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: 65 - 15

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

latest w.v. loop of GOM.


Link

not much steering influence either --


upper level--

Link

lower level--

Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting seflagamma:
did anyone see my post 43????

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


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!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Dry Air is going to surround Richard....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
did anyone see my post 43????

since no one will talk about it ...is it bad?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
#45 troll, "!" it and then ignore it... and hope admin bans it soon before the Real Taz gets here....


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting all4hurricanes:
I just realized that every R named storm ever has retired, hopefully Richard won't follow suit. Richard is also the only male R name in the Atlantic


great research if this is true. nice work. That has to be taken for something.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
45. Tazman1an 8:04 PM GMT on October 21, 2010



IMPOSTER ALERT
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The rest of the U.S. :)

Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 1261
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)!



Yup.....I am in the Tallahassee area and we could really use a good soaking; been pretty rain free for some time right now in North Florida.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I'd like to add some edumication if you don't mind. Today, at the NHC, and here on WU, it's SPECULATION THURSDAY. We've had some good well presented forecasts, but it's still too early. We'll have a much better handle on track and intensity in 24-48 hours. In the meantime, go at it with the speculation. I prefer to sit and watch for a bit longer. The synoptics of the late season make forecasting unpredictable. There's at the moment just about an equal chance that the cyclone could dissipate in CA as there is for any solution north of there. I like the KMan approach....watch, for now. Carefully....lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Drought has turned to Severe for the Panhandle and most of the East Coast of FL. We could use some rain (minus the wind)!

Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 1261
Quoting SuperTyphoonLionrock:
Joe Bastardi is just getting downright silly now saying that its on the table for the possibility of Richard to be the strongest storm of the year when Igor was a high end Cat 4/borderline Cat5.

I understand that overhyping storms is his shtick to drive more people to Accuweather and increase ad revenue which has worked, but there comes a point where if you get too silly with the predictions it will start to work against him.


He is referring to pressures not cat size
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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.


Just so I don't get banned for non weather related post....

5-7 days out I am not really confident the models have Richard on target.. a lot can happen in the next few days... so maybe we will know more by Saturday.

I really do not want a big storm coming thru and tearing up my yard and garden, I just got all my veggies in the ground and growning!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Gadzooks!

Only the third time R has been used...

Roxanne (1995)
Rita (2005)
Richard (2010)

And, is Shary to follow? Shesh...
Member Since: June 20, 2005 Posts: 22 Comments: 1050
40. JRRP

CV season is over right ??
mmmm
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Thanks Dr. M; will be real interesting to see how strong Richard will get in the long term and in what shape he will be if he heads into the open Gulf as currently plotted by NHC.......The Northern Gulf or Florida coast might see a storm (or transitioning system) headed their way next week.....We can certainly use the rain at this point.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
what did jb post?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I just realized that every R named storm ever has retired, hopefully Richard won't follow suit. Richard is also the only male R name in the Atlantic
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
90L's circulation is confined mainly to the mid-levels with no discernible nor organized reflection at the lower-levels/surface. The convection is also rather weak, albeit decently organized. Development will be slow to occur, and the system may just be able to become a named storm before upper-level winds become excessively unfavorable for any sort of organization or intensification.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Impressive



Can't believe we'll be getting a Cape Verde system in October, what an incredible sytem, the U.S. has been very LUCKY this season with so many majors and landfalls elsewhere. Anyone who says this season is a bust is absolutely bonkers, this has been an incredible season to watch and with possible Shary developing in the next day or 2 and with a full month + left I think we can hit 20 storms, absolutely incredible.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
HPC on board w/Florida storm

Loop of sea-level pressures and fronts through day 7



Member Since: Posts: Comments:
#5. Pure sensationalism.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Orcasystems:
Complete Update



AOI
AOI AOI AOI

AOI AOI AOI

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI


atleast 1 model takes this thing to cat 4 we really need to watch it especially if it stays over water
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Yes, wrong post, man

Quoting TropicalMan2010:
from previous blog
631. TropicalMan2010 7:37 PM GMT on October 21, 2010

Quoting sunlinepr:
Unfavorable conditions, but fighting...


thats not 90L lol its south of the cv islands
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Impressive

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15790
Impressive convective burst with cloud tops in excess of -80C has recently developed just to the east of Richard's circulation. Due to the latent heat being released by these convective clusters, visible satellite imagery revealed that the circulation of Richard got drawn eastward under the compact and circular convective canopy. This event will likely begin an intensification phase with Richard.

After the eastward advection of the circulation, the circulation has turned stationary.


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Great update Dr. Masters thank you
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Not looking god for the entire southeast

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
it looks like we are in another peak in the hurricane season.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Richard is the first use of the 'R' name since 2005's Rita. If 90L develops into Shary, that would put us at 18.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Complete Update



AOI
AOI AOI AOI

AOI AOI AOI

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
are we doom yet?



Got no room for DOOM.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 65 - 15

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.