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 DFWjc:


yes you can, if the game is 27-27 and the one team score a FG makes it 30-27 then the other team goes down and scores a TD it would be 34-30....1st team to score a TD wins in OT now...
THANK YOU iv been say that the whole time, if you dont believe us here.

Link
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The fire just northwest of Houston has kept a persistent smoke plume trailing south. Has been quite smoky at times over west Houston. Headline on KHOU web site:

"Riley Road Fire now 65-percent contained; over 100 homes lost

Firefighters were well into their fourth day of battling the Riley Road Fire in Grimes, Montgomery and Waller counties Thursday, as state troopers worked to keep concerned evacuees out of harm’s way."

The fire by Bastrop is now contained. No smoke plume showing on the Wundermap.
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Quoting DFWjc:


yes you can, if the game is 27-27 and the one team score a FG makes it 30-27 then the other team goes down and scores a TD it would be 34-30....1st team to score a TD wins in OT now...
Wait they still have to kick the extra point?
Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
there is a power is out for most if not all of S CA right now
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115347
Quoting FLdewey:
Nuke plants in Socal have tripped offline... going to be a long while before power is back.

I wonder when the riots will start.

D'oh!
You serious?
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i bet by the morning they will have maria as fizzled out and gone
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Quoting LouisianaWoman:


Ok, give me the score that sent them into OT...and then tell me what hail mary happened that made them win. lol
The new OT rules state that each team must have 1 possesion if the other team does not score a TD. They started it last year in the off season and are using in in all games this year.
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Good evening bloggers: I stated yesterday that Maria could be doungraded (50 % probability) or upgraded (50 % probability) before arriving to the islands. Well, the former alternative will occur later today, or tomorrow morning, according to NHC. I expect minimum impact to the islands, may be some rain here in PR, unless the storm become stronger (for me unlikely at this time).
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Quoting BahaHurican:
It's a good thing u didn't ask me this.... lol

Howarya, neighbour?



Hiya, Baha. I know better than to ask you that> :) I hope Maria misses you all there. You and I know these systems can do strange things when they enter the Bermuda Triangle.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26814
617. P451
Quoting Methurricanes:
Touchback, or 2 point transition, Vs extra point, can get you 34 points.


You can't have a 34-30 final score in Overtime.

Can't do it.

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Nuke plants in Socal have tripped offline... going to be a long while before power is back.

I wonder when the riots will start.

D'oh!
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Quoting Methurricanes:
can you say oximorons? there is 2 of them there


That was my point...

Watch, the threat will be to our power plants...
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Quoting thesituation:
LA times story on power outage

Link
Granny you ready for the Jersey Shore tonight?
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.
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Quoting Dakster:
And you gotta love CNN....

Specific, Credible, Unconfirmed and Non-Detailed threat against the US...

Ok... That helps.
can you say oximorons? there is 2 of them there
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For the first time water overtopped the concrete drainage structure in our dry pond we've had over 5in, here in northern VA
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Quoting 19N81W:
this season is weird....nate is the size of an aircraft carrier..and maria is pathetic....nothing can gain any power..I think Katia was the best shot maybe Irene..but other than that its a bunch of aircraft carrier size ts's spinning naked...in weird places...something is up...no doubt the pros will give us some scientific reason as to why...who the f knows...its hot here and void of convection...
Its saving up for a hypercane.
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Our weather here in New Orleans area has been perfect!
I am just getting home from work, are there any chances
of Nate hitting Louisiana?
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Nate down to 994; winds still 60 knots:

AL, 15, 2011090900, , BEST, 0, 197N, 922W, 60, 994, TS, 50, NEQ, 45, 50, 75, 0, 1010, 200, 30, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, NATE, M,
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Quoting Methurricanes:
Touchback, or 2 point transition, Vs extra point, can get you 34 points.


Ok, give me the score that sent them into OT...and then tell me what hail mary happened that made them win. lol
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LA times story on power outage

Link
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Quoting bappit:

I'm surprised the place isn't a desert up there. Hard to imagine a place where they haven't recorded seven inches of rain before.


Oh, they have had higher rain falls, but usually the rains up there are light and not always this widespread. They have had tremendous amounts of rain this year all through the whole area. With this system is was slow moving and had a training effect over the rivers. It is very mountainous there. This was a very widespead and long lasting event similar to Agnes in 1972.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26814
Quoting P451:


Or one high tension line touching a tree limb in Ohio, overheating, and blacking out the whole north east and SE Canada.

