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: 165 - 115

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

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:
Quoting Hurricanes101:


Not sure what you are looking at downcaster?
Richard acually looks great,and further intensification is likley.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IKE:


I was being sarcastic. I'm well aware of possibilities after the 5 day cone.


especially if it doesnt go over the ucitan
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Found this interesting

NHC Disco

"THE MODEL CONSENSUS IS ACTUALLY NOW IN
GOOD AGREEMENT WITH THE PREVIOUS NHC TRACK...AND LITTLE CHANGE WILL
BE MADE TO THE NHC FORECAST
. THE NEW 48-HOUR FORECAST POINT IS
CLOSE ENOUGH TO HONDURAS TO WARRANT A TROPICAL STORM WATCH."


Huh?? I understand the motion of the models, but they are pretty much spread out.


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Dry Air keeps pounding....

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
159. JLPR2
Quoting Stormchaser2007:



90L's structure is awesome, if it manages to develop deep convection tonight we might see it with a red circle.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WeatherNerdPR:
Good Afternoon. Another Monster Wave, SERIOUSLY? I see Richard's official now.


yes and richard has the potential to become a major storm
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good Afternoon. Another Monster Wave, SERIOUSLY? I see Richard's official now.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Found this interesting

NHC Disco

"THE MODEL CONSENSUS IS ACTUALLY NOW IN
GOOD AGREEMENT WITH THE PREVIOUS NHC TRACK...AND LITTLE CHANGE WILL
BE MADE TO THE NHC FORECAST
. THE NEW 48-HOUR FORECAST POINT IS
CLOSE ENOUGH TO HONDURAS TO WARRANT A TROPICAL STORM WATCH."
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Hurricanes101:


Not sure what you are looking at downcaster?


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.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting gordydunnot:
Richard not looking to good this afternoon. Another 40mph wonder storm?


Not sure what you are looking at downcaster?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
152. IKE
Quoting Levi32:


Maybe because potential U.S. landfall isn't until after 5 days? Try extrapolating the NHC recurve path out to Day 7 and Florida would be well within the cone. Acting like there's no threat here to Florida is quite honestly, foolish. We would all love if the central America death models were correct, but they have been wrong so far, horribly wrong, and that is enough reason to be worried that they may still have things a bit off. There are more than enough reasons to expect Richard to curve into the eastern gulf and affect Florida, not necessarily as a hurricane, but an impacting tropical system nonetheless.

This doesn't mean the ridiculous Florida-casters are right, but taking the opposite extreme end of the opinion spectrum is equally as dumb.


I was being sarcastic. I'm well aware of possibilities after the 5 day cone.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Quoting Stormchaser2007:



60% at 8 p.m.?
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.


Thanks Levi, time will tell.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting cat5hurricane:

Do you still think a sharper NW turn might be in the cards since some of the latest model runs initiated the plot a little further westward from where the center was really located?


I think the models have gone to the "farther S and W " initial motion because the ridge over the NW GOM has been digging to the SE today. You can see that if you toggle the steering map back and forth between the 3 hour intervals. Farther S means the high should initially force the storm to the SW before it can start a motion off to the west and NW.

Earlier today I was postulating that a more North Westerly exit from the Caribbean might happen but that depends on two things.

The first is how far to the SE the high digs and secondly how quickly the following trough erodes the Western flank of that high. Until we know the answer to those questions the current forecast that I just outlined seems to be the more reasonable solution IMO.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Dakster:


What about TS Richard?


That thing could fit 10 richards in it haha, richard is looking good still dealing with shear though
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Richard not looking to good this afternoon. Another 40mph wonder storm?
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3113
Quoting reedzone:


We all believe the NHCs position of the LLC is off to the east. We think the center is in the ball of convection. What do u think?


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.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
141. JLPR2
Currently wind shear is 20-30knts over the CATl low, it would need to be at least 15-20knts for it to manage something.


Conditions further west are more favorable, but it needs to move.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


holy heck that thing is huge


What about TS Richard?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Levi32:


Maybe because potential U.S. landfall isn't until after 5 days? Try extrapolating the NHC recurve path out to Day 7 and Florida would be well within the cone. Acting like there's no threat here to Florida is quite honestly, foolish. We would all love if the central America death models were correct, but they have been wrong so far, horribly wrong, and that is enough reason to be worried that they may still have things a bit off. There are more than enough reasons to expect Richard to curve into the eastern gulf and affect Florida, not necessarily as a hurricane, but an impacting tropical system nonetheless.

