Hurricane Richard bears down on Belize

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:35 PM GMT on October 24, 2010

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Data from an Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft confirms that Richard has intensified to hurricane strength, as it bears down on the coast of Belize. At 7:30am CST, the aircraft measured surface winds of 85 mph. Winds at their 5,000 foot flight level were 97 mph, qualifying Richard as the 10th hurricane of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season. This year is now tied for sixth place for most hurricanes in an Atlantic hurricane season. This year's 17 named storms also ranks 6th most in history. Atlantic hurricane season records go back to 1851. Richard's center passed just north of the Honduras' Bay Islands this morning, bringing winds of 46 mph, gusting to 58 mph, to the Roatan Airport. Winds were clocked at 49 mph, gusting to 69 mph, at Calabash Bight on Roatan Island.

The latest 8am CST eye report from the Hurricane Hunters noted that Richard had formed a nearly complete eyewall, with a gap in the southwest side. Radar images from the Belize radar also showed this gap, but the gap closed at 9am CST, and Richard now has a complete eyewall, which will promote more rapid intensification. Recent satellite imagery shows a symmetrical, well-organized hurricane with respectable low level spiral banding, and upper level outflow improving in all quadrants. Richard has now walled itself off from the dry air to the storm's west, as seen on water vapor satellite loops.


Figure 1. The eye of Richard is very prominent in this radar image from the Belize radar taken at 9:15am CST 10/24/10. Image credit: Belize Meteorological Service.

Forecast for Richard
The latest set of 12am CST (6Z) model runs are in excellent agreement with Richard's track, taking the enter of the storm inland over Belize between 4pm - 9pm CST tonight. The latest radar animations from the Belize radar indicate that Belize City will experience a portion of the eyewall of Richard, and residents of Belize City can expect a 2 - 4 hour period of hurricane force winds to begin between 4pm - 6pm CST this evening. Tropical storm force winds of 39+ mph should arrive at the coast between 2pm - 4pm CST this afternoon. A good way to estimate these arrival times is using the wundermap with the "hurricane" layer turned on and the "wind radius" and "forecast" boxes checked. Richard is in a very favorable environment for intensification, with low wind shear between 5 - 10 knots, and warm water temperatures of 29 - 29.5°C. Given these conditions, and the fact that the eyewall is is now fully formed, Richard will probably undergo a period of rapid intensification that could take it to Category 2 strength with 100 mph winds at landfall this evening. Once inland, Richard's small size and relatively slow forward speed of 5 - 10 mph on Monday will lead to substantial weakening as it crosses the Yucatan Peninsula. The storm will probably be a tropical depression when it emerges over the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday--if it survives the crossing. If Richard does survive the crossing, high wind shear over the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday and Wednesday should keep the storm from intensifying. Richard should dissipate by Wednesday, before affecting any other land areas.

Invest 90L
A tropical wave (Invest 90L) centered 600 miles northwest of the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Africa is encountering a very high 40 - 60 knots of wind shear. The shear is predicted to drop to the moderate range, 10 - 20 knots, Monday through Wednesday. This may give 90L the opportunity to develop, and the NOGAPS model is calling for 90L to develop into a tropical depression by mid-week. NHC is giving 90L a 10% of developing into a tropical depression by Tuesday.

Next update
I'll have an update on Monday morning at the latest.

Our weather extremes expert Christopher C. Burt has a very interesting post today on the hottest temperatures ever measured on Earth.

Jeff Masters

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377. JLPR2
jeez 7000ft? O.o

I live at 13ft above sea level. XD
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8493
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Richard has yet to make landfall...the western eyewall is just breaking the coast. It isn't considered landfall until the center of the circulation moves inland, and radar from Belize reveals that it has yet to do so.



I can see a slight sliver of coast in the eye..
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375. BDAwx
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Radar indicates Richard made landfall.

Landfall of the center or the eyewall?
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Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
I wasn't aware of any mountains in Florida.
miami does not have any mountains. The highert point of Florida is in NW Florida just a couple miles south of Florala, Alabama. The height is between 300 to 400 feet there.
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Quoting DontAnnoyMe:


345' is the highest elevation in FLA. That might be a mountain to some!

Highest Points in the United States Map


345? Lets see...thats only 7000ft below the elevation of my house.
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Richard has yet to make landfall...the western eyewall is just breaking the coast. It isn't considered landfall until the center of the circulation moves inland, and radar from Belize reveals that it has yet to do so.

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Radar indicates Richard made landfall.
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Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
I wasn't aware of any mountains in Florida.


345' is the highest elevation in FLA. That might be a mountain to some!

