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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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Wait, you WANT hurricanes to hit the United States?

I love hurricanes that miss land, period, I love tracking them. All the beauty of one without the negative effects. You seem to only feel upset if a hurricane misses, and I love how you brush off Irene as a 'barely', because it completely disproves your point.

I've posted this image a billion times before, but....

...Irene was no bust.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Wait, you WANT hurricanes to hit the United States?

I love hurricanes that miss land, period, I love tracking them. All the beauty of one without the negative effects. You seem to only feel upset if a hurricane misses, and I love how you brush off Irene as a 'barely', because it completely disproves your point.


I'll take a good hurricane and I guarantee that I am speaking for 99% of the people on this blog. Even though many won't admit it.
Member Since: May 17, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1063
924. HCW
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Quoting moonlightcowboy:



Gotcha, Kman! I've always appreciated your visual take on these things, generally true.

These storms this year seem to really be speeding along under the ridge. Is it me, or has the fast forward speed been a bit unusual.


The ridge had been building in behind Katia and that has been the root cause of the fast forward speed.
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Quoting Grothar:


I always thought it was Moosii

I thought it was Bullwinkles.
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Quoting jrweatherman:


Looks like another U.S. miss to me.


That is an old model run.. FROM YESTERDAY 18z.
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Quoting robert88:
This pattern seems like it will never end. We have been stuck in it for almost 3 years now. Irene got lucky and barely made it through. The ridge over TX is not moving and the trough can't retrograde W...so the Bermuda high can't build. No signs of a pattern change as well. Maybe in October we will see something change. Until then...yaaaaaawn


Wait, you WANT hurricanes to hit the United States?

I love hurricanes that miss land, period, I love tracking them. All the beauty of one without the negative effects. You seem to only feel upset if a hurricane misses, and I love how you brush off Irene as a 'barely', because it completely disproves your point.
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Quoting Tazmanian:



doing well am geting my new Acer on friday



Awesome! Glad to hear. You'll have to throw a new puter party! I'll bring the pizza! :)
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Aww, I'm not a troll! I was just clowning. Eh, see what happens when your post count is low, people don't trust ya.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Yep :)



Strong consensus for a track over Dominica/Guadeloupe then Eastern PR. The NHC is following it.
Member Since: October 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6455
Quoting stoormfury:
if that track continues through out the night then warnings will be issued for some of the islands south of the present watch area


The convective blow up with Maria is probably packing gusts near 50 mph. Warnings or not tomorrow will probably be a rough day from 14 N and up as Maria will likely enter the Caribbean near that latitude.
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Quoting Grothar:


I always thought it was Moosii


Moosezes.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Yep :)



Looks like another U.S. miss to me.
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:



McGuire's, of course!

With tourist season over maybe locals can get back in there again. ;)
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Quoting aspectre:


ok ok we get it you like STRAIGHT lines....
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00Z NAM 500MB Init:

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Quoting kmanislander:


If you mean the Eastern Caribbean I think there is no avoiding it. Whether it will kill the system, that I doubt.



Gotcha, Kman! I've always appreciated your visual take on these things, generally true.

These storms this year seem to really be speeding along under the ridge. Is it me, or has the fast forward speed been a bit unusual.
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Quoting PrivateIdaho:


21 GB, 17 Saints


That explains the quietness in the blog...
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Quoting moonlightcowboy:



Good, buddy! Thanks for asking. And how have you been? Good I hope!

No, no doom right now. Thank goodness! :)



doing well am geting my new Acer on friday
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115454
tropicalanal: Those tracks look good to me... They seem to think Maria will go nowhere near CONUS.

Hopefully the islands only get hit with a low pressure system...
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TS.Maria's_12amGMT_ATCF : Starting 8Sept_12amGMT and ending 9Sept_12amGMT

The 4 eastern line-segments represent TropicalStormMaria's path,
the westernmost line-segment is the straightline projection,
and the overlapping 13.48n61.166w endpoint of the most recent previous straightline projection is only 0.02degrees (1.2nautical-miles)1.4miles(2.2kilometres) north of the current endpoint at 13.46n61.166w

Using straightline projection of the travel-speed&heading derived from the
ATCF coordinates spanning the 6hours between 6pmGMT then 12amGMT :
TS.Maria's travel-speed was 21.3mph(34.3k/h) on a heading of 273.3degrees(W)
TS.Maria was headed toward passing 5.4miles(8.7kilometres) north of SaintVincent(&theGrenadines) ~22hours from now

Copy&paste 13.48n61.166w, bqn, pmv, 13.3n45.2w-13.2n47.3w, 13.2n47.3w-13.0n50.2w, 13.0n50.2w-13.1n51.8w, 13.1n51.8w-13.2n53.7w, svd, 13.1n51.8w-13.46n61.166w into the GreatCircleMapper for more info

The previous mapping (for 8Sept_6pmGMT)
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Quoting Dakster:
Anyone know the Saints / GB score?


