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 TropicalMan2010:
wow not impressed at -80c wow seriously

See thunderstorms with -80 out in deserts with high based TS. yes -80C is nice dont get me wrong, but it is very isolated and tight. Not a whole lot of convection going on. Just a really small area and not many flare ups.
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T.C.F.W.
19L/TS/R/CX
MARK
16.75N/80.68W
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Quoting TampaSpin:
I wonder why the Yackeers ain't selling out their baseball games in NY.......LOL...NICE FANS....

The Canadaian Models




If you're talking about the Yankees, that stadium could be 100% empty and you wouldn't hear any criticism about it on ESPN or any of the other New York area-based sports media.

On the other hand, if there are a few empty seats at a Rays game, then the same media start up yet again about poor area, bad fans, poor facility, lack of support, they should move, etc, etc.

No bias there!
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Quoting islander101010:
could be a semi tropical beast in the gulf

I dunno, I am not so sure, the models forecasting a beast is shooting the gap of the Yuc and Cuba letting it build more. Once in the Gulf it will shear apart at first with the front moving in and then start to get absorbed. If it goes through the Yuc, wherever it makes land fall will just be a good solid soaker. Gulf waters still warm however they are actually slightly below normal already under 80F.
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Getting there.

23:00:00Z 17.133N 81.600W 961.6 mb
(~ 28.40 inHg) 441 meters
(~ 1,447 feet) 1011.2 mb
(~ 29.86 inHg)
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could be a semi tropical beast in the gulf next wk
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Not really impressed with the convection at this time. Lots of cirrus contaminating the sat shots. Strengthening will be slow and it but the longer it takes to get to the Yuc the better chance is has of making Hurr status.
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Quoting Grothar:


Hey! Have you ever known me to be out of control? Have you seen the latest models?




By the runs that was posted it doesn't really look like Fla is gonna get hit. Is that right. Is Richard gonna dissipate?
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Correct.
Thanks. I remember reading on here in the past that it was not a model.
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353. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
India Meteorological Department
Tropical Cyclone Bulletin #7
CYCLONIC STORM GIRI (BOB04-2010)
23:30 PM IST October 21 2010
==================================

At 18:00 PM UTC, Cyclonic Storm Giri over east central & adjoining northeast Bay of Bengal remained practically stationary and lays centered over the same area near 18.0N 92.0E, about 250 km south-southwest of Sittwe (Myanmar), 350 km south of Teknaf (Bangladesh) and 600 km southeast of Digha (West Bengal).

The current environmental conditions and numerical weather prediction models suggest that the system would intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm. It would move northeastwards and cross north Myanmar and adjoining Bangladesh coasts between Teknaf, Bangladesh and Kyaukpyu, Myanmar, by this evening/night.

3 minute sustained winds near the center is 45 knots with gusts of 55 knots. The central pressure of the system is 990 hPa. The state of the sea is very high around the system's center.

Satellite imagery indicates banding pattern with further organization. The Dvorak intensity of the system is T3.0. Associated broken intense to very intense convection is seen over east central and adjoining northeast Bay of Bengal between 15.5N to 19.5N and east of 91.0E. The lowest cloud top temperature due to convection is -70 to -80C.

Storm surge at the time of landfall is expected to be 2-3 meters

Vertical wind shear of horizontal wind over the region is low (5-10 knots) around the system's center. 24 hour tendency of vertical wind shear shows decreasing trend. Sea surface temperature is 28-32C, and the ocean heat content over central Bay of Bengal is favorable for intensification. Ocean heat content is less than 100 KJ/CM2. The relative vorticity at 850 HPA level and upper level divergence around the system center is also favorable for intensification. The system lies close to the upper tropospheric ridge, which roughly runs along 18.0N at 200 HPA level. There is an anticyclonic circulation over central India to the west northwest of the system at mid-tropospheric level and is expected to influence the movement of the system towards the northeast.

Forecast and Intensity
=========================
6 HRS: 18.5N 92.5E - 50 knots (Severe Cyclonic Storm)
18 HRS: 19.5N 93.5E - 60 knots (Severe Cyclonic Storm)
36 HRS: 21.5N 95.0E - 30 knots (Deep Depression)
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 52 Comments: 46906
Complete Update



AOI
AOI AOI AOI

AOI AOI AOI

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Which means normally a storm in this area would follow this path, correct ?


Correct.
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If I am not mistaken it looks like there is a weak mesohigh sitting over the Gulf which is pushing some of the models to go west over an eastward turn. Two things that will play factors, that high and the development of the Texas Low. The speed of the Texas low will determine shear and direction.
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
CLP5 (Climatology and Persistence model) Statistical baseline
Which means normally a storm in this area would follow this path, correct ?
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recon sending back data from 1500 feet now.
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CLP5 (Climatology and Persistence model) Statistical baseline
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Quoting winter123:
Anyone have a shear map over Richard? Looks like it's decreased to near 0!




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Quoting winter123:
Anyone have a shear map over Richard? Looks like it's decreased to near 0!
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Quoting aquak9:


uhhm....errr....that's just WAY too much bait!!


I am impressed you left it alone :)
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Quoting stormpetrol:
Richard is not as small as he might appear!


uhhm....errr....that's just WAY too much bait!!
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Richard looks like its strengthening to me a nice burst of convection
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Quoting shikori:
Over the past couple of hours the clp5 has kept true to its path path and and the HWRF and GFDL, GHMI and LBAR have kept this thing north or northeast while GFS and NOGAPS has kept it south and west. If this strengthens quickly i could see the north casting models however if it doesn't, I can see the thinking of the South and west Casting models.
With the sheer lifting out, the vort getting better and the convection starting to flare up, in my opinion I think we might be looking at a Northwest track.
I thought the Clp5 was like the xtrap.
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Anyone have a shear map over Richard? Looks like it's decreased to near 0!
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Quoting intampa:
i just hope something brings rain to tampa... we need it very bad


yea i hope it doesnt get to bad
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Quoting weatherlover94:


i had a question earlier from a friend of mine in Florida and they asked could Tampa get hit? any thoughts guys?


For sure as some of the very best models are leaning toward a WEst Florida Hit .......but its way to early to know that yet....gotta run a have a Board Meeting tonite.....BBL.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 179 Comments: 20448
i just hope something brings rain to tampa... we need it very bad
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325. JLPR2
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
That wave may not be well-defined, but it certainly has the winds:



I'm waiting to see if the ASCAT catches the center, the old one got the eastern side, those winds are possibly under the convection, I wonder how strong they are now that the convection has increased.
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8747
Quoting Jeff9641:
GFS shows snowstorm in SE US in 15 days. LOL! I believe it when I see it.

http://www.nco.ncep.noaa.gov/pmb/nwprod/analysis/namer/gfs/18/fp0_336.shtml


Except for NC, SC, GA, and FL.
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Quoting Jeff9641:
This could be a Paula it looks like regarding size. We could have a small compact hurricane that increases in size once it enters the gulf.


considering the conditions in the Gulf you would think that any thing that got in there would just choke to death on dry air but Richard looks as if he is going to fight it
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That wave may not be well-defined, but it certainly has the winds:

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Richard is not as small as he might appear!
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316. JLPR2
Quoting CybrTeddy:


Richard disagrees.


I repeat I was talking about a 21z image, that's 20z, SSD has issues updating those images. *sigh*
Some see the newest others see slightly older images.
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8747

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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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