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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1072. Squid28
Quoting uptxcoast:
Actually if Nate goes north that would be worse than hitting Mexico. Lets say it heads north, it will hit to the east of Texas bringing the state more Northern Gusty winds that will be a fire disaster.

A hit to LA would be about as bad as it could get for the state of Texas. The fires are bad enough. We don't need another large pressure gradient bringing northern, dry and gusty winds.

Add that disaster to more rain in the East, and, well let's just hope for a western track into Mexico with minimal damage.

Now if Nate could make a direct hit on the Texas coast........


The other thing that I have not heard anyone talking about yet, is where is all the water being used to fight the wildfires is coming from. With all of the lakes so low already, and a lot of communities on well water you have to wonder if at some point they will need to make a choice of fire fighting vs. drying up a municipalities water supply...

Lets hope it does not come to this...
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1070. hydrus
Quoting kmanislander:
Good morning

With Maria now a very shallow system it raises the possibility of it remaining embedded in the strong low level flow that has a due West channel right through the Caribbean. 13 N is quite far South for a small weak system to feel the weakness to the N of PR. In fact, 13 N is the latitude of Barbados to put it into perpsective. With Maria already at 50 W this is going to become rather interesting and very soon.

Dust in the gulf...
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
Good morning, I see 3 of our more reliable models the HWRF, GFDL, and GFS have shifted to a Northward track that would take Nate up towards the Gulf Coast anywhere from Louisiana to the Panhandle of FL...I smell a track change.


GFS also has a reorganized maria moving WNW thru central bahamas also... coul be interesting
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1068. Dakster
Quoting FLdewey:
You're doing the black box thing again hydrus. :-p


You do not like looking at his black box dewey?
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1067. luigi18
Quoting CaneHunter031472:


Cafe Boricua!! I would kill for a nice cup of Cafe Crema or Yaucono right now. I miss my Island so much. Best coffee in the planet that's for sure. I just wish they would share it with the rest of the world and sell it here in the US.

Cafe Crema!
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Maria is still a TS:

AL, 14, 2011090812, , BEST, 0, 130N, 502W, 40, 1005, TS, 34, NEQ, 100, 0, 0, 75, 1010, 175, 40, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, MARIA, S

...and Nate is still getting stronger:

AL, 15, 2011090812, , BEST, 0, 203N, 924W, 45, 1001, TS, 34, NEQ, 45, 90, 120, 80, 1011, 150, 50, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, NATE, M,
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Quoting kmanislander:
Good morning

With Maria now a very shallow system it raises the possibility of it remaining embedded in the strong low level flow that has a due West channel right through the Caribbean. 13 N is quite far South for a small weak system to feel the weakness to the N of PR. In fact, 13 N is the latitude of Barbados to put it into perpsective. With Maria already at 50 W this is going to become rather interesting and very soon.



Good obs. Kman... I think models are going to start shifting a bit over the next couple of runs.
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1063. Jax82
shields are up on the east coast this week, are there any models showing a pattern change in the upcoming week or two?
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Quoting franck:
Watched internet weather for ten years now. Don't know much meteorology, but I have developed a little bit of an eye for comparison. I haven't seen anything like the dome over Texas.


Leave it to the Texans to do things in grand style! :)
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1060. hydrus
Quoting franck:
Watched internet weather for ten years now. Don't know much meteorology, but I have developed a little bit of an eye for comparison. I haven't seen anything like the dome over Texas.
True..I am calling it the dust bowl high now..The GFS 240 hours out..
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Actually if Nate goes north that would be worse than hitting Mexico. Lets say it heads north, it will hit to the east of Texas bringing the state more Northern Gusty winds that will be a fire disaster.

A hit to LA would be about as bad as it could get for the state of Texas. The fires are bad enough. We don't need another large pressure gradient bringing northern, dry and gusty winds.

Add that disaster to more rain in the East, and, well let's just hope for a western track into Mexico with minimal damage.

Now if Nate could make a direct hit on the Texas coast........
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Good morning

With Maria now a very shallow system it raises the possibility of it remaining embedded in the strong low level flow that has a due West channel right through the Caribbean. 13 N is quite far South for a small weak system to feel the weakness to the N of PR. In fact, 13 N is the latitude of Barbados to put it into perpsective. With Maria already at 50 W this is going to become rather interesting and very soon.

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1056. hydrus
Quoting FLdewey:
I'm not understanding why you guys can't disagree without all of the "poofing" chatter.

Person1 thinks it's a fish
Person2 thinks it's not a fish

Life goes on. The world continues to rotate.

Putting people on your ignore list because they have a different viewpoint from you is pretty sad.

If, for whatever reason you feel the need to ignore someone, for the sake of all of the Cheetos in Florida just do it. Christ almighty 20% of blog posts now are people talking about "poofing" people.

