Igor delivers punishing blow to Newfoundland; 95L growing more organized

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:21 PM GMT on September 22, 2010

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Hurricane Igor delivered a punishing blow to Newfoundland Canada, which suffered one of its worst poundings by a hurricane in the past century. Igor made it all the way to southeast Newfoundland yesterday as a Category 1 hurricane, bringing a peak wind gust of 107 mph to Cape Pine in Southeast Newfoundland. Igor brought sustained winds of 58 mph, gusting to 85 mph, to Newfoundland's capital, St John's. The city recorded a remarkably low pressure of 958 mb, and picked up 3.99" of rain during Igor's passage. Widespread rain amounts of 5 - 9 inches fell over much of southeast Newfoundland's rocky terrain, which is unable to absorb so much water. The resulting severe flooding washed out hundreds of roads, collapsed several major bridges, and forced numerous rescues of people trapped on the second stories of their homes by flood waters. Igor generated swells of 6 - 8 meters (20 - 26 feet) that pounded the southern coast of Newfoundland last night and this morning; significant wave heights reached 39 feet at the Newfoundland Grand Banks Buoy, and a storm surge of a meters (3.28 feet) hit the northeast shores of Newfoundland last night. Igor is now a large and powerful extratropical storm off Greenland and Labrador, and continues to generate hurricane force winds over water--winds at Angisoq, Greenland were sustained at 66 mph this morning.

It is not that unusual for hurricanes to penetrate as far north as Newfoundland's latitude; over 40 hurricanes have done so. The last time this occurred was in 2003, when Hurricane Fabian made it to latitude 48.7°N as a hurricane. The all time record is held by Hurricane Faith of 1966, which followed the Gulf Stream and maintained hurricane status all the way north to latitude 61.1°N, just off the coast of Norway.


Figure 1. Little Barsway bridge 10 km north of Grand Bank, Newfoundland, after floodwaters from Hurricane Igor swept it away. Image credit: George J.B. Rose.


Figure 2. Hurricane Igor at 11:47am EDT on Wednesday, September 21, as it pounded Newfoundland as a Category 1 hurricane with 75 mph winds. Image credit: Environment Canada.


Figure 3. Video of impressive flooding on Newfoundland's Burin Peninsula, whose 20,000 residents were cut off from the rest of the province by flooded roads and closed bridges.

Dangerous Caribbean disturbance 95L growing more organized
A tropical wave (Invest 95L) moving westward at 15 mph though the south-central Caribbean is bringing gusty winds and heavy rain to the northern coast of Venezuela and the islands of Curacao, Aruba, and Bonaire this morning. A wind gust of 38 mph was recorded at Curacao last night. Radar from Curacao and satellite loops show that 95L's thunderstorms have a pronounced rotation, with a center of circulation located just off the coast of South America. Thunderstorm activity is fairly limited, but is slowly increasing in areal coverage and intensity. Wind shear over the Caribbean is low, 5 - 10 knots, and is forecast to remain low to moderate, 5 - 15 knots, for the rest of the week. NHC is giving the disturbance a 60% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Thursday. I'd put the odds higher, at 70%. The Hurricane Hunters are scheduled to investigate 95L this afternoon.

The wave should continue moving westward near 15 mph through Friday afternoon, 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 today and Thursday as passes to the north. Heavy rains may also spread to Southwest Haiti and Jamaica on Thursday, and the Cayman Islands, Cuba, Honduras, and Nicaragua on Friday. When 95L moves over or just north of Honduras on Saturday, a trough of low pressure diving southwards over the Eastern U.S. will weaken the steering currents over the Western Caribbean and cause 95L to turn more to the northwest and slow. If the center of 95L remains over water, the storm could easily develop into powerful and dangerous Hurricane Matthew over the Western Caribbean early next week. Even if the center stays over land, the circulation of the storm may be capable of generating dangerous flooding rains over Central America. Steering currents will be weak over the Western Caribbean through the middle of next week, and 95L may spend up to a week over the Western Caribbean, drenching the region with very heavy rains. Another possibility is that the trough of low pressure over the Eastern U.S. will be strong enough to draw 95L northwards across western Cuba and into the Gulf of Mexico 6 - 8 days from now. This solution is not being emphasized as much in today's model's runs as yesterday's, and the danger to the U.S. is uncertain at this point.


Figure 4. Morning satellite image of 95L.

Tropical Storm Lisa
Tropical Storm Lisa continues to churn the waters of the far Eastern Atlantic. By Friday night, upper level winds out of the west are expected to increase, bringing high wind shear of 20 - 45 knots over Lisa. The high shear may be capable of destroying the storm by early next week. It appears unlikely that Lisa will affect any land areas.

