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 portcharlotte:
I like you Ike but your drum beat gets boring and tiring.. Change your name to Spike or something else refreshing...sorry to sound rude but i enjoy wx changes and storms are what makes experiencing weather interesting.





Ikes drumbeat is to look at and focus on the positive side of things, not the negative. Yes, there are those who believe "wanting" a hurricane is a negative thought. We are in one of the most economically depressed times in history. Record unemployment, home values at historic lows and many business's and people are barely hanging on by a thread. I for one own a business and a hurricane sat this point would be a devastating blow to it and even more to the individual 33 employees. Someone here last night told Ike he rained on peoples party, he was in fact a party pooper. Well, there shouldn't be a party when it comes to the thought of a hurricane striking places like the west coast of florida where the economy is an even bigger disaster already. How could one have a "party" about that? I have seen cases this year on the blog where an atmosphere exists that one could imagine Adults jumping up and down, high five ing one another and hugging and kissing when a model comes out and is posted showing a cat 3 or 4 slamming a populated area. When all is said and done...Ikes the normal guy around here.
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1263. wial
Re Giri, just saying, it may have broken records for rapid intensification in that part of the world and it's hitting the Burmese city of Sittwe directly. Could be the most catastrophic storm event in recent years. Reminds me in terms of size and intensity of Andrew. Might be worth a look.

ADT
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Quoting 7544:
morning all the gfdl change again now brings richie to the gulf looks like the ne bend after that now watch the hwrf and others to see if change to the right again its another flip flop day as richie gets more better looking



We'll see what the models look like tomorrow.
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
Where's reedzone? Gotta admit, he called it last night. Richie's looking a lot better this morning.
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Quoting FSUCOOPman:


IMO, the models (minus a few minor flip-flops) have all been trending more West or South...Whatever you want to call it. More likely for a CA hit with lots of land interaction...Those poor people in that area have been hit time and time again this year.
so true let it go to the USA they can handle it!!!!
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1258. andy1
Giri looks like a chrisis for thoose poor countries
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Quoting kmanhurricaneman:
ok ok... every one is entitled to thier own opion willing to bet some crows on that.


"I'm your Huckleberry..."

I'll even let you pick the cooking style. :-)
Member Since: August 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 365
It's becoming clear that the XTRP has no idea where Richard will go.
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Quoting kmanhurricaneman:
ok ok... every one is entitled to thier own opinion willing to bet some crows on that.
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Quoting 7544:
morning all the gfdl change again now brings richie to the gulf looks like the ne bend after that now watch the hwrf and others to see if change to the right again its another flip flop day as richie gets more better looking


IMO, the models (minus a few minor flip-flops) have all been trending more West or South...Whatever you want to call it. More likely for a CA hit with lots of land interaction...Those poor people in that area have been hit time and time again this year.
Member Since: August 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 365
Quoting stillwaiting:
.....not even close, hes not going to drive into a ridge, west or wsw thru 36 hrs then maybe wnw imo...
ok ok... every one is entitled to thier own opion willing to bet some crows on that.
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1252. 7544
morning all the gfdl change again now brings richie to the gulf looks like the ne bend after that now watch the hwrf and others to see if change to the right again its another flip flop day as richie gets more better looking
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Quoting IKE:
Models...


Looking more and more like Moby Richard is gonna die out in CA.
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Quoting IKE:
Models...


Let's focus on the purple one. It has it hitting Tampa at a 90 degree angle.
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close observation shows tha coc has located itself firmly below covection ,wind shear is minimal ocean temp is ripe and that aah yes that cylndrical shape with out flow are ever sp present watch for intensification today he will gain cat one by 1 pm today.
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Quoting kmanhurricaneman:
now i will bet 5 crows that richard moves west a bit then wnw- nw -n -nne as he intensifies a more northerly pull will be emminent, so yes i agree a westerly movement but not a whole lot Richard will pass GCM as a cat 3-4 approxmately 10-40M to the west and that ladies and gentlemen is my assement on richard, south florida watch out!!!! ps i really hope i am wrong.
.....not even close, hes not going to drive into a ridge, west or wsw thru 36 hrs then maybe wnw imo...
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-
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1246. wial
Anyone following Giri? It turned into a cat 4 overnight and is about to hit Burma.
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K-man I also hope you are wrong but my thinking and observations are close to those of yours just not sure about the Hurricane part of it maybe a weak ts or td JMO
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1244. IKE
Models...
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
now i will bet 5 crows that richard moves west a bit then wnw- nw -n -nne as he intensifies a more northerly pull will be emminent, so yes i agree a westerly movement but not a whole lot Richard will pass GCM as a cat 3-4 approxmately 10-40M to the west and that ladies and gentlemen is my assement on richard, south florida watch out!!!! ps i really hope i am wrong.
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i wonder if oz left for fl yet????,lol
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1239. IKE
Quoting weatherguy03:
Tropical Update Oct. 22nd. 2010


Worth the update:)
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1238. scott39
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Recon finding lots of 45 mph readings...
I say its at least a 50mph TC. IMO
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Back later
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15671
Quoting kmanislander:


That is from early last night


Sentence still applies
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Recon finding lots of 45 mph readings...
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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:
Upper Air Data Flights begin later today and this evening. Should concrete these models.

C. PROBABLE G-IV FLIGHT TAKING OFF AT 23/1730Z.

3. REMARKS: NOAA WILL FLY A SERIES OF RESEARCH MISSIONS
BEGINNING WITH A G-IV TAKEOFF AT 22/1730Z. THE P-3
WILL TAKE OFF EVERY 12 HRS STARTING AT 23/0200Z.


