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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Unstable blood-sugar combined with extensive shear between egos is expected to spawn severe rage and tantrums throughout the afternoon. EVERYONE BE SAFE!
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:
It's been raining with thunder all day. Will the rain ever stop for PR?


Soon...

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It's been raining with thunder all day. Will the rain ever stop for PR?
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Interesting, here's another one that was bad..

June 2nd, 2000

Outlook


Storm reports


However, this wasn't a classic northwest flow outbreak, it was just a line of severe storms along a strong cold front.
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May 31, 2002

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Quoting jasonweatherman2010:
Scattered thunderstorms. A few may be severe. Storms may produce large hail and strong winds. Low near 70F. Winds NNW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 50%. 1 to 2 inches of rain expected.


Always helpful if you tell us where you are.

:-)
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
only if a treat to land and if a request is made by the country being treaten


Hmmm. I just don't ever remember reading about a flight for a system anywhere in the Indian or Pacific oceans.

Reading on Typhoon Tip it does indicate flights. So did the weather centers in the Asian region change their policy at some point?
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Convective outlook for July 1st, 2001 Kinda similar from todays outlook..

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I just came back from lunch. The weatherman was right! We got scattered showers....so scattered that I could walk around the raindrops and that is no mean feat. Our chances for rain are supposed to go to 50% tomorrow, graduation day. There is some hope to the south over Cuba. Maybe it will drift this way.
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Quoting aquak9:
(bites tongue)


1.) Seen anymore trackers today?

2.) How'd the rain dance go? ;)
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(bites tongue)
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Quoting Jedkins01:


dude just shut it, stop being jealous that people at the NHC are experts and you aren't. If you want to know why they do what they do, then go through sweat and tears it takes to get there in school, but until then, stop complaining. I am going to school for meteorology and I am sick of people who barely know anything acting like they know more than people with a Doctorate in meteorology, its absurd.





Then don't come here. This is a blog for people who want to express their opinion, and that is exactly what I am doing. If you don't like it, leave.
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May 31, 2002

Was also living on Long Island at the time..

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Severe Thunderstorm Watch #451 for much of western Pennsylvania, eastern/southeastern Ohio, much of West Virginia, western Maryland, extreme northern Virginia, extreme northeastern Kentucky.



Tornadoes: Low
Strong tornadoes: Very low
Hail: High
Large Hail: Moderate
Winds: High
Damaging Winds: Moderate

DISCUSSION...STORMS ARE EXPECTED TO DEVELOP ALONG APPROACHING COLD
FRONT...OUTFLOW BOUNDARIES AND OVER THE HIGHER TERRAIN DURING THE
NEXT FEW HOURS. A VERY UNSTABLE AIR MASS ALONG WITH DEEP LAYER SHEAR
AT 30 KT WILL BE FAVORABLE FOR SEVERE MULTICELL STORMS. WHILE HAIL
LIKELY WILL BE THE PRIMARY THREAT ONCE STORMS DEVELOP ...THE STORMS
ARE EXPECTED TO ORGANIZE INTO LINES LATER THIS AFTERNOON...WITH WIND
DAMAGE BECOMING THE GREATER THREAT.
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Massive Outbreak, I was living on Long Island at the time, had a tornado reported in the Hamptons.


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Quoting reedzone:
Major Severe weather Outbreak today for Long Island, a classic summer, northwest flow of severe storms. Outbreak such as July 1st, 2001, May 31, 1998, and May 31, 2002 are analogs for this outbreak, a "moderate risk" of severe weather in NYC alone is rare.


New York City will end up with wind damage or reports of hail in the city before the night is up.
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Quoting alfabob:
Remember, NHC said it was being conservative with initial model inputs; so it is possible that RI occurred and now they are going off of non-conservative numbers. This thing has very rapid winds near the core, so I wouldn't doubt cat 3.


I highly doubt that Rapid Intensification ever occurred. I believe the National Hurricane Center raised this system's intensity more than what it was actually strengthening, especially Tuesday and yesterday
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Major Severe weather Outbreak today for Long Island, a classic summer, northwest flow of severe storms. Outbreak such as July 1st, 2001, May 31, 1998, and May 31, 2002 are analogs for this outbreak, a "moderate risk" of severe weather in NYC alone is rare.
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Quoting weathermanwannabe:


NHC is always working on improving forecasts:

U.S. Department of Commerce, National Weather Service (NWS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA),
Deadline(s): Jun 01 2012 12:00AM
Deadline Information

Full proposals must be received and validated by Grants.gov, postmarked, or provided to a delivery service on or before 5:59 p.m. ET, March 4, 2011.
Summary

The Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project (HFIP) provides the basis for NOAA and other agencies to coordinate hurricane research needed to significantly improve guidance for hurricane track, intensity and related coastal impact forecasts. It also engages and aligns the inter-agency and larger scientific community efforts towards addressing the challenges posed to improve hurricane forecasts. The goals of the HFIP are to improve the accuracy and reliability of hurricane forecasts, thereby increasing confidence in NOAA's hurricane forecast. The specific goals of the HFIP are to reduce the average errors of hurricane track and intensity forecasts by 20% within five years and 50% in ten years with a forecast period out to 7 days.


