Winds diminish for Arizona's fire; flooding from 94L kills 23 in Haiti

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:27 PM GMT on June 09, 2011

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The powerful winds that have fanned Arizona's massive Wallow fire into the state's second largest fire on record will diminish today, and the forecast for Eastern Arizona calls for more modest afternoon winds of 15 - 20 mph through Saturday. For the first time this week, NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has not issued red flag warnings for critical fire conditions in Eastern Arizona, and firefighters should be able to make progress battling the Wallow fire, which is 0% contained. Yesterday, Luna, New Mexico, located about 50 miles northeast of the fire, had wind gusts in excess of 30 mph for almost 7 hours, temperatures near 80°F, and humidities as low as 5%. The fire has grown steadily this week--300 square miles on Sunday, 365 square miles on Monday, 484 square miles Tuesday, and 608 square miles on Wednesday. Its current size is about 50% of the size of Rhode Island. The fire is close to beating the 2002 Rodeo-Chediski fire (732 square miles) as Arizona's largest fire in recorded history. Smoke from the Wallow fire has now blown downwind over 2,000 miles over the Atlantic Ocean, as seen using our wundermap for the U.S. with the Fire layer turned on. Smoke caused "Unhealthy" levels of air pollution (code red on the Air Quality Index) over much of new Mexico Wednesday. A separate fire burning in Southeast Arizona, the 167-square-mile Horseshoe Two fire, is the state's 5th largest fire on record, and is 50% contained. According to the Interagency Fire Center, 3.6 million acres have burned in the U.S. so far this year, the most on record for this early in the year--and more than double the 10-year average from 2001 - 2010 of 1.4 million acres. During May, 1.8 million acres burned, the greatest May fire acreage burned in the 12-year record. Extreme to exceptional drought conditions over most of Texas, New Mexico, and Eastern Arizona are largely responsible for the record fire season.


Figure 1. Smoke from Arizona's Wallow fire passed over the Washington DC area at a height of 5 - 9 km during the day on Wednesday, June 8, 2011. NASA Goddard's micropulse lidar in Greenbelt, Maryland took a vertical profile of particles in the atmosphere during the day. A lidar (short for LIght Detection And Ranging) is a laser detection system that bounces light waves off of particles in the atmosphere to determine where clouds and elevated pollution layers exist. During the afternoon hours, the lidar also detected large amounts of air pollution particles near the surface (orange colors) after 18 UTC (2pm EDT.) Air quality in the Washington D.C. area during the day on June 8 for particles was Moderate (84 on the Air Quality Index, code yellow), and was Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (Air Quality Index of 150) for ozone pollution. The University of Maryland Smog Blog is where I got this image from, and is a good place to get daily discussions of air pollution.


Figure 2. Smoke billows from the rapidly growing Wallow fire in Eastern Arizona in this image taken by NASA's Aqua satellite at 1:25pm MDT June 8, 2011. The actively burning fire front (outlined in red) surrounds a vast area of charred land. High winds propelled the fire, igniting spot fires as much as three miles ahead of the fire front. Image credit: NASA.

Flooding from 94L kills 23 people in Haiti
The large, disorganized tropical disturbance (94L) that brought heavy rains to Jamaica, Cuba, and Haiti early this week is no more, but at least 23 people are dead and six missing in Haiti due to torrential flooding rains from the disturbance. Satellite-estimated rainfall amounts indicate 8 -10 inches of rain fell over Haiti's southwestern peninsula this week. The heaviest rains from the remains of 94L lie just north and west of Haiti, and may be capable of bringing 1 - 3 inches of rain to Haiti, the Bahamas, and eastern Cuba today. The NOGAPS model is suggesting the remains of 94L could reorganize into a strong tropical disturbance this weekend off the coast of South Carolina, but none of the other models are showing this. The NOGAPS model has had a poor track record handling the evolution of the wind shear pattern this week, and I'm not expecting any major regeneration of 94L. Wind shear is very high 30 - 50 knots in the region between Cuba and South Carolina, making development very unlikely. Elsewhere in the Atlantic, none of the reliable computer models is predicting tropical cyclone development over the next seven days.


