x

Wilma's formation marks busiest hurricane season ever

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:00 PM GMT on October 17, 2005

The historic Hurricane Season of 2005 now has the distinction of being the busiest ever. Wilma's formation this morning gives 2005 21 named storms, equaling the mark set in 1933. With over six weeks still left in hurricane season, that mark will likely be surpassed.

After struggling for two days as a tropical depression, Wilma finally put together a sustained, intense burst of deep convection this morning that propelled her to tropical storm strength. This convective burst is only on the south side of the center of circulation, and the storm still has a long way to go before attaining hurricane status. Dry air is intruding on the northwest side, and the upper level outflow is established only on the east side of the storm. Still, the overall satellite signature is rather ominous and impressive, with a large envelope of thickening clouds on the eastern side of the storm. The wind shear is still very low--about five knots, and expected to stay low. The last hurricane hunter mission left the storm at 4:30 pm EDT Sunday, so the exact strength of the storm is not known at this point. There is not another mission scheduled until 2 pm EDT today. The NOAA jet is scheduled to make its first flight Tuesday afternoon.

The forecast guidance still predicts that this will be Hurricane Wilma by Wednesday. Wilma will spend the next three days in a low-shear environment with water temperatures of 30 C (86 F), which should allow intensification into at least a Category 2 storm, perhaps even a Category 3. Wilma reminds me of Rita, which spent about three days trying to organize in the Bahamas before finally solidifying its inner core and rapidly intensifying. This storm may behave similarly.


Figure 1. Computer model tracks for Wilma.

Steering currents are expected to remain weak the next two days, and some erratic motion is possible. All of the forecast models predict a generally west or west-northwest motion over the next two days. However, this morning's southerly motion at 5 mph is something none of the forecast models have called for. This gives me some concern about this storm severely impacting Honduras and its neighboring Central American countries, particularly Guatemala, which is still reeling from the impact of Hurricane Stan. As Wilma grows in size, a continued southward motion may allow it to start pulling in a deep layer of moisture from the Pacific Ocean, which would trigger heavy rains over the regions of Guatemala and El Salvador hardest hit by Stan. These rains would probably be in the 3 - 5 inch range--nowhere near the devastating 15 - 25 inches seen from Stan, but still high enough to trigger new mudslides on the destabilized slopes of the steep mountainsides.

The computer models have been having huge difficulties with a weak trough of low pressure over the U.S. that may be able to pull Wilma northwards. Last night's 00Z (8pm) models runs of the five models we plot on our computer model tracking chart all failed to properly initialize this trough, calling for it to be weaker than is really is. This resulted in a set of model tracks with a much further west track for Wilma, bringing her into Belize or the Yucatan later in the week. This morning's 06Z (2am EDT) runs of the GFDL and GFS model did properly initialize this trough, and these new model runs now indicate a sharp turn to the northwest and north across western Cuba. Given that the models are not currently handling the southerly motion of the storm, I would be hesitant to believe this forecast yet. All the computer models were calling for a similar northward track for Hurricane Mitch in October 1998, and it ended up wandering south and getting stuck off of the coast of Honduras. However, a second much stronger low pressure system currrently bringing rain to southern California is expected to move east this week and push a trough far enough south to pull the storm northwards later in the week, if the current trough can't do the job. The west coast of Florida still appears likely to receive a hit from Wilma. The timing and severity of this blow are impossible to call at this point until Wilma starts her northwestward turn.

Elsewhere in the tropics, nothing else is happening. I'll be back with a update this afternoon about 4pm, when the latest set of model guidance will be in and the Hurricane Hunters will have visited the storm.

Stan revisited
The official death toll from Hurricane Stan in Guatemala is 654, with 830 people missing. Another 133 people have died in Mexico, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras, making Stan one of the 30 deadliest hurricanes in history. Over 3.5 million Guatemlans have been affected by the storm, with nearly 5,000 homes destroyed and hundreds of thousands damaged. Many corn, sesame and sorghum crops along the south coast were been destroyed, and Guatemala will need extensive long-term aid to recover from this immense disaster. The Guatemalan Red Cross has made available a way to donate online via the Active network (www.active.com). With the earthquake disaster in Pakistan and Hurricane Katrina competing for attention, donations are urgently needed in Guatemala.


Figure 2. View of the Lake Atitlan region of Guatemala, looking south towards the Pacific Ocean. The circulation of Hurricane Stan pulled a deep layer of moist air off of the Pacific Ocean, which triggered heavy rains of 15 - 25 inches. A huge mudslide roared down the slope of the Toliman volcano and buried the town of Panabaj, killing over 400 Guatemalans. Note the brownish deforested areas on the slopes of the Toliman volcano; the lack of vegetation on the slopes contributed to many of the mudslides from this disaster.


