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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Quoting Jeff9641:
Pressure 991 with 70 mph winds! WOW!


Not quite

H. Minimum Sea Level Pressure: 1010mb (29.83 inHg) - Extrapolated

D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind: 37kts (~ 42.6mph)
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Quoting reedzone:
I say 50 mph. at 11 a.m.!

I did say that this would be on the range of 50-60 by the morning, 11 a.m. is still morning.


How VAIN!!!!! LOL.....hurricane center had forecast a 50mph +....also by 11 am this morn in last nights disc......
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Not even remotely close to a hurricane. The Min pressure says 1010.
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
1311. Detrina
Quoting pioggiasuper:
Much quieter in here today and the FL casters are gone, gotta say its kind of nice!...but as soon as a model brings it to FL, they will be back in swarms!



Wow I live in Florida and I never hope we get the doomsday event and don't leave the blog because Florida as we know it isn't going to disappear.
I stay as long as someone is in possible danger of being impacted by a storm.
I also am offended that I am contiunally grouped with a bunch freaks that seem to want the state to disappear for some odd reason.

I also think those that continue to make comments about Florida wishcasters doomcaster etc etc should take a look at themselves as well to see what they might be harboring under their need to cast people in to groups that they consider inferior to themselves...just my two cents as a Florida resident who is tired of being lumped in with the freaks!
Have a Nice Day Everyone, I will be around to see how the storm plays out and who I should have good thoughts for in their tropical trouble.
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I think some of the people on here are drinking awful early in the morning.. and its not coffee... They are having problems even finding the COC and its no where near 9XX anything.. the lowest I see on the last run is 1009.



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Product: Air Force Vortex Message (URNT12 KNHC)
Transmitted: 22nd day of the month at 13:39Z
Aircraft: Air Force Aircraft (Last 3 digits of the tail number are 309)
Storm Number & Year: 19L in 2010
Storm Name: Richard (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 5
Observation Number: 12
A. Time of Center Fix: 22nd day of the month at 13:22:20Z
B. Center Fix Coordinates: 15°50'N 81°01'W (15.8333N 81.0167W)
B. Center Fix Location: 241 miles (388 km) to the S (174°) from George Town, Cayman Islands (GBR).
C. Minimum Height at Standard Level: Not Available
D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind: 37kts (~ 42.6mph)
E. Location of the Estimated Maximum Surface Wind: 58 nautical miles (67 statute miles) to the NE (43°) of center fix
F. Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: From 87° at 40kts (From the E at ~ 46.0mph)
G. Location of Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: 55 nautical miles (63 statute miles) to the NE (43°) of center fix
H. Minimum Sea Level Pressure: 1010mb (29.83 inHg) - Extrapolated
I. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Outside Eye: 21°C (70°F) at a pressure alt. of 427m (1,401ft)
J. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Inside Eye: 23°C (73°F) at a pressure alt. of 455m (1,493ft)
K. Dewpoint Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): 18°C (64°F)
K. Sea Surface Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): Not Available
L. Eye Character: Not Available
M. Eye Shape: Not Available
N. Fix Determined By: Penetration, Wind, Pressure and Temperature
N. Fix Levels (sfc and flt lvl centers are within 5nm of each other): Surface and 1,500 feet
O. Navigation Fix Accuracy: 0.02 nautical miles
O. Meteorological Accuracy: 3 nautical miles
Remarks Section:
Maximum Flight Level Wind: 40kts (~ 46.0mph) in the northeast quadrant at 13:06:20Z
Sea Level Pressure Extrapolation From: Below 1,500 feet
Maximum Flight Level Temp: 24°C (75°F) which was observed 40 nautical miles (46 statute miles) to the NE (41°) from the flight level center
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
Quoting reedzone:
Morning everyone! Look at what we have here, no surprise to me. So is Richard still gonna dissipate? :P


Not yet, but in a couple days over land he will......than on to BOC.......and a load of dry air in the North gulf...if he gets that far.....
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Where are those readings?



Nowhere.

We should have a new vortex soon, looks like they are in the center.
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
Quoting Jax82:
Richard is currently over some high TCHP, but hardly any in the Gulf anymore.



which is why I don't think it will become a major.
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I say 50 mph. at 11 a.m.!