Georgette headed towards Arizona
Tropical Depression Georgette hit the tip of Baja California as a weak tropical storm with 40 mph winds yesterday, but dropped little rain. Georgette is in the Gulf of California, headed northwards, and could bring heavy rains to Arizona on Thursday.

Hurricane Karl's aftermath
Mexico continues to clean up from Hurricane Karl, which made landfall last Friday in Veracruz state as a Category 3 hurricane with 115 mph winds. Karl dumped approximately one foot of rain in the Sierra Madre Oriental Mountains, which cause some rivers to rise to unprecedented levels. The death toll from Karl's flooding and mudslides stands at 16, and ten of thousands remain in shelters after being displaced from their flooded homes. Insurance company AIR Worldwide is estimating insured losses at $100 - $200 million. Actual damage is estimated to be as much as $3.9 billion, since insurance take-up rates are low in Mexico. Karl is the second billion-dollar hurricane to hit Mexico this year; in June, Hurricane Alex hit just south of the Texas border as a Category 2 storm, killing 51 and doing $1.9 billion in damage.

Elsewhere in the tropics
The GFS model predicts a new tropical depression might develop in the Central Caribbean about seven days from now. The NOGAPS model predicts a new tropical depression will form off the coast of Africa about seven days from now.

My next post will be Thursday morning.

Jeff Masters

Uprooted Buoy (Maciejewski)
A buoy is left stranded on the beach from the storm waves of Hurricane Igor...
Uprooted Buoy

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Quoting futuremet:


At least the GFS is consistent with the 18Z on the time line. That was a big jump on the 18Z.
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JRRP I would not be surprised if 95L skips TD stage and go straight to TS status
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Notice that when that dry air area over PR moves west, that wind shear over the N of 95L is going to end... Then there will be more favorable conditions for 95L to develop

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Blog update on Lisa and 95L.
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2056. flsky
Quoting sunlinepr:
Notice also here the Dry Air area that is going to move behind 95L



Is the rotation south of Haiti at this point?
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2055. JRRP
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Quoting MississippiBoy:
if 95l gets pulled to the north by the front,the front does not pick it up and take it what happens to it?

I was thinking about that earlier, Elena comes to mind when the trough outruns the storm, if that is what you mean, but basically steering currents collapse, & it could drift around for days or even stall. Which is a possibility this go around.
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2053. xcool


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Quoting MississippiBoy:
if 95l gets pulled to the north by the front,the front does not pick it up and take it what happens to it?

It would spuriously meander in the Carribean until the next ride out
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right now I see 95L COC at 14.0N 72.0W
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if 95l gets pulled to the north by the front,the front does not pick it up and take it what happens to it?
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I'm very interested in how the GFS is going to play the cut-off this run. It was very bullish with it 18Z run and a fair distance further east than the ensemble mean. Assuming that 95L survives Central America (which is a very real possibility to say the least), this cut off is going to make all of the difference.



GFS vs ensembles (18Z) out 180 hours.



GFS individual ensembles (18Z) SLP, precip, and thickness.
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2048. xcool


WEAKER
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Quoting futuremet:
Pretty wild stuff...



Yeah, Wilma was pretty wild. She knocked down my privacy fence when I lived in Cape Coral. She hit Mexico worse though.

I think everyone here, even the newbies have dismissed the idea of this thing acting at all like her..
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at 132 tracking NE from Gulf of Honduras, similar to 18z
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Quoting leo305:


link please


Look under models here. Go to the NCEP page. Above the table, click on Western North Atlantic. Then select fine or medium on the most recent run where it says GFS in the table. Then above the table click on Upper Air Graphics. I usually view the 850mb vorticity field.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16874
Models need more time, GFS is back to the S to S interaction.
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2043. EricSFL
Quoting JLPR2:


Dang, looking happy. XD


Hey JLPR2.
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2042. xcool


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If the GFS is being consistent with the quicker time line it should start moving soon.
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2040. JLPR2
Quoting cirrocumulus:
On the way to 75...



Dang, looking happy. XD
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Quoting leo305:


link please


Out to 108 now, still there.

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Thanks PR.


We will probably see a slight shift west in this run (GFS).
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On the way to 75...

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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:


I'm thinking this is going to be a very complicated weather situation that has the potential to be one of the seasons worst. The long term upper air data will greatly enhance the NHC's forecast, should it develop.
From what I'm reading they're planning on possibly running an upper-air mission around the system...along with a NASA HAWK mission. Both research. Those can't hurt, any info can only help, but from what I understand it's the normal longer-range high-air G-IV mission out ahead of the storm 1000-2000 miles that really improve the forecast.
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Pretty wild stuff...

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Quoting GTcooliebai:


So I'm thinking NHC expects to classify TD at midnight tomorrow, but I'm thinking before that, what are your guys thoughts??


