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 aquak9:

Vanna, I'd like to buy post 914, please.

Bring it on.


Chinese Christmas - I'll take Aqua's gift of post 914 and send it to Texas.
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re 914 - South Georgia could surely use some long soaking rain...
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yesterday it looked as if eastern new york got hammered by heavy rain
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Quoting BoroDad17:
Nate stalls over S GA/N FL for 3 days. at the end of the GFS 6z run.
Do they need more rain?
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Quoting BoroDad17:
Nate stalls over S GA/N FL for 3 days. at the end of the GFS 6z run.

Vanna, I'd like to buy post 914, please.

Bring it on.
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Welcome, Aqua - not a pig - you just need calories to fuel that boundless energy!
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thanks coops- how'd you know what a pig I am? :)

ais- at least I have windows where I work, sometimes.

work zoom- enjoy thursday, ya'll
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Nate stalls over S GA/N FL for 3 days. at the end of the GFS 6z run.
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AT 500 AM AST THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM MARIA WAS LOCATED NEAR
LATITUDE 13.5 NORTH...LONGITUDE 48.2 WEST. MARIA IS MOVING TOWARD
THE WEST NEAR 23 MPH. THIS GENERAL MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE
TODAY...FOLLOWED BY A GRADUAL TURN TOWARD THE WEST- NORTHWEST AND
A DECREASE IN FORWARD SPEED ON FRIDAY. ON THE FORECAST TRACK...THE
CENTER OF MARIA WOULD APPROACH OUR LOCAL FORECAST AREA BETWEEN
SATURDAY NIGHT AND SUNDAY.

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YIKES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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City still hasn't picked up our storm debris from Irene. Got some great surf from Katia out there - but the waves are sure doing a number on the beachfront, we've lost a lot of sand already.
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Morning all - Water Pup, there's more coffee on the sideboard. And yes, you may have 2 muffins. :)


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Saints game tonight! And I have to be at my daughter's volleyball game...
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GFS shows Fujiwhara effect when Nate and Maria get too close together near FL.
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the water still isnt gone from my area from lee. nate is the last thing we need right now............ please go to TX

the nam and the gfs are swapping tracks with each run
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Quoting aquak9:

shado, that really made me smile. It's just as bad, being an adult, and having to go to work, when there's an awesome thunderstorm right outside the window.


I love thunderstorms. Love to sit curled up with a good book, some chocolate and a diet Dr. Pepper. Of course, most thunderstorms want to hit when I'm teaching school...
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Quoting shadoclown45:
:/ theres thunder, its raining, and i dont want to go to school... Will pay someone to saw my legs off :D.

shadoclown where you at. I'm in Tampa I'll do it. 70 outside this morning
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Quoting shadoclown45:
:/ theres thunder, its raining, and i dont want to go to school... Will pay someone to saw my legs off :D.

shado, that really made me smile. It's just as bad, being an adult, and having to go to work, when there's an awesome thunderstorm right outside the window.
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Quoting shadoclown45:
:/ theres thunder, its raining, and i dont want to go to school... Will pay someone to saw my legs off :D.


let usw play a game!! lol SAW
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:/ theres thunder, its raining, and i dont want to go to school... Will pay someone to saw my legs off :D.
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Well, 6z GFS a pretty dramatic shift this morning with Nate and Marie so far. be interested to see what the rest of the run shows here soon. Nate makes Landfall pretty close to where Lee did, and Marie is very weak, but also very west.
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Quoting odinslightning:
i see the trollers are up this morning. alot of erroneous statements, assumptions, bullcrap banter with no maps or metero. data to backup their thoughts, beliefs, fearcasts, downcasts, whatever the case may be


lol how do you really feel? lololol
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I know, StormJ, just hoping. They do have my area in west central LA having possible rain on Monday. I have friends in TX who are now having fires near them, so wanting TX to get some relief even more. It's so bad with the fires there.
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Quoting aislinnpaps:


Even TWC just said they aren't taking Texas off the list as possbily getting wet from Nate. They need it so much!