Highest Points in the United States Map
Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
366. mbjjm
strong winds affecting Belize
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X
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
thanks, sorry.... :)(

Quoting JLPR2:


Please delete that, its making a prompt. :\
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9690
Complete Update



AOI
AOI AOI AOI

AOI AOI AOI

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Quoting AEKDB1990:
Should you believe anything John Christy and Roy Spencer say?


And this is from a REAL science source:

"...Climate Progress wins TreeHugger’s “Best Politics Website”..."
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Interesting info. about a Brazilian Hurricane... Moving west clockwise rotation (S hemisphere)

Cyclone Catarina is one of several informal names for a South Atlantic tropical cyclone that hit southeastern Brazil in late March 2004. The storm developed out of a stationary cold-core upper-level trough on March 12. Almost a week later, on March 19, a disturbance developed along the trough and traveled towards the east-southeast until March 22 when a ridge caused the forward motion of the disturbance to cease. The disturbance was in an unusually favorable environment with below average wind shear and above average sea surface temperatures. The combination of the two led to a slow transition from an Extratropical cyclone to a Subtropical cyclone by March 24. The storm continued to obtain tropical characteristics and became a tropical storm the next day while the winds steadily increased. The storm reached winds of 75 mph (120 km/h)%u2014equivalent to a low-end category one hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale%u2014on March 26. At this time it was unofficially named Catarina and was also the first hurricane-intensity tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Southern Atlantic Ocean. Unusually favorable conditions persisted and Catarina continued to intensify and was estimated to have peaked with winds of 100 mph (155 km/h) on March 28. The storm made landfall later during the day at that intensity near the town of Torres. Catarina rapidly weakened upon landfall and dissipated the next day.

Since Catarina formed in an area which has never, according to reliable records, experienced a tropical cyclone before, the damage was quite severe. Despite being an unprecedented event, Brazilian officials took the appropriate actions and warned the public about the approaching storm. Residents heeded the warnings and prepared for the storm by either evacuating or by riding it out in their homes. Catarina ended up destroying 1,500 homes and damaging around 40,000 others.

Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9690
359. JLPR2
Quoting sunlinepr:
img src=


Please delete that, its making a prompt. :\
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8493
358. JLPR2
The official KMZ file from the NHC for Igor has it as a Cat 5 with 155mph?

Hurricane IGOR (al112010)
0000 UTC SEP 15
Storm Location:
18.9 N, 53.5 W
Min Sea Level Pressure:
925 mb; 27.32 in Hg
Maxium Intensity:
135 knots; 155 mph; 250 kph

hm...
What happened there? XD
Link
And Nicole's ACE is going up too, was a TS much longer on the KMZ best track file which confirms the NOAA files changes.
Link
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8493
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
hey guys sorry for being off topic but I was just watching NCIS LA and on the last bit of this show them two agents where is Grand Cayman and I was saying the same time boy I never new Grand Cayman have mountains and harbors that look like the ones that you would find in Miami
I wasn't aware of any mountains in Florida.
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Belize Radar
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9690
Radar loop Belize
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Quoting shikori:


I think thats landfall.


I love sundown images.
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Honestly, not so special on the cloud top temps.



But that can also be a sign of strong outflow...
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349. JLPR2
Quoting weatherlover94:


heads out to sea by a trough


It's impossible for a system to not hit land once it enters the Caribbean.
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8493
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9690
347. mbjjm
Live tv stream from Belize
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Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9690
Getting there. Looks like Belize City is going to get the Northern Eyewall.
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Nogaps sends
it to the gom and then looping back to CA...


Quoting shikori:


I can see the HWRF has a good handle on richard
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9690
Looks like going back to a Cape Verde Season...

Quoting 7544:


you mean this where does it end up lolLink
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9690
From Consejo, Belize: Just across the border from Chetumal, Mx.
16:16 Local (CST)
Wind NNE at 15mph gust to 24
Pressure 1008.0 and falling slowly
Rain in squalls
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High winds and hail are occuring.

Thing is really moving fast.


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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
hey guys FYI that disturbed weather ESE of Richard, South of Cayman, East of Hon/Nic WSW of of Jamaica has that Upper level high that was on Richard is now moving toward that Disturbance and also it has some very weak vort at 850
and very little at 700 and good amount of divergence but although little Convergence but it need to be watch


i think richards outflow would prevent development of this for a few days
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Model going nuts....

Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9690
A Toronado is passing a mile or so south of me as I speak.
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332. mbjjm
Quoting HurricaneDean07:
literally just minutes from landfall.


with 2omph winds at on the Belize Mainland?
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Quoting 7544:


you mean this where does it end up lolLink


heads out to sea by a trough
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Dvorak

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literally just minutes from landfall.
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9690

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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.