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 sarahjola:
wow! i see a lot of panic. 95l is just an invest, and last i looked it didn't seem to be developing too fast. its definitely getting its act together, but it is still just an invest and at best a t.s.. as many people have been posting we have to let it become a storm first. these models have been shifting for a week now, and while i feel like the models are pretty good, this thing could just die out like others have done before. i asked this question earlier but no one answered- is that a ull to the n. and e. of 95l? is it just dry air bursting into the Caribbean? thanks in advance
It's an ull that is actually enhancing 95l's convection atm.
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Quoting sarahjola:
wow! i see a lot of panic. 95l is just an invest, and last i looked it didn't seem to be developing too fast. its definitely getting its act together, but it is still just an invest and at best a t.s.. as many people have been posting we have to let it become a storm first. these models have been shifting for a week now, and while i feel like the models are pretty good, this thing could just die out like others have done before. i asked this question earlier but no one answered- is that a ull to the n. and e. of 95l? is it just dry air bursting into the Caribbean? thanks in advance


Yes it is an ULL. It will be interesting to see if it interacts with Matthew. If it stays far enough away it could actually aid in creating a nice outflow channel to its NE.
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2807. HCW
Member Since: August 10, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 1408
Quoting DestinJeff:
Need more Wilma loops people!

This thing isn't going to just will itself into a Threater. It needs some example tracks to follow, perhaps a few images of other storms so it will know how to look.

How can 95L be expected to know which storm to emulate without some Blog guidance? It is the weather, people, not like it just happens automatically!



You are so funny.. that's right, we need to see wall to wall Wilma graphics! LOL

bbl

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wow! i see a lot of panic. 95l is just an invest, and last i looked it didn't seem to be developing too fast. its definitely getting its act together, but it is still just an invest and at best a t.s.. as many people have been posting we have to let it become a storm first. these models have been shifting for a week now, and while i feel like the models are pretty good, this thing could just die out like others have done before. i asked this question earlier but no one answered- is that a ull to the n. and e. of 95l? is it just dry air bursting into the Caribbean? thanks in advance
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Quoting hydrus:
Nic/Hon border..?
No, because that would describe the entire border... what is just the tip of it called? It's not really a peninsula, but more like a corner.
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Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
And, can we come up with a blog geological term for the tip of the nicaragua/honduras border please? It sucks having to write that out every time I refer to that area.


Could say (Northern) Mosquito Coast. It encompasses that border (though it's larger).
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2799. hydrus
Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
And, can we come up with a blog geological term for the tip of the nicaragua/honduras border please? It sucks having to write that out every time I refer to that area.
Nic/Hon border..?
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2798. MahFL
On the vis sat you can see a curving band on the south side now, so it must be closed low.
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Regarding the 95L, I am interested to hear what Dr. Masters has to say. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported the following:

THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY HAS CONTINUED TO INCREASE AND BECOME BETTER
ORGANIZED THIS MORNING IN ASSOCIATION WITH A VIGOROUS LOW PRESSURE
SYSTEM LOCATED OVER THE SOUTH-CENTRAL CARIBBEAN SEA. ENVIRONMENTAL
CONDITIONS ARE GRADUALLY BECOMING MORE FAVORABLE FOR DEVELOPMENT...
AND THIS DISTURBANCE COULD BECOME A TROPICAL DEPRESSION LATER TODAY
AS IT MOVES WESTWARD AT AROUND 15 MPH. AN AIR FORCE RESERVE
RECONNAISSANCE UNIT AIRCRAFT IS SCHEDULED TO INVESTIGATE THE SYSTEM
LATER THIS MORNING. THERE IS A HIGH CHANCE...80 PERCENT...OF THIS
SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.
REGARDLESS OF DEVELOPMENT...THIS DISTURBANCE HAS THE POTENTIAL TO
PRODUCE HEAVY RAINFALL OVER PORTIONS OF CENTRAL AMERICA IN A COUPLE
OF DAYS. (NHC, 2010)

Reference

National Hurricane Center. (NHC). (2010),
Tropical weather outlook. Retrieved from http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/
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And, can we come up with a blog geological term for the tip of the nicaragua/honduras border please? It sucks having to write that out every time I refer to that area.
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Although the BAM models say go west young man....I don't know that it will ever come toward the GOM?

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2793. Dakster
Quoting divdog:
dont we need a storm first ??


Well... No. You can get a TS Watch from disturbed weather that could develope into a TS by landfall.

But in general it would make sense that we should have something, before we warn about it hitting somewhere. Makes me think of the unnamed 2000 TS that hit South Florida...
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Quoting hydrus:
I believe the stronger 95L gets, the further north it will go. So if it starts to strengthen quickly, it will miss Central America and head towards the Yucatan.
Yeah, that is possible because it looks like if it stayed at its CURRENT intensity, it would barely scrape the edge of Nicaragua.
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It's all starting to come together

Low level convergence & 850mb Vorticity

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Tropical Update Sept. 23rd. 2010
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2787. hydrus
Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
Check out vis sat and watch the direction the low level clouds are moving near the Yucatan. They're moving NW... this is a good indication of the path Matthew will take.