They said after the fact that they almost did not catch it in time and pretty much the entire east coast could have gone down...and they openly admitted they weren't sure where it would have stopped - or if it would have stopped. LOL



Makes you wonder sometimes...
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this season is weird....nate is the size of an aircraft carrier..and maria is pathetic....nothing can gain any power..I think Katia was the best shot maybe Irene..but other than that its a bunch of aircraft carrier size ts's spinning naked...in weird places...something is up...no doubt the pros will give us some scientific reason as to why...who the f knows...its hot here and void of convection...
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Quoting Patrap:


That cant happen.

There's no 4 point play in the NFL last I checked.

But the Fresca and Southern Comfort has started to flow here..so I best refer to Gro.

33 to 30 will work though.
Touchback, or 2 point transition, Vs extra point, can get you 34 points.
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601. P451
Quoting Dakster:
I thought we supposedly fixed the cascading failure part from happening again. After the power plant SNAFU in Miami-Dade nearly took out the entire state of Florida a couple of years ago.



Or one high tension line touching a tree limb in Ohio, overheating, and blacking out the whole north east and SE Canada.

They said after the fact that they almost did not catch it in time and pretty much the entire east coast could have gone down...and they openly admitted they weren't sure where it would have stopped - or if it would have stopped. LOL

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1.4 mil without power and out till tomorrow

Link
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Any news on the blackout... how widespread is it?
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I am so excited I put up the wrong prediction. Let's try again! Saints 34 Packers 31 OT
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GWPB - I have spiders that big in my yard right now...
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Wish we had one of these in the open Atlantic, even a little stronger.

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Quoting hurricanehunter27:
All scores are possible in football except 1.


True, but not when you call said score to happen in an OT win.

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594. P451
Quoting stormhank:
Good evening i see models r all over with nate?? Just wanted to ask if he will affect the northern gulf ooast or turn into mexico??


This is about as good as it can get at this point in time with Nate's potential forecast track.

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I thought we supposedly fixed the cascading failure part from happening again. After the power plant SNAFU in Miami-Dade nearly took out the entire state of Florida a couple of years ago.

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I know you like spiders dewey...

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Quoting Dakster:
Arizona is now dark...

Yuma and Phoenix confirmed...


Sounds like that was the source, and that cascaded to the West Coast.

I bet a squirrel chewed through a wire in some shed.

Rugged power grid we have.
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Quoting bappit:
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. -- Ralph

Divines = weather forecasters


I left the last part out deliberately, lest it start a blog war. LOL!
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26814
ok, anyone else wanna bet me that florida will have no effect from maria other then maybe a wave or 2 ?
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Sounds like a cascading failure.

Again, the outage seems to have originated in Arizona. This caused our line from AZ and from the north of our region to both trip off. ~ via twitter San Diego and Orange counties
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Quoting Bielle:


Or "A foolish hobgoblin little minds consistency." Glad to see you inhabiting your own name.


Thanks, Bielle. And don't confuse me. I'm too old. LOL
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26814
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. -- Ralph

Divines = weather forecasters
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Patrap - better get the generator going or you might miss the game...
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Quoting Grothar:


Are you behaving?
It's a good thing u didn't ask me this.... lol

Howarya, neighbour?

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Well I'm glad to have football back =)

Two pretty good teams facing off tonight for the season opener.

I saw a prediction of 33-30...that would be a believable score at least midway through the season...I'm more inclined to go with 24-21, because I have a feeling there is going to be some rust due to the shortened off-season that had no mini-camp & training camp.



Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
Arizona is now dark...

Yuma and Phoenix confirmed...
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Quoting Grothar:
Got some updates from Pennsylvania. There are hundreds of trucks and cars stranded on Route 17 (I86). Most of it is closed and the drivers can't get out. The townspeople are bringing them food and fresh water. They don't know how long they will be there. The flooding is much worse than anything they have ever experienced. The water level is beginning to rise in Binghamton.

I'm surprised the place isn't a desert up there. Hard to imagine a place where they haven't recorded seven inches of rain before.
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Quoting Patrap:


Not 34 to 30 in OT

Urrrrp,,
You heard about the new rule with OT right? You have to win with a TD not a field goal or a safty. So 2 safty's.
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Just don't come after me dewey. I really don't like Grothar.


As long as you don't find yourself in a bathtub with him wearing a dog collar you're good.

Maria is looking gust frontish tonight.
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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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