Matthew drenching Central America and Mexico

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:35 PM GMT on September 25, 2010

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Tropical Storm Matthew continues to dump heavy rains over Honduras, Belize, Guatemala, and neighboring regions of Mexico today. Puerto Barrios, in northern Guatemala, has received 4.57" of rain in the past 24 hours. With Matthew expected to slow down and dissipate by Sunday, the storm's heavy rains of 6 - 15 inches can be expected to cause severe flooding and dangerous mudslides. The rains are of particular concern for Guatemala, which suffered its rainiest August in its history, followed by the landfall of Tropical Depression 11E during the first week of September, which dumped torrential rains on the country that triggered flooding and mudslides that killed at least 48 Guatemalans.


Figure 1. Visible satellite image from NASA's Terra satellite taken yesterday, showing Tropical Storm Matthew approaching landfall.


Figure 2. Forecast rain amounts for the 5-day period beginning at 2am EDT today (Saturday, September 25) as predicted by this morning's 2am EDT (6Z) run of the GFDL. Very heavy rains in excess of eight inches (yellow colors) are predicted for portions of Central America along Matthew's track. Image credit: Morris Bender, NOAA/GFDL.

Lisa
Tropical Storm Lisa pulled a bit of a surprise last night, intensifying into a Category 1 hurricane with 80 mph winds in the far Eastern Atlantic. Lisa's longitude of 27.9W at the time made it the 10th strongest hurricane so far east in the Atlantic. Record keeping began in 1851, but it is likely that many hurricanes stronger than Lisa were missed prior to the advent of reliable satellite coverage in 1974. Lisa is even farther east than Category 4 Hurricane Julia, which earlier this month set the record for strongest hurricane ever recorded so far east. Lisa's glory will be short-lived, though, as strong upper level winds out of the west are expected to increase tonight, bringing high wind shear of 20 - 45 knots over the storm. The high shear may be capable of destroying the storm by early next week. It appears unlikely that Lisa will affect any land areas.

Forecast for the rest of the tropics
Most of the models continue to predict that by Wednesday, the remnants of Matthew, and/or a piece of a tropical disturbance over the Eastern Pacific off the coast of Guatemala, will evolve into a huge and very wet low pressure system that will start spinning over Central America and the Western Caribbean. NHC has been referring to this expected storm as a "monsoon low", and these sorts of storms are very dangerous for Central America and the Western Caribbean, even if they do not develop into a tropical storm. In October 2007, a similar monsoon low I dubbed "the sleeping giant" spent a week spinning over the region, dumping very heavy rains over all of Central America and the countries bordering the Western Caribbean. Rains from this system triggered flooding that killed 45 people in Haiti, damaged thousands of homes in Cuba, and caused havoc in Guatemala, El Salvador, Belize, Mexico, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and the Bahamas. A similar type of storm is likely to develop on Wednesday and Thursday, and most of Central America and the nations surrounding the Western Caribbean can expect to see dangerous flooding rains develop this week in association with this giant low. Most of the models also predict that this big low will eventually develop into a tropical storm or hurricane that would be drawn northwards over Cuba late in the week, and threaten the Bahamas, Florida, or the U.S. Gulf of Mexico coast. This is an exceptionally difficult system to forecast correctly, and the models have been coming up with some pretty unusual solutions as to what might happen. We'll just have to wait and see what unfolds over the next few days.

I'll have an update Sunday by 2pm.

Jeff Masters

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The notion of a tropical cyclone developing out of a broad low pressure area reminds me of Barry in 2007. Although certain environmental factors such as shear and dry air are more favorable this time around, anything as broad as this will take time to coalesce and strengthen regardless of the warm waters underneath it.
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I'll say it again..
Whatever transpires with the remnants of Matthew will eventually head north! All models show this as well..
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Quoting scottsvb:
As I've stated about 1,000 times in the past 12 years on here, don't look at models past day 5 or even really day 3 if the models are not in agreement. Posting stuff and asking questions on a map that is 240hrs or 360hrs is just crazy.

Mets use short term forecasts (along with the NHC).. anything more than 5 days is really iffy.


+10
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Quoting StormJunkie:
Again, what I was alluding to was the constant fear that those long range models blasting south Florida with 95L would come to be. It simply did not happen.

