Nate almost a hurricane; Maria remains disorganized

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 9:05 PM GMT on September 08, 2011

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An Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft is in Tropical Storm Nate, and has found winds much stronger than the storm's satellite appearance would suggest. At 2:17 pm EDT, the aircraft measured winds at their flight level of 1500 feet of 93 mph, which would ordinarily support upgrading Nate to a Category 1 hurricane. Surface winds measured by the SFMR instrument were about 70 mph, suggesting that Nate is indeed very close to hurricane strength. However, latest visible satellite loops show that if Nate is a hurricane, it's only half of a hurricane. Nate's low-level center is exposed to view, due to northeasterly upper-level winds that are creating a moderate 10 knots of wind shear. This shear is keeping all of Nate's heavy thunderstorms pushed to the south side of the center, and the northern half of the storm almost cloud-free. Sustained winds at Buoy 42055, about 140 miles to the northwest of the center of Nate, were just 28 mph at 3:50 pm EDT this afternoon. Water vapor satellite loops show that there is a large area of very dry air from Texas to the north of Nate, and this dry air is keeping the northern half of the storm dry.

Nate will meander in the Bay of Campeche for several days, and the computer models are sharply divided on what happens early next week to the storm. A ridge of high pressure is expected to build in to the north of the storm, potentially forcing it westwards to a landfall in Mexico. However, our two best-performing models last year, the GFS and ECMWF, predict that a weak trough of low pressure expected to move across the U.S. early next week will be strong enough to turn Nate northwards towards an eventual landfall along the northern Gulf Coast. We will have to wait until the NOAA jet makes its first mission to sample the steering currents in the Gulf of Mexico to get a better idea on how probable this northern path might be; their first flight will be tonight, and the data will make it into the 8 pm models runs that will be available first thing Friday morning. As far as intensity goes, the very dry air to Nate's north should begin being less of a problem for it by Friday, when the upper level winds shift more to blow from the southeast, and the shear drops to the low range, 5 - 10 knots. Since the storm is moving very slowly, it will upwell cooler waters from the depths that will slow intensification, though.


Figure 1. Afternoon satellite image of Nate.

Tropical Storm Maria
Tropical Storm Maria barely survived as a tropical storm today, but is now making a bit of a comeback. Satellite loops show that Maria has been badly ripped up by the 10 - 20 knots of wind shear affecting it. The low-level center has been exposed to view most of the day, and surface arc-shaped clouds have been racing away from the storm to the west this afternoon, indicating that dry air has been getting into Maria's thunderstorms and disrupting the storm. However, the areal coverage and intensity of Maria's thunderstorms have increased a little in the past two hours. Maria is passing close to buoy 41040, which measured sustained winds of 36 mph, gusting to 45 mph, at 2:50 pm EDT.

Wind shear is predicted to fall to the low range on Friday as Maria approaches the Lesser Antilles. In addition, as I noted in this morning's post, Maria will be encountering an atmospheric disturbance known as a Convectively-Coupled Kelvin Wave (CCKW) that is currently passing through the Lesser Antilles Islands. There is a great deal of upward-moving air in the vicinity of a CCKW, and will help strengthen the updrafts in Maria's thunderstorms, potentially intensifying the storm. None of our models are detailed enough to "see" CCKWs", so we may see more intensification of the storm than the models are calling for. I believe Maria will continue to organize and arrive in the Lesser Antilles Islands as a tropical storm with 50 - 60 mph winds. The latest run of the GFDL model predicts that Maria will be a Category 1 hurricane on Saturday afternoon when it moves through the Virgin Islands, and a Category 2 hurricane Sunday night when it moves through the Turks and Caicos Islands. This is on the high end of what is possible, and I think it more likely that Maria will be a tropical storm with 50 - 60 mph winds in the northern Lesser Antilles, 60 - 70 mph winds in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, and a Category 1 hurricane in the Turks and Caicos Islands--assuming passage over Puerto Rico and the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic does not significantly disrupt the storm. A lower intensity, as forecast by NHC, is certainly quite possible, as Maria may continue to struggle with the dry air and wind shear besetting it.

