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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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


No Scott. Sorry.
I must be looking at those colored wind shear forecast maps wrong then. I see the GOM going from blue and yellow to more oranges and reds.
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Seems like the moisture from that SA big wave moving NW, is going to feed or ventilate Richard.... if it keeps alive.....

Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9690
new image just came out on IR Sat and Eye still holding up on Richy! i cant believe this. this is one Extraordinary storm, but you have to admit most storms arent alike
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MOBILE HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
NORTH CENTRAL ESCAMBIA COUNTY IN NORTHWEST FLORIDA...
EAST CENTRAL BALDWIN COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST ALABAMA...

* UNTIL 1000 PM CDT

* AT 913 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO 10 MILES EAST OF
ROBERTSDALE...OR 10 MILES NORTHEAST OF SUMMERDALE...MOVING NORTH AT
30 MPH.

19 mins ago
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Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25291
Storm report has basketball size hail reported in AL. Hope thats not possible.
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Quoting JLPR2:


Seems to be on the same spot to me:




My bad, I see that you did post in-sync images.

But, SSD vs. radar doesn't look the same, imo.
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Quoting Grothar:


Depends if it takes the highways across or goes the back roads. How you doing scott?
Not to good! How about you? Ive got the measels at 40 years old.
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Quoting scott39:
whatever is left of Richard could survive in the GOM. The wind shear becomes more condusive over the next 72 hours in the GOM.


No Scott. Sorry.
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Quoting JFLORIDA:
TORNADO DAMAGED HIGH SCHOOL IN RICE. REPORTS OF MULTIPLE INJURIES AND PEOPLE TRAPPED IN CARS.



Havoc from south of Fort Worth to northern Ky right now, storm report loaded, I saw the meso warnings this morning and didnt pay much attention until I noticed it exploading in IR off the LSU site while updating myself on Richard.
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Quoting HurricaneDean07:
Yes, That's my new screen saver!!! LOL


Wouldn't be a bad idea, if the subject came up in the future. LOL
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25291
whatever is left of Richard could survive in the GOM. The wind shear becomes more condusive over the next 72 hours in the GOM.
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564. JLPR2
Quoting Seastep:


That's 0215Z. Below is 0145Z, atm.

JMO. Not going to post the Belize radar pic because I think the inline placement is what has caused outage for the public there today. Here's the link for comparison.



So I guess you are comparing images of different times? O.o
I posted a current image of the radar and a nasa one basically of the same time, check it out.
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8493
Quoting scott39:
How long will it take Richard to go across land?


Depends if it takes the highways across or goes the back roads. How you doing scott?
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25291
Quoting JLPR2:



Seems to be on the same spot to me.


EDITED: My bad, I see that you did post in-sync images.

That's 0215Z. Below is 0145Z, atm.

JMO. Not going to post the Belize radar pic because I think the inline placement is what has caused outage for the public there today. Here's the link for comparison.

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560. JLPR2
Quoting Grothar:


Could be an image of a big lake!


You'll have to explain that one, I didn't get it. :S
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Quoting JLPR2:


Seems to be on the same spot to me:




Could be an image of a big lake!
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25291
Highest elevation Yucatan....

Cerro Benito Juárez 210 m or 630 ft.
Cordón Puc 150 m or 450 ft.
aprox.....
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9690
How long will it take Richard to go across land?
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Quoting 1900hurricane:
Definitely an eye, and a well defined one at that!



DANG! That is one impressive eyewall for a storng cat 1. they shouldve called it at least a two. at the 11 they should keep it at the same intesity i would be surprised to see them weaken Richy.
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
Quoting Grothar:



You mean, like this........

Looks like a cat-2. It would be something if it officially went from a one to a two over land.
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553. JLPR2
Quoting Seastep:


I would say yes, but more because of the shear and the top being able to catch up to the bottom that is being subjected to drag. Also, angle of Sat vision plays a role.

Radar, when available, is nice. Radar has the eye significantly E of the sat presentation.


Seems to be on the same spot to me:


Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8493
Definitely an eye, and a well defined one at that!



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Quoting Grothar:



You mean, like this........

Yes, That's my new screen saver!!! LOL
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
Quoting HurricaneDean07:
Richard has shown it's true strength tonight, the eye is deepening further on IR Sat.



You mean, like this........

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25291
Quoting katadman:
What is the speed of Richard's forward motion?
about 14 MPH
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
What is the elevation of the Yucatan Peninsula?
It has a mean elevation of 8 meters (26 feet) above sea level.
What is the geography of the Yucatan Peninsula?
It is a flat land with a subtropical climate, much akin to that of Florida, in the United States.

(From Internet page link)
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9690
Quoting bappit:


Yah, don't know if you are commenting on my post or not. That is an eye. The storm has had an eye all day. It was obscured on satellite photographs.


Hey bappit! Yes, funny to see an eye so far inland and intact. I guess it may have been a little stronger than they thought.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25291
X
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
What is the speed of Richard's forward motion?
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Richard will not make it to the GOM as a TS.
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Quoting bappit:
Just speculating, but could the appearance of a cloud free eye be caused by some weakening of the storm? Consider that it had a lot of strong convection before hand, so much that the cirrus obscured the eye. (It has had an eye for a while, clearly visible on radar.) Now it goes over land and the convection decreases, pressure rises, eye wall moves away from the center of the storm as pressure gradient decreases, less cirrus generated near the center of the storm, descending motion over the eye finally dissipates the cirrus faster than it is created. Presto: cloud free eye. Seems more reasonable than a hurricane strengthening over dry land.


I would say yes, but more because of the shear and the top being able to catch up to the bottom that is being subjected to drag. Also, angle of Sat vision plays a role.

Radar, when available, is nice. Radar has the eye significantly E of the sat presentation.
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Quoting Grothar:
That is definitely an eye.

Richard has shown it's true strength tonight, the eye is deepening further on IR Sat.
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
5 minutes old

Hurricane Richard Makes Landfall In Belize
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Quoting Thundercloud01221991:
so percentage wise do you think richard has at maintaining TS force till landfall in the gulf?
65 % to 55%
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
19L/H/R/C1
overland

WEAKENING FLAG FLAG

U notice it's popped out an eye and improved its overall structure as it moves across the yucatan.
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
Quoting hydrus:
Yes...YES,...EYE...!...
Pinhole!!!.I also wanna add that an intensifying sysytem can have more punch than a weakning hurricane.
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Aye!
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Quoting Grothar:
That is definitely an eye.



Yah, don't know if you are commenting on my post or not. That is an eye. The storm has had an eye all day. It was obscured on satellite photographs.
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getting reports on my local news of power out roofs torned off in area of landfall in belize
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Quoting Grothar:
That is definitely an eye.

Yes...YES,...EYE...!...
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Quoting oleClegs:


Excuse me I was just sitting in on the class professor but do you mean "recognize"?

Caught! I read too much British literature, and it affects my spelling.
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Quoting hydrus:
I do not see it offen either...Is it pronounced eye-ther or ee-ther.?..Hmmmm..


You say potato, I say potato.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25291
Quoting washingtonian115:
What is that hurricane you have in your avatar?
You can click your mouse on the avatar and see it up close..It is 1985,s Kate.
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That is definitely an eye.

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25291
Quoting washingtonian115:
What is that hurricane you have in your avatar?


Click on it.
Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690

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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.