The G-IV flight this afternoon is for research and is storm centered which may not help the models much. The one tomorrow is tasked by NHC and should have a broader flight pattern which will aid the models more.

Today's flight pattern


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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Elongated, but better organized than earlier, and continuing to become better organized.



That is from early last night
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1230. scott39
Quoting SouthDadeFish:
That's not accurate though. Recon is finding the real intensity, ADT is just a guess.
What does it look like on the Sat to you? It looks like a strengthning TC to me!
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Elongated, but better organized than earlier, and continuing to become better organized.

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Quoting scott39:
That makes more since.
That's not accurate though. Recon is finding the real intensity, ADT is just a guess.
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1224. scott39
Quoting scott39:
That makes more since.
Sheesh, English Language---Sense
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Rich looks like he may rhyme with the B word today. Hope it's not another Mitch the B--ch.
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3109
1220. scott39
Quoting SouthDadeFish:
Recon is finding much different information compared to ADT estimates:

UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 8.1.1
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 22 OCT 2010 Time : 114500 UTC
Lat : 15:58:33 N Lon : 80:24:18 W


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
3.7 / 991.2mb/ 59.0kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
3.7 3.9 4.4

Latitude bias adjustment to MSLP : +0.0mb

Center Temp : -74.4C Cloud Region Temp : -74.7C

Scene Type : UNIFORM CDO CLOUD REGION

Positioning Method : FORECAST INTERPOLATION

Ocean Basin : ATLANTIC
Dvorak CI > MSLP Conversion Used : ATLANTIC

Tno/CI Rules : Constraint Limits : 0.7T/6hr
Weakening Flag : OFF
Rapid Dissipation Flag : OFF
That makes more since.
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Quoting Jeff9641:
MON-THU...GENERALLY WARM/HUMID TREND WILL CONTINUE INTO NEXT WEEK AS
THE RIDGE AXIS BUILDS INTO THE CENTRAL ATLC. H100-H70 WINDS WILL
VEER TO THE S/SE ON MON...THEN S/SW TUE. THIS EXTENDED SRLY
COMPONENT WILL CONTINUE TO TAP THE HIGH MOISTURE...PUSHING LCL PWAT
VALUES BACK ABV 1.5". MEANWHILE...A SMALL 70KT H25 JET STREAK OVER
NRN MEX AND THE DESERT SW WILL PUSH ACRS THE GOMEX OVER THE WEEKEND
AND SHOULD BE IN POSITION BY MON AFTN TO PLACE THE CENTRAL FL
PENINSULA UNDER IS ASCENDING RIGHT REAR QUAD. THE LAST FOUR RUNS OF
THE EXTENDED MOS GUIDANCE HAVE FOCUSED ON THE MON/TUE TIME FRAME FOR
PRECIP...WHICH SEEMS REASONABLE GIVEN THE WX ELEMENTS IN PLAY. WILL...




you realize there talking about the ridge axisis right rear quadrant....NOT richie,as i said yesterday he aint going to fl as anything formidable,if at all!!!
INTRODUCE SMALL POPS AREAWIDE MON AND BUMP MON NIGHT/TUE NUMBERS
INTO THE LOW SCT CATEGORY.

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1218. divdog
Quoting Jeff9641:
MON-THU...GENERALLY WARM/HUMID TREND WILL CONTINUE INTO NEXT WEEK AS
THE RIDGE AXIS BUILDS INTO THE CENTRAL ATLC. H100-H70 WINDS WILL
VEER TO THE S/SE ON MON...THEN S/SW TUE. THIS EXTENDED SRLY
COMPONENT WILL CONTINUE TO TAP THE HIGH MOISTURE...PUSHING LCL PWAT
VALUES BACK ABV 1.5". MEANWHILE...A SMALL +70KT H25 JET STREAK OVER
NRN MEX AND THE DESERT SW WILL PUSH ACRS THE GOMEX OVER THE WEEKEND
AND SHOULD BE IN POSITION BY MON AFTN TO PLACE THE CENTRAL FL
PENINSULA UNDER IS ASCENDING RIGHT REAR QUAD. THE LAST FOUR RUNS OF
THE EXTENDED MOS GUIDANCE HAVE FOCUSED ON THE MON/TUE TIME FRAME FOR
PRECIP...WHICH SEEMS REASONABLE GIVEN THE WX ELEMENTS IN PLAY. WILL
INTRODUCE SMALL POPS AREAWIDE MON AND BUMP MON NIGHT/TUE NUMBERS
INTO THE LOW SCT CATEGORY.

which basically translates into a 30% chance of rain next week.
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Good morning everyone

Richard appears to have begun a slow crawl to the West even though current advisory says stationary. Now located at 81 West

The ridge in the GOM is coming over the top of Richard which will do two things. The first is aid in some intensification which we are already seeing. The second will be to establish a steady motion off to the West initially. The influence of the ridge is fairly far South as seen in the image below and the next trough is still back by NW Texas so Richard should have a pretty good run West before starting to curve any.

Conditions on the SW coast of Grand Cayman show overcast skies, winds out of the East near 15 mph and pressure of 1012.3 and rising rapidly. Since midnight only .06 inches of rain which is good news as we are water logged here.

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Quoting cat5hurricane:

Like the perspective.



Yeah.

We shouldn't trust a 120+ hr forecast but yet, the current 120+ forecast is accurate, makes no sense.
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259

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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.