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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The models on WU are showing Nate taking a hard left.


Anyway, off to make the donuts.
Have a great day everyone.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:

That little homegrown NE of Nate is nearly his size.
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1875. HrDelta
Quoting 69Viking:


I'd have to agree with you!


He's small enough that his damage may not be a large amount. His tropical storm force winds only cover a circle 210 miles in diameter.
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Quoting AllBoardedUp:
Fox News, as well as CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC, CNBC are all faux news if you were to ask me! But since no one has asked, I'll go back to lurking.


More like SHEEP headquarters
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Quoting HCW:
Nate 12z Model runs from the NHC




Where can we pull those directly so they are larger and legible to old eyes?>
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Quoting AllBoardedUp:
Fox News, as well as CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC, CNBC are all faux news if you were to ask me! But since no one has asked, I'll go back to lurking.


Gotta love the O' Reilly Factor though, NO SPIN ZONE!

Member Since: October 5, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 269
Quoting HrDelta:


He'll be a Hurrricane soon enough.


I'd have to agree with you!
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3130
HWRF has just jumped on board for Maria strengthening.
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Fox News, as well as CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC, CNBC are all faux news if you were to ask me! But since no one has asked, I'll go back to lurking.
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Maria is the kind of BLOB we need to sit over TX right now



MARIA go the TX and stay a TS of course :)
Member Since: October 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6456
with all due respect, eventhough crown weather is not a met, Rob Lightbown has been right on the money each and every time. Henry Margusity is also very good but Rob at Crown Weather gives excellent analysis and many many more times than not, he has been right
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Quoting BioWeather:


I agree. You can see the outflow getting a little better organized, especially along the north.


Exactly.
Member Since: October 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6456
Maria is looking interesting this morning.

She is weaker than predicted at this point 3 days ago but with being weaker she may go further west.

I would hate for another nasty storm to travel over Bahama so soon... and the SE CONUS should not write this one off just yet...


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1864. HrDelta
Quoting 69Viking:
Nate sure is a purty little storm!



He'll be a Hurrricane soon enough.
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1863. HCW
Nate 12z Model runs from the NHC


Member Since: August 10, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 1409
Quoting FLdewey:


Sounds better than 76 and cloudy... will greet the first front of the season with open arms... in a month or three.

Could be worse, you could be here, was a 55°F here and got 0.22" of rain today.
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1861. Caner
Quoting caribbeantracker01:


that is because the cloud tops are being sheared take a look at the mapss and because of all the cloud cover over the center it appears that it is traveling north


Dunno, Patrap just posted this link and it seems to show otherwise.

Very good link!
Link
Member Since: June 27, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 179
with TS maria i would not pay to much attention to the models. she is still in the developing stages and the weaker she remains the further west she will go so those of you in the dominican republic and the bahamas be ready , and as for florida just keep an eye out she may come closer than the models are currently indicating
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Nate sure is a purty little storm!

Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3130
1858. Caner
6z NAM seems to be taking a page from NOGAPS.

Link
Member Since: June 27, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 179
Quoting Caner:


Did you see a N/NE element in the movement on this WV you posted Patrap?

I commented on it earlier... It's not apparent on the visible or LCP, but looks sort of strong on the WV.


that is because the cloud tops are being sheared take a look at the mapss and because of all the cloud cover over the center it appears that it is traveling north
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Maria is the kind of BLOB we need to sit over TX right now


Yes, she's about the right size to take up the whole state.
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1855. Patrap
TS Nate in motion


2km Storm Relative IR Imagery with BD Enhancement Curve, Loop
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Shear map suggests Maria may pull it together on the southern side.


And she has slowed down.
TROPICAL STORM MARIA IS CENTERED NEAR 14.0N 56.9W AT 09/1200 UTC OR ABOUT 185 MI...295 KM ENE OF BARBADOS AND 390 MI...630 KM SE OF THE LEEWARD ISLANDS MOVING W-NW AT 16 KT. ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 1003 MB. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WIND SPEED IS 35 KT WITH GUSTS TO 45 KT.
(from 8 a.m. nhc tropical weather discussion(
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Quoting AussieStorm:

It's on cable here also. Hardly watched it, the article I posted earlier was sent to me and I could not believe what I was reading. Typical of Faux spews i guess.


you are coming really close to being added to my ignore list this morning and I hate to do that to you but you have become annoying with your referrences... I happen to be one of those that agree FNC is the #1 Cable News Network....