I know they're improving, and that's great.

But after Charley, when Ivan's cone went over South Florida, people didn't take a chance and evacuated, and some did again.
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Quoting hurricanejunky:
This morning we take a look back at the 2004 Hurricane Season with an hour long video that gives us the emergency management perspective of the Florida landfalling hurricanes of 2004: Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne. Tell me what you think...

The Hurricanes Of 2004

That was brilliant! As one who lived through that 2004 hurricane season her in Fort Myers, it is impossible to forget. I have been a lurker on this site every since Charley. I guess 2004 was the year I really understood Florida's nickname, the plywood state!
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Quoting Levi32:


The fact that they never mentioned the dry air immediately around Adrian (they only ever mentioned the dry air over <26C SSTs) doesn't make sense to me. What they didn't mention is exactly the reason why I disagreed with their forecast. I think they have overestimated Adrian's intensity, but obviously I have no influence. What's done is done.


Because dry air is not as influential as some of you here seem to think. I'm not saying its not, but all you have to do is to think more about how a tropical cyclone functions. They get their energy and moisture from the warm waters. When tropical cyclones move into cooler waters, it shuts its "engine" off, allowing dry air to be sucked in, which is why the NHC then mentions the dry air in that circumstance. However, under the right atmospheric conditions, and warm tropical waters, tropical cyclones can have no problem keeping dry air away. That is because they manufacture their own moisture. Mid-Latitude cyclones are dependent on having a moisture source, and if they didn't have a frontal zone swinging into more moist zones in the lower latitudes, they wouldn't gather sufficient moisture. Even then, they always have massive amounts of dry air behind the frontal zones, because they also pull in very dry air.


Its not that Adrian hasn't had some dry air entrainment, but it is not as big of a deal as some of you think. As soon as dry air moves in, the tropical cyclone also rapidly replaces the dry air with high moisture.

A tropical cyclone's biggest threat of dry air is when it moves over cooler water, shutting off its engine, which in tune shuts off its moisture intake. Also, wind shear will cause the cyclone to become tilted and distorted, causing parts of the cyclone to lose efficient moisture transport, then allowing dry air to penetrate and erode the cyclone.


One great example of what I speak of was Katrina, you couldn't just blame dry air to the west for causing Katrina to weaken substantially from its major 5 status before landfall. For the whole time, even during strengthening, Very, very dry air was lying to the west side of Katrina, but because of low wind shear and overall ideal tropical cyclone formation, it allowed Katrina's heat engine to fire very efficiently, and dry didn't means squat. However, as Katrina approached land, it longer was favorable, Katrina's system was disrupted, shutting off the moisture flow, which then allowed the dry air to be a problem, causing it to weaken...

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whoa,theirs a tropical swirl just offshore sarasota county,im hunkering down preparing for cat -2 winds,i'll post tranquil condition pics after she passes,god speed stillwaiting
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


I don't think so. I think it has been a weak/maybe moderate Category 2 the whole time. Just because it has an eye and looks well-defined, that doesn't necessarily mean it is a Category 3. Adrian has always been pretty well-defined from the time it was an invest. I think the main reason the NHC upgraded it is because of the eye, but they shouldn't go off that.


I doubt the main reason was because of the eye. If memory serves me right, they bumped Ike to a Category 3 and he didn't have the best eye appearance. Adrian took advantage of the time he had to intensify before the SAL got to him.
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Quoting cyclonekid:


What did the T-Numbers suggest?


115 mph. But, that is most likely only because there was an eye feature at the time.
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Quoting caneswatch:


Charley. No one saw that coming until 3-4 hours before landfall.


NHC is always working on improving forecasts:

U.S. Department of Commerce, National Weather Service (NWS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA),
Deadline(s): Jun 01 2012 12:00AM
Deadline Information

Full proposals must be received and validated by Grants.gov, postmarked, or provided to a delivery service on or before 5:59 p.m. ET, March 4, 2011.
Summary

The Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project (HFIP) provides the basis for NOAA and other agencies to coordinate hurricane research needed to significantly improve guidance for hurricane track, intensity and related coastal impact forecasts. It also engages and aligns the inter-agency and larger scientific community efforts towards addressing the challenges posed to improve hurricane forecasts. The goals of the HFIP are to improve the accuracy and reliability of hurricane forecasts, thereby increasing confidence in NOAA's hurricane forecast. The specific goals of the HFIP are to reduce the average errors of hurricane track and intensity forecasts by 20% within five years and 50% in ten years with a forecast period out to 7 days.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


I don't think so. I think it has been a weak/maybe moderate Category 2 the whole time. Just because it has an eye and looks well-defined, that doesn't necessarily mean it is a Category 3. Adrian has always been pretty well-defined from the time it was an invest. I think the main reason the NHC upgraded it is because of the eye, but they shouldn't go off that.


