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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Quoting LostTomorrows:


Judging by that, Maria not only gets much stronger than forecasted, but pulls an Igor on Newfoundland; Katia wobbles westward before going sharply northeastward, and Nate becomes a hurricane before succumbing to dry air off the coast of Mexico (but he looks to take a huge chunk of the dry air with him, which may be great news down the stretch). And that little blob in the east pacific that's being watched by the NHC develops?



Did you see what's over Cuba, This.

Fla. people, don't get to excited yet. it's 360hrs out.
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219. txjac
Quoting angiest:


The smoke from magnolia blew over Katy Monday and Tuesday, enough to filter sunlight and smell. Its a few miles further west today.

I was near willowbrook this morning and could see the plume


It's all just so surreal (sp?) ... like living in hell ...scary stuff
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Quoting marmark:
Wow! There are so many I's in your post. You are so amazing! LOL
Quoting wolftribe2009:
I have much to say about the current situation in the Atlantic.

First off, I am amazed that we are now up to the 14th storm. 2005 had it's 15th storm on September 6, 2005 which was Ophelia. We are on track to rival the 2005 Hurricane Season.

Now regarding TS Nate: Some of you might have remembered that I stated last week that I had a bad feeling about this storm. I want to state that this storm is likely to be a LARGE storm which could be the key for Texas getting the rain they have waited for all season. I stated in August that I expected a storm to bring rain to Texas in September and I sure hope this is the storm. Everyone else has been saying that they didn't expect anything to happen in the gulf but me and some other forecasters here have stated that the gulf would awaken soon. I think this will continue all the way through October. I am very concerned that Nate could get pulled north pull a trough like every system so far this year and could make landfall in the US as a Major Hurricane (I will have to look at shear and dry air but I think a CAT 2 is the more likely landfall).

TS Maria is looking a lot better. I don't feel comfortable with NOAA keeping the storm a Tropical Storm and think it has a good chance of becoming a hurricane. I also am looking for the chance for strengthening on a more significant scale tomorrow and Friday due to an incoming CME from the sun. I have been studying the effects of the SUN on Tropical weather this year and am excited to see how Maria and Nate respond to the activity. I look forward to this as a learning experience :-)


Oh boy...
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217. txjac
Quoting twincomanche:
Sorry did not not post sarcasm flag. Neo gets it.


Okee-dokee ...
I love Nea's and Skye's posts ..they really make me think outside of the box
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Quoting spinningtop:
ridge should break down around october

That is coming from a newbie. lol.
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Quoting Neapolitan:

Let me help you there, since you have an apparently very large hole in your big bag-o'-misinformation:

1) My take on GW mirrors Dr. Masters' and those of most credible scientists, so there's that.

2) I'm not sure where you get your info--perhaps you dreamt it?--but I absolutely do not minus any comments. Ask the admin, if you wish. Which leads me to:

3) My posts are invisible due to a concerted effort by AGW "skeptics" on this site. I won't give you an exact number of the negative votes I've received since February, but I'll tell you this: it's in the tens of thousands. Word.

Now, as you were. And think before posting next time--or don't bother posting at all. Whattaya say, sport? ;-)

I'll be the first to tell ya. I + every time you post about the weather and - you every time you post about AGW. Reason is I respect your knowledge on this tropical weather blog and can't stand your off topic statements.

Yes, AGW is off topic.

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Quoting AussieStorm:
GFS loop. Interesting.


Judging by that, Maria not only gets much stronger than forecasted, but pulls an Igor on Newfoundland; Katia wobbles westward before going sharply northeastward, and Nate becomes a hurricane before succumbing to dry air off the coast of Mexico (but he looks to take a huge chunk of the dry air with him, which may be great news down the stretch). And that little blob in the east pacific that's being watched by the NHC develops?

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Quoting txjac:



I can see the Magnolia fire smoke from my home in Houston. I am praying for some rain or praying that somehow, someway that storm comes our way. My sister is closer to the fires ...friends are being evacuated. It's pretty sad


The smoke from magnolia blew over Katy Monday and Tuesday, enough to filter sunlight and smell. Its a few miles further west today.

I was near willowbrook this morning and could see the plume
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gravy train just keeps on coming..

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210. txjac
Quoting Skeptic33:


You're right about the temperature! So much better and perfect timing for my 15K race on this past Monday morning. It's a huge difference between 80 something with humidity (Hottest Half marathon last month) and 60 something with no humidity...

