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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...so no rain for Florida. sad.
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JB's take on it this morning.

FRIDAY 7 AM
THIS IS GOING TO BE VERY INTERESTING ( THE RECON)

If Richard is where its supposed to be, it is in the center of an area of increasingly focuses and intense convection. Hard to believe that yesterday when it was named it was a 1006 mb storm, given the sheared look, and now its only down one millibar. I suspect the snowball is starting to roll down the hill and this is a hurricane by tomorrow and a major hurricane on Sunday. For our purposes, when it reaches 960 mb, I will consider that correct, since there is subjective adjustment of wind that goes on and with the forecast lagging behind mind, we should see the reported wind increase lag behind the pressure/recon reality.

That being said, it is missing trough number one, so will have to cross the Yucatan and then its up to trough number two, the latter part of next week to get it. The potential for a stronger tropical system and the stronger trough is still very much alive here, though the Florida fast hit ( recall the GFDL and HWRF on shore by Tuesday) is not. Interestingly enough they have backed off on intensity and I see NO MODEL as strong as I am with this, so it will be a coup if I am right.

thanks for reading, ciao for now ****

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Conditions at 42057 as of
(5:50 am EDT)
0950 GMT on 10/22/2010:
Unit of Measure: Time Zone:

Click on the graph icon in the table below to see a time series plot of the last five days of that observation.
5-day plot - Wind Direction Wind Direction (WDIR): NE ( 50 deg true )
5-day plot - Wind Speed Wind Speed (WSPD): 11.0 m/s
5-day plot - Wind Gust Wind Gust (GST): 13.0 m/s
5-day plot - Wave Height Wave Height (WVHT): 2.1 m
5-day plot - Dominant Wave Period Dominant Wave Period (DPD): 7 sec
5-day plot - Average Period Average Period (APD): 5.0 sec
5-day plot - Atmospheric Pressure Atmospheric Pressure (PRES): 1007.9 mb
5-day plot - Pressure Tendency Pressure Tendency (PTDY): -0.4 mb ( Falling )

5-day plot - Air Temperature Air Temperature (ATMP): 27.1 °C
5-day plot - Water Temperature Water Temperature (WTMP): 28.7 °C
5-day plot - Dew Point Dew Point (DEWP): 24.5 °C
5-day plot - Heat Index Heat Index (HEAT): 30.6 °C
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8263
hard to compare to storms in the past but opal seems like a good one probally going to be a major before landfall in the yucatan
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Morning, more rain for the Yucatan Peninsula?
Has everything that has formed this season either gone that route or NNW out to sea?
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1060. WxLogic
Negative NAO... still shows a continuation of ridging across E CONUS:

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1059. bjdsrq
Quoting shikori:


What do you see bjdsrq?


That's not the IR rainbow. I just checked the most recent IR rainbow frame (just out) and it dropped the feature there. Obviously making a conclusion on one discrete sample is bad science, so we'll have to wait for a few more frames.
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Troll alert!
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Quoting bjdsrq:


It's been on the last few frames, so it's not a glitch. IR rainbow is the only product that is picking up on it at the moment.


Good Morning,

All of your questions will be answered shortly as the HH's are getting close...

Observation Time: Friday, 10:21Z
Radar Capability: Yes
Aircraft Altitude: Below 10,000 meters
Coordinates: 19.9N 85.2W
Location: 137 miles (220 km) to the SE (129°) from Cancún, Quintana Roo, México.
Turbulence: None
Conditions Along Flight Route: In the clear
Pressure Altitude: 7,310 meters
Flight Level Wind: 5 knots (~ 5.8 mph) (Bearing was unavailable.)
- The above is a spot wind.
- Winds were obtained using doppler radar or inertial systems.
Flight Level Temperature: -19°C
Flight Level Dew Point: -26°C
Weather (within 30 nautical miles): Scattered clouds (trace to 4/8 cloud coverage)
400 mb Surface Altitude: 7,560 geopotential meters
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1055. bjdsrq
Quoting shikori:


If it is an eye trying to pop in that would be a surprise for everyone. Richard get the title for rapid intensification.


I wasn't going to put my head on the chopping block for using the R.I. phrase, so glad you did ;-)
I would be surprised if it was R.I., but with that impressive burst of very symmetric convection (and outflow) it's possible. If so, this could be a bit of a game changer for the forecast track.
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6th place for the last hundred yr would be for 2000 yrs?
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1053. Keys99
Someone had to many cups of coffee on the Night Shift.


NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE KEY WEST FL
356 AM EDT FRI OCT 22 2010

.SYNOPSIS...
STRENGTHENING HIGH PRESSURE TO THE NORTH...AND DEEPENING LOW PRESSURE
TO THE SOUTH...WILL CREATE COMFORTABLE BREEZY CONDITIONS THIS WEEKEND.
&&

.DISCUSSION...
.SHORT TERM...
OUR 04Z MESO-ANALYSIS DEPICTS HIGH PRESSURE IN THE GULF WITH THE
RIDGE AXIS ACROSS NORTHERN FLORIDA. WE NOTE PARENTHETICALLY THAT
INDICATED PRESSURES ON THE PENINSULA ARE ABOUT A MILLIBAR HIGHER THAN
FORECAST BY THE NUMERICAL MODEL SUITE. WITH THE HIGH IN THIS POSITION
WE CAN EXPECT STRENGTHENING NORTHEAST BREEZES AND DRY CONTINENTAL
CONDITIONS TODAY.

HOWEVER THE HIGH IS ON THE MOVE. ACROSS NORTH AMERICA THE PATTERN IS
PROGRESSIVE AND THE LOCAL SURFACE RIDGE WILL PROPAGATE INTO THE
ATLANTIC DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS. THUS OUR WINDS WILL HAUL INTO THE
EAST AND THEN SOUTHEAST LEADING TO INCREASING VALUES OF TOTAL COLUMN
MOISTURE AND RAIN CHANCES DUE TO THE NEW OCEANIC AIR MASS SOURCE
REGION.

NEWLY-FORMED TROPICAL STORM RICHARD LOCATED IN THE WESTERN CARIBBEAN
IS FORECAST BY THE CENTER TO DRIFT TOWARD MEXICO AND INTENSIFY THIS
WEEKEND. ON THIS BASIS WE CAN EXPECT A FURTHER INCREASE OF MOISTURE
VALUES...AND RAIN CHANCES...IN A SOUTHERLY SURGE ALONG ABOUT MONDAY
AND TUESDAY. NONETHELESS AT THIS STAGE WE ARE UNDERCUTTING GUIDANCE
WHILE WE SEE HOW STABLE THIS TRACK TURNS OUT TO BE. TUNE IN AGAIN ON
SUNDAY IF YOU HAVE IMPORTANT OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES SCHEDULED FOR THE
COMING WEEK.
&&

.LONG TERM...
FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE FORECAST PERIOD OUR GUIDANCE SUGGESTS THE
ATLANTIC HIGH WILL REMAIN MORE OR LESS IN POSITION. FOR THAT REASON
WE EXPECT ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES AND NEAR-NORMAL RAIN CHANCES
WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY.
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1052. WxLogic
Good Morning...

Richard appears to be taken advantage of DMAX.
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1051. IKE
Quoting PensacolaDoug:
Mornin all. So Ike! Shields still up?


Still up. Stronger high then the models were showing a couple of days ago.
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1049. bjdsrq
Quoting shikori:


Ok now i looked and I see what you are talking about, it almost looks like something is trying to open up a bit just to the south of the white patch, definitely not a cloud top. I wonder what the latest loop will show.


It's been on the last few frames, so it's not a glitch. IR rainbow is the only product that is picking up on it at the moment.
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Quoting shikori:


Drink your coffee



I can support that!

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Mornin all. So Ike! Shields still up?
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1045. bjdsrq
Quoting shikori:


Drink your coffee


Cute. But that doesn't answer my question. There is an obvious distinct high-contrasting feature in the center the last few frames of that loop of the IR rainbow. Did you even look at the loop or are you just being a tool?
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1044. IKE
120 hour GFS at 850 mb's shows a ridge extending into the eastern GOM....has Rick making a landfall near Belize...



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Quoting CapeObserver:
Doug you have great taste in music!




Aw shux!
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Quoting portcharlotte:
The models will change back to the northern path...the trend all season of the west moving Carib storms will not hold true this time. It's late in the season and the troughs are deeper and the westerlies extend well south along the Gulf Coast. This one is not going to escape a recurve.





Can a north-shift occur? Sure. Will it occur? Perhaps. Let's wait and see.
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1041. Keys99
As of the last observation at 10:06:00Z, the plane's...

Direction of Travel: SSE (155°)
Location: 64 miles (102 km) to the E (89°) from Cancún, Quintana Roo, México.
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Quoting HadesGodWyvern:




really? not hard to miss the eye.

I mean I wasn't paying attention to Giri I thought it was just some minimal ts that would make landfall in a day, I don't think that many other people were paying attention either. Giri has the potential to be really devastating
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1037. bjdsrq
Comments on the IR Rainbow sat loop please. I haven't had any coffee yet, but is that thing in the center an eye forming or just a super-cold cloud top?