The latest computer model runs have been trending more southwards, and the Northern Lesser Antilles, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Bahama Islands are all at high risk of a direct hit by Maria. The models are split on how strong the steering influence a trough of low pressure along the U.S. East Coast will have once Maria approaches the U.S. East Coast. Most of the models foresee that Maria will turn north before arriving at Florida, and potentially threaten North Carolina, Bermuda, or Canada. The latest run of the GFDL model, though, brings Maria through the Bahamas to a point just 100 miles southeast of Miami as a hurricane on Tuesday afternoon. While this forecast is an outlier, and it is more likely that Maria will turn north before reaching Florida, it will be another two days before we will have a fair degree of confidence on when Maria will curve to the north.

Lee's rains trigger historic flooding in New York and Pennsylvania
An extreme rainfall event unprecedented in recorded history has hit the Binghamton, New York area, where 7.49" of rain fell yesterday. This is the second year in a row Binghamton has recorded a greater than 1-in-100 year rain event; their previous all-time record was set last September, when 4.68" fell on Sep 30 - Oct. 1, 2010. Binghamton has also already broken its record for rainiest year in its history. Records go back to 1890 in the city. The rain has ended in Binghamton, with this morning's rain bringing the city's total rainfall for the 40-hour event to 9.02". The Susquehanna River at Binghamton has risen to 25.69', its highest level since records began in 1847, and is now spilling over the flood walls protecting the city, according to media reports. In Hershey, Pennsylvania, Swatara Creek is 19' over flood stage, and more than 9' above its record flood crest. Widespread flash flooding is occurring across the entire area, and over 120,000 people have been evacuated from their homes.


Figure 2. Seven-day precipitation amounts from Tropical Storm Lee and its remnants. Image credit: NOAA/AHPS.


Figure 3. The Susquehanna River at Binghamton has crested this afternoon at its highest flood height on record, 25.69'. Records at this gauge go back to 1847. Image credit: NOAA/AHPS.


Figure 4. In Hershey, Pennsylvania, Swatara Creek is 19' over flood stage, and more than 9' above its previous record flood crest. The river is forecast to crest at 27.2' (green lines are the predictions.) Records at this gage go back to 1930. Image credit: NOAA/AHPS.

The extreme rains are due the the remains of Tropical Storm Lee interacting with a stationary front draped along the Eastern U.S. Adding to the potent moisture mix last night was a stream of tropical moisture associated with Hurricane Katia that collided with the stationary front. You don't often see a major city break its all-time 24-hour precipitation record by a 60% margin, according to wunderground's weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, and he can't recall ever seeing it happen before. It's worth noting that the Susquehanna River Binghamton stream gage, which has been in operation since 1847, is due to be shut off in 3 weeks due to budget cuts. Here's the note at the USGS web site:

NOTICE (03/23/2011)--Data collection at this streamgage may be discontinued after October 1, 2011 due to funding reductions from partner agencies. Although historic data will remain accessible, no new data will be collected unless one or more new funding partners are found. Users who are willing to contribute funding to continue operation of this streamgage should contact Rob Breault or Ward Freeman of the USGS New York Water Science Center at 518-285-5658 or dc_ny@usgs.gov.

I'll have an update in the morning.

Jeff Masters

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Woohoo... in the 5-10% chance of 34kt winds bracket. Batten down the hatches folks. JK, LOL
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Quoting JGreco:


1000...I guess u never know who u are attacking. I guess I can scratch off emotion abuse on a child from my bucket list:o....I need to review the profile of someone before I go on the attack. ..:)


Actually, if he spouts crap like that, he should be admonished and corrected. That, in my opinion, is one of society's many problems -- we pamper children. Which is fine to a degree, but only to a degree.
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
Dr. masters says the data will make it onto the 8pm model runs which will be available first thing Friday morning. So in about a half an hr. the GFS will start its 00z run, followed by the ECMWF around 1:30ish, then the NOGAPS and UKMET at 2am, the CMC at 2:30am. I forget the times for GFDL and HWRF.


Thanks for the info. I'll be checking in the morning then for a more accurate forecast, but I am almost certain that the HH mission to Nate will comfirm what the models have been hinting at. This is a Mexico event. I won't whish for them to get the hurricane but for us here in the MS Gulfcoast is a great relief.
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Quoting CaneHunter031472:


I completely agree with this. It has model support and the steering pattern has been pointing at this for quite a bit. Besides we are enjoying fall wether here in the MS Gulf Coast right now and we just don't feel like letting a Hurricane throw a wrench on that. So call me the winter wishcaster lol.


I vehemently disagree with your statement. I hope winter stays away as long as possible. :P

Although I am rather enjoying this sudden taste of fall, admittedly.
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Quoting Grothar:


Story of my life, Dak. I am now officially in the cone of Uncertainty.