No it did not. The fault does not lie with the models though; but those "expectations" that were put on them. At this stage of our ability to forecast weather, we should know that long range models are a vague guide at best. Understanding that, they have done a great job imho.

With that said, the models did not show a Cat 4-5 hitting Fla with any consistency. They often showed a 1-2, and mixed in with that they showed an even weaker system sometimes. With the long range models, it's about watching days of runs and being able to form an idea of about what types of scenarios are available, keeping that in mind, the hardest thing to do is not look at 2-4 runs and think "that's a sure thing". It seems that is one of the toughest lessons to learn when getting in to the "model watching" hobby. Hence the posts about Cat 4 in S Fla, etc.
Excellent Point!

One of the reasons, I love watching tropical weather, and reading this blog and others is that unlike some other scientific fields, the limited yet growing knowledge in this field still leaves quite a bit of mystery in forecasting. It's difficult drawing a conclusion without all the pieces of the puzzle.

Good Morning!
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thank u MiamiHurricanes09
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May it follow the path of Lisa...
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2058. Relix
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As I've stated about 1,000 times in the past 12 years on here, don't look at models past day 5 or even really day 3 if the models are not in agreement. Posting stuff and asking questions on a map that is 240hrs or 360hrs is just crazy.

Mets use short term forecasts (along with the NHC).. anything more than 5 days is really iffy.
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2056. Relix
The possible last CV storm is finally out of Africa. And its looking good and with a spin!
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Quoting FirstCoastMan:
Does anyone have a link for the cmc 00z computer model
CMC.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
According to those 240 hour and further back models everyone was posting 10 days ago with fear? I don't see a Cat 4 or 5 destroying SW Florida, do youand had a few good model runs on him they very accurately had him going right into Central America - although several expected a Cat 1 - when all we got was a modest TS (but we know intensity is a crap shoot).

Again, what I was alluding to was the constant fear that those long range models blasting south Florida with 95L would come to be. It simply did not happen.<

Looking at intensity on a global model 200+ hours out is anybody's guess, the constant fear you were talking about I think there were some on here maybe that way, I did not see Dr.Masters posting any "fear scenarios" other then the heavy rainfall in Central America which is indeed a legitimate concern.I am more of the type to let things play out and see what happens...you don't need a hurricane to cause problems and a rainmaker especially one that delivers double digits amount of rain to an area is reason for concern.
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Does anyone have a link for the cmc 00z computer model
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2051. hydrus
Quoting CybrTeddy:
You can tell from this, something's defiantly brewing in the Caribbean. Like a great big soup.
What I think is interesting about this is, the monsoonal low could entrain the the moisture and energy from both Ex-Matthew and the large disturbance to its east. The longer this system sits over that warm water out there, the more it will pull all of this together and organize. If it is a slow mover, flooding rains over areas like Cuba, The Caymans, Jamaica, Yucatan and Florida could be a real possibility. The outflow also seems to be improving over this region, even though a tropical cyclone has just moved through the area. I do not believe there was any upwelling to effect this developing system either. Lets see what else will help this system..hmmmmm....The MJO...is here too..
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Quoting P451:


They did well in hinting at development, yes, but what they did poorly in (and well lets be fair it's to be expected) is in intensity and track.

According to those 240 hour and further back models everyone was posting 10 days ago with fear? I don't see a Cat 4 or 5 destroying SW Florida, do you?

So, that's what I was focused on.

Once 95L became organized west of 75W and had a few good model runs on him they very accurately had him going right into Central America - although several expected a Cat 1 - when all we got was a modest TS (but we know intensity is a crap shoot).

Again, what I was alluding to was the constant fear that those long range models blasting south Florida with 95L would come to be. It simply did not happen.

The remaining energy may converge and form Nicole but in the meantime I have the same feeling I did with 95L: It will be slow to occur and atmospheric conditions are far from ripe.

So, again, we wait and watch and see what forms, and then when we get something that does form and has some good model runs on it? Then we start to worry about where it will go and how strong it may be.

Just going conservative based on how the Caribbean has panned out all season long: Slowly organizing and disrupted systems.




nice job
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Again, what I was alluding to was the constant fear that those long range models blasting south Florida with 95L would come to be. It simply did not happen.

