Igor pounding Newfoundland; dangerous 95L forms; 3rd hottest August for the globe

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:13 PM GMT on September 21, 2010

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Hurricane Igor is tenaciously hanging on as a Category 1 hurricane, and is causing trouble in Newfoundland, Canada. Winds at Sagona Island, over 100 miles to the northwest of Igor's center, were sustained at 68 mph, gusting to 86, this morning, and were 56 mph, gusting to 84, at St. Pierre. Offshore, at the Newfoundland Grand Banks Buoy, winds peaked at 56 mph and significant wave heights hit 39 feet as the center of Igor passed by. Rainfall amounts of 3 - 5 inches are possible for the capital of St. Johns, where winds are already at 29 mph, gusting to 43 mph. Weather radar out of St. Johns is estimating rainfall amounts of up to 1/2 inch per hour from Igor.


Figure 1. Hurricane Igor as seen by the MODIS instrument on NASA's Terra satellite at 11:15 am EDT Monday September 20, 2010. Image credit: NASA.

Potentially dangerous Caribbean disturbance 95L forms
A tropical wave (Invest 95L) moving westward at 10 - 15 mph though the Lesser Antilles Islands is bringing gusty winds and heavy rain to the islands this morning, and has the potential to develop into a dangerous Caribbean tropical storm or hurricane late this week. The wave brought sustained winds of 30 mph to Barbados this morning, and heavy rain squalls will continue over the Lesser Antilles today. Radar from Curacao and satellite loops show that 95L's thunderstorm activity is disorganized, though increasing in areal coverage and intensity. Wind shear over the Caribbean is very low, less than 5 knots, and is forecast to remain low for the rest of the week. Water temperatures and oceanic heat content in the Caribbean are at their highest levels in recorded history, so there is plenty of fuel for development. NHC is giving the disturbance a 20% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Thursday. I'd put the odds higher, at 30%.

The wave should continue moving westward near 10 - 15 mph through Friday, when it will arrive near the northern coast of Nicaragua. Most of the models show some development of 95L by Thursday or Friday, and the disturbance will bring heavy rains to the Netherlands Antilles Islands and north coast of South America on Wednesday and Thursday as passes to the north. Heavy rains may also spread to Southwest Haiti and Jamaica on Thursday. When 95L reaches the Western Caribbean Friday, steering currents will weaken and the storm will slow, potentially bringing life-threatening heavy rains on Friday and Saturday to northern Nicaragua and northern Honduras. If the center of 95L remains over water, the storm could easily develop into a powerful and dangerous hurricane over the Western Caribbean this weekend. With a strong trough of low pressure expected to dive southwards over the Eastern U.S. and form a "cut-off" upper level low over the Southeast U.S. this weekend, this potential hurricane could get drawn northwards across western Cuba into the Gulf of Mexico. Equally likely scenarios are that 95L will stay in the Western Caribbean, or that the storm will make landfall over Nicaragua and dissipate on Friday, and never reach the Western Caribbean. It is too early to assign probabilities on which of these three scenarios is the most likely.


Figure 2. Morning satellite image of the potentially dangerous Caribbean disturbance 95L.

Tropical Storm Lisa forms
Tropical Storm Lisa, the 12th named storm of this exceptionally active 2010 Atlantic hurricane season, is now churning over the waters of the far Eastern Atlantic. Lisa is currently in an environment of low wind shear, 5 - 10 knots, which is expected to continue through Thursday. Sea Surface Temperatures are a little cool, just 27°C, and there is some dry air to the north which may slow down development. Lisa is not likely to intensify into a hurricane, which would break our string of three straight major hurricanes that have developed (Igor, Julia, and Karl.) By Thursday, upper level winds out of the west are expected to increase, bringing high wind shear of 20 - 45 knots over Lisa for the remainder of the week. It appears unlikely that Lisa will affect any land areas.

Typhoon Fanapi deluges China
Typhoon Fanapi made landfall in mainland China about 150 miles east-northeast of Hong Kong Monday morning as a Category 1 storm with 75 mph winds, dumping the heaviest rains seen in a century to the southern Guangdong Province of China, according to the provincial weather bureau. Rainfall amounts of 550 mm (21.6") were recorded in the hardest-hit Shuangyao Township in Yangchun City. Thousands of people are stranded due to washed out roads and bridges in the region. In Taiwan, where Fanapi struck as a Category 2 typhoon with 105 mph winds on Sunday, the damage total is estimated at $210 million. 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.

Georgette soaks Baja
Tropical Storm Georgette has formed in the Eastern Pacific, just off the coast of Baja California. Georgette is just the seventh named storm of a near-record quiet season, and the first storm in the Eastern Pacific since Hurricane Frank died on August 28. Georgette's main threat is heavy rain, as the storm is expected to make landfall over Baja California later today and rapidly weaken into a tropical depression by Wednesday.