OMG...We are in the 5% range!
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11151
1221. JGreco
Quoting scooster67:
NHC is having trouble with Nate. Tomorrow it will be heading north again. I'll keep praying it clips Texas somehow.


Hopefully that track towards Mexico will give S. Texas some beneficial rains.:)
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Am I missing the track update for Maria for 11pm? Only see the intermediate from 8pm...
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1218. txjac
Quoting scooster67:
NHC is having trouble with Nate. Tomorrow it will be heading north again. I'll keep praying it clips Texas somehow.


Happy to have you thinking that scooster ...we need it bad
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:



I played regularly at AJ's from about 1992 till 1998.
I was the keyboard player. The white guy.


Arrived here in 92 and spent a lot of time at AJ's from 92-97. First son was born in 97 and that was the end of regular partying!
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Quoting Jedkins01:


Yeah its weird isn't it? Ive seen many times where we have a westerly flow and the NWS in Melbourne forecasts higher rain chances than TBW because of westerly flow and we get pounded over here on the West Coast. And yep, the average is about 52 in. here, so we are above average this year!

Why? Well sometimes forecasters follow what should be expected too much, rather than what has been the pattern. Well, what has happened is that in the westerly flow we frequently get large convective blow ups early in the AM here that dump very heavy rain, and then high clouds are spread over the east side of the state limiting heating and thus rainfall.


You have to remember that we have had very little significant systems containing strong dynamics to provide lift outside of heating. Which is why Ive had a lot of heavy rain events but nothing bigger than 5 or 6 inches in 24 hours, we have just had heavy storms several times a week. Mostly because we have had many patterns of weak troughing combined with very high moisture. The very high moisture is almost self destructive for some areas if lift isn't strong enough because storms fire up early in one area and prevent heating everywhere else.

Hey I know this is a mouth full but I'm explaining the weird situation lol.

I have seen that on some years, you know back when there was an east flow. But anyway, sometimes there would be such high moisture combined with troughing to produce very favorable conditions. However with low dynamics it would cause huge blow ups on the east coast in the morning and then we would get less than forecast because heating would be shut out by high clouds from the early storms.


Definitely well within my grasp of understanding. However, we have had near full sun through the periods of peak heating, and we have had PWATs in excess of 2-2.2", and the ECSB kicking in many afternoons, and temps in the L-M90s many afternoons (well above the convective temperatures) and still a bust as far as precip. Even the rare easterly flow, with cloud lines coming from the convergent winds off the Bahama Islands that we have had at night, with the high PWATs and all, still have managed meager precip. Though, the only caveat to this wet season was yesterday... I think it was close to, if not the biggest rain event I have had here and that was only 1.3"... a lot of 0.25-0.75" amounts this season to keep the grass green, but not like the normal deluges we know and love here in FL.
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Quoting wxobsvps:


We really should consider rejoicing.


Perhaps. But perhaps not. Texas isn't going to get any rain.
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NHC is having trouble with Nate. Tomorrow it will be heading north again. I'll keep praying it clips Texas somehow.
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Quoting pcola57:


I probably saw you once or twice at AJ'S...can't recall for sure...Moved away to SC for 7yrs....Back here for 2yrs now...BA'NANA Republic sure sounds famliar..

Current weather P'cola, Mytrle Grove way...

http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/g e tForecast?query=32520


We played THE DOCK on Sundays for Rum and Reggae also FLOUNDERS alot.
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i love how maria is moving due west yet after maria moves into the eastern carribean they have her take a HARD NW TURN rather than a wnw turn lol they just cant face the fact maria will move farther west and south :P
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Fresh ASCAT for Maria tonight

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912 JNCali "ok ok we get it you like STRAIGHT lines"

But do you get why?
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1209. JGreco
Quoting KoritheMan:


The pathetic thing is, the kid you are quoting is only 14. Chances are, he's nowhere near the level of the "wishcasters" that were StormW and Levi.


1000...I guess u never know who u are attacking. I guess I can scratch off emotion abuse on a child from my bucket list:o....I need to review the profile of someone before I go on the attack. ..:)
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Barbados still waiting on that turn....sigh
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Quoting jrweatherman:
Laugh at all you wishcasters in the northern gulf of mexico!

