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 Caner:


Only at the weak or formative stages, when it is primarily feeding from surface to low level inflows.
at ~1003mb, would you consider Nate weak and/or at it's formative stage?
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1170. 19N81W
so when will marie turn?
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1168. Caner
Quoting Minnemike:
i am far from the most knowledgeable here.. FAR from it.. but isn't the link i provided a precipitable moisture index, not just water vapor imagery? my understanding of that loop is that a dark blue>green region has very little precipitable moisture available, therefore can affect Nate significantly.
this said, i do understand the point you raise, and Greatly appreciate the information provided. dryness aside, you actually answer some curiosity i had about the temperature gradient possibly enhancing convection..
so taking in your point, i do wonder if that high evaporation factor can overcome the impact the dryness of that air can have on a tropical system... could a brief subtropical classification result with such cool dry air mixing in?


Only at the weak or formative stages, when it is primarily feeding from surface to low level inflows.
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Quoting wxobsvps:


TS Scott Norwood.


Well struck, Mauer
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1166. WxLogic
Quoting atmoaggie:
Wow, that's quite the OFCL nod in the Navy's direction. Fine by me if they're right, BTW.



I wonder if this has anything to do with some of the better performance in the Navy models so far this year. Usually, we do not consider NOGAPS to be as skilled in track forecasts as GFS, GFDL, or HWRF, much less better. But, with Irene, the Navy models (and CMC) latched onto the actual track to the OBX area a full day ahead of the others.

Still odd to see OFCL in rough agreement with the Navy models and well away from NOAA's model results.


NGP has been doing well this HURR season.
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Quoting redwagon:

In the latest WV there appears to be two Nates..?
Which would explain the model divergence.
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Quoting Caner:


There is a lot more moisture at the low levels than the water vapor sat lets on.

That cool front pulled some unseasonably cool air out over the gulf, the water temp is much higher than the ambient air temp.

Due to that, a very high evaporation factor is occurring at the surface level.

That's why you are seeing cloud streets forming in that 'dry' air and pumping into Nate.
i am far from the most knowledgeable here.. FAR from it.. but isn't the link i provided a precipitable moisture index, not just water vapor imagery? my understanding of that loop is that a dark blue>green region has very little precipitable moisture available, therefore can affect Nate significantly.
this said, i do understand the point you raise, and Greatly appreciate the information provided. dryness aside, you actually answer some curiosity i had about the temperature gradient possibly enhancing convection..
so taking in your point, i do wonder if that high evaporation factor can overcome the impact the dryness of that air can have on a tropical system... could a brief subtropical classification result with such cool dry air mixing in?
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1163. WxLogic
Nate:



Maria:



Small change trickling in.
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Quoting MahFL:
Intense convection now on Nate's center.

HAWT TOWAHS!
=P
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Quoting hydrus:
Nate.

In the latest WV there appears to be two Nates..?
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Wow, that's quite the OFCL nod in the Navy's direction. Fine by me if they're right, BTW.



I wonder if this has anything to do with some of the better performance in the Navy models so far this year. Usually, we do not consider NOGAPS to be as skilled in track forecasts as GFS, GFDL, or HWRF, much less better. But, with Irene, the Navy models (and CMC) latched onto the actual track to the OBX area a full day ahead of the others.

Still odd to see OFCL in rough agreement with the Navy models and well away from NOAA's model results.
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1159. Caner
Coincidence, i'm sure, but the ad at the top right of my page just transitioned from an Obama 2012 ad (lol), to a MilDot sniper-scope sale (lol), to a Goldman Sachs advertisement (lol), in that order...

Sometimes coincidence is a fickle mistress ;^)
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1158. angiest
In case no one has mentioned it, today is the 111th anniversary of the landfall of the 1900 Hurricane in Galveston.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
1157. Wariac
So is Maria going to go poof or will it get her act together right before the islands? (currently at work and everyone is asking)
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no one ever is going to remember katia
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1155. angiest
Quoting uptxcoast:


Strong Smell of smoke in Houston is from the Magnolia fire. The Magnolia fire flared up yesterday. The smoke plumes were very visible from my office in the Woodlands. It is also showing up on Houston radar in green. Big time air quality alert in effect today.


I was surprised to find out it is the Magnolia fire. It still smelled of smoke this morning in Katy, but about the time I go to the Beltway and IH-10 this morning the smoke was getting very thick, and a few miles further east the sun was completely blocked by smoke. It cleared out a couple of miles west of downtown, but it is very thick in the Medical Center, more than enough to be an irritant to someone with healthy lungs. Must be murder on some of the patients here.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
Good Morning, all.

I noticed that the models on Nate have changed since last night - more of them are aiming him toward the Gulf states it seems than yesterday - do you think this is accurate? Maria looks like she's taking a similar track to Irene's - should the East Coast be concerned?

TIA!!

Link
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H.Katia's_12pmGMT_ATCF : Starting 7Sept_12pmGMT and ending 8Sept_12pmGMT

The 4 southern line-segments represent HurricaneKatia's path,
the northernmost line-segment is the straightline projection,
and the coastline blob at 40.72n73.1w-ISP is the endpoint of the most
recent
previous straightline projection connected to its nearest airport.

