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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At some point that Ridge over Texas has to break down!

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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


How'd you figure out how many minuses you have received?

I was told by a highly-placed admin.
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Quoting wxobsvps:
I have no doubt that Nate will head to Mexico.
It needs to get moving. The longer it sits the higher the chance for a northerly track.
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Quoting quicksilverskys:
I normaly never post But, Great site & blog right now! How long has Dr. Masters' blog been going? I came to WU in 2001 or 2002 I think. Got my first membership in 2003 & I cant remember if this was going then. Anyway its a great place to lurk, Especially in the Hurricane season! Does anyone Know how many yrs WU has been around now?

http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comm ent.html?entrynum=1
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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? ;-)


How'd you figure out how many minuses you have received?
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Quoting flwthrfan:
oh...I was going to say Walmart and Home Depot...got it wrong again


They coordinate with the government lol.
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Quoting P451:


AL, 15, 2011090800, , BEST, 0, 204N, 926W, 40, 1003, TS







There they are ;)
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The Passaic River is rising again.
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Quoting GeorgiaWx65:
or folks such as Neapolitan will minus any post that does not agree with his extreme pro stance on Global warming. Like if it doesn't coincide with his agenda, it get's a minus from him. Notice how you can't see his posts when you are logged out or when you don't have the filter to average. Because the more you minus someones posts, the more your value goes down. Like Karma you know. So I think he just drove his rating straight into visual obscurity!! haha

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? ;-)
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Quoting hahaguy:


The government.
oh...I was going to say Walmart and Home Depot...got it wrong again
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159. HCW
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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


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...
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Quoting spinningtop:
THE WEATHER FORCASTERS ON TV THEY SAID MARIA WOULD BE THE ONE TO HIT EAST COAST

How silly of them.
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Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
Maria getting lots of media coverage hear in the leeward islands. Thank God the people are getting adequate warnings :)
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Good steady rain here in florida thanks stalling front
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Quoting jascott1967:


It's OK, not ugly, we;ve been reading that this drought will extend into next year. I feel bad for those who will lose their homes, property, earnings, and all the beautiful parks but nature does not care about those things. It will effect the national economy, like all disasters do but nothing can be done about mother nature.

Well, you won't like what Dr Ryan N. Maue from FSU said then.

September 3, 2011: Katia and Lee in the North Atlantic are contributing just enough ACE to keep up with climatology. Tropical Storm 16W has formed in the Western Pacific. The Eastern Pacific basin is expectedly quiet due to the chilly waters resulting from the oncoming La Nina.
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Quoting P451:


Someone has pointed out before that 2005 also had many tiny borderline short lived storms. Although some were killers - Alpha flooded the DR I think.

Bret 2 days, 40mph (1 dead)
Gert 2 days, 45mph (0 dead)
Jose 1 day, 50mph (6 dead)
Lee 5 days, 40mph (0 dead)
Unnamed STS, 1 day, 50mph (0 dead)
Tammy, 2 days, 50mph (0 dead)
Alpha, 2 days, 50mph (23 dead)


Yeah everyone season has a few but I mean we've only had two hurricanes thus far. It just doesn't stack up aside 2005.
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
No, just a tad west of due west :)


Yes -- That one will live on for awhile.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10646
Quoting spinningtop:
THE WEATHER FORCASTERS ON TV THEY SAID MARIA WOULD BE THE ONE TO HIT EAST COAST


Then yes, "they" could be wrong... But we don't know 100% yet. I am suprised that anyone would gaurantee a hit or miss at this point. Too far away.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10646
Quoting brazocane:


Terrible scenario for 2 reasons:

Louisiana more rain...

Texas more gusty dry wind to increase the already critical fire threat...

Yeah, almost exact track Lee took.
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Quoting spinningtop:
THE WEATHER FORCASTERS ON TV THEY SAID MARIA WOULD BE THE ONE TO HIT EAST COAST
Inexperienced forecasters I guess. Dont believe the hype. Maria is following Katias lead!!
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Quoting Dakster:


Who is "they"?


The government.
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138. txjac
Quoting BDADUDE:
Katia movin by


Beautiful picture ...would love to way up every day and see that!
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Pressure down another notch:

AL, 15, 2011090800, , BEST, 0, 204N, 926W, 40, 1003, TS, 34, NEQ, 0, 90, 75, 60, 1011, 175, 45, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, NATE, M,
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Quoting GeorgiaWx65:

Evening Breald. Cute doggie. :)



Thanks Georgia :)
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GFS loop. Interesting.
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Quoting Dakster:


Ok. Then W at 23 MPH... I though she was still going just north of Due West... or maybe that was East of Due West.
No, just a tad west of due west :)
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Not to be offensive, but with forecasts like that, youll never be wrong!! :)
Quoting weatherjr:
In fact, 50 % Maria could be stronger than forecasted and 50 % she could be weaker than forecasted (to the point where she could be doungraded). This is my personal forecast based on the present conditions.
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Katia movin by
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Quoting AussieStorm:

Canadian have it going close-ish, teasing ya's.



Terrible scenario for 2 reasons:

Louisiana more rain...

Texas more gusty dry wind to increase the already critical fire threat...
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125. txjac
Quoting jascott1967:


It's OK, not ugly, we;ve been reading that this drought will extend into next year. I feel bad for those who will lose their homes, property, earnings, and all the beautiful parks but nature does not care about those things. It will effect the national economy, like all disasters do but nothing can be done about mother nature.



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
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Quoting spinningtop:
SO THEY LIED ABOUT MARIA COMMING TO FLORIDA?


Who is "they"?
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10646
Quoting breald:
Evening all, I guess the East Coast has its force field up which is deflecting all these storms out to sea. : )
"HAARP" must be turned on
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Quoting Levi32:


Which I'm personally not entirely sold on yet, but we will see. BOC systems can surprise you with intensity sometimes. I would probably expect a Cat 2 or stronger storm to be more likely to make it to the north gulf coast, but that doesn't mean that something weaker than that can't make it. I still think it's a bit early to discount either possibility with Nate. The models are still pretty spread out in timing and position.


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