I expect Matthew will cross at the tip of Nicaragua/Honduras, and then begin a northwestwardly movement clipping, or barely inland over the tip of the Yucatan. Afterwards, it appears to me just from looking at a few sats, that it's likely to get shunted sharply eastward while being sheared. I think the most likely scenario is The very southern tip of Florida as a weak hurricane.

Just keep an eye on what the band of convergence in front of 95l is doing. The track is laid out right in front of you on satellite if you get your attention off the computer models for a sec!
I believe the stronger 95L gets, the further north it will go. So if it starts to strengthen quickly, it will miss Central America and head towards the Yucatan.
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Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit amphetamines
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2783. shawn26
I am really looking forward to Levi's point of view today.
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Check out vis sat and watch the direction the low level clouds are moving near the Yucatan. They're moving NW... this is a good indication of the path Matthew will take.

I expect Matthew will cross at the tip of Nicaragua/Honduras, and then begin a northwestwardly movement clipping, or barely inland over the tip of the Yucatan. Afterwards, it appears to me just from looking at a few sats, that it's likely to get shunted sharply eastward while being sheared. I think the most likely scenario is The very southern tip of Florida as a weak hurricane.

Just keep an eye on what the band of convergence in front of 95l is doing. The track is laid out right in front of you on satellite if you get your attention off the computer models for a sec!
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2778. Livyer
A preliminary estimate by provincial government officials puts the damage caused by Igor above $100 million.

A story and images (including some aerial video of one road washout) are available at:
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/newfoundland-labrador/story/2010/09/23/igor-stranded-cleanup-923.html
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2777. hydrus
Quoting kmanislander:
Good morning everyone

The HH will soon tell us if we have a TD or not but based upon the 850 vort, winds on the Guajira peninsula and the overall presentation of the system on satellite I would venture to guess that we have a closed circulation and 35 mph winds. It is conceivable it might go straight to TS as there will be some very strong winds in those deep thunderstorms.

The aircraft still has a couple of hours flying time so stand by for the data.
Good morning K-Man. One thing is certain, when it finally reaches the Western Caribbean, and does not go ashore, it will rapidly intensify..I have never seen the Western Caribbean that warm.
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2776. divdog
Quoting btwntx08:
well these scrape
and plenty go into ca and several cross the yucatan and some even head toward the pacific.. not just a scrape.
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Quoting Floridaweathergirl:
With the new models now going west does it mean Florida is safe? I do hope so.


Actually NO....means the West Coast of Florida is more likely and the PanHandle area .....before there was a chance of Matty going out to sea. That does not seem likely now.
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Once 95L reaches the NWCarib the steering currents will be very weak for a period of time until the trough takes over. Models have a very hard time with that, look at the models for Lisa past couple days when she was barely moving. Where 95L decides to stop is the big ?

There are equal chances of a storm dying over CA and a Major spinning up in the Gulf of Honduras.
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Quoting BobinTampa:


If that happens, they'll probably just close the blog for the weekend.


In so much shell shock they'll think their Ethel Merman.
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I'll be back when the aircraft starts making passes thru the system
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Quoting kmanislander:


Wow. It's been a while since I tried that LOL


It's highly overrated. Youth has a way of skewing perception.
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2767. hydrus
1877 was a strong storm.
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2766. mac3821
Morning folks, I know the models show tracks for 95l but I feel like at this point the meteorologists have a better feel for what this storm will do (should it develop). Models tend to have problems with tracks when there is no real formation yet. JMO

If this develops soon would this somewhat go against the John Hope rule?
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Quoting CaptnDan142:


Mornin' Kman

I'll have to check it out when I wake up. Been up since yesterday morning sometime. Definitely getting too old for these all-nighters.


Wow. It's been a while since I tried that LOL
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Quoting scott39:
You must have not have gotten the Memo about the trough coming down and busting a hole in the ridge to still possibly turn 95L N.
yes i do know about that, but my comment was about the model change from going n. to curving south now. all things are possible with weather, but i was just looking and commenting on models. they were pretty good with developing this system, and i am hoping they are doing good with the possible path now that its pointing south at the end of model run. do you think maybe the models are picking up on the trough pushing this system south? what do you think the models are picking up on that makes the system turn south at the end? thanks in advance
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Quoting HurricaneGeek:
LINK

Isbell 1964. I never here stories about ISBELL, that's weird. It went right over us, granted I was not born but a cat 4, I thought I would have known


It was a Cat 3.

As said yesterday, only 1964 hurricane to hit as a major - yet, not retired (Cleo, Dora and Hilda were, though).

--

Hurricane #4, 1877

Hurricane #4, 1887

Hurricane #8, 1906

The first two are too high up in the US landfall, but show the proximity in the Central America track. The third shows the rest better, though shows it going more into Central America than currently thought (as well as the loop back not making much sense atm).

As said, if it does curl up towards Florida, Isbell's not far off.

It may just die in Central America - who knows.

And sounds like the first T-storm of the day starts.
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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.