21-17 Packers lead
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Quoting Dakster:
Anyone know the Saints / GB score?


21 GB, 17 Saints
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Quoting donna1960ruled:
PLANFALF Model.....Maria......Wilmington.....Cat 3
Nuff said, until we see the new McTavish numbers


That was the 13Z run...way old. The news run, the 01Z run, which just came out, suggests Charleston, South Carolina, with McTavish numbers off the chart.
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Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:

Johansson called the local fire and rescue department, which responded with a fire engine and a jeep with a winch.

"We got the alarm at 9.59 p.m. on September 6 that a moose was stuck in a tree," said Anders Gardhagen, spokesman at the Gothenburg Fire and Rescue Services.

"When we arrived we used the winch to bend down the apple tree so the moose could get himself out of the tree. Once free, the moose collapsed on the ground and fell asleep. So we let him sleep it off and went back home" Gardhagen told CNN.

Yeah.. that happened to me once too... It all starts so innocent and before you know it.....
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if that track continues through out the night then warnings will be issued for some of the islands south of the present watch area
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Yep :)

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Quoting moonlightcowboy:



Makin' hay, friend. Makin' hay! So, thinking Maria hits the graveyard?


If you mean the Eastern Caribbean I think there is no avoiding it. Whether it will kill the system, that I doubt.
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Quoting sunlinepr:


They posted the same photo twice with diff. accounts...

I won't notice it now, because they are blocked...


LouisianaWoman is not a troll.
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I know who the Mooses should date -- the gooses.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


Yeah, I'm going to have nightmares. XD

The face of evil!
The weakest system in the Atlantic is the one with the coldest cloud tops, go figure.
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Quoting sunlinepr:


They posted the same photo twice with diff. accounts...

I won't notice it now, because they are blocked...


No, they didn't. It's an externally hosted photo. Anyone who has the URL could post it. And you can get the URL by quoting the post. See?

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Quoting Tazmanian:



i dont no are we LOL so how you been doing moon



Good, buddy! Thanks for asking. And how have you been? Good I hope!

No, no doom right now. Thank goodness! :)
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Johansson called the local fire and rescue department, which responded with a fire engine and a jeep with a winch.

"We got the alarm at 9.59 p.m. on September 6 that a moose was stuck in a tree," said Anders Gardhagen, spokesman at the Gothenburg Fire and Rescue Services.

"When we arrived we used the winch to bend down the apple tree so the moose could get himself out of the tree. Once free, the moose collapsed on the ground and fell asleep. So we let him sleep it off and went back home" Gardhagen told CNN.

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Quoting PcolaDan:

I don't know where those lips have been. ;)



McGuire's, of course!
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 661
Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

Mooses? The plural of moose is moose.


I always thought it was Moosii
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27208
Quoting Tazmanian:



can we plzs stop with that


What, stop with the farting?
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


Yeah, I'm going to have nightmares. XD




yup me too
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115454
Anyone know the Saints / GB score?
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Nate is so tiny and convectively weak compared to Maria
Member Since: October 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6455
if this steering flow stay the same for 3 days maria WOULD NOT MAKE A WNW NOT A NW BUT A WNW TURN UNTIL 70W which would result in her traveling the heart of the carribean into the gulf. still possible climotology favors it steering flow favor it FOR NOW
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Compare and contrast

The Mississippi river at Vicksburg--332,000 cubic feet per second.

The Susquehanna river at Conowingo--757,000 cubic feet per second.

Heading for a million? Probably not, but will get close.
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Quoting Tazmanian:



can we plzs stop with that


Yeah, I'm going to have nightmares. XD
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Quoting kmanislander:


Man, you are a sight for sore eyes !. Where the @#$%^ have you been LOL ?



Makin' hay, friend. Makin' hay! So, thinking Maria hits the graveyard?
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Quoting stoormfury:
Kman
to be honest i don't think maria will make that turn. the present steeing currents does not support that turn and the system will croos into the caribbean over martinique or just slightly norh of it


The turn will be preceded by a slowing of the forward speed and so far there has been no sign of that.
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:


In Pensacola, You kiss the moose!

I don't know where those lips have been. ;)
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Quoting moonlightcowboy:



Hello, Taz! Are we doom yet? ;)



i dont no are we LOL so how you been doing moon
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115454
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


...?


They posted the same photo twice with diff. accounts...

I won't notice it now, because they are blocked...
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Quoting Tazmanian:



hi moon



Hello, Taz! Are we doom yet? ;)
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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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