Tropical Storm Richard slowly intensifying

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:31 PM GMT on October 21, 2010

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Tropical Storm Richard is here, the seventeenth named storm of this very busy 2010 Atlantic hurricane season. Richard's formation puts 2010 in 6th place for the greatest number of named storms in the Atlantic since record keeping began in 1851. Only 2005 (28 named storms), 1933 (21 named storms), 1995 (19 named storms), 1887 (19 named storms), and 1969 (18 named storms) had more.

We won't have another hurricane hunter aircraft in Richard until 8pm tonight, so we will have to rely on satellite intensity estimates until then. The closest buoy to Richard is NOAA buoy 42057, which is on Richard's weak side about 100 miles from the heaviest thunderstorms. Winds at the buoy were just 18 mph, gusting to 22 mph, at 2:43pm EDT this afternoon. Recent satellite imagery shows that Richard is steadily organizing, with several curved spiral bands forming on the storm's south and east sides. The storm is bringing very heavy rain to Jamaica. Water vapor satellite loops show considerable dry air to the west and north of Richard, and the southwesterly upper-level winds over the storm are bringing some of this dry into the core of the storm, keeping all the heavy thunderstorm development confined to the east side of the center. The waters beneath Richard are very warm, 29°C, and Richard will begin taking advantage of these warm waters now that the shear is falling.


Figure 1. Afternoon satellite image of Richard.

Intensity forecast for Richard
The latest SHIPS model forecast predicts that wind shear over the Western Caribbean will remain in the low range, 5 - 10 knots, through Monday morning. As the storm moves westwards on Friday, it will position itself beneath an upper-level high pressure system, which will aid the storm's upper-level outflow. With water temperatures a very warm 29°C and warm waters extending to great depth, Richard should be able to attain at least Category 1 hurricane strength by Saturday. NHC is currently giving Richard a 11% chance of becoming a major Category 3+ hurricane. I believe the odds are higher, near 30%. The main inhibiting factor for intensification will be interaction with the north coast of Honduras, and the possibility of the dry air to the west of Richard getting wrapped into the core of the storm while it is trying to organize. A band of very strong upper-level winds associated with the jet stream will be over the Gulf of Mexico early next week, so it is likely that if Richard crosses into the Gulf of Mexico, the storm will steadily weaken.

Track forecast for Richard
The latest set of 8am EDT (12Z) model runs are similar to the previous set of runs, and don't help illuminate what the long-range fate of Richard might be. Steering currents are weak in the Western Caribbean, and will remain weak through Friday morning, resulting in a slow, erratic movement for Richard. Most of the models favor a southerly, then southwesterly path at 5mph or less over the next two days. This may bring the center of Richard very close to or over the northern coast of Honduras on Saturday or Sunday, as predicted by the GFS, UKMET, and NOGAPS models. These models then show Richard dissipating over Central America. A much different solution is offered by the ECMWF, HWRF and GFDL models, which foresee less of a southerly motion for Richard over the next two days, resulting in the storm missing the north coast of Honduras by one hundred miles or more. These models take Richard to the northwest across the tip of the Yucatan (GFDL and ECMWF models) or western tip of Cuba (HWRF model) on Sunday or Monday. The HWRF and GFDL models predict Richard will be a threat to the west coast of Florida on Tuesday. NHC takes the reasonable approach of predicting a path somewhere between these two extremes, with Richard crossing the Yucatan between Cozumel and the Belize/Mexico border. Residents of northern Honduras should anticipate the possibility that Richard will pass very close or strike Honduras on Saturday or Sunday. Very heavy rains of 4 - 8 inches are possible over the the weekend in coastal Honduras beginning Friday night or Saturday morning. The 11am EDT NHC wind probability forecast is giving the highest odds for tropical storm-force winds at Guanaja in Honduras, at 46%. Cozumel, Mexico is given a 42% chance, Key West a 6% chance, and Ft. Myers a 3% chance.