Elsewhere in the tropics
The GFS model predicts a series of three tropical distubances will develop in the Caribbean over the next 1 - 2 weeks. The NOGAPS model predicts a new tropical depression will form off the coast of Africa about seven days from now.

Third warmest August on record for the globe, and 2nd warmest summer, says NOAA
August 2010 was the globe's third warmest August on record, behind 1998 and 2009, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies rated August 2010 the seventh warmest August on record. Both NOAA and NASA rated the year-to-date period, January - August, as the warmest such period on record. August 2010 global ocean temperatures were the sixth warmest on record, land temperatures were the second warmest on record, Northern Hemisphere temperatures the warmest on record, and global satellite-measured temperatures for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere the warmest on record (Remote Sensing Systems data) or 2nd warmest on record (University of Alabama Huntsville data.)

The summer of 2010 was the second warmest summer on record, behind 1998, according to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), and the 4th warmest summer on record according to NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. It was the warmest summer on record over land areas, and fifth warmest for ocean areas, according to NOAA.

For those interested, NCDC has a page of notable weather highlights from August 2010.


Figure 3. Departure of surface temperature from average for August, 2010. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).

La Niña intensifies and approaches the "strong" category
The equatorial Eastern Pacific Ocean is nearing strong La Niña conditions. Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) over the tropical Eastern Pacific in the area 5°N - 5°S, 120°W - 170°W, also called the "Niña 3.4 region", dropped to 1.5 - 1.6°C below average during the first two weeks of September, according to NOAA. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology put this number at 1.3°C below average (as of September 19.) Moderate La Niña conditions are defined as occurring when this number is 1.0°C - 1.5°C below average. Temperatures colder than 1.5°C below average would qualify as strong La Niña conditions. NOAA is maintaining its La Niña advisory, and expects La Niña conditions to last through the coming spring.

Both El Niño and La Niña events have major impacts on regional and global weather patterns. For the next month, we can expect La Niña to bring cloudier and wetter than average conditions to the Caribbean, but weather patterns over North America should not see much impact. Globally, La Niña conditions tend to cause a net cooling of surface temperatures. Thus, while the past twelve month period has been the warmest globally since record keeping began in 1880, the calendar year of 2010 may end up just shy of being classified as the warmest year ever.

August 2010 Arctic sea ice extent 2nd lowest on record
Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent in August 2010 was the second lowest in the 31-year satellite record behind 2007, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Strong high pressure centered north of Alaska, combined with low pressure over Siberia (the Arctic Dipole Anomaly), acted together to produce a strong flow of warm air into the Arctic, causing the near-record melting. Ice volume in August was the lowest on record for August, according to University of Washington Polar Ice Center. Arctic sea ice is currently near its annual minimum, and 2010 will end up having the second or third lowest extent on record, behind 2007 (and possibly 2008.) The fabled Northwest Passage through the normally ice-choked waters of Canada, as well as the Northeast Passage along the coast of northern Russia, remained open for ice-free navigation as of September 21, and have been ice-free for a month. This is the third consecutive year--and third time in recorded history--that both passages have melted open. Mariners have been attempting to sail these passages since 1497, and 2005 was the first year either of these passages reported ice-free conditions; 2008 was the first year both passages melted free.

"Hurricane Haven" airing this afternoon
Tune into another airing of my live Internet radio show, "Hurricane Haven", at 4pm EDT today. The call in number is 415-983-2634, or you can post a question to broadcast@wunderground.com. Be sure to include "Hurricane Haven question" in the subject line.

Today's show will be about 30 minutes, and you can tune in at http://www.wunderground.com/wxradio/wubroadcast.h tml. The show will be recorded and stored as a podcast.

My next post will be Wednesday morning.

Jeff Masters

More pictures of distant Hurricane Igor surf at Newport RI # 4 (RIWXPhoto)
More pictures of distant Hurricane Igor surf at Newport RI # 4
distant Hurricane Igor surf at Newport, RI # 9 (RIWXPhoto)
distant Hurricane Igor surf at Newport, RI # 9

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Quoting MiamiThreater:


Correct, however, those are only the ''short'' term runs, the long term runs, unanimously take it north. Where are you falling to see this, sir, if I may ask?


Poof.
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Quoting MiamiThreater:


Meaning! So, according to you, all of the models are out to lunch then? For taking it north? GIVE IT TIME, ACERE.