Figure 3. Morning satellite image of Hurricane Adrian.

First hurricane of the Eastern Pacific hurricane season forms
Hurricane Adrian is putting on an impressive bout of rapid intensification, and has emerged as the season's first hurricane in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Adrian is in an ideal environment for intensification, with light wind shear and ocean temperatures of 30°C (86°), and will likely become a major hurricane later today. Adrian is expected to remain far enough offshore the coast of Mexico to not pose a threat to that country, at least for the next three days. June hurricanes in the Eastern Pacific are much more common than in the Atlantic.

NOAA's pre-season prediction of the Eastern Pacific hurricane season, issued on May 16, calls for below average activity, with 12 named storms, 6.5 hurricanes, and 2 major hurricanes, with an ACE index 75% of the median. The 1981-2010 averages for the Eastern Pacific hurricane season are 15 - 16 named storms, 8 - 9 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes.

Jeff Masters

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Smokey Moon 2 (gilg72)
This was later at 1109PM when there was heavier smoke from the Ariz Fires.
Smokey Moon 2

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Quoting Grothar:


Just a good guess. I figured if I said every storm was going to be a Cat 4, I was bound to be right sometime.


Your on a roll tonight
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1933



I was just making a roux.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128233
There is no question that Hurricane Adrian has strengthening quite a bit from this morning, and there is no doubt that this is a Category 3 hurricane right now, but going as far as Category 4 strength to me...is well, stretching it. As I said earlier though, I'm the amateur, they're the experts, what they say goes.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31993
Quoting Levi32:


It's there. You may look at the TPW imagery yourself to see the entrainment. Adrian is just dealing with it better than I expected. Hard to miss the eye collapsing earlier this morning as well. It was painfully obvious what was going on, but he made a nice recovery.


That is because conditions are favorable for the hurricane to run efficiently, it may have pulled dry air in, but it produced more moisture on its own then the dry air sucking in, as a result, the hurricane has built a powerful inner core and sealed out any more dry air, that is until the environment deteriorates again.

I have seen so many hurricanes surrounded by dry air intensify rapidly when they are over warm tropical waters, and environmental conditions give the hurricane a great change to organize, everyone gets shocked in here every time too, lol.
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Quoting emcf30:

Props to ya Grothar, you called what ya thought even tho most went the other way


Just a good guess. I figured if I said every storm was going to be a Cat 4, I was bound to be right sometime.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26117
Quoting Grothar:


I don't ever eat anything that can knock on my door.


My brain locked-up thinking about all the possible responses to that statement.
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Quoting Grothar:


I don't ever eat anything that can knock on my door.

Ya Dont know what yer missin'....
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Quoting Jedkins01:


Exactly my point, study in high detail how a hurricane works and how it runs. Its like a machine, its fuel comes from the water, wind shear and cooler waters can disrupt that engine, which will allow dry air to invade and destroy the storm, but if atmospheric conditions are right ans waters are very warm, dry air surround a tropical cyclone will have little effect on the storm. Tropical cyclones get their massive amounts of moisture from the warm oceans, as long as everything is running right. Wind shear can cut that process off, or cooler water.


Interestingly enough, this heat engine if conditions are right works so well, it can sometimes overcome amazing circumstances. I have seen where hurricanes move into the north atlantic surrounded by very dry air and cooler water, but under a rare circumstance that cold air aloft creates the temperature differential great enough to simulate water temps in the 80 plus range, and low shear allows the hurricane to attain amazing structure and punch through any dry air.


Very good explanation and quite accurate.
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Quoting 12george1:
Who was it on here that said Adrian wouldn't even become a Category 2 hurricane?


I think it was Levi. But I knew from the beginning it was gonna surprise many of us and be way stronger than the NHC says.
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Storm Relative 16km Geostationary Water Vapor Imagery

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128233
Quoting 12george1:
Who was it on here that said Adrian wouldn't even become a Category 2 hurricane?


