Igor spares Bermuda; Fanapi hits China; exceptionally quiet in the Pacific

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:29 PM GMT on September 20, 2010

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The core of Category 1 Hurricane Igor passed approximately 40 miles west of Bermuda at 11 pm AST last night, bringing winds just below hurricane force to the island. Winds at the Bermuda Airport peaked at 68 mph, gusting to 93 mph, at 11:22 pm AST last night. Tropical storm force winds of 39 mph began at 10 am AST on Sunday, and were still present as of 9:38 am AST (44 mph, gusting to 53 mph.) Bermuda radar shows that the core of Igor is now well past Bermuda, with only a few spiral bands to the south that will bring occasional rain squalls to the island this morning. Pressures are rising rapidly, and the storm is almost over for Bermuda. No injuries or major damage has been reported from Bermuda thus far, though Igor's waves are being blamed for two deaths in the Caribbean, one on Puerto Rico and one on St. Croix.

Igor is headed northeastward, out to sea, but will pass close enough to southeast Newfoundland to bring tropical storm force winds there on Tuesday night. Rainfall amounts of 3 - 5 inches are possible for the capital of St. Johns.


Figure 1. The eye of Hurricane Igor as seen by the International Space Station at 9:56 am EDT September 14, 2010. At the time, Igor was a Category 4 hurricane with 135 mph winds. This image ranks as one of the top-five most spectacular hurricane images ever taken from space, in my mind. To see the full-size image, visit the NASA Earth Observatory web site.

94L
A tropical wave (Invest 94L) off the coast of Africa, a few hundred miles west of the Cape Verdes Islands, has developed a well-defined surface circulation and is threat to develop into a tropical depression. The wave is under a low 5 - 10 knots of wind shear, and is over warm 28°C waters. Dry air from the Sahara is interfering with development, and downdrafts created by mid-level dry air getting ingested into the storm are creating surface arc clouds on the west side of the storm, as seen in recent visible satellite loops. 94L only has a modest amount of heavy thunderstorm activity associated with it, and the amount of thunderstorm activity will have to increase in order for this system to be considered a tropical depression. Shear is expected to be low for the next four days, and most of the major forecast models develop 94L into a tropical depression 1 - 4 days from now. NHC is giving the wave a 80% of developing into a tropical depression by Wednesday.


Figure 2. Morning satellite image of Invest 94L.

Julia
Tropical Storm Julia is being ripped apart by wind shear from Igor, and will likely dissipate on Tuesday.

Typhoon Fanapi hits China
Typhoon Fanapi made landfall in mainland China about 150 miles east-northeast of Hong Kong this morning as a Category 1 storm with 75 mph winds. Fanapi was the strongest typhoon so far this season, peaking at Category 3 strength with 120 mph winds shortly before weakening to a Category 2 storm with 105 mph winds when it hit northern Taiwan early Sunday morning, local time. Fanapi killed three people on the island, and brought rains of up to 1400 mm (4.6 feet) to mountainous regions in the interior. Taipei 101, the second tallest building in the world with more than 100 stories, reportedly swayed some 15 cm in Fanapi's winds.

A remarkably quiet Western Pacific typhoon season and Eastern Pacific hurricane season
It has been an exceptionally quiet Western Pacific typhoon season. Before Fanapi, the strongest typhoon this season was Typhoon Kompasu, a low-end Category 3 storm with 115 mph winds that hit South Korea in early September. According to statistics forwarded to me by NOAA meteorologist Paul Stanko on Guam, by this point in an ordinary typhoon season, we should have had 17 named storms, 11 typhoons, and 2 super supertyphoons (winds of 150+ mph.) This year, we've had just 11 named storms, 5 typhoons, and no supertyphoons. The record low for a typhoon season was 18 named storms (set in 1998), 9 typhoons (set in 1998), and no supertyphoons (set in 1974.) We have a chance of beating all of these records this year. The peak date for the Western Pacific typhoon season is August 28, so we are well past the peak.