ULD CAUSE NATE TO MOVE MORE
TOWARD THE NORTH AND NORTH-NORTHWEST. THERE HAS BEEN A LARGE MODEL
CHANGE FROM SIX HOURS AGO...WITH THE GFS/GFDL/HWRF MODELS NOW
HAVING A GENERAL WESTWARD TRACK TOWARD MAINLAND MEXICO DUE TO THE
CYCLONE BEING TRAPPED BENEATH A NARROW RIDGE OVER THE NORTHERN GULF
OF MEXICO. NATE IS FARTHER SOUTH THAN EXPECTED YESTERDAY...SO THE
LIKELIHOOD OF A MORE POLEWARD TRACK AHEAD OF THE NEXT TROUGH OVER
THE CENTRAL UNITED STATES HAS DIMINISHED. THUS THE NHC FORECAST IS
SHIFTED WELL TO THE LEFT AT THIS TIME..


I completely agree with this. It has model support and the steering pattern has been pointing at this for quite a bit. Besides we are enjoying fall wether here in the MS Gulf Coast right now and we just don't feel like letting a Hurricane throw a wrench on that. So call me the winter wishcaster lol.
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1206. pcola57
Quoting PensacolaDoug:



I played regularly at AJ's from about 1992 till 1998.
I was the keyboard player. The white guy.


I probably saw you once or twice at AJ'S...can't recall for sure...Moved away to SC for 7yrs....Back here for 2yrs now...BA'NANA Republic sure sounds famliar..

Current weather P'cola, Mytrle Grove way...

http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/g e tForecast?query=32520
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Complete Update

CAT 1 - Katia is going
TS Maria is coming
TS Nate is in the "WTF" am I going Cone of Grothar

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI





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I wonder what is wrong at HamWeather....HUM....must be having server problems.
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Quoting thesituation:
NYAN model shifting West

Link


That was the greatest 3 minutes and 37 seconds of my existence.
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Quoting CaneHunter031472:
I can't wait for the next NHC advisory. By looking at the models, the cone should be shifted even more to the west. I get the feeling that Nate is definitevly a Mexico event. Are the models crunching the Recon data for this 18z advisory? or will we have to wait till the 00z advisory?
Dr. masters says the data will make it onto the 8pm model runs which will be available first thing Friday morning. So in about a half an hr. the GFS will start its 00z run, followed by the ECMWF around 1:30ish, then the NOGAPS and UKMET at 2am, the CMC at 2:30am. I forget the times for GFDL and HWRF.
Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
Quoting hahaguy:


I aim to please lol.


beginning to wonder if that little heffer is gonna turn...awfully weak to feel that upper level stuff
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Quoting JGreco:


First of all the majority of us in the North Gulf are hoping for Texas to get rain and not the North Gulf Coast. Second, it was BOTH LEVI AND STORMW (on his website) THAT STUCK TO THEIR GUNS AND USING THEIR KNOWLEDGE said that the North Gulf Coast could get this. I'm sure you yourself have wishcast plenty (I've been a lurker here a long time and have witnessed it). So please go give your ego a rest:o



I'm 14 yrs old sir. I'm not old enough to have an ego.
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Quoting JGreco:


First of all the majority of us in the North Gulf are hoping for Texas to get rain and not the North Gulf Coast. Second, it was BOTH LEVI AND STORMW (on his website) THAT STUCK TO THEIR GUNS AND USING THEIR KNOWLEDGE said that the North Gulf Coast could get this. I'm sure you yourself have wishcast plenty (I've been a lurker here a long time and have witnessed it). So please go give your ego a rest:o


The pathetic thing is, the kid you are quoting is only 14. Chances are, he's nowhere near the level of the "wishcasters" that were StormW and Levi.
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Quoting Dakster:
As far as Nate, sorry Texas.... And congrats to LA/MS/AL/FL... It looks like it will miss all of those states.
it would appear that way right now. they seem fairly confident it is going to hit mexico now
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1196. Grothar
Quoting Dakster:


They are trying to figure out how to draw the cone without putting Grothar in it...


Story of my life, Dak. I am now officially in the cone of Uncertainty.


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Quoting defdogz:


Quit calling him a killer fruitcake, he's just a little nut.


More respect, she's Margaret Tatcher... UK lady...
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1194. luigi18
Quoting sunlinepr:


Hey, if they want to cut PR in halves, please move that.... a little , just a little to the S..


i change my mind Blue Label es lo que hay !
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Is there really no updated cone on Maria yet, lol?
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Quoting wxobsvps:


Haha. Not frustrated. Why would I be?

