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 Levi32:
We can't know the details of how this situation will evolve, but we have known for a while now that there is going to be a situation, and likely a dangerous one for the U.S. coastline as well as several Caribbean countries. In this kind of a pattern you almost cannot avoid getting a storm in this area, so I doubt we'll see any fizzling. We don't know how strong this storm will be but we know that there probably will be one, threatening somebody.


Great Video Levi32, Hope to see more in the future, very informative and realistic!
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Quoting KanKunKid:


Well raising a big stink doesn't always work. It appears that the low may suck 95L (or whatever it becomes) up your way, and my efforts will just be keeping it from going west, so actually, I'm not helping am I? I need some SAL (which in Spanish is salt) but where can I get a boatload of that stuff, hurricane stopper?
LOL, not sure where to find a dealer for an order that large. I'll look into it though. Right now, it appears Lisa is hogging some of it for herself.
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Wow, Igor has a pressure of 952 mb, and yet is only a category 1 hurricane?

Is that some kind of record? I've never seen a cat 1 with such a low central pressure.
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Quoting Levi32:


At which time frame? At 102 hours it is vertically stacked over central America.


Ok, thanks. I didn't look at the surface, just saw the one posted on here. I thought maybe I was missing something as MT was saying it did not make landfall on this run and the 850mb vort field shows that it does.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16874
Quoting Levi32:


Wind shear will not necessarily be too high when the storm enters the area. At this point that is still uncertain.
Thanks
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Quoting scott39:
This should help destroy any system coming in the GOM.


Wind shear will not necessarily be too high when the storm enters the area. At this point that is still uncertain.
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12z GFS turns the system into a large Nor-Easter and slams NYC.

Gonna wait for the 12z ECMWF.
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Quoting dmaddox:
COOL:
IGOR last week...
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Round 2:



Sure appears that GFS doesn't or may be want to take all the build up energy from the NW Carib and develop another system to may be take care of the left overs.
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Quoting SuperYooper:


Didn't that already happen? As if we need another mess.

You are right but I want to be prepared just in case.
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Quoting IKE:
Not wishing 95L on anyone, but I hope the GFS is correct....keeping it away from the northern GOM.
We may have shear on our side.
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Quoting kshipre1:
Levi,

I know you already said in your tidbit and again earlier that it is obviously difficult to know the path of the storm because it has not formed yet. Also, I say this in a serious and kidding way that I will not ask about Florida because it does not make sense :)

My question is given your knowledge in this field and current wind patterns and high pressure in the caribbean area, do you really think it is logical (as one model shows) or possible the storm could hit the Yucatan then go back east and a straight B line towards Florida?

I ask because potential Matthew is already getting organized quicker than thought and moving fast.

Or, as you said, do you think a pull to the north into the NGOMEX is most logical? thanks Levi


Either of those situations is a pull north or northeast into the Gulf of Mexico. There is no way to really know what the angle of track will be at this point. It's still far too early, but of course the details will get laid out as soon as they become apparent. The main point right now is that we are likely to be facing a dangerous situation for the U.S. coast sometime next week.
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Quoting SQUAWK:


SJ, it is not sad really. Think about it. For the narrow minded and juvenile it is a good thing for them not to see what they do not have the capacity to deal with. so many on here just can't seem to skip what they don't like and move on. Their little lives are full of anger and resentment and I feel sorry for them because they miss the fun and variety of a rich life. That is their problem and not mine nor yours. The ignore feature is for those that aren't smart enough to deal with life as it is and must use some artificial method to get them through.


The ignore feature yes (I don't have anyone on ignore, although I may not like what you say today...I'm intelligent enough to realize that you might make me laugh or teach me something tomorrow ...What I am talking about is the hidden posts. These posts don't show up for non-members; so they are missing out on some pretty decent parts of the conversation.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16874
COOL:
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Quoting scott39:
This should help destroy any system coming in the GOM.


Don't assume that it will be above average by the time the system gets there
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422. IKE
Not wishing 95L on anyone, but I hope the GFS is correct....keeping it away from the northern GOM.
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Quoting Matt1989:

I just find it weird for such an active year. Not one storm not even a tropical storm has made a us landfall..


you forgot about Bonnie
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Quoting Matt1989:

I just find it weird for such an active year. Not one storm not even a tropical storm has made a us landfall..