It's a similar story out in the Eastern Pacific, where a near-record quiet hurricane season is occurring. So far there have been 6 named storms, 3 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. Ordinarily, we should have had 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricane by this point in the season. Since reliable satellite records of Eastern Pacific hurricane activity began in 1970, the quietest season on record was 1977, when just 8 named storms occurred. The fewest hurricanes occurred in 2007 (four), and there have been two years with no intense hurricanes. The peak of Eastern Pacific hurricane season is around August 25, and on average we can expect just 3 more named storms this year. Thus, we could set records for the fewest named storms and hurricanes this year.


Figure 3. Typhoon Fanapi at landfall in China at 5:15 UTC on September 20, 2010. Image credit: NASA.

Elsewhere in the tropics
The NOGAPS, ECMWF, and GFS models have been predicting development of a strong tropical disturbance or tropical depression in the Central Caribbean 6 - 9 days from now. However, the timing, location, and track of the potential development have been inconsistent from run to run. We should merely take note of the fact that these models predict that the Caribbean will be ripe for tropical storm development late this week and early next week, and not put much faith in the specifics of these highly unreliable long-range forecasts.

I'll have a new post on Tuesday morning.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting MiamiThreater:


Don't you find it funny how the ECM always overdoes the ridges, while the GFS always overdoes the throughs? What is up with these mechanisms, for real? LOL. That never ceases to compel me.


I use the models as a tool, not a crutch. Late October, then I would believe regular troughs digging into the SE, not late September. A rogue trough maybe but, surely not a season capper.
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Quoting BreadandCircuses:


The city where the Saints would be residing right now if Paul Tagliabue hadn't stepped in and convinced Benson to keep them in NOLA.


Yes he did!
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2129. IKE
Here's the link to the NOGAPS...Link
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2126. Greyelf
Quoting Seawall:


And you have been a member since.... yesterday? LOL good luck with all that

Nah..he's a wolf in sheep's clothing with 3 initials.
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2125. IKE
Quoting LostTomorrows:


The northern GOM never even had a season this year, if anything came close - it dissipated (a la Bonnie, TD 5 - the central Carribean has seen obscenely low activity this year too (thus far), I've never quite seen that before.


Hard to argue that about the northern GOM, where it has been a benign season, so far.
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Let's remind everyone it's only September 21. The chances of a strong trough digging into the SE this time of year is rather low.
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2123. xcool
MiamiThreater LOL no problem
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15603
2121. leddyed
Quoting hydrus:
My bad...They also said something about The Great Dark Spot on Neptune disappearing too...I will check my facts before posting...

No problem. Sorry if I was a little harsh. Because I NEVER make mistakes, lol.
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Quoting IKE:


I was fixing to post this before I saw your post...

Troughs in the east on the 00Z GFS. If that's true, the northern GOM's season may be nearing an end.


The northern GOM never even had a season this year, if anything came close - it dissipated (a la Bonnie, TD 5 - the central Carribean has seen obscenely low activity this year too (thus far), I've never quite seen that before.
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Quoting ackee:
I cant understand why some poeple are saying the OOZ runs takes the possible storm out to sea people live in Greater Antellies too why each time a model dont show storm hiting FLorida or some other US State some people seem as if there are upset I hope nothing devlops at all for the rest of the seasons



I don't think it's so much that people are 'upset' that the model doesn't show it hitting Florida - The issue that people have with it as I read it is that this run is completely out of line and a drastic change from the previous runs.

It's always better to read what someone says and take it at face value, and if you aren't sure what they mean, then ask them. The problems start when we read into something instead of just reading it. IMHO of course.
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Quoting markot:
what are you people talking about, season over. a trof would pull a hurricane in the carribean north to the gulf, fla etc.....


Not according to the 00z GFS...Shows the storm drifting E then getting pulled N across E Cuba. Through the Bahamas and then out to sea.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 15472
2117. xcool
MiamiThreater from c.a to NOLA
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15603
2115. hydrus
Quoting leddyed:

That is incorrect. The south equatorial belt disappeared, as it has in the past. The Great Red Spot has been there since long before we were born and will be there long after we are gone. Please check your facts before posting.
My bad...They also said something about The Great Dark Spot on Neptune disappearing too...I will check my facts before posting... I also wont believe everything I read or hear on the news either..:)
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2114. xcool


00z CMC Global Forecast Model TAKE Pouch PGI46L IN LA
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15603
2113. leddyed
Quoting hydrus:
In case you did not know, The Great Red Spot or Hurricane is gone. It disappeared earlier this year.