No it did not. The fault does not lie with the models though; but those "expectations" that were put on them. At this stage of our ability to forecast weather, we should know that long range models are a vague guide at best. Understanding that, they have done a great job imho.

With that said, the models did not show a Cat 4-5 hitting Fla with any consistency. They often showed a 1-2, and mixed in with that they showed an even weaker system sometimes. With the long range models, it's about watching days of runs and being able to form an idea of about what types of scenarios are available, keeping that in mind, the hardest thing to do is not look at 2-4 runs and think "that's a sure thing". It seems that is one of the toughest lessons to learn when getting in to the "model watching" hobby. Hence the posts about Cat 4 in S Fla, etc.
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The BAM Models have been right on the Money with Matthew

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FWIW, the 00z ECMWF ensembles agree with the operational on a trip through extreme western Cuba and southwestern Florida.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
2042. surfmom
Quoting gordydunnot:
Autistic 2 there is your explanation in your question. If the models are mostly math and yet they do flip flops every 6 hours it shows you the limitations of math when it regards the complexities of weather, especially TC formation. It's like weather is 3 dimensional chess game at least. All boards must align for formation, once they do then you see models working correctly. I'm quitting I'm more confused than when I started you are right.


I GOT IT!!!! - EUREKA ON A SUNDAY MORNING - NO JOKE!!!
that was a terrific explanation - love, love, love it
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00z CMC says a track similar to Fay in 2008, but the system is more intense. Landfall over southwestern Florida is in about 4 days. (Hits the Cayman islands in about 3 days, and western Cuba in 3 days as well.)

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
The models never predicted Matthew to hit Florida.
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Quoting P451:


The scope of the disturbed weather is incredible. However look at the shear within the red cone from the anti-cyclone that was supposed to vent Matthew (yellow?) but actually inhibited him.



Shear is way too high for anything to develop here:




Matthew was never inhibited by sheer (light). Matthew just ran out of liquid real estate.
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2037. surfmom
Quoting Chicklit:

LOL...if there is, I have a feeling you'll find it! A friend thinks the Saks 5th Ave. outlet in St. Augustine is finally affordable. She won't leave her horses long enough to do any shopping and I've told her it would take her less time to get dressed when she has to if she'd buy some clothes, etc. Don't get me started. Oh yeah, labels. If this one is named, what will it be called?!
Sounds like my twin!!
If this one is named...... If & when
So relieved I'm completely Hurricane ready
I prefer to be relaxed avoiding the bedlam that can occur if the house and supplies aren't in order

The Maps (especially bottom pic) 2021 (thx HurricaneMiami) are very interesting.... there ought to (water) wave energy getting pushed through the channel
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Good morning, everyone.

I was hoping to wake up to the 60s as they said, but it's still 70's. Tonight now they say will be about 58.

There is Nicole beginning to get an act together off Belize?
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Look at Cimss 200 mb streamlines map in motion it shows high forming over system this morning. But there is plenty of shear around, this is why most models do not explode this system.
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Test
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Quoting Chicklit:

LOL...if there is, I have a feeling you'll find it! A friend thinks the Saks 5th Ave. outlet in St. Augustine is finally affordable. She won't leave her horses long enough to do any shopping and I've told her it would take her less time to get dressed when she has to if she'd buy some clothes, etc. Don't get me started. Oh yeah, labels. If this one is named, what will it be called?!


I think it has to be Nicole. Mathews circulation was decoupled and moved inland.
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Quoting P451:


The scope of the disturbed weather is incredible. However look at the shear within the red cone from the anti-cyclone that was supposed to vent Matthew (yellow?) but actually inhibited him.



Shear is way too high for anything to develop here:


Yeah, 10-20 knots of west-northwesterly shear are impeding upon the system, but where I believe the low pressure system is trying to develop, vertical wind shear is only about 10 knots. However, models forecast the development of a well-defined 200mb anticyclone atop our disturbance in about 36 hours. That should provide a generally favorable upper level environment.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Autistic 2 there is your explanation in your question. If the models are mostly math and yet they do flip flops every 6 hours it shows you the limitations of math when it regards the complexities of weather, especially TC formation. It's like weather is 3 dimensional chess game at least. All boards must align for formation, once they do then you see models working correctly. I'm quitting I'm more confused than when I started you are right.
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2028. surfmom
Quoting Autistic2:
I wish I understood the tropical weather better. I have been reading and following for three years now. I have gained yery little understanding. I must have a mental block.

