. Tiny windfields don't leave a lot of time to waste in gathering reports.
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1257. leo305
Quoting Seawall:
Poof to the one that doesn't even know Gustav didn't hit NOLA. Jeez, gonna make a comment that bold, at least know what you are talking about. (And yes, maybe NOLA had some effects from Gustav, but the storm hit well to the West of NOLA.)


and sadly despite that, the hurricane almost broke through the levees , remember the water was overflowing a bit during the highest surge.. and they barely got CAT 1 winds, and a CAT 2 surge.

Based on seeing that I don't think New Orleans is ready for a direct hit from a MAJOR HURRICANE..
Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
Hermine will come and go. I wonder will the wave coming off Africa will track.
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Quoting GBguy88:


I'm on your side, lol. You're of the opinion that potentially stronger winds than quoted may have occurred, yes?


Yeah, just because winds were based on estimation, and Hermine popped up sure fast!
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1253. Seawall
Poof to the one that doesn't even know Gustav didn't hit NOLA. Jeez, gonna make a comment that bold, at least know what you are talking about. (And yes, maybe NOLA had some effects from Gustav, but the storm hit well to the West of NOLA.)
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I believe if you Check The HUD codes for a standard mfg home built for the Southern texas region you will se many things that might surprise you. And to compare a mobile being towed end to end behind a semi in a non restricted way to a mobile home that is anchored with ldr straps is not really apples to oranges. 60 MPH wind sustained or gusting could easily knock over or severely damage a MFG home.
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1250. GBguy88
Quoting Jedkins01:



I'm not accusing the NHC for being wrong, like most silly folks in these blogs do, I am saying that Hermine popped up very fast, if you woke up this morning, did not watch the weather, then went out to enjoy labor day, you would come back for quite a shocker.


I'm on your side, lol. You're of the opinion that potentially stronger winds than quoted may have occurred, yes?
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1249. leo305
Quoting hunkerdown:
and the airport has consistently shown gusts to a max of 69 over the last hour, at 20 foot elevation.


yea well that's what they reported ..

I guess they tipped it to 70MPH

Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
Wow the blog is a little rough tonight guess I'll go back to the nhc site don't want to get hurt.Peace weather freaks.
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Quoting GBguy88:


The actual weather forecasts have been calling for gusts up to 75mph, if anyone is caught off guard by them, it's because they wrote this storm off and stopped paying attention.



I'm not accusing the NHC for being wrong, like most silly folks in these blogs do, I am saying that Hermine popped up very fast, if you woke up this morning, did not watch the weather, then went out to enjoy labor day, you would come back for quite a shocker.
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Quoting leo305:
TWC reports a 70MPH wind gust near Brownsville
and the airport has consistently shown gusts to a max of 69 over the last hour, at 20 foot elevation.
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1245. leo305
TWC reports a 70MPH wind gust near Brownsville
Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
1244. xcool
widespread power out in brownsville
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1243. GBguy88
Quoting hunkerdown:
and my neighbor did not put up their shutters for Wilma cause they figured it wouldn;t be that bad...we went through the eyewall with cat 2 winds...stupidity/negligence/ignorance is not an excuse


Just like the people who don't evacuate the beach during major hurricanes, and then seem surprised that nobody can save them when they call 911 in the middle of the eye wall, chest deep in water. Choppers can't fly in that.
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Quoting CosmicEvents:
I noticed what you're seeing. It does look like it's strengthening to me. Maybe because of the odd angle that it's headed, and drawing moisture off the gulf for awhile. Hopefully it'll keep a move on Texas style and giddeup on out, but steering currents aren't overly strong and I think it needs to be watched until it's at least 50 miles inland.



Any system, especially a slow-moving one still with access to its moisture source can still strengthen. Hermine was steadily organizing in its short time over water, and a large part of the system is still out over warm, 30-degree waters. It would not surprise me to see Hermine strengthen somewhat until the fuel source is largely removed.
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1241. will40
1238. Jedkins01 12:29 AM EDT on September 07, 2010

toots your horn
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I thought I was mocking KKid (who enjoys the attention) sorry about your home. I lived in a trailer in N.C. that would not have withstood a hard sneeze!
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Quoting GBguy88:


The actual weather forecasts have been calling for gusts up to 75mph, if anyone is caught off guard by them, it's because they wrote this storm off and stopped paying attention.
and my neighbor did not put up their shutters for Wilma cause they figured it wouldn;t be that bad...we went through the eyewall with cat 2 winds...stupidity/negligence/ignorance is not an excuse
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1236. Seawall
Gustav did NOT hit New Orleans... check your track again.
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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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