I need more coffee.
I get hungry all the time on this blog..Fish is my favorite and I have learned at least ten killer recipes here...When the MJO returns, I believe the Caribbean will become the main area of interest, but the Atlantic will still be active..
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Current steering pattern. The NHC current track and cone just does not compute with this IMO. Anyone here has an educated opinion on my comment?



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1053. franck
Watched internet weather for ten years now. Don't know much meteorology, but I have developed a little bit of an eye for comparison. I haven't seen anything like the dome over Texas.
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1052. Dakster
Quoting FLdewey:
Wide right turn, and ugly bug.





What is it an FSU football storm now? (Wide Right?)
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WOW... I wonder if the new GFDL is hinting at some changes that may happen with all the models today... hmmm...
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Quoting weatherjr:
stormwatcherCI : I apologize when I post something and I forgot to put IMO. I am so sorry for that situation. I accept your criticism. Again, I apologize for that situation. I will attempt to correct that and to correct myself. Thanks my friend.
NP. We all have our opinion and just remember the saying ,"It's not what you say but how you say it."
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Quoting FLdewey:


Please don't quote FLdewey, he is on my ignore list.


*snicker* Woke up grouchy today and needed that giggle. ;-)
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Quoting rushisaband:



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


That's when you're so pissed off that you sputter when you say it...
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Quoting FLdewey:


The people on the cooking blog won't be so forgiving if you hit them with tropical maps sitch.


Sure they will...it looks like psychadelic spaghetti.
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Quoting wxobsvps:
I don't understand why this image shows the GFS, GFDL, and HWRF tracks as it does.

The 06Z (2 EST) of each has a completely different track than what is shown here.



Good question. Maybe they're waiting for confirmation with the next run since it was so drastically different.
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Quoting hydrus:
I agree..It will be more to the west due to weakening.
I agree. The linear path is definitely on the southern end of the cone.
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Quoting FLdewey:


Please don't quote FLdewey, he is on my ignore list.



LMAO .... btw ... what is a spoof?
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"Amateur star-gazers will be able to witness the most visible exploding star since 1954 in skies above Britain this week.
The cosmic event is one of the closest stellar explosions to Earth since 1987, and is the nearest example of its type to be seen from Earth in 40 years.
The exploding star, named PTF-11kly, is predicted to reach its brightest between September 9 and 12 and will visible in clear skies all over Britain."

(Should be visible anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere, at least, I would've thought)

Link

Link
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Quoting FLdewey:


I need more coffee.


That made me laugh. Out loud. Thank you! (and I agree with the rest of your post as well.)
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Quoting FLdewey:
I'm not understanding why you guys can't disagree without all of the "poofing" chatter.

Person1 thinks it's a fish
Person2 thinks it's not a fish

Life goes on. The world continues to rotate.

Putting people on your ignore list because they have a different viewpoint from you is pretty sad.

If, for whatever reason you feel the need to ignore someone, for the sake of all of the Cheetos in Florida just do it. Christ almighty 20% of blog posts now are people talking about "poofing" people.

I need more coffee.



Agree .... Nothing going on here ... Move on ......
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Quoting mrpuertorico:
sorry for yelling lol forgot caps ill put my puerto rican coffee down now lol


Cafe Boricua!! I would kill for a nice cup of Cafe Crema or Yaucono right now. I miss my Island so much. Best coffee in the planet that's for sure. I just wish they would share it with the rest of the world and sell it here in the US.
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1027. hydrus
Quoting GTcooliebai:
I also smell a track change for Maria.
I agree..It will be more to the west due to weakening.
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1026. JP2010
The 0Z run CMC, GFS takes Nate toward LA by Monday. The new 06Z run of GFDL, HWRF now make major shift to the right of earlier runs. The trough over SE it's pulling in NNE over the next 96 HRS. THE CMC has had this track for days now it always handles northern waves much better than other models.
I would think as 12Z runs update if ECMWF swings to the right NHC will also turn more to a US threat in later tracks.
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1025. Drakoen
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


Drak,will she start to slowdown soon?


Perhaps when she is closer to the Lesser Antilles.
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Quoting weatherjr:
mrpuertorico: You do not have common sense. I do not have to demostrate you my meteorology/science knowledge. I put my statements and accept the consequences. Surely I know much more than you in this respect. BUT please, dont worry or disturb, YOU are also my friend. I just put my opinion here. You agree or dissagree, thats all!!!
You do not put anything as an opinion. You state it as if it is a fact and have been doing it for days now.
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Quoting PanhandleChuck:


Am I the only person who doesn't have jr on thier ignore list. Time to start using the "POOF BUTTON" LOL


Nah, I've been giving him the benefit of the doubt too. I think that may change shortly...
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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.