Tropical Storm Richard slowly intensifying

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

Share this Blog
4
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 215 - 165

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28Blog Index

Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Wow...

I see we have TS Richard, although its been that way since 8-9 AM AST this morning.

I also see a well-defined 90L, which will likely have enough time to become either the 20th TD, 18th TS, or both, or none, in the few days. It surprises me that there is a good possibility of an October Cape-Verde storm, but it just shows how weird this season really is.

Weirdest.Season.Ever.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
213. JLPR2
Convection just to the east of the center, why doesn't this have at least a yellow circle?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Thundercloud01221991:


yea and in December we will get a major cape verde hurricane


LOL, if that happens, I am going to go even more crazy! LOL!

Btw, if half of those models verify, looks like I am going to get some rain from Richard's remnants up here in NC. About 36 hours ago, I thought the trough currently over the eastern US would whisk Richard eastward before it got near Florida. Now, its the ridge behind the trough that will move Richard W, NW, and then N in the general direction of the Yucatan, GOM, and even the eastern CONUS. Wow!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Complete Update



AOI
AOI AOI AOI

AOI AOI AOI

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
209. unf97
Quoting NCHurricane2009:


LOL, that wouldn't surprise me! And if it does get named, I am going to fall out of my chair in amazement! This is nuts I tell you! Nuts!!


For me, 90L is just a mind boggling invest. I am completely amazed at how well this invest appears on satellite. I think 90L will hold up and get named within the next 24 hours. A very rare and amazing late October Cape Verde tropical cyclone. Absolutely amazing! It just shows how Mother Nature throws us curve balls every now and then.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
just got on havent check except that he is getting stronger and moving SSE mmmmmm. curious when it will make that northerly turn.
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1002
Quoting sunlinepr:


Impressive monster.... looks more defined than Richard...


As someone mentioned before, lucky this isn't September. Most impressive wave all season. Very unusual to see that this late.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
October Cape Verde Hurricanes are indeed quite rare, but not unprecedented. In fact, the Deadliest North Atlantic Hurricane was an October Cape Verde.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
i think will get too the T storm this year and will be in line with the year 1995
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting NCHurricane2009:


LOL, that wouldn't surprise me! And if it does get named, I am going to fall out of my chair in amazement! This is nuts I tell you! Nuts!!


yea and in December we will get a major cape verde hurricane
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting kmanhurricaneman:
whats up guys

So how far is TS Richard from your location this afternoon??
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Thundercloud01221991:
90L looks destined to be named


LOL, that wouldn't surprise me! And if it does get named, I am going to fall out of my chair in amazement! This is nuts I tell you! Nuts!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
whats up guys
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1002
Quoting Grothar:


Impressive monster.... looks more defined than Richard...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
T.C.F.W.
19L/TS/R/CX
MARK
16.75N/80.68W
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting weatherlover94:


my goodness at the model spread

Looks more like an octopus....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
90L looks destined to be named
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Jeff9641:
Looks like Richard is really making that run at hurricane status later. Big ball of convection is blowing up right over where I think the COC is. THe CDO appears to be turning which leads me to believe this is about to take off. I really think we will see a cat. 3 by Saturday if that happens then a northerly path could be likely which is the GFDL and HWRF camp. Not buying a landfall on the Yucatan right now.


neither am i..no doubt a very scary/dangerous situation could be developing for the Yucatan/Cuba/US
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting futuremet:


It will continue to do so until the ridge is completely north of it. Since it is at the southeastern side of the mid-level high, outflow from the west will continue to be restricted due to surface subsidence.



From your descritpion, this is my take on what is causing the subsidence (sinking motion) and hence the dry air NW of Richard.

The upper trough is producing westerly upper-level winds to the NW of Richard, and Richard's warm core outflow (also upper-level) is trying to breath in all quadrants, including the NW side. Thus, there is upper-level convergence between Richard's NW side and the westerly winds of the upper trough, right?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JLPR2:
EURO develops 90L into a TD or weak TS and closer to end of the run it also develops the system the GFS is hinting at in the CATL, not the low currently out there but another one.


12Z GFS also shows a situation which is pretty close to what the E caribbean experienced earlier this month with pre-OTTO
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting seflagamma:


Because you are here and I see you!!!


O!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting sunlinepr:


my goodness at the model spread
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Spider changes....

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Special request: Can we please start linking the MIMIC TPC images instead of embedding them into the blog? When I'm using the Texas A&M University connection from my computer, the animations kill my browser and freeze my computer. Thanks and Gig 'Em.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
184. JLPR2
EURO develops 90L into a TD or weak TS and closer to end of the run it also develops the system the GFS is hinting at in the CATL, not the low currently out there but another one.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Levi32:


It's still comprised of multiple vortices, evidenced by the triangle-shaped pattern of the low-level cloud street flow around the system. The mean center is right under the west edge of the convection. One of the vortices is trying to rotate right under the convective ball, but for now I don't think we have a center centered right underneath the ball. That will probably change in time, though.
That's the best take on the COC question I've yet seen. well stated, Levi.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:


Hey, Gamma, how come you never ask where I am, and we're practically neighbors. LOL


Because you are here and I see you!!!
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 299 Comments: 40926
Quoting weatherlover94:


trust me that wont develop and if it does it will be very weak a depression at most


Yeah, climo too is also against this. But the fact that this thing even exists right now is a mmiracle, 90L is a freak of nature right now LOL! 90L is more exciting to me than Richard because of its so atypical!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting NCHurricane2009:


At the moment, conditions don't look that good for Richard to strengthen, it barely is still a tropical storm, and this thing took 12 hours (11 PM last night to 11 AM this morning) to become a minimal tropical storm. This thing is nowhere near RI potential right now.

