Tropical Storms Nate, Maria have formed; 2011 season on the heels of 2005's numbers

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 11:25 PM GMT on September 07, 2011

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Tropical Storm Nate formed in the southern Gulf of Mexico this afternoon after Hurricane Hunters found a well-defined surface circulation in Invest 96L. Nate is the 14th named storm this year, and comes three days before the climatological half-way point of the Atlantic hurricane season, September 10. A typical hurricane season has just 10 - 11 named storms, so we've already had 35% more than a whole season's worth of storms before reaching the season's half-way point. At this rate, 2011 will see 28 named storms, equalling the all-time record set in 2005. Nate's formation date of September 7 puts 2011 in 2nd place for earliest date of arrival of the season's 14th storm. Only 2005 had an earlier formation date of the season's 14th named storm (September 6, when Hurricane Nate got named.) Third place is now held jointly by 1936 and 1933, which got their 14th storm of the season on September 10.

This afternoon's Hurricane Hunter mission into Invest 96L/Nate found maximum sustained winds of at least 45 mph, and minimum central pressure of 1003 mb. Wind shear in the region is low and is expected to remain low for the next 48 hours. Sea surface temperature is toasty in the Gulf at around 30°C (86°F) and more than ample to support intensification. Nate will bring heavy rains and potential flooding and mudslides to Mexico, and according to some weather models, also has the potential to be a U.S. landfall threat. Nate's surface circulation is apparent on satellite loops, although the thunderstorm activity in the storm is displaced from the center. It appears the strongest storms are to the southwest and northeast of the center. East of the storm, thunderstorms are churning associated with the stationary front that's draped across Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, and over the Yucatan Peninsula. This stationary front is left over from the cold front that pushed south through the central and eastern U.S. earlier this week, and created a focal point in the Gulf of Mexico for Tropical Storm Nate to form. It's notoriously difficult for weather models and forecasters to predict tropical cyclones that spin up in the Gulf of Mexico, but lead-time for both Nate and our previous Gulf cyclone, Lee, was generous.


Figure 1. Infrared satellite image of Tropical Storm Nate at 6:15pm EDT.

Forecast for Tropical Storm Nate
Given the favorable environment, in addition to a very warm pocket of sea surface waters in the central Gulf of Mexico, we expect that Nate will intensify modestly over the next few days. The National Hurricane Center forecasts that Nate will become the third hurricane of the season by Friday. The HWRF and ECMWF agree with this forecast—both of these models bring Nate to a category 2 hurricane by Saturday. The IVCN/ICON consensus models that the Hurricane Center relies on are more conservative, peaking at category 1 intensity. Nate's maximum potential intensity is heavily dependent on its track, which, according to the weather models, has been up in the air for the past few of days. Until this afternoon's run, the ECMWF has held true to its forecast that Nate will track north and make landfall anywhere from Louisiana to Florida. This afternoon, it backed off of that solution and is now forecasting a northern Mexico landfall. The GFS has consistently forecasted a track that lingers in the Bay of Campeche for a few days before ultimately making dive to the west into Mexico. Over the past few days the Canadian CMC model has been reluctant to develop Nate at all, but today is forecasting the system to track north into the Southeast U.S. states. Now that there is Hurricane Hunter data to ingest (as well as confirmed 45 mph surface wind speeds), we expect the models will come into better agreement on both track and intensity for Tropical Storm Nate.

Tropical Storm Maria

Tropical Depression 14 was named Tropical Storm Maria late this morning, as well. The storm is still pretty far east in the Atlantic, 1,200 miles east of the Leeward Islands, but is moving quickly to the west at 23 mph. According to the National Hurricane Center, Maria looks well-organized on satellite, "but not really." If you look closely at satellite loops (especially the loops that you can catch before the sun sets in that area), you'll see the surface circulation is located to the west of the strongest thunderstorm activity. Well-organized tropical cyclones will be vertically stacked in the atmosphere, with the strongest thunderstorms directly on top of the surface circulation. Maria's disjointed-ness is likely due to a pretty strong clip of wind shear (30 knots worth) in the area. This would usually be deadly for a tropical cyclone of Maria's strength, but since the storm is moving so quickly to the west, the Hurricane Center is forecasting the storm to remain somewhat intact for the next 5 days, although the forecast is for no intensification. Models are coming into better agreement on the track of this system. Prior to today, the ECMWF was forecasting a track south of Puerto Rico, but has since changed its mind and is now in agreement with many of the other models on a track skirting the northern Leeward Islands and missing the Greater Antilles to the north. Beyond this, there is quite a bit of uncertainty depending on steering winds in the Atlantic. It's still too early to guess which track the models will eventually converge on. Climatology favors a track that would miss land, with Dr. Bob Hart's track history pages suggesting Maria has a 22% chance of hitting Canada, 19% chance of hitting Bermuda, and an 11% chance of hitting North Carolina.