Whether the NHC flies into a system hasn't much to do with when or whether it's classified a TD. The fact it's an INVEST is all that's needed. FWIW, though, this will be classified as a TD this morning. Perhaps as soon as the next three hours, but no later than 9:00 AM EDT.

And with that, I bid thee adieu...
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2032. leo305
Quoting CyclonicVoyage:
84hr GFS shows very little time over land and sitting in the Gulf of Honduras, not what I wanted to see.


link please
Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
84hr GFS shows very little time over land and sitting in the Gulf of Honduras, not what I wanted to see.
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2030. xcool
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2028. leo305
Quoting GTcooliebai:


So I'm thinking NHC expects to classify TD at midnight tomorrow, but I'm thinking before that, what are your guys thoughts??



I think if it gets its act together tonight, it could be classified tomorrow morning
Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
The northern flank.

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Happy 1000's, Flare up SE of PR now
Quoting BenBIogger:
Convection firing over 95L.



Finally hit 1,000 post...
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Quoting futuremet:
Conditions are ideal for tropical cyclogenesis in the western Caribbean. An upper level low over the central Gulf of Mexico is ventilating the western Caribbean--causing incessant showers and thunderstorm activity. Warm waters, low vertical wind shear, and good diffluent flow aloft are the right conditions for tropical cyclone formation. Therefore, I expect Matthew to organize rapidly when it reaches 80 degrees west.

Figure 1: Weaker Upper Level Low in the Central Gulf of Mexico and Well Defined Upper Level High in the Western Caribbean



nice synopsis
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Quoting GTcooliebai:


So I'm thinking NHC expects to classify TD at midnight tomorrow, but I'm thinking before that, what are your guys thoughts??


I'm thinking this is going to be a very complicated weather situation that has the potential to be one of the seasons worst. The long term upper air data will greatly enhance the NHC's forecast, should it develop.
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2023. xcool


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Convection firing over 95L.



Finally hit 1,000 post...
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2021. EricSFL
Quoting leo305:
The fact that there's convection firing over water at night, shows that there is a surface low around that area


Rotation clearly visible on the Floater Shortwave loop. Just west of the northern tip of the Guajira Peninsula.
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Different Views


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Quoting GTcooliebai:
I got this from wunderground:

Tropical Weather Statements

098
NOUS42 KNHC 221500
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
1100 AM EDT WED 22 SEPTEMBER 2010
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
VALID 23/1100Z TO 24/1100Z SEPTEMBER 2010
TCPOD NUMBER.....10-114

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. SUSPECT AREA (CARRIBBEAN)
FLIGHT ONE -- TEAL 72
A. 23/1500Z
B. AFXXX 01FFA INVEST
C. 23/1245Z
D. 13.0N 74.0W
E. 23/1430Z TO 23/2030Z
F. SFC TO 10,000FT

2. SUCCEEDING DAY OUTLOOK: BEGIN 6-HRLY FIXES AT
24/1200Z IF SYSTEM DEVELOPS.


3. REMARKS:
A.AIR FORCE MISSIONS SCHEDULED FOR 22/18Z AND 23/06Z
AND 12Z CANCELED BY NHC AT 22/1245Z.
B.THE NOAA G-IV MAY FLY AN 8 HR RESEARCH MISSION INTO
THE SAME AREA TOMORROW DEPARTING AT 23/1730Z AND
OPERATING 41,000 TO 45,000 FT
C.NASA'S GOLBAL HAWK WILL FLY A 26 HR MISSION INTO THIS
AREA DEPARTING 23/1500Z. OPERATING FL 580-650.



So I'm thinking NHC expects to classify TD at midnight tomorrow, but I'm thinking before that, what are your guys thoughts??
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Quoting sunlinepr:
Notice also here the Dry Air area that is going to move behind 95L




There is ample moisture in the Caribbean to work with, I would think the dry air would be easily mixed out should it develop. 95L may even tap into the Pacific if it gets big enough.
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Quoting bbart1:
I have been coming to this site for several years now and this will be my first post!
Welcome.
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2016. Seastep
GT - the "May fly a research mission" is what they have been doing already.

Hopefully HH's will go out, but he'd have to organize more. And he is doing that, atm.
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2015. leo305
The fact that there's convection firing over water at night, shows that there is a surface low around that area
Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
I've never understood why we don't send out more longer-range G-IV missions in a situation like this. The potential calamity is so great and the cost seems relatively negligible. The experts in the past have answered my question with the thought that it's too far out to glean that much info.....but I still question that. Seems like any data that we can add would aid in the forecast.
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Notice also here the Dry Air area that is going to move behind 95L


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00z GFS 54hrs 850mb Vort field

Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16874
2011. Seastep
2009. GTcooliebai

Yes, that will get us better data. More focused.
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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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