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 cat5hurricane:

Like the perspective.



Yeah.

We shouldn't trust a 120+ hr forecast but yet, the current 120+ forecast is accurate, makes no sense.
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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
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1213. kwgirl
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
looking at this image can anyone tell me where its not going to go and where its most likly to go take your time think about it first

It's not going to go to Panama?
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Tropical Update Oct. 22nd. 2010
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Jeff,

you are correct and I agree with you as well. I am just saying that looking at how much stronger the high is going to be, that trough swinging down has to pretty strong to pull Richard north

That's what I thought it depended on. I guess yesterday the models were thinking that the trough will pull Richard north in enough time to make it into the EGOM but things changed so quickly yesterday evening and could again as well.

I also think the same as you in that if Richard does get stronger he could move more northward and east but from satellite, it seems he is already going west
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1207. HCW
KMOB NWS

TUE NIGHT THROUGH NEXT FRI)...ESSENTIALLY ATMOSPHERE RELOADS WITH
SOUTHERLY LOWER TROPOSPHERIC WIND FLOW PATTERN AND UNSEASONABLY
PROLONGED PERIOD OF HIGH SFC DEWPOINTS AROUND. SPECTRAL MODELS DOING
THEIR TYPICAL "SONG AND DANCE" OF PUSHING TOO FAR SOUTH - TOO FAST
WITH DAY 7 BAROCLINIC WAVE PASSAGES AT THIS LATITUDE. UNLIKE LAST
NIGHT`S PACKAGE...COLD FRONT PASSAGE IS NOW PUSHED BACK TO FRIDAY
(VICE THU - BIG SURPRISE?). THIS SUGGESTS UPPER RIDGE OVER CARIBBEAN
WILL PLAY MORE OF A ROLE IN SLOWING UP THE ADVANCING UPPER
TROF...CAUSING THE TROUGH "SHEAR-OUT" SOME IN...AND PROLONG CENTRAL
GULF COAST REGION`S TIME IN THE NEXT WARM SECTOR. THIS ALL TAKES
PLACE AS RICHARD`S REMNANTS (OR RICHARD AS A NAMED STORM? - TOO EARLY
TO TELL -) MOVES SOMEWHERE INTO THE CENTRAL GLFMEX ON THU AND
THEN FURTHER NORTHWARD THEREAFTER. THIS COULD MEAN MORE RAIN GIVEN
A SLOWER UPPER TROUGH ARRIVAL TIME. STILL BELIEVE WE HAVE TO BE ON
THE LOOKOUT FOR A HEAVY RAINFALL EVENT GIVEN SYNOPTIC SETUP. THE
EXACT DETAILS OF THE EVOLUTION WILL DETERMINE THIS AND IT IS SIMPLY TOO
FAR OUT TO SAY FOR SURE
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Quoting pioggiasuper:
So much for a Major FL Hurricane. Nice try yesterday FL Wishcasters!!!! lol, way to hype and scare AGAIN!!!!! No Cat 3 winds for C-FL, sorry!!! More proof not to give much credibility to forecast models 120+ hours out!!!!

Looks like Dr. Masters was right. Hmmm go figure :)






Give it up, lol. Since when does a 5 day forecast all of a sudden become accurate?

Not wishing here, just stating the facts.
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1204. scott39
Richard sure is Growing and Showing off on the current Sat loop, to only be a 40mph TC!
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I'm expecting 45-60 mph when I get home today (Almost 4:00PM CDT)



ASCAT passes have been correct - Well-defined circulation, and winds approaching 30-35 mph, but no convection.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32072
Complete Update



AOI
AOI AOI AOI

AOI AOI AOI

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI
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Quoting seflagamma:

Thanks, i see he updated his blog last night as proof he is around... have not been around to see any post.. did he post here last night?


Briefly, but yes. I seen a couple of his LSU maps however, he didn't say much, in Dr. Masters blog anyway.
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Quoting Jeff9641:


I brought up the near 90 degree temps expected in C FL all next week because what this does is keep the gulf warm enough to sustain a potential hurricane down the road. SST at New Symrna last weekend are still in the upper 70's.


I'd say the only chance this storm will have a chance of obtianing a CAT 3 status within the Gulf of Mexico would be if it becomes an annular hurricane within the Carribean, which is what less than 3% of all storms?
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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:



Seen Patrap last night if you didn't

Thanks, i see he updated his blog last night as proof he is around... have not been around to see any post.. did he post here last night?
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 298 Comments: 40903
I think if the HH flys to the NE of the present vortex they could find a better COC (under the convection)
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Quoting seflagamma:
Good morning my friends,

Well i see TS Richard is still with us... and just my 2 cents... I am wondering where people get the idea from looking at the models it is a Florida storm? Yesterday it was all about hitting Tampa, when like only one or two models out of dozens even brought it in that direction??? most do have it dying out over Mexico ....

There is just so much dry air and shear, it is like a wall that will be hard to break thru.


And I will not "turn my back" on this storm because we all know anything can happen, and in a few days the atmosphere may change enought to give Richard a little more chancg to develope get in the GOM and head North or NE or even East...But right now, I would not be placing any Bets on Richard coming to Floriday by Monday....but I could be wrong.


Enjoy your Friday and I will be lurking in fromt time to time to see what is going on here.
Be good and don't get yourself banned!



Seen Patrap last night if you didn't
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Quoting cat5hurricane:

You brought that up yesterday in regards to some of the models overdoing the ridges and underdoing the troughs...and that was a great point. The guidance may very well swing the other way between now and tomorrow.