Invest 90L
A tropical wave that emerged off the coast of Africa yesterday (Invest 90L) has a modest amount of spin and some growing thunderstorm activity. Wind shear is a moderate 5 - 15 knots, and the waters are still warm enough to support tropical storm formation. NHC is giving the system a 30% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Saturday. By Sunday, 90L will encounter high wind shear of 20 - 40 knots, discouraging further development. This system is not a threat to cross the Atlantic and affect the Lesser Antilles or North America.

Typhoon Megi takes aim at China
Typhoon Megi continues it slow march towards China at 5 mph, and is expected to make landfall Saturday morning on the Chinese coast opposite from Taiwan. Megi has maintained strength as a Category 3 typhoon with 115 mph winds today, despite rising wind shear (now a moderate 10 - 20 knots) and cooling sea surface temperatures. Megi is moving slow enough and is large and powerful enough that it is probably upwelling cold water from the depths to the surface faster than it can move away, and these upwelling cool waters are keeping Megi from being a stronger storm. Wind shear will increase dramatically to 20 - 40 knots on Friday as the typhoon makes its final approach to the coast of China, and this shear should be high enough to reduce Megi to Category 1 status before landfall. Megi will still be a very large and powerful storm capable of causing considerable wind and storm surge damage even at Category 1 strength. However, heavy rain will likely be the storm's main threat, since it is moving slowly and is a huge storm. I expect Megi will be a billion-dollar disaster for China, mostly due to flooding from heavy rains. The outer rain bands of Megi are already affecting the coast of China near Taiwan, as seen on China's radar composite, as well as Taiwan radar.

The clean-up continues in the Philippines from Megi, which hit northern Luzon island on Monday morning at 3:30 UTC as a Category 5 super typhoon with sustained winds of 165 mph and a central pressure of 914 mb. Severe damage was done to Isabela Province in northern Luzon, and 19 deaths are being blamed on the storm. Considering most major typhoon that have hit the Philippine in recent year have killed hundreds and sometimes thousands of people, the low death toll from Megi is a testament to the excellent efforts by officials in the Philippines to get people out of harm's way in advance of the storm.


Figure 2. Rainfall rate for Megi as observed by the TRMM polar orbiting satellite at 10:01am EDT October 21, 2010. Heavy rains in excess of 0.8" per hour (yellow colors) were present in Megi's eyewall and spiral bands. Image credit: Navy Research Lab, Monterey.

Next update
I'll have an update Friday morning.

Jeff Masters

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Richard is about to put on a show tonight.

Link
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Quoting GTcooliebai:


I see what ya mean brotha,



If the 11 p.m. position is correct, the center is in the convection, on the southwestern side. Not nearly as lopsided as it was just a few hours ago.
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Quoting pottery:
In the meantime...
the AOI in the Central Atlantic is leaping south-west at a rate!
Shear is affecting it and pushing the tops off to the ENE, but shear looks to be lower where it is currently heading.
The Rainbow Infrared shows it well.


I am not even going to post the one closing in on your house... its sneaking in again not being watched...
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Quoting pottery:
In the meantime...
the AOI in the Central Atlantic is leaping south-west at a rate!
Shear is affecting it and pushing the tops off to the ENE, but shear looks to be lower where it is currently heading.
The Rainbow Infrared shows it well.


CIMMS shear map shows 10-20 knots over the center of that low, I don't find that destructive as the NHC puts it. Something is not right here.
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Quoting SouthDadeFish:
Yes, but shear values are still low over the center. Richard is having a hard time because of dry air to the NW, which is why he looks lopsided.


