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 kshipre1:
ahhhh, got ya. I understand, thanks. Boy, I tell ya, I am interested to see the dynamical models for 95L.

It seems that Dr. Masters thinks that the trough is going to be strong unlike what we heard in the morning?

If that is the case, I kinda feel scared for the EGOM, western florida
dude you seriously need to take a deep breath and relax.
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Quoting Labayourambler:
What are the chances of 95 L affecting the NW GOM????

Hard to tell because it's several days out but this map gives it a low chance IF it still exists.
Those concentric red circles over the Conus is an mid level LOW which would push it into the EAstern GOm FL
http://www.nco.ncep.noaa.gov/pmb/nwprod/analysis/carib/gfs/06/images/gfs_slp_162l.gif
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I live in Tampa. People would probably wait till the last minute.
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Not to mention a rather strong MJO pulse is heading in our direction. The pulse is evident in the EPAC as it spawned Georgette.

September is the red line. As of yesterday (20 plot) heading into the Caribbean.

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Quoting sailingallover:
The earlier 92L that spawned Alex was just a little to early in the season. A little to much shear, not quite warm enough water and to much subsidence.
Now everything is perfect for development. Hopefully it will form just in time to hit land as the GFS forecasts


I was not talking about the one that formed Alex I am talking about the one that formed Karl that everyone was so concerned about the storm becoming a cat 4-5 in the Caribbean just a week ago
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I promise, I am not wish-casting, I have a real bad feeling about 95L. With low shear and the TCHP approaching outrageous levels, 95L may be a tool to reduce that number. I am concerned we could have a major Hurricane on our hands by this Thursday.
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Not likely maybe but as some of the model suggest that the trough could completely pick Lisa up.
Looks like it's got a grip on her.
http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/tatl/loop-avn.html
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What are the chances of 95 L affecting the NW GOM????
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Quoting Thundercloud01221991:
How is this one different from the system that spawned Karl... why will it develop in the eastern carr when 92L earlier did not
The earlier 92L that spawned Alex was just a little to early in the season. A little to much shear, not quite warm enough water and to much subsidence.
Now everything is perfect for development. Hopefully it will form just in time to hit land as the GFS forecasts
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Very busy season but, no goalposts with landfall hits. It's been so hot & dry, we can hear the ground crack. No evacuations, no FEMA $$.......bad for those in the hurricane business. Economy is terrible****
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63. HCW
95L showing a weird hook at the end


Member Since: August 10, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 1409
Thanks, Dr M.
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Quoting kshipre1:
most of the models except of the green line does not really show Florida a risk.

then again, I might be wrong


These models do not include the GFS, GFDL, HWRF, NOGAPS, UKMET...etc
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Thanks for the update Dr. Masters.

As shear increases in the far east and these waves are able to propagate westward without development, I look for one or two to pop up in the Western Atlantic in addition to the Caribbean. The remainder of Sept and Oct could be quite active and extremely dangerous with the pattern set up the way it is. What was a great pattern for the CV season is going to end up biting us in the behind the remainder of the season IMO.
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ahhhh, got ya. I understand, thanks. Boy, I tell ya, I am interested to see the dynamical models for 95L.

It seems that Dr. Masters thinks that the trough is going to be strong unlike what we heard in the morning?

If that is the case, I kinda feel scared for the EGOM, western florida
Member Since: July 12, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1130
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So arctic ice was the second lowest in 31 years. Big freaking deal. In Greenland where the ice has melted, archaeologists have discovered a Viking church from a thousand years ago. Obviously the ice had melted then too for them to be able to construct a church.
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NHC is giving the disturbance a 20% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Thursday. I'd put the odds higher, at 30%.

I'd put the odds higher, at 50%. Woohoo fiddy-fiddy! :)
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Quoting sailingallover:

Every wave that has gone across the lower carib and formed into a storm has crossed Yucatan and hit mexico south texas
Jinx!
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Quoting pub123:
It is well established that at least five of NOAA's satellites and/or sensors are on the fritz so so-called record temperatures are nothing more than malfunctioning equipment. One satellite recorded a surface temperature of 612 degrees in the northern US.

All temp data from NOAA should be disregarded until the equipment is repaired or replaced.


Seriously? Numerous all-time record highs? Catastrophic flooding? Prolonged and worsening droughts? Disappearing Arctic ice? Mass coral bleachings? Warming oceans? Earlier springs, longer summers, later autumns, shorter winters? Rising seas? Increasing extreme weather events? Retreating glaciers? Seawater acidifcation and oxygen depletion? All that's due to "malfunctioning equipment"? Wow, that's good news; I was starting to get worried... :-)

(BTW: can you define "well established" for us?)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13556
Quoting kshipre1:
most of the models except of the green line does not really show Florida a risk.

then again, I might be wrong


those are the Statistical models runs..bamm, clipper, etc..the dynamic models havent finished running yet or something is wrong with the site because they are not there yet
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Quoting duajones78413:


what do you mean by this?

Every wave that has gone across the lower carib and formed into a storm has crossed Yucatan and hit mexico south texas
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Thanks Dr.M
Turn your back, and Igor wreaks havoc.
Awesome pictures. As regards coastal South Carolina, "...High rip current risk remains in effect until 8 PM EDT this evening..."


Thanks CajunTexas - Always look forward to the poems.

Quoting Beachfoxx:
And here I always thought it was your fault, guess I'll blame Pottery & his rum!
95L - I'm hoping it fizzles & does not come into the northern GOM.
I think both, Foxxy


Folks from Tampa Bay area
How prepared is Tampa for an evacuation? - Would folks heed the warning or wait till last moment?




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Quoting SeniorPoppy:


This disturbance has trouble written all over it.


Yes for an awful lot of people-from Central America , Mexico, to GOM-USA.
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For some reason, I was thinking of this song as the tropical systems make their moves.....rawhide:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sl2fONPgIJELink
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
95L

Should be at 30% by 2pm.



Whoa it appears out of nowhere
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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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