Using straightline projection of the travel-speed&heading derived from the
ATCF coordinates spanning the 6hours between 6amGMT then 12pmGMT :
H.Katia's travel-speed was 18.3mph(29.5k/h) on a heading of 0.0degrees(N)
H.Katia was headed toward passage over NantucketIsland,Massachusetts ~1day5hours from now

Copy&paste 40.72n73.1w-isp, 28.8n68.4w-29.4n69.3w, 29.4n69.3w-30.3n69.9w, 30.3n69.9w-31.4n70.2w, 31.4n70.2w-33.0n70.2w, ack, 31.4n70.2w-41.268n70.2w into the GreatCircleMapper for more info

The previous mapping (for 8Sept_6amGMT)
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Quoting kshipre1:
anyone have an update on new upcoming storms off of Africa or closer to home?

pattern change coming up (if it does evolve) will impose more of a threat on the SE CONUS

Obviously, there are no guarantees but Florida should not let their guard down. A stronger bermuda high with troughs flattening out only spells trouble for them.

Florida: Keep a watch out


I forgot which model (I think the EURO) develops something off the coast of Venezuela, right after Maria passes by, and brings it straight into SFL.
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1151. MahFL
Intense convection now on Nate's center.
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1150. Caner
Quoting Beta:
How many named storms will we end up with this year and how many Hurricanes and Major Hurricanes will we have too this year?


*Shakes Magic 8-Ball*

Ask again later?
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1149. WxLogic
.
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Quoting Beta:
How many named storms will we end up with this year and how many Hurricanes and Major Hurricanes will we have too this year?


89-73-64
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1147. Beta
How many named storms will we end up with this year and how many Hurricanes and Major Hurricanes will we have too this year?
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1146. JLPR2
Today Maria is supposed to meet this buoy.

Winds are picking up. But it is located at 14.4N and she's at 13N, dont expect much a of a wind shift.
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Quoting hydrus:
Nate.


Look Better This Morning
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1144. Caner
Quoting Minnemike:
Link
i see near the end, Nate is really tugging on that dry GOM air!! was chomping it up with little detriment to structure yesterday, probably due to the BOC geography aiding the concentration of all that moisture to the south and east.. but with a solid lip of that dry air riding down the coast into the BOC, Nate will definitely be struggling throughout the day.


There is a lot more moisture at the low levels than the water vapor sat lets on.

That cool front pulled some unseasonably cool air out over the gulf, the water temp is much higher than the ambient air temp.

Due to that, a very high evaporation factor is occurring at the surface level.

That's why you are seeing cloud streets forming in that 'dry' air and pumping into Nate.
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Not liking my forecast for next week, Sunny and at least 100, just what Texas needs, Not.
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1142. ryang
Quoting barbadosjulie:
1103. ryang 1:01 PM GMT on September 08, 2011 +0
Should be interesting when RECON goes in Maria later today. I'll be keeping a close eye on it here in Barbados.

Hi ryang...been watching this one closley....I hope it makes its turn soon but I am hearing it should turn till tomorro but on this track we should begin to feel it by 8am tomorrow


Yup...looks like it might be coming through the central islands instead (maybe just north of us). We'll know more later today.
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Link
i see near the end, Nate is really tugging on that dry GOM air!! was chomping it up with little detriment to structure yesterday, probably due to the BOC geography aiding the concentration of all that moisture to the south and east.. but with a solid lip of that dry air riding down the coast into the BOC, Nate will definitely be struggling throughout the day.
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1140. Caner
Quoting P451:
lol... 3 day hazard area, Nate.



Fairly reeks of confidence, doesn't it?
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1139. hydrus
Quoting BLee2333:


yes...
Thank you..One problem resolved.:)
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I'll ask again later. Maybe someone knows the answer.
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1132. WxLogic
Good Morning...
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Quoting hydrus:
Yes..Can you see this precip acc. map?


yes...
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1103. ryang 1:01 PM GMT on September 08, 2011 +0
Should be interesting when RECON goes in Maria later today. I'll be keeping a close eye on it here in Barbados.

Hi ryang...been watching this one closley....I hope it makes its turn soon but I am hearing it should turn till tomorro but on this track we should begin to feel it by 8am tomorrow
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Quoting bohonkweatherman:
Good Morning, I have never seen any disaster like the Bastrop fire, 1,386 homes destroyed, 34,000 acres. No single fire in Texas has ever destroyed more than 300 to 400 homes before. I have not been watching weather much due, any wet relief for Texas in our near future? So many uninsured and have lost everything here but we will recover. Peace and have a great day. Sorry if I got off subject just wanted to keep those informed and that we are alive. Tough having family and friends who do lose everything though. Keep the faith.


This is a perfect example of a WEATHER-related DISASTER--lack of rain. My thoughts and prayers go out to Texas!
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I think this is not good news for the Islands because Maria is moving west at this hour and could become more organized near the Islands and that's not good at all.
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anyone have an update on new upcoming storms off of Africa or closer to home?

pattern change coming up (if it does evolve) will impose more of a threat on the SE CONUS

Obviously, there are no guarantees but Florida should not let their guard down. A stronger bermuda high with troughs flattening out only spells trouble for them.

Florida: Keep a watch out
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Quoting marknmelb:


Glad I didn't disappoint :)



Yeah..But it's still early.
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Quoting uptxcoast:


Strong Smell of smoke in Houston is from the Magnolia fire. The Magnolia fire flared up yesterday. The smoke plumes were very visible from my office in the Woodlands. It is also showing up on Houston radar in green. Big time air quality alert in effect today.


Thx - had not heard about that fire. Appreciate the info
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1122. JLPR2
Maria entering the frame.
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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.