CONUS is looking pretty good.



Well in my defense, it is rather difficult to read emotion through text. And given the asinine nature of this blog, you can never be too sure. Oh well.

Also, I have nothing against you personally. I even agreed with you that both storms are likely to miss the US. The difference lies in our perception of probability, I suppose.
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1190. hahaguy
Quoting tiggeriffic:


gee, thanks ha ha...just what i want to see...:P


I aim to please lol.
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Quoting hahaguy:


Hey, if they want to cut PR in halves, please move that.... a little , just a little to the S..
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1188. JGreco
Quoting jrweatherman:
Laugh at all you wishcasters in the northern gulf of mexico!

ULD CAUSE NATE TO MOVE MORE
TOWARD THE NORTH AND NORTH-NORTHWEST. THERE HAS BEEN A LARGE MODEL
CHANGE FROM SIX HOURS AGO...WITH THE GFS/GFDL/HWRF MODELS NOW
HAVING A GENERAL WESTWARD TRACK TOWARD MAINLAND MEXICO DUE TO THE
CYCLONE BEING TRAPPED BENEATH A NARROW RIDGE OVER THE NORTHERN GULF
OF MEXICO. NATE IS FARTHER SOUTH THAN EXPECTED YESTERDAY...SO THE
LIKELIHOOD OF A MORE POLEWARD TRACK AHEAD OF THE NEXT TROUGH OVER
THE CENTRAL UNITED STATES HAS DIMINISHED. THUS THE NHC FORECAST IS
SHIFTED WELL TO THE LEFT AT THIS TIME..


First of all the majority of us in the North Gulf are hoping for Texas to get rain and not the North Gulf Coast. Second, it was BOTH LEVI AND STORMW (on his website) THAT STUCK TO THEIR GUNS AND USING THEIR KNOWLEDGE said that the North Gulf Coast could get this. I'm sure you yourself have wishcast plenty (I've been a lurker here a long time and have witnessed it). So please go give your ego a rest:o
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1187. luigi18
Quoting hahaguy:


Uff i better go to walmart and Sams to get my Blue Label!
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Quoting hahaguy:


gee, thanks ha ha...just what i want to see...:P
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1185. defdogz
Quoting PrivateIdaho:


I bet you make a killer fruitcake.


Quit calling him a killer fruitcake, he's just a little nut.
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Quoting JNCali:


Hey Doug, was that the reggae version of Sha-Na-Na?



Punchline?
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1183. Swede38
Quoting Grothar:



Vakre området! Jeg har venner i Helsingborg.

How did you come through with Irene, much flooding near you?


Just much needed water, still very dry here in C.Hill.

MVH
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Quoting STORMTOPmodel:


Looks like Taz will be the main topic tonight.


Looks like the shower will be the main topic tonight
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Quoting HrDelta:
Hmm, both Katia and Nate are out, but not Maria.

Interesting.

Nate has what, 7+ days left over 90o water. Anything can happen with that thing.
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1179. txjac
Quoting jrweatherman:
Laugh at all you wishcasters in the northern gulf of mexico!

ULD CAUSE NATE TO MOVE MORE
TOWARD THE NORTH AND NORTH-NORTHWEST. THERE HAS BEEN A LARGE MODEL
CHANGE FROM SIX HOURS AGO...WITH THE GFS/GFDL/HWRF MODELS NOW
HAVING A GENERAL WESTWARD TRACK TOWARD MAINLAND MEXICO DUE TO THE
CYCLONE BEING TRAPPED BENEATH A NARROW RIDGE OVER THE NORTHERN GULF
OF MEXICO. NATE IS FARTHER SOUTH THAN EXPECTED YESTERDAY...SO THE
LIKELIHOOD OF A MORE POLEWARD TRACK AHEAD OF THE NEXT TROUGH OVER
THE CENTRAL UNITED STATES HAS DIMINISHED. THUS THE NHC FORECAST IS
SHIFTED WELL TO THE LEFT AT THIS TIME..


Dont laugh at us "casters". Just want some rain ...whats so bad about that?
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1178. JNCali
Quoting PensacolaDoug:


I used to be in a band called Ba'Nana Republic.


Hey Doug, was that the reggae version of Sha-Na-Na?
Member Since: September 9, 2010 Posts: 5 Comments: 1034
1177. hahaguy
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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.