Jeff Masters

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

Sign In or Register Sign In or Register

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 170 - 120

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9Blog Index

170. stormydee
5:01 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
I don't understand why they are not accounting for all her southerly movement...she still looks like she's heading south....Link...wouldn't that just blow NHC away if she moved out into the Pacific and never turns north...ha/ha
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 39 Comments: 517
169. MandyFSU
5:01 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
Yeah, dude- I went on it back in 2000, and I hear they've remodeled since then... Hopefully no storms next July!
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 82 Comments: 2525
168. Hecker
4:58 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
167. weatherdude65
4:59 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
Stormy, my kids LOVED Royal Carribean. When we went on Mariner we hardly saw them. They were always wanting to go to all of the kids programs. When we ported at Grand Cayman, the kids stayed on the ship and we went ashore for shopping, then back to the ship and the hot tubs!!
166. stormydee
4:56 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
mctypething, if you haven't been on a Carnival, you will enjoy yourself...their cabins are bigger than Royal Caribbeans are...just Royal's food seemed better to me...and I like the Bahama cruise out of Port Canaveral, Royal's stops at two places while Carnival, only one port...
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 39 Comments: 517
165. CybrTeddy
5:00 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
Ummm... I think I remember reading that Katrina caused 2 BILLION to 4 BILLION dollars of damage and killed as many as 11 while it sliced southwestward across southern Florida as a Cat 1 before entering the gulf and heading for New Orleans...



Uhh I was speaking of Central Florida not Southren Florida.
You took what I said out of context.
JenD
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 25342
164. FtLauderdalepunk
5:00 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
THE LATEST GFS 12z

Link
163. kingy
4:56 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
west coast of florida is due for an almighty beating. The warm temps of the ocaen will guarantee that much. The remnants will work north and re-flood the NE.

Watch out west coast floridians, it's been a long time-a-coming but Wilma is all yours I believe
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
162. weatherdude65
4:58 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
Mandy....been on Sovereign three times. You will have a great time!
161. Hecker
4:41 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
160. mctypething
4:54 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
Royal Caribbean doesn't leave from Tampa, so we used Carnival.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
159. windcast
4:52 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
Destiny -- i think storm mans frustration has more to do with the NHC than you. Clearly he was tryin to state his anger towards them, dontcha feel bad thats all over lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
158. stormydee
4:48 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
I totally agree, Royal Caribbean is the better of the two..Ive been on 3 Carnival ships and 3 Royal Caribbean ships...Carnival make their ships exactly the same...part of the fun of a cruise is getting lost on the boat while u r drunk (LOL)...cant do that w/ Carnival more than once if you go out of FL. However, Carnival is more kid friendly....I'll see how kid friendly Royal Caribbean is this Dec 2nd :-)
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 39 Comments: 517
157. theboldman
9:53 AM PDT on October 17, 2005
heyhey hey wannabe hows it going man well have to go be on later
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
156. mctypething
4:51 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
caneman, you could be on to something. The ridge of high pressure is also a factor. Too many people seem to get some sick pleasure out of seeing these things turn into major hurricanes, without regard to the human element involved.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
155. iyou
4:50 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
Destiny - in no way are you a troll!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
154. caneman
12:49 PM EDT on October 17, 2005
I'm holding out for more dry air to intrude and disrupt the storm mechanics. No one needs another 'cane now.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
153. Destiny
7:45 AM HADT on October 17, 2005
Well I personally hope Wilma is plagued with a blast of windshear that just rips her apart so NOBODY has to worry about her at all. That goes for any other potential storm for the rest of the season. I dont live down there, but my family does and I'll be glad for this season to just come to an end.

Now that I've put my foot in my mouth, Im going to go shovel my driveway again. My apologies StormMan, I swear there was no mal intent to anything I said. As for the emails I just got from some people on here. I've never been called a troll before, not sure what thats suppose to mean, but Im sorry. I didn't realize anything I said was, troll like. Wow
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
152. MandyFSU
4:48 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
Thanks! We're going on the Sovereign of the Seas in July- I helped my sister-in-law pick her wedding site. She did goooood. ;-)
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 82 Comments: 2525
151. stormhank
4:44 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
any threat from wilma in Fla. panhandle area anyone????
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
150. weatherdude65
4:47 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
planning on being on Freedom of the Seas next year!!!!
149. weatherdude65
4:46 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
Hello stormy....and welcome back Mandy
148. MandyFSU
4:46 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
I agree wannabe- Royal Carribean all the way!
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 82 Comments: 2525
147. subtropic
12:45 PM EDT on October 17, 2005
Hi Stormy. BTW - Thanks for posting that.
Member Since: August 29, 2002 Posts: 209 Comments: 4434
146. weatherdude65
4:43 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
I have never been on Carnival...I have heard that it is not that good. I have been on Royal Caribbean 5 times.
145. MandyFSU
4:37 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
Hi all- back from lunch & been catching up. Thanks for all of the great info. We'll keep our fingers crossed that this turns into a whole lotta nothing.