Yeah, jump on him, let's. Let's point out how wrong someone's opinion was. Sarcasm.
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Quoting SouthALWX:
Don't know for sure that this is Annular ...
And what do you mean Jedkins, time and time again dry air has killed hurricanes ... I agree that dry air wasn't a huge issue here, but I don't know that I agree with your implication that that is always the case.


Dry air kills hurricanes not just because of dry air, I don't have time as a busy person to explain why again, but I would ask you to study thoroughly how a hurricane works, then it might make more sense.
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Quoting Patrap:
gits cold in a hurry in those parts.
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Quoting Levi32:


It's there. You may look at the TPW imagery yourself to see the entrainment. Adrian is just dealing with it better than I expected. Hard to miss the eye collapsing earlier this morning as well. It was painfully obvious what was going on, but he made a nice recovery.


I'm guessing that they really don't think dry air is a factor right now considering they believe it's an annular hurricane, or at least resembles one.
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Quoting PrivateIdaho:
Them's gooood eatin'!!


I don't ever eat anything that can knock on my door.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26117
Quoting alfabob:

The reason why dry air wasn't a problem is because the few times it began to pull some in, it was able to wrap moisture around fast enough to eliminate it. Plus the dry air wasn't that serious, only some from the south and NE was being directly pushed into the upper levels; with some dry-air being sucked in the mid/low levels to the NW. Either way, annular hurricanes don't really have problems with dry air as the inflow is not the same as one with spiral bands.


Exactly my point, study in high detail how a hurricane works and how it runs. Its like a machine, its fuel comes from the water, wind shear and cooler waters can disrupt that engine, which will allow dry air to invade and destroy the storm, but if atmospheric conditions are right ans waters are very warm, dry air surround a tropical cyclone will have little effect on the storm. Tropical cyclones get their massive amounts of moisture from the warm oceans, as long as everything is running right. Wind shear can cut that process off, or cooler water.


Interestingly enough, this heat engine if conditions are right works so well, it can sometimes overcome amazing circumstances. I have seen where hurricanes move into the north atlantic surrounded by very dry air and cooler water, but under a rare circumstance that cold air aloft creates the temperature differential great enough to simulate water temps in the 80 plus range, and low shear allows the hurricane to attain amazing structure and punch through any dry air.
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Quoting Grothar:


We have been invaded by them. They come up and actually knock on the sliding glass doors. They are not afraid of anything.
Them's gooood eatin'!!
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128233
Don't know for sure that this is Annular ...
And what do you mean Jedkins, time and time again dry air has killed hurricanes ... I agree that dry air wasn't a huge issue here, but I don't know that I agree with your implication that that is always the case.
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Quoting alfabob:

The reason why dry air wasn't a problem is because the few times it began to pull some in, it was able to wrap moisture around fast enough to eliminate it. Plus the dry air wasn't that serious, only some from the south and NE was being directly pushed into the upper levels; with some dry-air being sucked in the mid/low levels to the NW. Either way, annular hurricanes don't really have problems with dry air as the inflow is not the same as one with spiral bands.

Come ON Bob.
Relatively speaking there was a LOT of dry air...
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Who was it on here that said Adrian wouldn't even become a Category 2 hurricane?
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Quoting Grothar:


Yep, exactly like I thought it would, as I kept saying since this morning.

Props to ya Grothar, you called what ya thought even tho most went the other way
Member Since: August 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1933
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128233
Quoting Grothar:


Yep, exactly like I thought it would, as I kept saying since this morning.

Your 100% accuracy is becoming Tedious.
You are taking all the fun out of this stuff.
Just because you have centuries of experience does not give you the right to be right. Right?

Right!
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Adrians core has been sealed off from the dry air outside the overall envelope,,that and warm SSt's iz making for a Perfect environ.





Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128233
Quoting pottery:
Adrian is a really fine Hurricane.
What would have happened if there was plenty of moisture all around it?
In spite of a lot of dry air he is a Beast of a Hurricane.
Just goes to show..... remember this when we are looking at stuff whirling around in the Gulf this year.


If there was more moisture around it, it might have a larger expanse in outer rain bands, but in principle, it likely wouldn't be much stronger or have any bigger of a wind field.
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581. JLPR2
So I took a nap and now Adrian is a Cat 4, what is it with me being asleep when Adrian strengths. LOL

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The Dreaded Purple number Nine,,a very symmetrical one @ dat
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128233
Adrian is a really fine Hurricane.
What would have happened if there was plenty of moisture all around it?
In spite of a lot of dry air he is a Beast of a Hurricane.
Just goes to show..... remember this when we are looking at stuff whirling around in the Gulf this year.
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They upgraded it to Category 4?!
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Quoting Thundercloud01221991:
Poll:

Will Adrian attain Cat 5 status?

A. Yes

B. No

No.
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Quoting Grothar:


We have been invaded by them. They come up and actually knock on the sliding glass doors. They are not afraid of anything.



Rango!
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Quoting aquak9:
Twit™.

Pay up.


I saw that! :)
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26117
Quoting Levi32:


There is such a thing as a forecaster analyzing satellite imagery for himself instead of letting a computer program do it. Dvorak is an estimate, and it has weaknesses, especially in hurricanes that are dealing with dry air entrainment and have deceptively healthy-looking eyes. The Dvorak skyrocketed to Cat 4 on Adrian just before the eye collapsed earlier this morning. I admit it looks much better now, and is surviving with the dry air better than I anticipated for today. It shouldn't last long, but it will probably be a lesson to me for EPAC systems, which I do not often track.


Maybe because dry air by itself isn't as big of a deal as you might first think, the NHC agrees with me. If you read my earlier post it might make since. Adrian doesn't have dry air entrainment. It may have sucked in dry air periodically, but tropical cyclones are heat engines that manufacture far more moist air then any dry air then can suck in. It takes the shutting off of that hurricane engine, or disruption of the circulation, to allow dry air to really effect it on a large scale. I knew Adrian was going to explode, despite some here and their fascination with dry air entrainment.
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Impressive DVORAK



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128233
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Quoting Ameister12:
Wow! Adrian is a Category 4.

000
WTPZ61 KNHC 092235
TCUEP1

HURRICANE ADRIAN TROPICAL CYCLONE UPDATE
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL EP012011
330 PM PDT THU JUN 09 2011

...HURRICANE ADRIAN REACHES CATEGORY FOUR STRENGTH...

SATELLITE IMAGES OVER THE PAST FEW HOURS INDICATE HURRICANE
ADRIAN HAS CONTINUED TO STRENGTHEN...AND SATELLITE INTENSITY
ESTIMATES NOW SUPPORT AN INTENSITY OF 115 KT OR 130 MPH...
210 KM/H. THIS MAKES ADRIAN A CATEGORY 4 HURRICANE ON THE
SAFFIR-SIMPSON HURRICANE WIND SCALE.

...SUMMARY OF 330 PM PDT...2230 UTC...INFORMATION...
LOCATION...14.5N 105.2W
ABOUT 320 MI...520 KM S OF MANZANILLO MEXICO
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...130 MPH...210 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...WNW OR 285 DEGREES AT 9 MPH...15 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...950 MB...28.05 INCHES

$$
FORECASTER STEWART/ROBERTS


Yep, exactly like I thought it would, as I kept saying since this morning.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26117
Quoting Grothar:


We have been invaded by them. They come up and actually knock on the sliding glass doors. They are not afraid of anything.


Funny you mention that. Just the other day we had a squirrel walk up to our back sliding glass door and look, then stand and look some more, then lean forward and actually tap on the glass. Was hilarious. Couldn't grab the camera fast enough though.
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T.C.F.W.
01E/MH/A/C4
MARK
15.25N/105.5W
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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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