That is incorrect. The south equatorial belt disappeared, as it has in the past. The Great Red Spot has been there since long before we were born and will be there long after we are gone. Please check your facts before posting.
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2111. xcool
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15603
2110. xcool
NOO SAY season over.
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15603
2106. markot
what are you people talking about, season over. a trof would pull a hurricane in the carribean north to the gulf, fla etc.....
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Quoting IKE:


I was fixing to post this before I saw your post...

Troughs in the east on the 00Z GFS. If that's true, the northern GOM's season may be nearing an end.


NO WAY! I it's way to early to make that call as things could change in 2 weeks after that trough develops.
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2104. xcool


CMC TAKE Pouch PGI46L IN C.A
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15603
2103. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
KingDuji

please stop please just let it go
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2102. IKE
Quoting MiamiThreater:



???, what about Matthew?


Broderick?
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2099. xcool

I wouldn't be suprised seeing 10% by nhc Lesser Antilles
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15603
2098. IKE
NOGAPS shows a trough in the east on the new run...looks like a ULL spinning over the Ohio valley on the end of the run...Link


00Z CMC...Link
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2096. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
AOI
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2095. ackee
I cant understand why some poeple are saying the OOZ runs takes the possible storm out to sea people live in Greater Antellies too why each time a model dont show storm hiting FLorida or some other US State some people seem as if there are upset I hope nothing devlops at all for the rest of the seasons
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Have not found any info. about a dissapearing Jupiter's red Spot.... Up to This Article's date:
Red in Jupiter’s Spot Not What Astronomers Thought * By Alexis Madrigal Email Author
* March 16, 2010 | * 6:26 pm | * Categories: Space

Comments: The Red Spot has persisted since at least the late 17th century, when astronomers first saw it. If you’d seen it back then, though, you might have been “tempted to call it the great red sausage,” Orton said. “It’s shrinking slowly.” Still, it’s the solar system’s longest-lived and largest storm system, wider than three Earths.

Read More http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/03/jupiter-spot/#ixzz108e1hXNK



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Ill wait on the ensembles, If THAT shows a big change then I might reconsider. Right now the run looks very strange and I dont buy it.
Member Since: August 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1497
MT, I would not say it is out to lunch...I would say that it is about the 8th-10th run in a row that is showing the disturbance moving N and E...That's all I take from it at this point, but in the end this run could verify. It is just as likely as a Pensacola, Tampa, Miami, or OBX storm.
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2090. NRAamy
Yo.
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2089. xcool
Vorticity is increasing :) by Lesser Antilles
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2088. Seawall
Quoting MiamiThreater:
This place is absolutely surreal........now we are all gonna treat this latest run of the GFS like it's impeccably gospel because it takes the storm harmlessly out to sea........give me a break, OK? It's clearly a defective run and it's very much out to sea. Tracks like that are common in November and NOT in late September. The GFS is bringing down a December like through on this latest run, hence the track that it takes the storm on. Conversely, on that rather sour note, good morning, all! How's everyone doing on this 1am hour? ^_^. BTW, biasm and favoritism are never lacked in this place, from both sides of the playing field, lol.


And you have been a member since.... yesterday? LOL good luck with all that
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2086. NRAamy
"this place is absolutely surreal"....

To me, it's more impressionistic....from far away, it looks pretty good...but up close and personal, it's a mess.....
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2084. xcool
KoritheMan




Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15603
2083. ackee
if the NHC does not mestion the wave in the Eastern carrbean at 2AM will be very suprise
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Quoting IKE:


Just checking the GFS, which is similar to the 12Z ECMWF run at 168 hours...troughs in the east....





Not doubting the troughs. Just saying there is only a 500 mile difference from the Fla panhandle to all the way off the E coast. It's all going to come down to timing and storm position at the time. You know the angle of approach is going to be one of the hardest things for the models to fine tune. Agreeing with the general track concept at this point, but would feel much better if we saw about four more runs that showed the same thing as the 00z. Think that's the first run that has taken it out to sea.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 15472

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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.