Cyclone strength, as Guygee pointed out will have an effect as well. These UAD flights should solidify the model portion. Richie is still rather weak ATM so, westward ho.
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Ike, let the force be with you and keep the shields up!
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Hi Jeff. when was this GFDL model run? this morning?

just wondering because the guy at crown weather was saying that he would not be surprised to see shifts in model runs but overall the threat to florida is much less due to the models agreeing on a much stronger hign pressure to the north, thanks
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Good morning my friends,

Well i see TS Richard is still with us... and just my 2 cents... I am wondering where people get the idea from looking at the models it is a Florida storm? Yesterday it was all about hitting Tampa, when like only one or two models out of dozens even brought it in that direction??? most do have it dying out over Mexico ....

There is just so much dry air and shear, it is like a wall that will be hard to break thru.


And I will not "turn my back" on this storm because we all know anything can happen, and in a few days the atmosphere may change enough to give Richard a little more chance to develope get in the GOM and head North or NE or even East...But right now, I would not be placing any Bets on Richard coming to Florida by Monday....but I could be wrong.


Enjoy your Friday and I will be lurking in fromt time to time to see what is going on here.
Be good and don't get yourself banned!
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 298 Comments: 40903
1183. guygee
To the extent (if any) that Richard deepens beyond current forecasts, model tracks will shift right again.
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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.
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1179. A4Guy
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
looking at this image can anyone tell me where its not going to go and where its most likly to go take your time think about it first



someone from this blog must have hacked into the computers and had that blue model run go right to Tampa....

I'm sure someone will harp on that all day...afterall, it's one of the fifty GFS ensemble outputs taking it there.
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I had a feeling yesterday when all the models were going to Florida that something would drastically change.

On the other hand, models will say anything anytime and many times they have been wrong.

Jeff's comment on Richard possibly not making it to the Yucatan is correcet and possible but given the extreme overall guidance shift due to a stronger high above Richard, it really seems like Florida is much safer than before.

if anyone thinks I am wrong, please feel free to chime in. Happy Friday everyone :)
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I finally figured out why the trolls are targeting IKE. It's his fault there are no conus hits to speak of this year. If he wasn't such a "down-caster" we would all be DOOM!

Keep up the good work!
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Morning All.

Richie still rather weak. Southward trend continues however, still skeptical given the way they sometimes overdo ridges this year and underdo troughs. We'll see how they look tomorrow morning.
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Quoting FLdewey:
Facts apparently infuriate people on this blog.

That's for sure; you should see what happens when the facts of AGW are laid out for all to see on those days that Dr. Masters talks about it. Lots of unfuriation... ;-)
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1173. IKE
Quoting tkeith:
Ike could you use your magic powers that some on here think you have, and make sure the Razorbacks, Saints and Rangers all win this weekend?

Oh, and we could use some rain here in NOLA too.

TIA :)


I'll add you to the list.

..............................................

URNT12 KNHC 221219
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE AL192010
A. 22/11:36:20Z
B. 15 deg 53 min N
081 deg 02 min W
C. NA
D. 29 kt
E. 312 deg 54 nm
F. 042 deg 27 kt
G. 312 deg 52 nm
H. EXTRAP 1007 mb
I. 23 C / 425 m
J. 23 C / 426 m
K. 15 C / NA
L. NA
M. NA
N. 1345 / 01
O. 0.02 / 5 nm
P. AF309 0519A RICHARD OB 09
MAX FL WIND 27 KT NW QUAD 11:21:10Z
SLP EXTRAP FROM BELOW 1500 FT
MAX

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Product: Air Force Vortex Message (URNT12 KNHC)
Transmitted: 22nd day of the month at 12:19Z
Aircraft: Air Force Aircraft (Last 3 digits of the tail number are 309)
Storm Number & Year: 19L in 2010
Storm Name: Richard (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 5
Observation Number: 09
A. Time of Center Fix: 22nd day of the month at 11:36:20Z
B. Center Fix Coordinates: 15°53'N 81°02'W (15.8833N 81.0333W)
B. Center Fix Location: 238 miles (382 km) to the S (174°) from George Town, Cayman Islands (GBR).
C. Minimum Height at Standard Level: Not Available
D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind: 29kts (~ 33.4mph)
E. Location of the Estimated Maximum Surface Wind: 54 nautical miles (62 statute miles) to the NW (312°) of center fix
F. Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: From 42° at 27kts (From the NE at ~ 31.1mph)
G. Location of Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: 52 nautical miles (60 statute miles) to the NW (312°) of center fix
H. Minimum Sea Level Pressure: 1007mb (29.74 inHg) - Extrapolated
I. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Outside Eye: 23°C (73°F) at a pressure alt. of 425m (1,394ft)
J. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Inside Eye: 23°C (73°F) at a pressure alt. of 426m (1,398ft)
K. Dewpoint Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): 15°C (59°F)
K. Sea Surface Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): Not Available
L. Eye Character: Not Available
M. Eye Shape: Not Available
N. Fix Determined By: Penetration, Wind, Pressure and Temperature
N. Fix Levels (sfc and flt lvl centers are within 5nm of each other): Surface and 1,500 feet
O. Navigation Fix Accuracy: 0.02 nautical miles
O. Meteorological Accuracy: 5 nautical miles
Remarks Section:
Maximum Flight Level Wind: 27kts (~ 31.1mph) in the northwest quadrant at 11:21:10Z
Sea Level Pressure Extrapolation From: Below 1,500 feet
Maximum Flight Level Temp: 23°C (73°F) which was observed 21 nautical miles (24 statute miles) to the NW (309°) from the flight level center
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not buying models path,they have been consistantly wrong with this system, just need to see what indication shows itself now untill about 12pm today
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1002
Quoting shikori:


it DOes?
Look at the picture I posted #1141.
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Quoting shikori:


it DOes?
No,it did but not anymore.
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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.