Link
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1036. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Quoting all4hurricanes:
Wow I didn't even know Giri had an eye. According to wiki he's a cat 4. Myanmar/Burma (I don't know which it is now) generally doesn't deal well with cyclones I hope this isn't another Nargis




really? not hard to miss the eye.
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The models will change back to the northern path...the trend all season of the west moving Carib storms will not hold true this time. It's late in the season and the troughs are deeper and the westerlies extend well south along the Gulf Coast. This one is not going to escape a recurve.




Quoting jrmontague:
The 5 am NHC discussion suggests HWRF and GFDL have thrown in their towels...but like fickle people, fickle models might change their minds...Richard looks less like a serious threat to conus now, but the day is young, as many posters will note this morning!
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1032. ackee
The low in central atlantic does seem to have low shear ahead of it has gone bit further south avoid shear to it North
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Wow I didn't even know Giri had an eye. According to wiki he's a cat 4. Myanmar/Burma (I don't know which it is now) generally doesn't deal well with cyclones I hope this isn't another Nargis
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Richard's become better organized.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23484
Richard looks a lot better unless the center isn't under all that convection
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1027. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Quoting funeeeg:
Cyclone Giri is at least a Cat 3 and the are calling it a 55knt system - good grief..... I just hope that people have been evacuated from low lying areas in the storms path.


125 knots from JTWC
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The 5 am NHC discussion suggests HWRF and GFDL have thrown in their towels...but like fickle people, fickle models might change their minds...Richard looks less like a serious threat to conus now, but the day is young, as many posters will note this morning!
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TropicalStormRichard's heading had turned northward to (3.3degrees east of) NorthNorthEast
from its previous heading of SouthEast
TS.Richard's average speed moving between its last 2 reported positions increased to ~5mph(~8km/h) from its previous moving speed of ~3.3mph(~5.4km/h)

NHC is treating the latest position change as a center relocation ("Moving: stationary") rather than as the actual movement of the storm's center.

TropicalDepression19
21Oct 09amGMT - 17.0n80.7w - 35mph (~56.3km/h) _ 1005mb - NHC.Adv.#2
TropicalStormRichard
21Oct 12pmGMT - 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
21Oct 09pmGMT - 16.0n80.4w - 40mph (~64.4km/h) _ 1005mb - NHC.Adv.#4
22Oct 12amGMT - 16.0n80.5w - 40mph (~64.4km/h) _ 1005mb - NHC.Adv.#4A
22Oct 03amGMT - 15.9n80.5w - 40mph (~64.4km/h) _ 1006mb - NHC.Adv.#5
22Oct 06amGMT - 15.8n80.4w - 40mph (~64.4km/h) _ 1006mb - NHC.Adv.#5A
21Oct 09amGMT - 16.0n80.3w - 40mph (~64.4km/h) _ 1005mb - NHC.Adv.#6

Copy&paste 17.0n80.7w, 16.6n80.6w, 16.2n80.4w, 16.1n80.4w, 16.0n80.4w-16.0n80.5w, 16.0n80.5w-15.9n80.5w, 15.9n80.5w-15.8n80.4w, 15.8n80.4w-16.0n80.3w, kin into the GreatCircleMapper for a look at the last 12^hours.

* Before NHC reevaluated&revised the ATCF numbers.
Also note the latest numbers and revisions made on the 22Oct,06amGMT ATCF report
21Oct 06pmGMT - 16.3n80.6w...1007mb - ATCF*16.1n80.4w*1006mb
22Oct 12amGMT - 16.0n80.4w...1007mb - ATCF*16.0n80.5w*1005mb (which matched NHC.Adv)
22Oct 06amGMT - 16.0n80.3w...1005mb -vs- NHC.Adv. 15.8n80.4w...1006mb
Such mallebility in the ATCF numbers being why I'll be plotting the NHC.Adv. numbers while while no longer plotting new ATCF revisions for as long as there remains 3hours between Advisories.
Still...
06amGMT ATCF "16.0n80.3w...1005mb" and 09amGMT NHC.Adv.#6 ""16.0n80.3w...1005mb"
Coincidence? I think not.
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1024. funeeeg
Cyclone Giri is at least a Cat 3 and the are calling it a 55knt system - good grief..... I just hope that people have been evacuated from low lying areas in the storms path.
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i sure hope it does go that direction ,not that i want it to hit anyone country, just not here.
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1022. IKE
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1021. IKE
TROPICAL STORM RICHARD DISCUSSION NUMBER 6
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL192010
500 AM EDT FRI OCT 22 2010