What did the T-Numbers suggest?
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


I don't think so. I think it has been a weak/maybe moderate Category 2 the whole time. Just because it has an eye and looks well-defined, that doesn't necessarily mean it is a Category 3. I think the main reason the NHC upgraded it is because of the eye, but they shouldn't go off that.


That's exactly right. An eye can often partially clear out due to the presence of dry air. After all, clouds evaporate in the presence of unsaturated air. The inside of the eye is no exception.

I'm headed back to work and class. Back later.
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Quoting caneswatch:


Like I said, small but compact, a tight center and banding. They were very justifiable in what they did. Even though it will only stay a major for such a short time, it did become one.


I don't think so. I think it has been a weak/maybe moderate Category 2 the whole time. Just because it has an eye and looks well-defined, that doesn't necessarily mean it is a Category 3. Adrian has always been pretty well-defined from the time it was an invest. I think the main reason the NHC upgraded it is because of the eye, but they shouldn't go off that.
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Quoting Levi32:


There was no EWRC Gro. Sorry but I have to disagree with you on this one. Microwave imagery showed no evidence of an EWRC. Dry air entrainment had begun before the eye feature had a chance to form, and thus when it finally did, it was deformed and ragged. It's still open now, and if you notice, is now filling rapidly on visible and IR satellite. The majority of the intensity models this morning were also holding Adrian at Cat 1 intensity throughout the forecast period, so I wasn't all that crazy. I will grant that Adrian looks like a low Cat 2, but nothing higher. The NHC just loves to default straight to the Dvorak estimate in the absence of recon. Here, I think that was a poor decision that made their forecast look perfect.


Like I said, small but compact, a tight center and banding. They were very justifiable in what they did. Even though it will only stay a major for such a short time, it did become one.
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T-numbers dropping as the eye fills.

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Dvorak shows significant weakening in the past couple of hours.

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126. JLPR2
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


You can definitely see it weakening in that loop. Dry air is getting into it, and Adrian has reached his peak at 115 mph.




So it reached its max and started weakening while I was asleep, poo! :\
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Quoting DestinJeff:
NHC is never wrong.

Except that one time...


Charley. No one saw that coming until 3-4 hours before landfall.
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Quoting Levi32:


The fact that they never mentioned the dry air immediately around Adrian (they only ever mentioned the dry air over <26C SSTs) doesn't make sense to me. What they didn't mention is exactly the reason why I disagreed with their forecast. I think they have overestimated Adrian's intensity, but obviously I have no influence. What's done is done.
its in the books now as the first major of the 2011 season in epac and early as well
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Quoting Levi32:


The fact that they never mentioned the dry air immediately around Adrian (they only ever mentioned the dry air over <26C SSTs) doesn't make sense to me. What they didn't mention is exactly the reason why I disagreed with their forecast. I think they have overestimated Adrian's intensity, but obviously I have no influence. What's done is done.


That doesn't make sense to me either. You can clearly see all the dry air here:



and here:



Why ignore that?
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


I'd say its about 100/105 mph. What about you?


I agree. That still makes me wrong, as I said it would hit top-end Cat 1 and not Cat 2, but my disagreement with the NHC on the intensity forecast still stands, and they still have yet to mention any of the unfavorable conditions around Adrian that I have. I would have expected them to mention at least the dry air, but they continued to note the "very conducive environment for rapid intensification."
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


I have to say though, something does seem totally different about how they forecast Adrian. I've never seen the NHC jump the gun so fast before. I hope they do not do that when we get hurricanes in the Atlantic, it'll scare people.


The fact that they never mentioned the dry air immediately around Adrian (they only ever mentioned the dry air over <26C SSTs) doesn't make sense to me. What they didn't mention is exactly the reason why I disagreed with their forecast. I think they have overestimated Adrian's intensity, but obviously I have no influence. What's done is done.
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Quoting Levi32:
High-resolution visible loop shows the eye filling with dry air wrapping around from the north into the west side of the core now, and there is nothing between the eyewall and the outside world on the north and east sides. No spiral bands in the NE quadrant.


I'd say its about 100/105 mph. What about you?
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I'm off to bed. Stay well, Stay safe. Play safe.
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High-resolution visible loop shows the eye filling with dry air wrapping around from the north into the west side of the core now, and there is nothing between the eyewall and the outside world on the north and east sides. No spiral bands in the NE quadrant.
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Quoting Levi32:


There was no EWRC Gro. Sorry but I have to disagree with you on this one. Dry air entrainment had begun before the eye feature had a chance to form, and thus when it finally did, it was deformed and ragged. It's still open now, and if you notice, is now filling rapidly on visible and IR satellite. The majority of the intensity models this morning were also holding Adrian at Cat 1 intensity throughout the forecast period, so I wasn't all that crazy. I will grant that Adrian looks like a low Cat 2, but nothing higher. The NHC just loves to default straight to the Dvorak estimate in the absence of recon. Here, I think that was a poor decision that made their forecast look perfect.


I have to say though, something does seem totally different about how they forecast Adrian. I've never seen the NHC jump the gun so fast before. I hope they do not do that when we get hurricanes in the Atlantic, it'll scare people.
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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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