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 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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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
NHC said W or 275.


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.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10545
Quoting P451:


LOL.

Well, they did.

Overall IR presentation is still lacking.



At least some -70s now. Yet it's displaced to the SW Quad for the most part.

Earlier on he was wrapping up along the south and east sides. That arc just plain fizzled when dry air started to get pulled in from the NW at the surface.



Where's the image with the little center dot that you usually make? =P
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Strange year. ALL the CV except Irene have been fish. Will Maria continue the trend. And where are the Cat 5s. It's supposed to be so hot and perfect for them yet we have had modest intensities?
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Quoting weatherman566:
This might sound ugly, but there's no chance for Texas. Period.

When you have so much dry air and an annoying ridge of high pressure dominating the weather, it's just highly unlikely for anything to get near them. Even if it does, you'll likely see a "Don". I know it is aggravating, but it's the unfortunate truth.

Wish there was better news!


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.
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Quoting Dakster:


WNW at 23 MPH
NHC said W or 275.
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Quoting spinningtop:
where is maria going? anyone know?


WNW at 23 MPH
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10545
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?


I believe the blog has been around since about 2005. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
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Quoting LBAR:
C'mon, Nate! Rain on Texas.

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

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Quoting weatherjr:
Shower time...
Hey WJ.. you're cool I like you, but dude... this is not Facebook 
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Quoting AussieStorm:
ECMWF 120hrs.



That is a sick joke, and the punchline is Texas.
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Evening all, I guess the East Coast has its force field up which is deflecting all these storms out to sea. : )
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Quoting TX2FL:
Remnants of Lee is sending so much rain up to PA, that we are looking at river crests and flood levels not seen in almost 40 years since Agnes. Communities right near me are evacuating and I'm afraid we are next. The susquehanna is forecast to crest at 38 and the levees are at 41 feet. They said that is not including the rain that is still coming. I'm scared to death, I live where the water was up to the 2nd floor of houses during Agnes.


Where do you live? I live in NOLA now but am from northeastern PA, not far from the Susquehanna. Some of my friends might be facing evacuations from Lee.
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Quoting weatherjr:
Shower time...

T.M.I.
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ECMWF 120hrs.

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103. SLU
NOAA buoy 41041 located 85 miles northwest of the center of MARIA is reporting 1-minute sustained winds of 40mph.
Member Since: July 13, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 5282
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?
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Quoting FrankZapper:
Nate has 2 COCs on visible sat.


yeah one's being ejected...
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Quoting LBAR:
C'mon, Nate! Rain on Texas.


I think you're barkin up the wrong tree there.
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Nate 90hrs.

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I have some pics of the smoke from the magnolia, TX fire. If any of them are any good I'll post them.
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Nate has 2 COCs on visible sat.
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Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:


Each morning and evening,
I am satisfied with my progress
goal is to have shingles in the best condition they have been in ten years...
prior to HannaIke and some other storms
...did I mention that my roof is 3,000 sq. ft.


Shingle Packs are like, well they heavy.

I do NOT miss nailing shingles atall.

You are a good hand and I know Irene did yas no favors CRS.

Good luck with the repairs and pace yerself.
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Quoting Fishaholic25fl:
I know this sounds bad but wishing a hurricane on florida to scare my dads new girlfriend back to brazil. (she's terrified of them)lmao......... I want my dad back!!!!!!


Believe me, I understand.
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Quoting BDADUDE:
Bermuda Radar Site
Link

Here is a better view. Is that the eye of Katia?

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Quoting SarahFromFLA:
Seems to me that all that dry air is sheering Nate.


That doesn't make meteorological sense - dry air can't "shear" a tropical cyclone.
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85. LBAR
C'mon, Nate! Rain on Texas.
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Quoting spinningtop:
where is maria going? anyone know?
W
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Quoting Patrap:


U up there with me CRS,,the filter does has its use ,esp nowadays like.

Been up on the roof today?


Each morning and evening,
I am satisfied with my progress
goal is to have shingles in the best condition they have been in ten years...
prior to HannaIke and some other storms
...did I mention that my roof is 3,000 sq. ft.
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81. HCW
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Quoting Levi32:


Lol. I'm still very skeptical of Nate becoming a hurricane, actually.


Eh, it really depends. Obviously, there will be a lesser chance for a hurricane if it moves towards Mexico, and a much higher chance if it moves northward towards central and eastern Gulf Coast.
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Quoting twincomanche:
Don't be a jerk.
Not you TC. Your posts are high quality. They know who they are.
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any of you think 2017 (the next year for these names ) will be like this again?
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Quoting Neapolitan:

Between a) those who believe the NHC is naming things they shouldn't, and b) those who believe the NHC is not naming things they should, I'd say they've reached a pretty good balance overall... ;-)


Karma "Nirvana" Earl?
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Quoting photomunkey:
Thank you Angela!

Ok, if no one else is going to say it, I will... the NHC named THAT funky blob in the Bay of Campeche? I suspect they must really want to justify their budget to Congress...

Between a) those who believe the NHC is naming things they shouldn't, and b) those who believe the NHC is not naming things they should, I'd say they've reached a pretty good balance overall... ;-)
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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.