THE CLOUD PATTERN APPEARS TO BE A LITTLE BETTER ORGANIZED WITH VERY
DEEP CONVECTION NEAR THE CENTER. THE UPPER-LEVEL OUTFLOW HAS BECOME
ESTABLISHED IN ALL QUADRANTS...SUGGESTING THAT THE SHEAR HAS
RELAXED A LITTLE BIT MORE. DVORAK T-NUMBERS HAVE INCREASED TO 3.0
AND 2.5 FROM TAFB AND SAB RESPECTIVELY. HOWEVER...GIVEN THAT THE
LAST RECON A FEW HOURS AGO FOUND A WEAK CYCLONE...MICROWAVE DATA
DOES NOT SHOW AN INNER CORE...AND FURTHERMORE...ASCAT DATA SHOW
MAXIMUM WINDS OF 30 KNOTS...THE INITIAL INTENSITY IS KEPT
GENEROUSLY AT 35 KNOTS. ANOTHER PLANE WILL CHECK RICHARD ABOUT 12
UTC.0.

NOW THAT THE SHEAR HAS RELAXED AND MOISTURE SHOULD INCREASE IN THE
AREA...STRENGTHENING SHOULD BEGIN. RICHARD IS FORECAST TO BE A
HURRICANE AS IT APPROACHES THE YUCATAN PENINSULA IN ABOUT 3 DAYS.
ONCE OVER YUCATAN THE EFFECT OF LAND AND INCREASING SHEAR WOULD
RESULT IN WEAKENING. MODELS...PRIMARILY THE GFDL/HWRF PAIR...ARE
NOT AS AGGRESSIVE IN INTENSIFYING RICHARD AS THEY WERE IN PREVIOUS
RUNS. THIS IS PERHAPS BECAUSE THE MODELS ARE FORECASTING THE CYCLONE
TO BE CLOSER TO LAND INSTEAD OF OVER THE OPEN NORTHWESTERN
CARIBBEAN SEA LIKE IN PREVIOUS RUNS.

RICHARD HAS BARELY MOVED DURING THE PAST SEVERAL HOURS WHILE IT IS
STILL EMBEDDED WITHIN LIGHT STEERING CURRENTS. THIS STEERING
PATTERN IS ABOUT TO CHANGE AS THE CURRENT TROUGH TO THE NORTH LIFTS
OUT AND BECOMES REPLACED BY A STRONG RIDGE. THE FLOW ON THE SOUTH
SIDE OF THE RIDGE WILL FORCE RICHARD ON A WEST TO WEST-NORTHWEST
TRACK WITH A GRADUAL INCREASE IN FORWARD SPEED THROUGH THE FORECAST
PERIOD. IT SEEMS THAT GLOBAL MODELS ARE DEVELOPING A STRONGER RIDGE
THAN IN EARLIER RUNS...AND CONSEQUENTLY THE GUIDANCE ENVELOPE HAS
SHIFTED SOUTHWARD A LITTLE BIT. NONE OF THE MODELS TURN THE CYCLONE
NORTHWARD AND ARE FOLLOWING THE WESTWARD TREND INITIATED BY THE
GFS. THE OFFICIAL FORECAST HAS ALSO BEEN ADJUSTED SOUTHWARD.


FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INITIAL 22/0900Z 16.0N 80.3W 35 KT
12HR VT 22/1800Z 15.9N 80.8W 40 KT
24HR VT 23/0600Z 15.9N 81.5W 45 KT
36HR VT 23/1800Z 16.0N 83.0W 50 KT
48HR VT 24/0600Z 16.5N 84.5W 60 KT
72HR VT 25/0600Z 17.5N 87.5W 70 KT
96HR VT 26/0600Z 19.0N 90.0W 35 KT...INLAND
120HR VT 27/0600Z 21.0N 91.5W 30 KT...OVER WATER

$$
FORECASTER AVILA


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Quoting shikori:


Exactlty remember my proposal last night. If it explodes like reedzone said it would it would go NW or N.


"Reedzone says", never mind that - the official forecast said dev. would occur - Reedzone merely repeated the obvious that the real mets already noted....you really cant make a "prediction" with substance, as some so loosely do on blog- without a real textbook knowledge of meteorology and tropical weather. The fact is there is a huge difference in a guess labeled as a prediction and a and a fact based forecast.
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i dont seewhere pressure has been dropping please point me to that data
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what are you doing up this time in the am , you should be sleeping you have school in the am
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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.

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