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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NOAA has yet again increased the odds of something forming in the southern Caribbean. Not much in the way of model support yet, but the odds keep going up regardless:

Click for larger image:

Appropriate tropical weather-related image
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Quoting Orcasystems:


We aren't doing snow this year.. clashes with my new golf shoes

Oh yes you are and plenty of it!!!!
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:

not where i am
but there was some north west and east of me
i am sure it will not be long mild now and wet
maybe by next weekend as we cool down again
will be my next chance it will be halloween then and after that you can get it anytime


We aren't doing snow this year.. clashes with my new golf shoes
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Quoting islander101010:
would be kind of strange to get a cyclone near texas in november

I agree-I've lived on the TX Gulf Coast all my life (nearly 55 years) and don't ever remember any late October/early Nov. storms.
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Quoting Orcasystems:


Snowing yet KOG??

not where i am
but there was some north west and east of me
i am sure it will not be long mild now and wet
maybe by next weekend as we cool down again

will be my next chance
it will be halloween then
and after that you can get it anytime
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11:55 AM CDT Satellite of Hurricane Richard

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x
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Thanks for the update Dr. Masters,
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


Snowing yet KOG??
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Quoting Ameister12:
Blog Update on Richard

Good job :O)!!
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Mission 10 into Richard is feet wet and on the way
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Ah nevermind. I see it was asked and answered while I was typing. That sinkhole looks nasty!
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Ack, shikori! Pictures with no title or explanation.
Something is going on... somewhere.
Belize maybe?
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Quoting stormpetrol:
Once again gotta take my hat to the NHC they performed excellent with Richard's track and intensity IMO. Kudos to them!!
Thank you.
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Complete Update



AOI
AOI AOI AOI

AOI AOI AOI

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI
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Next Recon mission to take off around 1p.m EDT with arrival into the system around 5p.m EDT. Recon will likely be arriving just prior to landfall.

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. TROPICAL STORM RICHARD
FLIGHT ONE -- TEAL 72 CORRECTED FOR TEAL NUMBER
A. 24/2100Z
B. AFXXX 1019A RICHARD
C. 24/1700Z
D. 16.7N 87.6W
E. 24/2000 25/0000Z
F. SFC TO 15,000 FT
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shikori, where are those pics from
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Blog Update on Richard
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Quoting sunlinepr:
There... look.... S of Jamaica
Is that a 2nd CV season??


also note that nice high pressure over se which should keep anything on the west track over yuc just like all the rest this seasonwe might get one or two more but chances are falling off big time after nov 1st
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would be kind of strange to get a cyclone near texas in november
Member Since: September 11, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 5001
Quoting stormpetrol:
Once again gotta take my hat to the NHC they performed excellent with Richard's track and intensity IMO. Kudos to them!!
Their track did vary as it always does but they consistently stayed south and west of the model runs using their human education and experience. They did a great job. Of course their forecasts are not part of some sort of contest by any means. Their mission is basically to save lives and protect protect property.

NHC Mission Statement
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It seems like 10 day models always show DOOM!
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Quoting sunlinepr:
There... look.... S of Jamaica



The GFS develops another storm at the end of 10-2010 through the end of the model run!
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Quoting stormpetrol:
Just spoke to my sister-in-law in Corozal, Belize, lots of rain and they're preparing for it. To my friends and family in Belize. Stay safe!!

I hope and pray for their safety as Richard approaches :O)..
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There... look.... S of Jamaica
Is that a 2nd CV season??


Quoting Bordonaro:

Yes Richard is going to be disassembled within 24 hours of landfall.

2010 ATL Hurricane Season is 17-10-5!!

Does any of the computer models point out another Caribbean storm over the next 7-10 days??
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Once again gotta take my hat to the NHC they performed excellent with Richard's track and intensity IMO. Kudos to them!!
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Quoting shikori:
Link

The beginning of 11/2010 looks interesting!!
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richard got a couple of hrs left and then it will be gone



approaching landfall
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Quoting Neapolitan:

Ummm... ;-)
Beat me to it...LOL
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Quoting sunlinepr:
Will this be Richard's grave?



Richard's midlevel circulation should survive crossing the Yucatan but increased shear over the GOM should do that in.

Also, nice image of the enormous crater buried under the NW Yucatan you got there ;)
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Ya have to know how to pull in da Lurkers here..


Snicker,ack!!!
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Just spoke to my sister-in-law in Corozal, Belize, lots of rain and they're preparing for it. To my friends and family in Belize. Stay safe!!
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Quoting Patrap:
This year October has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays.

This happens once every 823 years.

Ummm... ;-)
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Quoting CosmicEvents:
That's not right.
It happened as recently as 2004.


So sue me,,,

LOL
Geekness rules
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Quoting Patrap:
This year October has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays.

This happens once every 823 years.
That's not right.
It happened as recently as 2004.
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Quoting Bordonaro:

Yes Richard is going to be disassembled within 24 hours of landfall.

2010 ATL Hurricane Season is 17-10-5!!

Does any of the computer models point out another Caribbean storm over the next 7-10 days??
not that i have seen and if there was the doc would have said something he did not even mention any other dev except for 90l
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gonna play poker on facebook, more exciting that watching richard
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Then again.. maybe not..
all things come to an end CT and this season will end just like all the rest no matter how much you may not want it to
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A ragged eye is beginning to come into view.

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This year October has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays.

This happens once every 823 years.
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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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