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 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.
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Track of Omar, Reversed Hurricane
La guagua va en reversa y el huracan tambien

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I dont really buy the GFS's idea ... starts out with a funky inverted trough stretching towards the east coast ... Not that I dont think we could have east coast troughing, just that I dont see it happening that way. Im VERY confident the evolution will change and not turn out that way. Also ... keep in mind as we progress into more meridional flow that we are less likely to see that "lock" ... it may be semi permanent but it will move and there will be windows where the steering will set up for the northern gulf coast. If we have a storm at that time remains to be seen. It is a positive sign however and certainly doesnt make our situation look any worse.
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Quoting xcool:




gfs storms..


Not much right now, eh? ;)
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WHOA....OK, who slipped the WhoDat Juice on Mother Nature?? Or...whomever's running the GFS model??

Now, it's totally abandoning the worst-case "Floridageddon" scenario and shifting everything east over the Central Caribean, then north across Cuba, the Bahamas, and out to sea!! No Big One smacking FL at all!!

What the heck??

That must mean that the troughs must be stronger than even advertised, and that the roadblock I mentioned must be stronger than previously thought. If that's the case, then maybe the US might not see a direct hit (or at least not a major hit) after all?? And we can officially declare the season over for the NW-NCen Gulf (barring any surprises)??

Still early, and things can change rapidly..but if that model is confirmed by the others, then maybe we dodged a nuke again.

With that I bid y'all a hearthy Good Night and Who Dat?? (Sorry, Frisco...great effort, but too many mistakes and too much Brees.)


Anthony
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Yap, that was the "unusual southwest to northeast track hurricane", I remember....
Quoting KoritheMan:


It would actually increase the likelihood of hurricane strikes for you guys. Omar in 2008 is a good example, even though he didn't quite strike Puerto Rico.
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2075. xcool




gfs storms..
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2074. hydrus
Quoting leddyed:

And talk about longevity ...
In case you did not know, The Great Red Spot or Hurricane is gone. It disappeared earlier this year.
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.
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Quoting sunlinepr:
Thats Right, what I said is a local misconception


It would actually increase the likelihood of hurricane strikes for you guys. Omar in 2008 is a good example, even though he didn't quite strike Puerto Rico.
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2069. xcool
Seawall back tropical weather, sorry
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Thats Right, what I said is a local misconception
Quoting KoritheMan:


That wouldn't put an end to the season. Just the US landfalls.
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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....





This I can believe. For one, it's almost October. For two, that's been the trend all year.
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2066. Seawall
Quoting xcool:
i'm nott happy whatt saints


Huh?
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2065. IKE
Quoting StormJunkie:


That's a possibility. Although it is still a long way out. What I would say is that it is looking more likely that the system in question will end up somewhere E of Ms. And good morning to you Ike...not use to seeing you on night shift ;)


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



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.
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2062. ackee
all get from OOZ Gfs run Greater Antilles could be getting a lot of rain regrardless of devlopment need pay close attention to tropics this weekend into nextweek
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Quoting JLPR2:
Well I'm off to bed, dont kill each other with the GFS, after all, it's just a model, go ahead if the EURO mimics the GFS. LOL!

Night!


Night!
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2060. Seawall
Quoting atmoaggie:
That's Igor's finger print...


Atmo, I just love your handle. That's the coolest name!
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Lets hope cold fronts start coming down, early in season to the caribbean, putting an end to this Hur season; Good nite.....
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2057. JLPR2
Well I'm off to bed, dont kill each other with the GFS, after all, it's just a model, go ahead if the EURO mimics the GFS. LOL!

Night!
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2056. Seawall
Quoting btwntx08:

i agree where the high power offense from last yr??? huh lol


I wouldn't bet on that... just yet.. the saints are like the weather.. they can come on strong when need be.
Who DAT?
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2055. xcool
:) .d'onot getting mad at me / getting mad at crazy gfs
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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.


That's a possibility. Although it is still a long way out. What I would say is that it is looking more likely that the system in question will end up somewhere E of Ms. And good morning to you Ike...not use to seeing you on night shift ;)
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Quoting xcool:
gfs say season over


It's not. I don't care what model says that.

You guys know I'm no wishcaster. At all. But there's little reason to assume that the GFS is actually correct in this instance.

As IKE said, the northern Gulf's season may be over (and that's still uncertain in itself), but not the season as a whole.
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2052. ackee
look like OOZ GFS run devlops 3 system the frist WAVE in eastern carrb move it into central America then begin to devlop another LOW in SW carrbean move it NE then north near the caymans , jamaica and Eastern cuba bahamas Island devlops another storm track it towards the same area
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2051. IKE
Quoting xcool:
gfs say season over


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.
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Quoting sunlinepr:
With that trayectory, Igor can turn out to be the first "Polar Storm" of the season



After "sparing" Bermuda, he really seems to be going out of his way to avoid any landfalls (post-tropical even)
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2049. xcool
gfs say season over
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2048. will40


its got something else in the Bahamas
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2046. xcool
lol gfs model
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Quoting StormJunkie:


No more confused than it was the last two runs...As that's exactly what it did on those. Not sure it is really confused. Just trying to find the solution that ends up sticking.

No problem WPB, just be careful with those things ;)



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Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 14138




Missed the last two. However, it seems there is a pretty good chance we'll be tracking an AOI this weekend. For what it's worth, compared to past runs I've looked at, the AOI is a bit further east and heading NNEish away from the US.
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Yeah, also "Wobbling near the Ridge"
Quoting WXTXN:
That storm has been "pumping the ridge" for centuries!!
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2043. will40
GFS taking it out to sea on this run
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2041. WXTXN
Quoting sunlinepr:
Jupiter's anular.... hey that trough is going to affect him....
That storm has been "pumping the ridge" for centuries!!
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2040. leddyed
Quoting sunlinepr:

Any model can predict his trajectory??

Jupiter's anular Hurricane
the hurricane is 75,855 miles which is three times the size as earth

And talk about longevity ...
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Quoting sunlinepr:
WU GFS Ensemble Model



Wow, that isn't what I expected to see.
Got so wrapped up in the future storm, I guess I haven't looked in on that one in a while. Models seem to have changed. Significantly.
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Jupiter's anular.... hey that trough is going to affect him....
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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:
GFS is getting confused this run. It runs the initial low into Nicaragua and reforms one in the CNTRL CARIBB.

00ZGFS 156hrs



No more confused than it was the last two runs...As that's exactly what it did on those. Not sure it is really confused. Just trying to find the solution that ends up sticking.

No problem WPB, just be careful with those things ;)

Cornell - It's the Highest Rank in the Ivy League sound bite  The Office sound bitesCornell - It's the Highest Rank in the Ivy League sound bite
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It's still igor's fingerprint. cool beans.
goodnight.
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Quoting anyotherliestotell:
fron miami to palm beach it's swin season all year round tihe water temps betw, 72 to 87, that's right a new years swim, every year, in utually warmtemps in the 72-74 degree range,to 86-87 in the summer


Yoopers swim year 'round too - they just have to chop a hole in the water first.

lol
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2033. WXTXN
Quoting sunlinepr:

Any model can predict his trajectory??

Jupiter's anular Hurricane
the hurricane is 75,855 miles which is three times the size as earth
Nice...and on topic!
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Quoting Chicklit:


WoW. incredible. Bermuda must be counting its lucky stars about now.
See correction...
(just to be sure I don't mislead)
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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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