The next 5 days aren't going to affect us, for sure- it'll still be south of the peninsula (Florida) then, I believe. It's this time next week when we'll all be under the gun, if it makes it that far, IMHO
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 82 Comments: 2525
144. stormydee
4:25 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
Good Monday Afternoon. :-)
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 39 Comments: 517
143. weatherwannabe
4:40 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
mctypething Carnival is a terrible cruise line.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
142. mctypething
4:38 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
Everything that I have read and heard indicates that Louisiana is not likely to take a hit from Wilma. Take that with a grain of salt, though.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
141. NineMile
4:36 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
Posted By: Califonia at 4:14 PM GMT on October 17, 2005.

Posted By: CybrTeddy at 2:56 PM GMT on October 17, 2005.

Just for the record Central Florida has been very lucky this hurricane season. All the storms passing us by.


Ummm... I think I remember reading that Katrina caused 2 BILLION to 4 BILLION dollars of damage and killed as many as 11 while it sliced southwestward across southern Florida as a Cat 1 before entering the gulf and heading for New Orleans...

You might have a hard time convincing those people that they had been "passed by".


Califonia- Ummm...I think you need to read CybrTeddy's post more carefully. Central Florida has been spared this year, Katrina included.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
140. DaAntiCyclone
11:37 AM EST on October 17, 2005
Wow, Steve that 12Z GFS brings her across South Florida and the Upper Keys.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
139. tilidarose
4:36 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
Do you all think that Louisiana will escape Wilma? I'm a Katrina evacuee myself, my family had to evacuate for Rita, and quite frankly I'm tired of this hurricane business. I'd also like to return to NOLA this weekend, but am concerned about Wilma.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
138. mctypething
4:35 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
HAHA, just called Carnival about a scheduled cruise I have leaving Thursday from Tampa and going to Cozumel. They said that they never cancel trips and they will just divert the destination somewhere else.

Great. It's nice to know their alcohol and gambling profits take priority over everyone's safety.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
137. GoingtoCancun
4:32 PM GMT on October 17, 2005

Long-term forecasts show the storm heading into the Gulf of Mexico by the weekend. Forecasters said high water temperatures and other conditions were favorable for it to become a significant hurricane.

But hurricane specialist Stacy Stewart said Wilma had shifted west of its previous path and could hit Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, not the U.S. Gulf Coast. "At this time it doesn't appear it will be a major threat to the United States during the next five days," Stewart said
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
136. WillJax
4:31 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
135. WillJax
4:27 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
IMHO TS Wilma deserves her name, and it will be proven later today by recon.

Check out the latest QUIKSCAT derived winds (this is from 10:41 AM EDT, so she may have even strenghtened a bit ):

img src="http://manati.orbit.nesdis.noaa.gov/dataimages21/cur_hires/zooms/WMBas76.png".
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
134. StormMan
4:19 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
Sorry, I meant to say Nicaragua, not Columbia.

Keep an eye on this one "for yourselves", it is very good idea to keep aware but this one looks like it's going to do nothing, let's hope so.

By the way, here's a water vapor loop look at the storm:

http://www.goes.noaa.gov/HURRLOOPS/atwv.html

Ciao,

=StormMan
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
133. mctypething
4:18 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
Stormman, you bring up some very good points and your comments are a welcome read. Too many people on this blog, and in general, think every flare-up of convection in the tropics is going to turn into a cat 5 and hit land. It has gotten quite old and I have alluded to this in previous comments. The truth is that nobody has the slightest idea what Wilma will do, or where she is going. It is sad that in this day and age we have not progressed more in hurricane tracking and prediction. With that said, it is even more sad that the NHC has become so aggressive with forecasting. CYA culture we live in. They don't want people to come back at them later and say, 'you didn't warn us this could happen.' So everything becomes a doomsday scenario.