This doesn't mean the ridiculous Florida-casters are right, but taking the opposite extreme end of the opinion spectrum is equally as dumb.


We all believe the NHCs position of the LLC is off to the east. We think the center is in the ball of convection. What do u think?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


holy heck that thing is huge
I don't think you're allowed to say that.
.
.
I saw a cloud....moving WEST!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Last visible:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CosmicEvents:
I agree, and I'm not as edumified, or edumificated, as you. lol


I had one of those once in an annual physical--not nice at all I can tell you !
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I think the low pressure center is under the convection....making it further east than the forecast points
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


holy heck that thing is huge


It certainly is!! 90L Arguably the best look wave to emerge from Africa all season.


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IKE:
I'm....I'm shocked Florida isn't in the cone of doom....



Maybe because potential U.S. landfall isn't until after 5 days? Try extrapolating the NHC recurve path out to Day 7 and Florida would be well within the cone. Acting like there's no threat here to Florida is quite honestly, foolish. We would all love if the central America death models were correct, but they have been wrong so far, horribly wrong, and that is enough reason to be worried that they may still have things a bit off. There are more than enough reasons to expect Richard to curve into the eastern gulf and affect Florida, not necessarily as a hurricane, but an impacting tropical system nonetheless.

This doesn't mean the ridiculous Florida-casters are right, but taking the opposite extreme end of the opinion spectrum is equally as dumb.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CyclonicVoyage:


Just the facts man, just the facts.


And we'll have all the facts we can handle in a couple hours.
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
Quoting kmanislander:
This from the discussion

The low-level center is difficult to find...but appears
to be just west of a persistent Ball of convection.


Personally I think the center is actually under that Ball of convection near 16 N and 79.8 W but the HH will soon tell us what the deal is.
I agree, and I'm not as edumified, or edumificated, as you. lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
128. JLPR2
Quoting WeatherfanPR:
the low in the central atlantic looks like an invest also.



Yep, only thing holding it back is wind shear keeping the convection to the east.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


great structure and convection
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


I sensed some sarcasm there


Just the facts man, just the facts.
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
Quoting cat5hurricane:


You would think the NHC would see that spin in the ball on this imagery. The center is most likely in that ball of convection, this is back up to my statement. Thanks.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
the low in the central atlantic looks like an invest also or want to become one.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting kmanislander:


That "ball" drifted to the East today across the 80 degree W Longitude line and at no time did I see anything to the West of it that suggested a center was there. If so, it should have become exposed as the convection advected ( to use a word growing in popularity on the blog ) to the East. We'll see soon enough when the HH data starts to download.


Are you sure it isn't pumping the ridge and busting the trough?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
5 pm NHC discussion shows how official forecasters must struggle with erratic model behaviors...it's so much easier to forecast when you're an anonymous poster...no skin in the game...I'll stick with the pros at NHC
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting DontAnnoyMe:


From your two pictures it looks like we will get rain but not from Richard.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CyclonicVoyage:


I'm not. The earliest we would see any cone would be Friday night or Sat Morning.


I agree. I thought it best to be 3 days out to percieve any potential impact.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting hurristat:
What would you guys put the chance of 90L developing at? I'd say like 50%... it looks really good on satellite.


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?
Member Since: August 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 376
Quoting whadat:

When do you think "Dick" will make his turn?


Not before tomorrow. The image below is the current steering showing the COL that Richard is presently stranded in. There is a high to the East and another over the NW Gulf. The high to the NW must first migrate Eastward and displace the trough that is presently creating the weakness. Once that high moves along to the East it should initially force the storm a little to the SW and then once it comes over the top, to the West and then WNW as the high moves off over the Eastern seaboard.

All of this will take us into the weekend.

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948

Viewing: 165 - 115

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.

Local Weather

Overcast
30 °F
Overcast

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Lake Effort Snow Shower Over Windsor, Ontario
Sunset on Dunham Lake
Pictured Rocks Sunset
Sunset on Lake Huron