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 CyclonicVoyage:


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


I agree, I also like the NHC cone right now, it's most likely that the storm heads to the Yucatan, then recorves. Although i'm not ruling out a trip through the channel.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7340
Quoting CyclonicVoyage:


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


I sensed some sarcasm there
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Quoting seflagamma:
did anyone see my post 43????

since no one will talk about it ...is it bad?
I don't think anyone knows. If they did they would say so. Yeah I miss him too.
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Quoting JLPR2:
Are you guys sure it is October? LOL!



holy heck that thing is huge
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Quoting IKE:
I'm....I'm shocked Florida isn't in the cone of doom....



I'm not. The earliest we would see any cone would be Friday night or Sat Morning.
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
108. JLPR2
Are you guys sure it is October? LOL!
90L:
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dr masters.. just how close do you think richard will come to the bay islands and at what strength? i am at 16.3n 86.5w and we have had 36 straight days with some rain so even if richard is mostly a big rain event thats not good for us. thanks for any info anyone here can give us. rg
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Quoting seflagamma:
thanks everyone for the mails and posts.. I guess he will come back when he can.


Hey, Gamma, how come you never ask where I am, and we're practically neighbors. LOL
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So......We might finally get our first "real" Gulf hurricane of the season from this, in OCTOBER;.....Lol.
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Quoting reedzone:


I do to.. If that's the case, this is at 60+ mph.


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.
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103. IKE
I'm....I'm shocked Florida isn't in the cone of doom....

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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.

When do you think "Dick" will make his turn?
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Check out the last frame of this loop.

http://rammb.cira.colostate.edu/ramsdis/online/loop_640.asp?product=tropical_ge_1km_center_relative _vis_floater

It looks like a system wide shock wave emanated from the center. Awesome!
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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 do to.. If that's the case, this is at 60+ mph.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7340
CATL LOW DESERVES A YELLOW CIRCLE IMO
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Quoting Huskymaniac:
Maybe FL needs rain but NY certainly does NOT! It would be fine by me if he dumped some rain on you guys and headed off into the atlantic!!!


Sorry.... get your galoshes ready :-)

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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.


That echo's my confusion and agree with you. I think the center is further east and why it is difficult to find. We'll see soon.
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
What would you guys put the chance of 90L developing at? I'd say like 50%... it looks really good on satellite.
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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.
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Quoting TropicalMan2010:

???its richard where u been



lol richard...i forgot. force of habit of calling it 99L for so many days. just goes to show how long it has been hanging around and going nowhere. going on 7 days now.
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I spy an eye.
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Maybe FL needs rain but NY certainly does NOT! It would be fine by me if he dumped some rain on you guys and headed off into the atlantic!!!
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Quoting SweetHomeBamaGOM:
feedback moisture from 99L is starting to build some deeper convection as it wraps back around and returns to the caribbean on the trade winds and some relief from the dry air is heading across the GOM. we may be poised for r.i. within a few hours.

Link


and the biggest key to it all....it's going nowhere fast and it's certainly not in a hurry.
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feedback moisture from 99L is starting to build some deeper convection as it wraps back around and returns to the caribbean on the trade winds and some relief from the dry air is heading across the GOM. we may be poised for r.i. within a few hours.

Link
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Thanks Doctor Masters!

I see we still need to keep a close eye on Richard...

Bad news is that Dr. Master believes there is a chance it could reach major hurricane status.
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Quoting TropicalMan2010:
5:00 PM EDT Thu Oct 21
Location: 16.0°N 80.4°W
Max sustained: 40 mph
Moving: SSE at 3 mph
Min pressure: 1005 mb

Pretty much a drift now
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5pm is up at the NHC
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
Quoting sunlinepr:
LINK
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Can anyone comment on the potential for this to turn into a major rain event for the NE US?
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Quoting unf97:
We are approaching 15 inches below normal rainfall for the year, according to the NWS office at Jacksonville.

So, with not a drop of rain here at my home since Sept 27, to say we are in dire need of rain in Florida is a severe understatement LOL...

Hopefully, maybe Richard can bring some much needed moisture and rain to the peninsula next week.


Hope so. Florida fire season starts in earnest very soon, so it'd be nice to get enough moitsure to delay the onset for a few weeks. La Nina events, of course, bring warmer and drier weather to the state, and that's not good...
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Quoting Jax82:
Drought has turned to Severe for the Panhandle and most of the East Coast of FL. We could use some rain (minus the wind)!