Sad to say that my kid's doctor who is 5 years older than me, kicked my ass and she is a female. We were shocked to see each after the finish line. She placed 2nd for her age group. Ouch....


Now whats wrong with being female!!?? lol ...good luck on your race ...bad knees here ...dream of running again
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Quoting DFWjc:


Gimme 2 hours (from that map post) and I'll take and post the pics if those Northern rains come to DFW!!!
That's what I'm wondering is any of that hitting the ground?
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Quoting Royallypalmbeaches:
Goes to show you this individual has either never been through a Hurricane or doesn't own property as in a home. Sounds like he is depressed that maria isn't gonna hit Florida. I'm glad that it isn't just maybe my insurance rates can stay stable. Geeze o Pete can't believe people want catastrophic events to happen. Sorry an earlier post I am responding to. Quoting spinningtop:
SO THEY LIED ABOUT MARIA COMMING TO FLORIDA?
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Quoting txjac:



Love your positive thinking! Rain bands ...we'll take 'em ...the temperature has been awesome though ...loving that


You're right about the temperature! So much better and perfect timing for my 15K race on this past Monday morning. It's a huge difference between 80 something with humidity (Hottest Half marathon last month) and 60 something with no humidity...

Sad to say that my kid's doctor who is 5 years older than me, kicked my ass and she is a female. We were shocked to see each after the finish line. She placed 2nd for her age group. Ouch....
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Quoting wolftribe2009:
I have much to say about the current situation in the Atlantic.

First off, I am amazed that we are now up to the 14th storm. 2005 had it's 15th storm on September 6, 2005 which was Ophelia. We are on track to rival the 2005 Hurricane Season.

Now regarding TS Nate: Some of you might have remembered that I stated last week that I had a bad feeling about this storm. I want to state that this storm is likely to be a LARGE storm which could be the key for Texas getting the rain they have waited for all season. I stated in August that I expected a storm to bring rain to Texas in September and I sure hope this is the storm. Everyone else has been saying that they didn't expect anything to happen in the gulf but me and some other forecasters here have stated that the gulf would awaken soon. I think this will continue all the way through October. I am very concerned that Nate could get pulled north pull a trough like every system so far this year and could make landfall in the US as a Major Hurricane (I will have to look at shear and dry air but I think a CAT 2 is the more likely landfall).

TS Maria is looking a lot better. I don't feel comfortable with NOAA keeping the storm a Tropical Storm and think it has a good chance of becoming a hurricane. I also am looking for the chance for strengthening on a more significant scale tomorrow and Friday due to an incoming CME from the sun. I have been studying the effects of the SUN on Tropical weather this year and am excited to see how Maria and Nate respond to the activity. I look forward to this as a learning experience :-)
Wow! There are so many I's in your post. You are so amazing! LOL
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lol...FAIL
AL152011 - Tropical Depression INVEST
They'll fix it soon, probably XD
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Goes to show you this individual has either never been through a Hurricane or doesn't own property as in a home. Sounds like he is depressed that maria isn't gonna hit Florida. I'm glad that it isn't just maybe my insurance rates can stay stable. Geeze o Pete can't believe people want catastrophic events to happen. Sorry an earlier post I am responding to.
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202. DFWjc
Quoting GTcooliebai:
Rain!



Gimme 2 hours (from that map post) and I'll take and post the pics if those Northern rains come to DFW!!!
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201. txjac
Quoting twincomanche:
wow. Are you a paid agent of Dr. M. and therefore not to be trusted in our GW discussion? LOL.


Goodness, get over it ..Nea is strong in his beliefs and everyone are allowed them. I'm still out on the GM/AGW but I enjoy reading his opinions ...they are always thought provoking
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When was the last time there was only 3 named storms in the ATL??

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Quoting avthunder:
What a beautiful picture. Where is that?
Devonshire Bay
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I have much to say about the current situation in the Atlantic.

First off, I am amazed that we are now up to the 14th storm. 2005 had it's 15th storm on September 6, 2005 which was Ophelia. We are on track to rival the 2005 Hurricane Season.