I did say that this would be on the range of 50-60 by the morning, 11 a.m. is still morning.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7437
Quoting Hurricane1956:
Hello if I may ask what is the XTRP,thank you!.
it not a model its only used to show direction of path of current system in other words extrapolation of direction
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Where are those readings?



Yes, please share the LINK, Jeff...
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Quoting Jeff9641:


Current Analysis
Date : 22 OCT 2010 Time : 111500 UTC
Lat : 15:58:53 N Lon : 80:22:50 W


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
3.7 / 991.2mb/ 59.0kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
3.7 3.9 4.4




LOL!!

Thats ADT

That makes absolutely no sense to use when we have recon.
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Quoting reedzone:
Morning everyone! Look at what we have here, no surprise to me. So is Richard still gonna dissipate? :P


Good Morning Reed. Your thoughts this morning?
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1297. 7544
is richie blowin up ri taking place ?
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05 Air Force 10/22 13:16:30Z 1006.7mb (~29.73 inHg) 39kts (~44.8mph) HIGHEST SFMR READING SO FAR = 43kts (~49.4mph)
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
Quoting oracle28:
It's becoming clear that the XTRP has no idea where Richard will go.
Hello if I may ask what is the XTRP,thank you!.
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Where are those readings?

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Quoting cat5hurricane:

This might be the RI beginning to show up.


Exactly, which is what none of the models show. Throw them out. This baby will be a monster imo
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Morning everyone! Look at what we have here, no surprise to me. So is Richard still gonna dissipate? :P
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7437
Very dangerous cyclone Giri


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i repeat cat 1 by 1 pm today.
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Quoting Jeff9641:


Latest recon showing 991 with 59knt winds.


I do not see that.
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Quoting Jeff9641:


Latest recon showing 991 with 59knt winds.


Wow, I'm kinda shocked... knew the potential was there, but didn't think it'd ramp up like that.
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Quoting Jeff9641:
Pressure 991 with 70 mph winds! WOW!


???


Recon is measuring 40mph winds in the NE quad right now?
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
1284. 7544
if those numbers are right we may see hurricane richard earlier than expected he might just trow us a curve ball here latter on
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Quoting Jeff9641:
Pressure 991 with 70 mph winds! WOW!


Where are you seeing this, Jeff?
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.
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No appreciable strengthening yet.

Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
Basically Stationary and hard to find right now.



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13:17:30Z 16.050N 80.883W

NE QUAD, Close to the center.
SFMR
36 knots
(~ 41.4 mph)
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
Quoting pioggiasuper:
Much quieter in here today and the FL casters are gone, gotta say its kind of nice!...but as soon as a model brings it to FL, they will be back in swarms!


Just a fact of the blog. Ike tends to focus on best case scenarios. I tend to focus on what the model of the day says. Others tend to focus on FL or NOLA hits... It's good that we have people in different camps to promote healthy discussion.
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Pretty darn good consensus

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Quoting ParanoidAndroid:
Where's reedzone? Gotta admit, he called it last night. Richie's looking a lot better this morning.


what did he call? wasn't Richard expected to slowly get better organized and strengthen?
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1268. 7544
hmmmm

Current Analysis
Date : 22 OCT 2010 Time : 111500 UTC
Lat : 15:58:53 N Lon : 80:22:50 W


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
3.7 / 991.2mb/ 59.0kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
3.7 3.9 4.4

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Realism wins again?

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Quoting portcharlotte:
I like you Ike but your drum beat gets boring and tiring.. Change your name to Spike or something else refreshing...sorry to sound rude but i enjoy wx changes and storms are what makes experiencing weather interesting.





Ikes drumbeat is to look at and focus on the positive side of things, not the negative. Yes, there are those who believe "wanting" a hurricane is a negative thought. We are in one of the most economically depressed times in history. Record unemployment, home values at historic lows and many business's and people are barely hanging on by a thread. I for one own a business and a hurricane sat this point would be a devastating blow to it and even more to the individual 33 employees. Someone here last night told Ike he rained on peoples party, he was in fact a party pooper. Well, there shouldn't be a party when it comes to the thought of a hurricane striking places like the west coast of florida where the economy is an even bigger disaster already. How could one have a "party" about that? I have seen cases this year on the blog where an atmosphere exists that one could imagine Adults jumping up and down, high five ing one another and hugging and kissing when a model comes out and is posted showing a cat 3 or 4 slamming a populated area. When all is said and done...Ikes the normal guy around here.
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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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