I live right across the border from that little red colored extreme area. Can't BUY rain up here!
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thanks everyone for the mails and posts.. I guess he will come back when he can.
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Quoting CosmicEvents:
I saw it Gamma. I'm concerned as you are. Pat wouldn't leave without saying something. I'm hoping that whatever it is....he gets back better than ever as soon as possible.


thank you and #73 thank you...
maybe he is just busy with Portslight charities... but he has never been away this long with out a post...even when he was really really sick...
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Quoting Buhdog:


many a blogger has left the WU for bigger and better.....er scratch that. Many have left with the ball, Jeff and Reed have taken over!


Thanks,
I guess perhaps that is what happened..but usually they make a "big deal" about their leaving when they leave... and Pat would never leave here... of his own...if he is not posting he has got to be lurking...
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Quoting seflagamma:
Attention regular posters here... I have been wondering but did not want to ask and now I must... please send me WU mail if the answer is not something you can post here... I may have missed something and do not want to get banned.

Where is Patrap? His blog is still open so he is not banned.... before when he got sick his wife got on here and posted up dates for us...
He has not posted on his blog since Oct 4th and I have not seen him here in a while....

It has to be something serious to keep him away from here.




Looks like he's busy:

"We are in contact now with people in the Philippines about focusing on tending to the needs of people with disabilities there affected by Typhoon Megi. This will almost certainly involve shipping durable medical equipment there for use by shelters and clinics."

Link
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We are approaching 15 inches below normal rainfall for the year, according to the NWS office at Jacksonville.

So, with not a drop of rain here at my home since Sept 27, to say we are in dire need of rain in Florida is a severe understatement LOL...

Hopefully, maybe Richard can bring some much needed moisture and rain to the peninsula next week.
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TropicalStormRichard's heading had turned southward to dueSouth
from its previous heading of (3.3degree east of) SouthEast
TS.Richard's average speed moving between its last 2 reported positions had decreased to ~2.3mph(~3.8km/h) from its previous moving speed of ~10.3mph(~16.6km/h)
Invest 99L
20Oct 12pmGMT - 17.7n82.5w - 30knots - 1008mb - ATCF*1007mb
20Oct 06pmGMT - 17.6n81.7w - 30knots - 1008mb - ATCF*17.1n82.2w*17.6n81.6w
TropicalDepression19
21Oct 12amGMT - 17.5n81.2w - 30knots(~55.6km/h) - 1006mb - ATCF*17.6n81.2w
21Oct 03amGMT - 17.5n81.1w - 35mph (~56.3km/h) _ 1006mb - NHC.Adv.#1
21Oct 06amGMT - 17.2n80.9w - 30knots(~55.6km/h) - 1006mb - ATCF*17.3n80.9w*1005mb*17.2n80.8w
21Oct 09amGMT - 17.0n80.7w - 35mph (~56.3km/h) _ 1005mb - NHC.Adv.#2
TropicalStormRichard
21Oct 12amGMT - 16.6n80.6w - 35knots(~64.8km/h) - 1006mb - ATCF*30knots*16.5n80.7w
21Oct 03pmGMT - 16.2n80.4w - 40mph (~64.4km/h) _ 1006mb - NHC.Adv.#3
21Oct 06pmGMT - 16.1n80.4w - 35knots(~64.8km/h) - 1006mb - ATCF
* Before NHC reevaluated&revised the ATCF numbers.

Copy&paste 17.7n82.5w, 17.6n81.7w, 17.5n81.2w, 17.5n81.1w, 17.2n80.9w-17.0n80.7w, 17.0n80.7w-16.6n80.6w, 16.6n80.6w-16.2n80.4w, 16.2n80.4w-16.1n80.4w, tji, puz, jee into the GreatCircleMapper for a look at the last 12^hours.
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Quoting seflagamma:
did anyone see my post 43????

since no one will talk about it ...is it bad?
I saw it Gamma. I'm concerned as you are. Pat wouldn't leave without saying something. I'm hoping that whatever it is....he gets back better than ever as soon as possible.
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Recon's Up

20:20:00Z 28.383N 89.233W 392.6 mb
(~ 11.59 inHg) 7,632 meters
(~ 25,039 feet)
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
overcast all day, but not a drop of rain yet in Kingston, JM - assuming out west is already getting it though
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Quoting Jeff9641:
Very slight east drift happening right now. looks like it maybe beginning to make the loop the HWRF and GFDL are forecasting.

http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/flt/t1/loop-vis.html



Unless it's heavily sheared still, Richard is east of track by a good distance.
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
Quoting seflagamma:
did anyone see my post 43????

since no one will talk about it ...is it bad?


I haven't seen him around and have not heard anything.
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latest w.v. loop of GOM.


Link

not much steering influence either --


upper level--

Link

lower level--

Link
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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.