Bottom line, you just have to wait these things out and hope for the best. Conjecture all you want, but anything can happen and simply saying that it will be a Cat 3 to hit the west coast of FLA is a naive thing to do.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
132. subtropic
12:18 PM EDT on October 17, 2005
StormMan. That's what a blog is for. I'm glad you finally took the time to say your piece.
Member Since: August 29, 2002 Posts: 209 Comments: 4434
131. SteveFL
4:13 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
The first part (the 120 hr run) of the 12Z GFS is in. Compared to its previous two runs, it seems to split the difference between too far west (the 0z run) and too far east (the 06z run), bringing Wilma through the Yucatan channel, brushing the NE tip of the peninsula. That's where it ends; presumably, the implication from that point is further up the FL W Coast than the 06z run (which was Ft. Myers).
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
130. windcast
4:15 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
Link im staring at this and i am wondering how in the world the models can forcast this storm (wilma) to head north at all? any thoughts?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
129. StormMan
4:02 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
No worries subtropic, no flame taken, just wanted to give you more of what I was thinking. Seems I need decaf but I've been sitting on these comments for a bit and the feeling just overwhelmed me on this.

OK, regarding others posts, first you might find this interesting (it is only updated every 6 hours:

http://www.oceanweather.com/data/Caribbean-Sea/marineloop.html

It puts a "graphical spin" on what's happening down there, both ndbc buoys in the area are represented. AirPressure is not doing anything and winds are light.

As for the high pressure (9pm last night comment), ok then here's the 1200 UTC (8am Florida time) map:

http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/tropic/real-time/atlantic/winds/wg8dlm1.html

(this image link is updated every few hours so depending on when you click on it you will see the "current" readings")

Anyway, I hate to run, but I will be offline until Thursday, heading to earthquake county (California) for biz trip.

I certainly hope this system does nothing to harm anyone and I think it will remain weak and dissipate over Columbia.

=StormMan
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
128. Califonia
4:00 PM GMT on October 17, 2005

Posted By: CybrTeddy at 2:56 PM GMT on October 17, 2005.

Just for the record Central Florida has been very lucky this hurricane season. All the storms passing us by.


Ummm... I think I remember reading that Katrina caused 2 BILLION to 4 BILLION dollars of damage and killed as many as 11 while it sliced southwestward across southern Florida as a Cat 1 before entering the gulf and heading for New Orleans...

You might have a hard time convincing those people that they had been "passed by".
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
127. weatherwannabe
4:13 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
Stormman - good points. Way to think for yourself. Too many folks here think every fog bank just seconds from turning into the next cat 5.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
126. subtropic
12:10 PM EDT on October 17, 2005
As for the historical reference, the only thing I have heard from the NHC is that this ties the busiest season on record. I haven't heard them state this was the busiest season ever. That is a huge distinction.
Member Since: August 29, 2002 Posts: 209 Comments: 4434
125. subtropic
12:09 PM EDT on October 17, 2005
Palmbeacher. Received and replied.
Member Since: August 29, 2002 Posts: 209 Comments: 4434
124. Destiny
7:04 AM HADT on October 17, 2005
OH geez, StormMan, I hope you dont think I was flaming on you either, I was just curious what information you were using. I guess I look at it like this, maybe they inflate the actual severity of these storms, but I would think if it makes people pay attention and take the necessary precautions, then so be it, it surely beats the alternative and people get caught off guard. I do however share your opinion about the historical aspect of it. How in the world would they know. As for this season, you have to admit it was a real thrill ride. So many first, so many big suprising events. Its definitely one for the history books.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
123. windcast
3:57 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
Link good visible you can see the dry air gettin sucked into that massive north eastern low that caused the flooding as it moves out. Also, looks like high pressure in the gulf is keeping wilma south.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
122. palmbeacher
4:04 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
Sub, "Mr. Generator" check your mail
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
121. subtropic
11:54 AM EDT on October 17, 2005
StormMan. Understood. I am very familiar with the issue you raised. I don't necessarily disagree with you. Just don't want to see anybody have an aneurysm over it. I hope you don't think I was flaming you earlier. Just my sense of humor. I try to inject it as much as possible when there is something brewing and people seem tense.
Member Since: August 29, 2002 Posts: 209 Comments: 4434
120. FLGLFCST
3:53 PM GMT on October 17, 2005
Yuck that looks like its headed our way... This is getting real old.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 170 - 120

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9Blog Index

Top of Page

Dr. Jeff Masters' WunderBlog

About

Dr. Masters (r) co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

Local Weather

Mostly Cloudy
45 °F
Mostly Cloudy

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Afternoon clouds over Southwest Puerto Rico
Storm clouds gathering over Half Dome
Sierra snow
snowman at Yosemite Falls