I see what ya mean brotha,

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scottsvb is a troll, simply hit report and ignore :) It's so easy now and days!
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In the meantime...
the AOI in the Central Atlantic is leaping south-west at a rate!
Shear is affecting it and pushing the tops off to the ENE, but shear looks to be lower where it is currently heading.
The Rainbow Infrared shows it well.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
855. JLPR2
Pressure starting to drop in the buoy ahead of the CATL low.
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8459
Quoting KerryInNOLA:
My best guess is a cat 1-2 between Apalachicola and Tampa next Thursday


Unless it goes in the Yucatan, then shear will finish the job. Wayy too early to really speculate a future for Richard though, it could happen either way. Your guess is as good as mine.
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Quoting reedzone:


Since when did I predict doomsday scenario for Richard to hit Florida??? (scratches his head)


lol too many times
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Quoting pottery:

Too many times, from YOU.
If you dont have anything constructive to say, keep quiet.


Since when did I predict doomsday scenario for Richard to hit Florida??? (scratches his head)
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Quoting scottsvb:
Is reedzone still telling everyone in florida to prepare for doomsday and cat 3-cat 5 storm?

"Watch out folks... this could be a disaster ready to happen for Florida.... I been predicting this for awhile now" how many times do we hear that.......................

Too many times, from YOU.
If you dont have anything constructive to say, keep quiet.
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Weird. It almost looks like there are ying and yang battling it out in there.

AVN
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
848. 7544
will there be new model runs at midnight ?
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Quoting NRAamy:
Groth..... Is that a weather map or are you just happy to see me?

:)


OK, Mae!! LOL
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
Is that anti-cyclone to the east of Richard?

Yes, but shear values are still low over the center. Richard is having a hard time because of dry air to the NW, which is why he looks lopsided.
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Quoting reedzone:


Banding is clearly evident on the RAMSDIS satellite, faster then the NHC satellite ;)
It shows a big improvement on the structure over the past 4 hours. The convection is waning to the south, should become more of outer bands in a few hours, it's setting up to be an interesting night as predicted.
Yes I use RAMSDIS as well, and even in the latest frame I wouldn't say banding is clearly evident. The only signs I see of banding is a possible band on the eastern side extending southward. Outflow does look to be improving.
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Groth..... Is that a weather map or are you just happy to see me?

:)
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Is that anti-cyclone to the east of Richard?

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Cirrus is finally expanding to the west of the center. The linearity should be gone by morning, imo.
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
Quoting SouthDadeFish:
A 70 mph TS would be a large jump from what it looks like now. Although convection does look to be more concentrated around the center, I would like to see more banding to sustain this convection. As the NHC said, it looks too linear.


Banding is clearly evident on the RAMSDIS satellite, faster then the NHC satellite ;)
It shows a big improvement on the structure over the past 4 hours. The convection is waning to the south, should become more of outer bands in a few hours, it's setting up to be an interesting night as predicted.
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Quoting NRAamy:
Grothar....if you're a tough guy, I'm Hell on wheels....

Wait.... Maybe I better rethink that.....


Amy! You better rethink that one. Finally came out of hiding, eh? Here, this is for you.

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K,

I'm sure I stirred the pot enough lol! night all!
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Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9648
Quoting reedzone:


The process of re-organization finally getting going. I'm looking for a strong TS by tomorrow morning, 5-8 a.m.

Hmmm!
Maybe. But I think a little later than that.
But for sure the longer it lingers around down there, the more the chances improve for it.
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Quoting reedzone:


This one is tear jerking as well, just released.



Nice touch, reed. Don't know why my eyes are still wet. Must be allergies, huh?
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833. 7544
agree with reed hes starting to blow up now up for dmax tonight should be goood and we should wake up to strong ts or even a hurricane at this point
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Grothar....if you're a tough guy, I'm Hell on wheels....

Wait.... Maybe I better rethink that.....
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Quoting reedzone:


My forecast range is from 50-60 mph. by 5 or 8 a.m. Would not be surprised to see it go to 70 mph. but that's a long shot, gotta see what tonight unfolds. Interesting as predicted.
A 70 mph TS would be a large jump from what it looks like now. Although convection does look to be more concentrated around the center, I would like to see more banding to sustain this convection. As the NHC said, it looks too linear.
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Quoting duranta:
I live on the Gulf coast and I can tell you, we are worried to death about hurricanes, because the oil is not gone like BP and the government say. Please don't comment on the oil gone unless you are down here and see it gone, 'cause it keeps washing up.


