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 washingtonian115:
What is that hurricane you have in your avatar?


Click on it.
Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
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.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52257
so percentage wise do you think richard has at maintaining TS force till landfall in the gulf?
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Quoting KerryInNOLA:
If Richard was not making landfall it would become a major hurricane
Easily....
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Quoting hydrus:
It just struck you and the Belizians...
What is that hurricane you have in your avatar?
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Sometimes these storms can either maintain their intenssity over land or do the other(which is rare)intensify a little.Like Fay did.(I still don't know why she wasn't retired).
Andrew intensified while moving inland. Probably because of all that energy and momentum it was gaining. Especially over the Gulf Stream..
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Quoting Seastep:
Curious. Are Belize citizens known as Belizians? Or something else.

Just struck me.
It just struck you and the Belizians...
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
It is rare Hydrus. Pretty amazing to see. Not that off-ten.
Sometimes these storms can either maintain their intenssity over land or do the other(which is rare)intensify a little.Like Fay did.(I still don't know why she wasn't retired).
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Quoting JLPR2:


I think I'm going to save this one. XD
Its a pic worth savn.
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Curious. Are Belize citizens known as Belizians? Or something else.

Just struck me.
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
It is rare Hydrus. Pretty amazing to see. Not that off-ten.
I do not see it offen either...Is it pronounced eye-ther or ee-ther.?..Hmmmm..
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510. JLPR2


I think I'm going to save this one. XD
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8459
It is rare Hydrus. Pretty amazing to see. Not that off-ten.
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10578
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Lol, that happened with Alex. As it was making landfall, an eye appeared. Just goes to show that if it were over water for just a little longer, it probably would of gone under another deep burst of intensification.
Karl did it too...
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X
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52257
it looks like richard could be upgraded to a cat 2, it's structure is fantastic for making landfall 2 hours ago.
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
This is the second or third storm to form an eye feature while moving inland over that area...interesting.
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Quoting Cat5Hurricane250:
I wouldn't be surprised if he made it to 100 mph at landfall judging by the satellite signature. Unfortunately we didn't have recon in there during the last couple of hours before landfall.
Couldn't they at least do it off of satelite presentation/estimates.
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Quoting HurricaneDean07:
lol, hopefully not, but you have to admit, Fay, Ike, And Karl are some examples of what Richard is trying to pull right now, but Fay is likely to be what richard is trying to pull, I think if this keeps up we could see 65 to 75 Mph storm emerging into the BOC.
Ike being an example because he maintained intensity before slowly weakening
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ok.

I stopped in and said hello!

Good luck to all in the way of Richard if you can see this.

Night all!
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


How often are you going to post the same image?
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Quoting Orcasystems:


I found a whole page of those sayings...I am dangerous now :)


Like you weren't before?? LOL
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Quoting sunlinepr:


Did a small eye formed after landfall??

yep, he maintaining strength.
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I think Richard may pull a few tricks one of them is making a funky track I think it may go 17.2N 88.3W, 17.5N 88.5W, 17.8N 88.5W, 18.3N 88.0W, 18.5N 87.7W, 19.0N 87.7 19.5N 86.5W then onward to the ENE to W Cuba
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Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10578
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Cmon Richard don't pull a Fay..
lol, hopefully not, but you have to admit, Fay, Ike, And Karl are some examples of what Richard is trying to pull right now, but Fay is likely to be what richard is trying to pull, I think if this keeps up we could see 65 to 75 Mph storm emerging into the BOC.
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Quoting Grothar:


You have got to send that to GeoffWPB. LOL


Yes! I have seen that off-ten.
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10578
Quoting Grothar:


Funny, that happens to me quite often.


I found a whole page of those sayings...I am dangerous now :)
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26493
I wouldn't be surprised if he made it to 100 mph at landfall judging by the satellite signature. Unfortunately we didn't have recon in there during the last couple of hours before landfall.
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Quoting JUSTCOASTING:
So is Richard not a treat to the US at this time or can things change.


Yes, to both
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26493
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
So is Richard not a treat to the US at this time or can things change.
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Quoting Orcasystems:


If you see two people talking and one looks bored, he's the other one.


Funny, that happens to me quite often.
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What actually drew me to the discussion was the mountain that I understood to be mounds which are the original landscape of Native American Miami, then I went back to Belize(with a z and mounds). Anyway

Quoting SuperTyphoonLionrock:
Link
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Quoting doorman79:


Vernacular!!
Link


You have got to send that to GeoffWPB. LOL
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Cmon Richard don't pull a Fay..


Dang, he's holding onto that eye. Need to look more. Haven't even looked since back on. (**holds head in shame**) Karl did that and it was not good from Mexico.

Has belizeit or any others from there reported in?
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Did a small eye formed after landfall??

Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9648
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Cmon Richard don't pull a Fay..
Lol, that happened with Alex. As it was making landfall, an eye appeared. Just goes to show that if it were over water for just a little longer, it probably would of gone under another deep burst of intensification.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
Quoting CybrTeddy:
La Nina event likely for the 2011 Atlantic Hurricane season..
I think the 2011 hurricane season will start early,and
be active.But not as active as this season,and
Richard has practically made landfall.
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Quoting Grothar:


I would never pronounce the t. In guarded speech, that would be incorrect. They word is pronounced offen, although they do allow the t to be pronounced because it is part of vernacular speech. Just as the word soften, the t is silent. :P


Vernacular!!
Link
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Poll time...Do you pronounce the word "often" with the "t" silent?


I never do.
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
Quoting hydrus:
Better have a tube of diaper rash stuff..:)..Hope you are well Gro..We are about to get whacked here tonight. And it will last until Wednesday if the forecasts hold..


I can see that hydrus, stay dry! How OFTEN do you get those?
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478. mbjjm
90mph winds
Member Since: August 23, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 310
Quoting Grothar:


I would never pronounce the t. In guarded speech, that would be incorrect. They word is pronounced offen, although they do allow the t to be pronounced because it is part of vernacular speech. Just as the word soften, the t is silent. :P


If you see two people talking and one looks bored, he's the other one.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26493

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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.