Did you forget Bonnie?
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And now the Canadian GGEM 12z throws another monkey wrench into the works: West into CenAM, then N skirting Belize/Yucatan into GOM...then N/NNW into NOLA/LA/MS border as Cat 2/3?!?!?!

Depicts the trough as too far north and Matthew as too far south to pull it NE, instead waits for next trough down the line to pull NNW.

Maybe Bastardi's seeing something I'm not??

Still betting on landfall well E of NOLA....but beginning to get a little edgy here. If that trough doesn't hold, then perhaps even Morgan City/Intercoastal City/Lafayette getting more than a piece of this action??

Again, time will tell the tale.


Anthony
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Quoting Levi32:


Climatologically it starts going back up above 20kts average by this time of year.

This should help destroy any system coming in the GOM.
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Quoting StormJunkie:


Well, at this point, I don't think any reasonable forecaster would say "it ain't happening" unless they are talking about it doing a u-turn and heading back to Africa. Just saying it's early in the game and there is still a whole lot up in the air. I agree something is going to come of this. That said, I've seen enough to know that sometimes what we expect to happen does not; especially in the long range.

Levi-The surface forecast shows the L remaining off shore, but the 850mb vort center seems to be taken over land. It's the X on that map correct? So can we assume it's showing a system that is not vertically stacked? Or am I misreading something?


At which time frame? At 102 hours it is vertically stacked over central America.
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Quoting btwntx08:

???????????????????????????????????????

I just find it weird for such an active year. Not one storm not even a tropical storm has made a us landfall..
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Levi,

I know you already said in your tidbit and again earlier that it is obviously difficult to know the path of the storm because it has not formed yet. Also, I say this in a serious and kidding way that I will not ask about Florida because it does not make sense :)

My question is given your knowledge in this field and current wind patterns and high pressure in the caribbean area, do you really think it is logical (as one model shows) or possible the storm could hit the Yucatan then go back east and a straight B line towards Florida?

I ask because potential Matthew is already getting organized quicker than thought and moving fast.

Or, as you said, do you think a pull to the north into the NGOMEX is most logical? thanks Levi
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Quoting scott39:
Levi, what is wind shear like in the GOM this time of year?


Climatologically it starts going back up above 20kts average by this time of year.

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Quoting MiamiThreater:


IDK, I dont think it does. Besides, the ECM doesn't foresee this, so, it ain't happening.


Well, at this point, I don't think any reasonable forecaster would say "it ain't happening" unless they are talking about it doing a u-turn and heading back to Africa. Just saying it's early in the game and there is still a whole lot up in the air. I agree something is going to come of this. That said, I've seen enough to know that sometimes what we expect to happen does not; especially in the long range.

Levi-The surface forecast shows the L remaining off shore, but the 850mb vort center seems to be taken over land. It's the X on that map correct? So can we assume it's showing a system that is not vertically stacked? Or am I misreading something?
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16874
GFS is still struggling by the time we get out to Day 10, as it shows a very strung out and elongated area of low pressure with nothing really focused. While this is possible, I think this is more likely to be the GFS struggling to deal with the energy.

One thing that could end up being the gulf's saving grace is all the dry air that the models have been showing invading the Gulf of Mexico to the west of the storm when it moves in, possibly entraining into the storm and keeping it on the weaker side, but again, details can't be known for sure this far out. We'll see how it goes.

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Levi-379?
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Quoting HCW:



it won't make landfall in USA!!!
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399. IKE
228 hour 12Z GFS...

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I can't remember such a long spell of beautiful weather here in SE Virginia, yeah we have a drought going on, but the weather has been absolutely beautiful!
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Quoting StormJunkie:


See post 354. It definitely takes it on shore for a while in this run. Look at the 102hr forecast. Inland.


Not good for central America as that means a lot of rain as the storm will stall for a while over that area before getting drawn north, if that verifies.
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395. HCW
Karl's daughter is looking pretty good

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Quoting Levi32:
12z GFS is showing how the storm tries to get jammed into central America but then gets drawn slowly northward as it is denied access to the eastern Pacific. There is so much heat involved that the model tries to develop two systems, but in reality it will likely be just one. The GFS often has a hard time bundling a large amount of heat. It had that problem with Alex when it tried to spin off a 2nd tropical storm out of Alex's outer bands in the Gulf of Mexico.

12z GFS Day 7 surface:



You can also see the weakness in the NE GOM which in theory take whatever forms in the NW Carib to the N/NE.
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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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