Umm, I,m here! I said its not as bad as it could have been. At this point, its no worse than the shi+ people flush down the river to us every year. This coming from a guy that thinks we should have gotten away from oil years ago!
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Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10578
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Beautiful song Reed.


Thanks, he's my fav. artist, also inspires me when I write/compose my music. He's been around for 28 years and still going strong.
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Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9648
Quoting SouthDadeFish:
I'm not so sure it'll happen that quickly reed. The overall cloud pattern for Richard doesn't seem like he can strengthen quickly yet. By 8 am tomorrow I think he'll be a 45 mph TS just about to start cranking up since the outflow should be better established with more banding features.


My forecast range is from 50-60 mph. by 5 or 8 a.m. Would not be surprised to see it go to 70 mph. but that's a long shot, gotta see what tonight unfolds. Interesting as predicted.
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Beautiful song Reed.
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10578
Quoting reedzone:


The process of re-organization finally getting going. I'm looking for a strong TS by tomorrow morning, 5-8 a.m.
I'm not so sure it'll happen that quickly reed. The overall cloud pattern for Richard doesn't seem like he can strengthen quickly yet. By 8 am tomorrow I think he'll be a 45 mph TS just about to start cranking up since the outflow should be better established with more banding features.
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Quoting pottery:

Classic!!!


And you wonder why the country is in the shape its in! Sheesh lol
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I live on the Gulf coast and I can tell you, we are worried to death about hurricanes, because the oil is not gone like BP and the government say. Please don't comment on the oil gone unless you are down here and see it gone, 'cause it keeps washing up.
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The first step was completed, getting rid of the messy convection, step 2 is underway, developing a nice CDO around the center.
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Quoting doorman79:


Maybe he should have been a lawyer!

Classic!!!
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Quoting barotropic:


????


The process of re-organization finally getting going. I'm looking for a strong TS by tomorrow morning, 5-8 a.m.
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Quoting NOLALawyer:
LOL,some of you are so funny. Yeah, you say that Ike has been right all year, I say he is lucky and that the US has also been lucky and people question whether I am really a lawyer.

This season has been a freak with the lack of US hits. However, that does not change the fact that Ike revels in rubbing people's noses in it whenever a storm fails to either develop, or make landfall.

I don't know his motivation, or really care. There are all kinds on this board. However, it is evident that he does enjoy being the party-pooper.


Maybe he should have been a lawyer!
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I think a better COC is forming at 16.5N 79.3W with Richard
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 9553
Quoting NOLALawyer:
LOL,some of you are so funny. Yeah, you say that Ike has been right all year, I say he is lucky and that the US has also been lucky and people question whether I am really a lawyer.

This season has been a freak with the lack of US hits. However, that does not change the fact that Ike revels in rubbing people's noses in it whenever a storm fails to either develop, or make landfall.

I don't know his motivation, or really care. There are all kinds on this board. However, it is evident that he does enjoy being the party-pooper.


You just don't know when to drop it do you, everyone else did... from what I can see so far.. your only here to stir it... I believe thats the definition of a Troll... be gone.
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Quoting Orcasystems:


Not that I can find... its 10 miles deep... and the G of C would contain most of it if one happened.

Damn world is screwing up my vacation plans...

Cuba/Cancun - weather that can't make up its mind.. and where do the oil go

Puerto Valarta - earthquakes of all things.


No worries of oil! You don't have to buy suntan lotion! Really though, the oil is mostly gone. The shores, seafood and water is good. People are milking it out like anything else. There is some damage, but its not as bad as it could have been.
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About JeffMasters

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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