I thought I would understand better. The Models are all computer programs and at the basic level all programs are MATH and I understand a GREAT DEAL of math. It is my secound language!
Weather has it's feminine attributes - & how consistently can anyone predict female behavior???? even models?
I know I confuse myself all the time - LOL

In all seriousness - weather seems to be a constant learning process - the variables are so many..but, that is what keeps me so interested and why I enjoy it as a hobby --I don't go for a grade, more for the experience. If you reflect back, I'm almost positive you'd see how much more AWARE you are now then several years ago
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I am willing to bet that the spot to look at for development will be near 17.5N and 84W..........even looks a little fishy to me on the sat loops.
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Good morning all. Mostly finished moving. Still plenty of unpacking to do though. Still been keeping an eye on Matt and the models though.

So, no, the models were not clear and did not predict anything remotely close to what has happened so far.

Actually, if you take the long range models for what they are; I think they have done an excellent job with Matt (the Carib in general) so far. Out 10 days, we had a good idea that a storm would form in the W Carib. Out 5 days, we knew that it was going to come very close to Central America, they have shown a general track of ex-Matt towards Fla. They have also shown that a second system could still form from the left over energy from all of this. Intensity is next to impossible to predict long range, and the GFS has been flip-flopping on intensity and structure of Ex-Matt for most of the past 6 days or so. All in all, I was very impressed with the long range modeling of this system.

A disturbance formed but it did not go where the long range models hinted it would.

From what I can see; it looks like some sort of disturbance or energy from Matt should still head towards Fla in the next 3-4 days. Should that play out, then again it would seem that the long-range models did very well with Matt. Since that is what they have generally shown for a while now.
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Chetumal, MX (Airport)
Updated: 18 min 33 sec ago
Overcast
79 °F
Overcast
Humidity: 89%
Dew Point: 75 °F
Wind: Calm
Pressure: 29.68 in (Falling)
Visibility: 7.0 miles
UV: 0 out of 16
Clouds:
Mostly Cloudy 600 ft
Overcast 3000 ft
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 39 ft

Source.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting surfmom:

**OOOOps*** LOL - close but no cigar.....thanks for the clarify.....it's like a garage sale in the Carib.... lots of junk & remnants in the pile - hard to keep track. Just got a feeling there's a designer label somewhere in the mess

LOL...if there is, I have a feeling you'll find it! A friend thinks the Saks 5th Ave. outlet in St. Augustine is finally affordable. She won't leave her horses long enough to do any shopping and I've told her it would take her less time to get dressed when she has to if she'd buy some clothes, etc. I have a couple suits of armor and they work fine. Don't need a lot of clothes. Anyway, oh yeah, labels. If this one is named, what will it be called?!
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Good morning everyone.

I suspect an area of low pressure will begin to develop just east of Belize throughout the day.



Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
I wish I understood the tropical weather better. I have been reading and following for three years now. I have gained yery little understanding. I must have a mental block.

I thought I would understand better. The Models are all computer programs and at the basic level all programs are MATH and I understand a GREAT DEAL of math. It is my secound language!
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2018. surfmom
Quoting Chicklit:
Morning. I thought it would come from closer to Matthew SurfMom. Sure looks like there's something brewing in the WCarb from this loop.

Link
17N from 83W-85W.

**OOOOps*** LOL - close but no cigar.....thanks for the clarify.....it's like a garage sale in the Carib.... lots of junk & remnants in the pile - hard to keep track. Just got a feeling there's a designer label somewhere in the mess
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The GFS has been predicting a storm hitting the west coast of Florida on or around Oct 1st for the last 2 1/2 weeks. If it indeed happens (and it's looking more and more possible), it would be amazing.
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Today should be interesting to watch the NHC progressions on the yellow, orange, red scale as this should tell us Monday night or Tuesday.
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Quoting weatherwart:

Migraines. You could use my head as a barometer. lol
I know where you are coming form with that.
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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.