Most of the current models are taking to the west into the Yucatan/Central America area and not "through" the Yucatan Channel.....Merely commenting on the general proposition that a weak system will trend west and that it would have to spin up quickly before the models would start trending more to the North.
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2882. scott39
Quoting HCW:


I remember those days and it seems like yesterday. We had no power for 17 days after that storm
It was fun as a 10 year old, but would not want to do it now!
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From today's By The Numbers blog update (check it out if you like):

Today marks the one-month anniversary of the birth of Danielle. At the 11AM EDT TWO on August 22nd, the season TC count stood at 3-1-0, and ACE (Accumulated Cyclone Energy) was an anemic 9.095. Since then, we've gone an astounding 9-5-5, and have gathered an additional 117.34 ACE units. That's an average of one named storm every 3.45 days, a major hurricane every 6.2 days, and 3.78 ACE units per day.

Today is also the 31st day out of the last 32 with at least one active system (September 5th is the only exception). In that span, there have been 20 days with more than one storm going, and seven of those saw three active storms. In that same span have been six days with multiple hurricanes, including two with three hurricanes in action. We've also had, incredibly, multiple major hurricanes on two different days.

Named Tropical Cyclones by Date

ACE Distribution by Day
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2879. HCW
Quoting scott39:
When Hurricane Fredric Traumatized me as a kid. DOOM was all over the place. School was out for 2 weeks! Didnt have to take a bath either. Was like camping in our house for 2 weeks. Good Times!!


I remember those days and it seems like yesterday. We had no power for 17 days after that storm
Member Since: August 10, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 1408
Quoting sammywammybamy:
Just Checking in... And South Florida and Central Florida need to be real concerned about this...

Specially if it slows and stays over water

Thats the thing, 06z GFS has it staying over water after exiting honduras over 90 hours (from 90-180) before moving north and hitting s fla at 240. Obviously way to early but still a scary scenario.
My post #2750 is my take...lol , like anyone cares but there it is.
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2874. scott39
Quoting DestinJeff:


You were? When?
When Hurricane Fredric Traumatized me as a kid. DOOM was all over the place. School was out for 2 weeks! Didnt have to take a bath either. Was like camping in our house for 2 weeks. Good Times!!
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It appears the GFS/EURO are in better agreement the trough will be strong enough to pull what ever is down there northward and eventually NE.
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2869. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
T.C.F.A.
INV95/XX/XL
MARK
13.33N/67.33W
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CODE RED 60%
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2863. scott39
Quoting DestinJeff:
NEED MORE WILMA LOOPS!
We need a Fred loop from 1979. Hes tired of Wilma getting all the attention!
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2862. MahFL
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


I like the purple model.
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Good Morning...........Looking at the am CIMMS charts, 95L starting to get vertically stacked in terms of vorticity but still lacking real persistent convection near the developing COC so it will still take some time to organize......Not convinced that it will get into the Gulf yet particularly if it stays on the weak side over the next 48 hours. It would need to really blow up in a short period of time IMHO in order to start trekking towards the Yucatan Channel and not sure that this will happen.......We should know by Friday.
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2859. scott39
Hey Chicklit, maybe it will drive itself into the mountains of Central America and die a miserable death!!
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2858. HCW
RI is looking likely as we get into Sat and Sunday with near perfect conditions. I would not be surprised to see a major cane as early as Sat evening in the 120mph range
Member Since: August 10, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 1408
I'm doom if I don't get to work while everyone's keeping an eye on 95L.
Will check back much later.
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Hi Surfmom,
It was a cooler morning over on this side too.
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2854. scott39
Quoting Chicklit:


Scottie, there ain't no more dry air or ULL's.
There may be an anticyclone trying to form over 95L.
Were all DOOM!!
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I am thinking this is a bad thing for Florida if the models are slowing this down?
Member Since: July 12, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1130
2852. surfmom
Quoting pottery:
Good Morning all,
Nice bright morning here.
95L has the forecasters jittery, along with a lot of Coastal Dwellers too.
He could become Nasty.
Hope he knows his Place....
LOL - best not be my back yard - lovely morning here as well - chickens are singing instead of panting
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what time are those models you ran as of?
Member Since: July 12, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1130
Quoting scott39:
I hope High wind Shear picks up and Dry air helps us out. Maybe a ULL will come in and save the day.


Scottie, there ain't no more dry air or ULL's.
There may be an anticyclone trying to form over 95L.
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Quoting DestinJeff:
Breaking news...

The Chart has gone into hibernation until next June. As is customary, The Chart is less useful after the Peak of the Season and will be replaced by The Track Map in all future posts.

*singing* Spider Chart, Spider Chart, does whatever a Spider Chart does.
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Quoting DestinJeff:
NEED MORE WILMA LOOPS!


Jeff, put the gun down.
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2842. scott39
Quoting cat5hurricane:
Yeah could be a repeat...you never know. Let's hope not. Those shear & TCHP maps in the GOM are frightening.
I hope High wind Shear picks up and Dry air helps us out. Maybe a ULL will come in and save the day.
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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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