But come later, yeah I agree with you that Richard could take off.

Reed, what's your take on the long term threat from Richard. Any threat to the CONUS?


very much so from accuweather.com

Persistence has paid off for Richard. Now the nail-biting time begins for not only the Caribbean, but also Florida and the eastern half of the Gulf of Mexico in general.

The tropical system that just will not go away, "Richard," could discover a road into the eastern Gulf of Mexico next week, perhaps bringing tropical trouble to Florida.

The system in the western Caribbean has been bubbling and brewing for over a week and could remain on the maps for a week to come as a much stronger entity. As AccuWeather.com Hurricane Expert Joe Bastardi has been explaining, this system, now Tropical Storm Richard, could make the connection and drift slowly northward next week, entering Gulf of Mexico waters.With this possible path, Richard would threaten not only southeastern Mexico and western Cuba, but also much of the west coast of Florida, with tropical storm or hurricane conditions.

While wind shear will continue to cause issues with Richard in the short term, it is possible that the system will overcome the adversity to become a major hurricane.

A potent storm system forecast by AccuWeather.com to plow into the Pacific Northwest with windswept rain and blinding high elevation snow this weekend could be strong enough to scoop up Richard from tropical waters.

If this happens, disruptions to vacations and fishing in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and possibly disruptions to petroleum operations in the northern Gulf could occur, depending on the strength and track of the storm.If Richard fails to make the connection, there is a multitude of possible tracks that could impact interests in the Caribbean ranging from pounding surf to damaging winds, flash flooding and mudslides.

Regardless of whether or not Richard finds its way to the U.S. next week, the last 10 days of October will prove to be very interesting over much of the nation with the change of seasons helping to spin up significant and disruptive non-tropical storm systems
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting FSUCOOPman:


Yeah almost looks like TS right now on sat. Why does the CV season shut down earlier in the year? Or better, what's going on over the Atlantic that's giving us a system to watch so late?
Above average sst and favorable condtions.And it looks like the name lis isn't stopping at Richard.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Wow...

I see we have TS Richard, although its been that way since 8-9 AM AST this morning.

I also see a well-defined 90L, which will likely have enough time to become either the 20th TD, 18th TS, or both, or none, in the few days. It surprises me that there is a good possibility of an October Cape-Verde storm, but it just shows how weird this season really is.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Conditions will be even more favorable Saturday and Sunday.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
173. JLPR2
Quoting weatherlover94:


my bad buddy lol sorry about the misspelling


No problem at all, I understood what place you meant was just curious. :]
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting reedzone:


Richards structure is awesome, just needs some more organization on banding and convection. This can really take off if conditions permit, which is looking likely.


At the moment, conditions don't look that good for Richard to strengthen, it barely is still a tropical storm, and this thing took 12 hours (11 PM last night to 11 AM this morning) to become a minimal tropical storm. This thing is nowhere near RI potential right now.

But come later, yeah I agree with you that Richard could take off.

Reed, what's your take on the long term threat from Richard. Any threat to the CONUS?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting sunlinepr:
Dry Air keeps pounding....



It will continue to do so until the ridge is completely north of it. Since it is at the southeastern side of the mid-level high, outflow from the west will continue to be restricted due to surface subsidence.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting NCHurricane2009:
Afternoon all,

Richard, nah, doesn't surprise me. Its expected that something like Richard would pop up in the western Caribbean this late in October.

But Invest 90L off of Africa? Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?! That's so nuts that a strong tropical wave comes off of Africa this late in the game. I have NEVER seen a wave come off of Africa THAT STRONG IN LATE OCTOBER! My head's spinning!


trust me that wont develop and if it does it will be very weak a depression at most
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JLPR2:


You got me intrigued, why do you always write ucitan instead of Yucatan? Seen you write it like that quite a few times.



my bad buddy lol sorry about the misspelling
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Afternoon all,

Richard, nah, doesn't surprise me. Its expected that something like Richard would pop up in the western Caribbean this late in October.

But Invest 90L off of Africa? Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?! That's so nuts that a strong tropical wave comes off of Africa this late in the game. I have NEVER seen a wave come off of Africa THAT STRONG IN LATE OCTOBER! My head's spinning!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
165. JLPR2
Quoting weatherlover94:


especially if it doesnt go over the ucitan


You got me intrigued, why do you always write ucitan instead of Yucatan? Seen you write it like that quite a few times.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 215 - 165

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28Blog Index

Top of Page

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.