We all are. Grothar is well respected and loved.


Sadly, I don't see Nate making it that far west. If he does, then the east coast will likely see Marie. Still a long way out for both of these systems though and they will need to be watched closely.

Five days out, the 06z GFS has Nate due south of Pass Christian and just off shore it looks like.

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alittle spin near st croix might be a spot we need to watch in the upcoming days
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Quoting StormJunkie:
Morning all

Looks like the 06z GFS is bringing Nate towards the Gulf Coast as pretty well developed system. Becoming less convinced that he will ever see Mexico.


Even TWC just said they aren't taking Texas off the list as possbily getting wet from Nate. They need it so much!

Quoting scottiesaunt:
Good morning everyone, so happy that Grothar is on the mend!!!


We all are. Grothar is well respected and loved.
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Good morning everyone, so happy that Grothar is on the mend!!!
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Morning all

Looks like the 06z GFS is bringing Nate towards the Gulf Coast as pretty well developed system. Becoming less convinced that he will ever see Mexico.
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Drinking my coffee now. Really need it this morning. Maria looking a little ragged, but maintaining 50 mph. I think she wants to be a sleeper. But that might be because I want to be one. *S*
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g'morning all, amen ais to the almost friday.

Never touch WU without coffee.
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Good Morning everyone,
Maria's deterioration will now probably put a storm now in the Caribbean eventually........dang! I hope not but, that just what i see coming now!
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A bit early for people who are in need of attention to be in here. I haven't even had my coffee yet.
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i see the trollers are up this morning. alot of erroneous statements, assumptions, bullcrap banter with no maps or metero. data to backup their thoughts, beliefs, fearcasts, downcasts, whatever the case may be
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Morning everyone. So glad tomorrow is Friday.
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Quoting CaribBoy:
MARIA is near death. NEXT!


ummm thats not very smart....if she is "almost dead" as you say that sends her into the caribbean instead of turning north. for some reason people think a low pressure area is either a hurricane or it's nothing.

it isn't "dead" and if your in the carribbean you may see that her "death" is what sent her right at you.
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Quoting robert88:
This season has been pretty zzzzz.... It's nice if you like to track numerous weak pathetic storms one after another. You have horrible conditions in the Atlantic. Storms can't bomb out because of the massive amounts of dry sinking air that spread through the Atlantic for a long period of time. It's been very stable out there. The Caribbean has been closed for business as well. We are basically in the same pattern as 2009...maybe just slightly different. Now we are possibly getting back to the routine of fish..MX..fish..MX. It would be nice to track some text book majors that don't weaken so quick and sputter the rest of the way. Katia was nice for about an hour or so.











Last time I checked, that didn't happen in 2010. Are you ignoring Irene on purpose or what? 10 billion in damages, one of the most destructive hurricanes to hit the USA. Oh yea, totally 2010. It also seems that your forgetting that half our storms where off frontal boundaries, which almost always go out to sea. Katia is the only fish storm this year that came from Africa. But of course, you probably won't listen so whats the point in me explaining.
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Guess we need a Cat 5 to get the blog going. We have a hurricane and 2 tropical storms and all that does is to incite how a rotten season it's been thus far. I guess ya can't please everybody!
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Canadien gets Maria closer to you Baha, and gets Nate alot closer to several on this blog
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Looks like the Canadien a outlier??
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Morning, everybody.

Just trying to convince myself that getting up to three named storms in the basin makes getting up worth the while.... lol


Good morning Baha
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Morning, everybody.

Just trying to convince myself that getting up to three named storms in the basin makes getting up worth the while.... lol
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Gotta go check some models
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Seems a bit early for the Caribbean to start getting storms going north,but with all the trofs and A/B High where it is,my thinking is that waves will be getting into Caribbean more often,and having a trof lift them north,as opposed to going into Mex/CA.I think we gonna be busy on the blog for sure
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Future Ophelia just starting to come into view in bottom right corner
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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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