Angela

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1272. Buhdog
Quoting basti11:




that really doesnt matter lets just say i know how to predict hurricane movements and where they are going to go...i can assure you the gulfcoast has nothing to worry about this is MEXICO written all over it....


LOL stormtop jr using the flush model again.
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1271. usa777
Quoting ackee:
seem like NATE track may shift towards GUFL STATE TO ME there now even split on where this will go mexico or GULF STATE I think more model will shilft towards the GULF STAE


What?..lol
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1270. Buhdog
Quoting 19N81W:
Just had a look at last season and I know we are only in September and early sept. at that...we have only had two hurricanes and of the other storms they have seemed relatively harmless? What is the cause of generally weaker systems this year?


broad areas of low pressure have not been able to consolidate quickly as they have been close to land have been one factor. There are a few storms that would have gotten much worse without land interaction. Home grown storms like this year tend to do that.
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Just curiosity, Dr Hart - no disrespect - but how were those percentages holding up when Irene came calling?

I think they were pretty similar to Maria.

I sure hope Nate can come a little farther north into TX. TX could use every drop of rain.
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1268. Caner
Quoting basti11:



ok im glad you asked me that question there are 2 factors here ...NATE is sitting in some very warm water and basically not moving...number one factor the strong high over texas will start to build in by friday....well thats in place another high just south of NATE in the caribbean will move north a much weaker high...NATE will feel the influence from the high in the caribbean and start to get nudged north for 6-12 hours then the strong high over texas will build south combined with the massive pool of dry air to nates nw will block NATE from a northward move and possibly shove nate even more on a sw track ..this could end up back on the yucatan as a hurricane...there is no wat nate makes it that far north to the gulfcoast...we are inthe clear like i said 98% for mexico landfall...


Awful lot of will's in that prediction there, Nostradamus.

With your 98% certitude, you leave little room for any 'mights.'
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1266. fire635
Quoting basti11:



ok im glad you asked me that question there are 2 factors here ...NATE is sitting in some very warm water and basically not moving...number one factor the strong high over texas will start to build in by friday....well thats in place another high just south of NATE in the caribbean will move north a much weaker high...NATE will feel the influence from the high in the caribbean and start to get nudged north for 6-12 hours then the strong high over texas will build south combined with the massive pool of dry air to nates nw will block NATE from a northward move and possibly shove nate even more on a sw track ..this could end up back on the yucatan as a hurricane...there is no wat nate makes it that far north to the gulfcoast...we are inthe clear like i said 98% for mexico landfall...


I dont understand why you don't acknowledge the possibility of NATE riding around the ridge to the east and north... especially when there is an undisputable split between reliable models right now. To be 98% sure is misleading to those who don't have any weather knowledge
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Quoting wxobsvps:


I have an extra XTRP if we need it.


Yeaahhh! XTRP Rules! 'Cause it is a Ruler...or, well, at least can be drawn by one...
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1263. 19N81W
Just had a look at last season and I know we are only in September and early sept. at that...we have only had two hurricanes and of the other storms they have seemed relatively harmless? What is the cause of generally weaker systems this year?
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1262. ackee
I think maria COULD very WELL weaken to wave track more towards the winward or central ISLAND more more towrds the west in my view given its current speed and state
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1261. Buhdog
Quoting basti11:



ok im glad you asked me that question there are 2 factors here ...NATE is sitting in some very warm water and basically not moving...number one factor the strong high over texas will start to build in by friday....well thats in place another high just south of NATE in the caribbean will move north a much weaker high...NATE will feel the influence from the high in the caribbean and start to get nudged north for 6-12 hours then the strong high over texas will build south combined with the massive pool of dry air to nates nw will block NATE from a northward move and possibly shove nate even more on a sw track ..this could end up back on the yucatan as a hurricane...there is no wat nate makes it that far north to the gulfcoast...we are inthe clear like i said 98% for mexico landfall...


who were you before you were basti 11? just curious.
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1259. kap333
Mmmmmmm GFS Florida Storm Sannnndwichhhhhh

http://moe.met.fsu.edu/cgi-bin/gfstc2.cgi?time=20 11090806&field=Sea+Level+Pressure&hour=Animation
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1257. ackee
seem like NATE track may shift towards GUFL STATE TO ME there now even split on where this will go mexico or GULF STATE I think more model will shilft towards the GULF STAE
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1256. hydrus
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1255. Caner
Quoting duajones78413:
What are the chances Texas gets some rain from Nate?


Unless something happens to that obnoxiously stubborn high pressure system that has been squatting over you all summer, slim to none.