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Quoting CaribBoy:
To me, Maria is slowiy organizing


I agree. You can see the outflow getting a little better organized, especially along the north.
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Maria is the kind of BLOB we need to sit over TX right now

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1850. Patrap
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Well I am glad to see the shift in the track from the NHC. Still, Texas sure needs some help though. I'm sure the NHC bashers will be on soon.
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Quoting Chicklit:
Maria is huge.


She's a bigg'un.

Next day or so should be interesting... especially if they pin that center a little further south.

this place will go bonkers.
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1846. 7544
i dont see any nw i see maria is moving west and im on my second cup of java lol <--------
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To me, Maria is slowiy organizing
Member Since: October 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6456
1844. Patrap
Quoting Caner:


Did you see a N/NE element in the movement on this WV you posted Patrap?

I commented on it earlier... It's not apparent on the visible or LCP, but looks sort of strong on the WV.


Seems to be,, but I want to see some more Viz frames looped and, when the RGB settles down from the Low angle.
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Quoting FLdewey:
Getting tired of these high clouds in Florida.



Boooooo!


Come up to the Panhandle, it was clear and a pleasant 60 degrees this morning!
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3130
1841. Patrap
TS Nate

Storm Relative 1km Geostationary Visible Imagery

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Quoting Hawkeyewx:


Dude, if you want anyone who isn't a staunch liberal to take your posts seriously I suggest you leave out the term "faux news". That is the political diatribe the other guy was referring to.

Obviously he isn't a staunch liberal then, Nor am I. Just the fact that the politicians there will be looking to cut budget spending everywhere they can and will probably cut the NOAA/NWS budget has no bearing on how they will be able to maintain the Doppler radars and depending on how much is cut from NOAA's budget staff cuts can not be ruled out, this could be disastrous in the future.
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1839. SXMFL
Quoting weatherjr:
At 11:00 AM today I expect a TS warning for the islands (including PR). (IMO)



I'm with you on that one, I live in SXM and every island around me (including the other half of the islandwhich is dutch) have a TS warning, but we don't. So I guess that means Dutch St. Maarten will get it as of right now, but not French St. Martin.... Haha :)

Sunny here with a few wind gusts, which feels great, because we haven't had much wind for days. It's been SO hot.
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1838. Caner
Quoting Patrap:


Did you see a N/NE element in the movement on this WV you posted Patrap?

I commented on it earlier... It's not apparent on the visible or LCP, but looks sort of strong on the WV.
Member Since: June 27, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 179
Maria is huge.
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Quoting FLdewey:
Getting tired of these high clouds in Florida.



Boooooo!


Me too... looks like another good blast of rain this afternoon getting set up west off the coast.
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Link

Let's play a game. Where do you see the center?

I see a nice rotation at 14N between 56-57W
Member Since: October 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6456
1834. Patrap

Tropical Storm MARIA Public Advisory

Home Public Adv Fcst/Adv Discussion Wind Probs Graphics Archive

US Watch/Warning

000
WTNT34 KNHC 091155
TCPAT4

BULLETIN
TROPICAL STORM MARIA INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER 11A
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL142011
800 AM AST FRI SEP 09 2011

...MARIA HEADING TOWARD THE CENTRAL AND NORTHERN LESSER ANTILLES...


SUMMARY OF 800 AM AST...1200 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...14.0N 56.9W
ABOUT 185 MI...295 KM ENE OF BARBADOS
ABOUT 390 MI...630 KM SE OF THE LEEWARD ISLANDS
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...40 MPH...65 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...WNW OR 290 DEGREES AT 18 MPH...30 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1003 MB...29.62 INCHES
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1832. Gearsts
Quoting CaribBoy:


Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 39 knots (~ 44.8 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 40 knots (~ 46.0 mph)

Tropical storm.
They need to find more TS winds.
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1831. ncstorm
PLEASE dont start with the political posts..take it WU mail!!!!
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Best guess from this imagery is that Maria is in fact moving west, or just slightly north of due west:


Vis loop Link



Very hard to see where the center is with all that super convection.
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1829. Patrap


The ESL by LSU Low Cloud Product shows the Heights well.

Full Frame
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1828. Caner
Quoting Hawkeyewx:


Dude, if you want anyone who isn't a staunch liberal to take your posts seriously I suggest you leave out the term "faux news". That is the political diatribe the other guy was referring to.


Yeah... My iggy list is growing big time today >.<

For someone who hates to iggy people, i seem to be warming up to it...
Member Since: June 27, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 179

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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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