Now regarding TS Nate: Some of you might have remembered that I stated last week that I had a bad feeling about this storm. I want to state that this storm is likely to be a LARGE storm which could be the key for Texas getting the rain they have waited for all season. I stated in August that I expected a storm to bring rain to Texas in September and I sure hope this is the storm. Everyone else has been saying that they didn't expect anything to happen in the gulf but me and some other forecasters here have stated that the gulf would awaken soon. I think this will continue all the way through October. I am very concerned that Nate could get pulled north pull a trough like every system so far this year and could make landfall in the US as a Major Hurricane (I will have to look at shear and dry air but I think a CAT 2 is the more likely landfall).

TS Maria is looking a lot better. I don't feel comfortable with NOAA keeping the storm a Tropical Storm and think it has a good chance of becoming a hurricane. I also am looking for the chance for strengthening on a more significant scale tomorrow and Friday due to an incoming CME from the sun. I have been studying the effects of the SUN on Tropical weather this year and am excited to see how Maria and Nate respond to the activity. I look forward to this as a learning experience :-)
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Quoting Skeptic33:


Still it can drastically change and prove you completely wrong...

Just look at Cholesterol and saturated fat causing heart disease... entirely wrong yet gov't agencies continue to ignore facts and push it anyway. All the facts are on pubmed if you want to verify "facts". The reality is that climate change has become a religious... Oh the irony...

It's only matter of time. :)

If you care to head on over and join the conversation in Dr. Rood's "Climate Change" blog, I and others will be more than happy to patiently explain to you just how and why you're mistaken. See you there!
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
Rain!



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192. txjac
Quoting GTcooliebai:
At some point that Ridge over Texas has to break down!



Believe me, we are praying for that GT!
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190. srada
Quoting wxobsvps:


Taz?


LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Rain!

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Quoting JNCali:

very gracious of you Nea...  do ya think it wasn't a waste of your time??

Trolls can't be taught, of course, but I thought it might be helpful info for some, yes.
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Quoting fldude99:


What makes you think Nate will be a cat 2 that will make it to the north gulf coast?


he didn't say he thought it WOULD be - just that is what it would take to take advantage of a weak trough. In later posts Levi has said he skeptical of it becoming a hurricane.
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185. txjac
Quoting Skeptic33:


Keep praying for quite a while. There's nothing in the forecast that shows any chance of getting any rain at all. I live south of Dallas-Ft Worth and I am surrounded by pasture/farm/empty land. I am surprised that nothing had happened nearby me although I did see some smoke from somewhere.

Let's hope that the hurricane in BOC gets large enough to push outer bands into Texas like Alex did last year...



Love your positive thinking! Rain bands ...we'll take 'em ...the temperature has been awesome though ...loving that
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Quoting BDADUDE:
Katia movin by
What a beautiful picture. Where is that?
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Quoting hahaguy:


I guess I've had one too many snapples.


Oh snap-..ples!
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Quoting Neapolitan:

Let me help you there, since you have an apparently very large hole in your knowledge:

1) My take on GW mirrors Dr. Masters' and those of most credible scientists, so there's that.

2) I'm not sure where you get your info--perhaps you dreamt it?--but I absolutely do not minus any comments. Ask the admin, if you wish. Which leads me to:

3) My posts are invisible due to a concerted effort by AGW "skeptics" on this site. I won't give you an exact number of the negative votes I've received since February, but I'll tell you this: it's in the tens of thousands. Word.

Now, as you were. And think before posting next time--or don't bother posting at all. Whattaya say, sport? ;-)
You're so left wing. Scary.
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I think Texas may get some more strong winds from Nate. The pressure gradient from high to low may cause some fires to get going again. Unfortunately I think Texas has been so dry for so long it is impossible for any system to move into texas as all the moisture gets taken out even as it approaches the coast.
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Quoting twincomanche:
What?


I guess I've had one too many snapples.
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
At some point that Ridge over Texas has to break down!



No it doesn't...Sssh! You'll MAKE it stick around longer, lol.
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Quoting Neapolitan:

Let me help you there, since you have an apparently very large hole in your knowledge:


very gracious of you Nea...  do ya think it wasn't a waste of your time??
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Quoting twincomanche:
Just got on. Taz, how many trolls do we have on here tonight?
None if people quit quoting them and just ignore.
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Quoting AussieStorm:

Yeah, almost exact track Lee took.


West central LA needs more rain, we're in the same drought as TX. That said, NO doesn't need the flooding.
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Quoting TerraNova:
The Passaic River is rising again.
so are the rivers in S. Vermont and w. Mass.
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At some point that Ridge over Texas has to break down!

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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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