All of the northward tracking models right now have the storm either gliding around the HP into LA/Miss or being pulled back into Mex underneath it.
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1254. hydrus
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1252. ackee
Quoting SLU:
Now that MARIA is approaching warmer SST's, it will be able to develop intermittent bursts of deep convection as it nears the islands. MARIA needs to slow down a bit if it wants to redevelop a well defined circulation. Even if it degenerates to a tropical wave, which seems most likely at this time, it could still produce 40 - 50mph winds in the Lesser Antilles tomorrow so residence in those islands need to closely monitor this system and still treat it like a tropical storm regardless. Also, given the rapid westward movement over the last 24 hours, it will most likely cross the Lesser Antilles further south than the model consensus currently indicates. Perhaps taking a track similar to the BAM SHALLOW model if it doesn't restrengthen.


agree
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1250. Dakster
Quoting FLdewey:


Pat just clutched his chest and fell off his chair.


Anyone got an AED handy?
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Bad setup for TX wildfires

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What are the chances Texas gets some rain from Nate?
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1245. Dakster
Quoting FLdewey:


Am I sensing a slight cone shift towards CONUS with the 11am advisory?
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1243. fire635
Quoting basti11:


that wont happen i can assure you of that no place for nate to go except into MEXICO...


More than half of the models disagree with you... very bad advice
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1242. ncstorm
Quoting P451:


Irenes footsteps? At least into the Bahamas - East Coast setup is different - I don't believe we see a coastal rider like Irene became.



Yeah, I agree as well..
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Quoting Caner:


The majority of models have predicted a Northerly track for Nate since they began predicting its formation.

Yesterday, for the first time, a majority of models predicted a westerly track.

Now, as of this morning, many of those models are shifting back north.

Beyond the models, the system is resting, almost stationary, to the right side of a large HP system over the Tex/Mex border.

There is another HP building in north of that one.

I would be more interested in learning why you feel there is nothing possible but a western move, given the models majority consensus over the last few days of a northern motion, and the existing high pressure to the left of it; and now, apparently, new low pressure possibly building in to the right of Nate.


I agree totally....He needs to explain his 98% certainty. There are more reasons for a northward motion than a westward motion right now.
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Quoting wxobsvps:


*taps foot*, hands on hip.


That Dewey, he's an original!
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1236. hcubed
Quoting rushisaband:



LMAO .... btw ... what is a spoof?


Kinda like a spork, right?
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WRF was actually good with Lee, here is as far as I can get it (+72z) for Nate:

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1233. Caner
Quoting basti11:




ok i would love to hear your your opinion how you think NATE is going somewhere else but MEXICO...just give me one good reason NATE could take a north path all the way to the gulfcoast just one...im dying to hear it..


The majority of models have predicted a Northerly track for Nate since they began predicting its formation.

Yesterday, for the first time, a majority of models predicted a westerly track.

Now, as of this morning, many of those models are shifting back north.

Beyond the models, the system is resting, almost stationary, to the right side of a large HP system over the Tex/Mex border.

There is another HP building in north of that one.

I would be more interested in learning why you feel there is nothing possible but a western move, given the models majority consensus over the last few days of a northern motion, and the existing high pressure to the left of it; and now, apparently, new low pressure possibly building in to the right of Nate.
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1230. Dakster
Quoting FLdewey:
The bad news: CycloneOz is in the hospital with a respiratory issue

The REAL bad news: He stole DoomCon from me.

CycloneOz Facebook post:

Verdict in. No pneumonia, but an evil convergence of asthma and upper respiratory infection. (shot) Hospital stay 2-3 days. Personal DoomCon set to HEIGHTENED. They told me that 1 more day would have made it much worse. Good thing I'm not that crazy.

I wish him a speedy recovery... and my attorneys will be in touch.


ROFLMAO... I can't wait to see this case in court.

I wish Oz a speedy recovery too. Respiratory infections are no fun...
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dude maria is going more south. Does this mean she will affect Florida? Some of the models now take her close to Florida.
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1227. ncstorm


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1226. SLU
Now that MARIA is approaching warmer SST's, it will be able to develop intermittent bursts of deep convection as it nears the islands. MARIA needs to slow down a bit if it wants to redevelop a well defined circulation. Even if it degenerates to a tropical wave, which seems most likely at this time, it could still produce 40 - 50mph winds in the Lesser Antilles tomorrow so residence in those islands need to closely monitor this system and still treat it like a tropical storm regardless. Also, given the rapid westward movement over the last 24 hours, it will most likely cross the Lesser Antilles further south than the model consensus currently indicates. Perhaps taking a track similar to the BAM SHALLOW model if it doesn't restrengthen.


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Quoting basti11:




ok i would love to hear your your opinion how you think NATE is going somewhere else but MEXICO...just give me one good reason NATE could take a north path all the way to the gulfcoast just one...im dying to hear it..

There is a 1021mb high due W of Nate, he *has* to detour around it, forcing him N if he moves at all today.
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1222. ncstorm


thats a big shift for Maria



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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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