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 LBAR:
Maria starting to fire up again!


---

Yup, usually these systems seem to weaken in the afternoon and pull together well overnight.

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Ants are everywhere here in NOLA. Ironically as soon as I read "I should go check on the ants" one of the folks here was out in the lawn sprinkling ant killer, and showed me several piles of dead ants they had killed earlier today.
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Welcome, marinagal! U have to be tougher than the poofers sometimes... and there are a lot of us who do at least give u a chance to ask a few questions before we poof u.... lol... not that u r likely to ask anything poofable in the first place... ;o)

So far, FL is not likely to be hit directly by Maria. However, a lot is going to depend on when / how the latest trough pulls through, and also on how strong the Atlantic high is.



Thank you for the welcome. I work in the marine industry so I try to keep tabs on things. My Boss is flying out Monday to go fix a Genset in Freeport. I am hoping the weather wont be to bad for him. Keeping fingers crossed.
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Looks to me like Maria is re-strengthening, if the satellite loop is anything to go by.

Beginning to pull together and should be good-looking by tomorrow am.

Think the usually excellent NHC modelling has underestimated this one. That burst of shear has flummoxed the forecast.

I have a suspicion that it may cut right through the centre of the islands into the Caribbean Sea.

Who knows, I am not a met, so take it as an opinion only.

I am in Barbados, will check the satellite as soon as I get up tomorrow am, should be interesting to say the least.
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Quoting Progster:


There's something about the fetch of low level air entering Nate that may be doing something to partially offset the extremely dry air to the north of the old frontal boundary. I havent looked at the sreamlines (a rough approximation of trajectory) but any air from the N moving into Nate's circulaton will have had, what, maybe 25 hours over the Gulf? That'll add some theta E as the low level flow comes into more equilibrium with the environment.


Some, but look at the moisture values hitting the southern coast of the BOC lol.

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Quoting Bretts9112:

guess you dont like to read very much


geuss you dont either he asked levi not you...
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Quoting UKHWatcher:


But you DID respond!

Look at the bigger picture. You're a really bight kid, but not everyone has your intelligence!

Think about how you would explain things to the slow kid in your class?

Don't quote the troll but post the answer to the question anyway.

As in 'in my belief, the storm will/will not go east/west and will/will not hit x

Match your maturity to your intelligence and think about those who just watch the blog... some in fear of being laughed at if they ask what seems a dumb 'trollish' question to you.

Would love to see "numbers online now" figures for WU. It would give people a different perspective to how big the audience is, not just the 100 or so people who are confident to post!


But thats my point -- If it isn't a troll, I'll be more than happy to answer it. However, if it somebody who is posting crazy stuff on this blog and making fun on people and national organizations, then I'm not answering anything.

Why are we having this conservation? :P
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32835
320. LBAR
Maria starting to fire up again!
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Folks who claim to be afraid to post a question on this blog are always suspect.. If they are genuine in their attempt and not trying to be too cute (or too humble) I've seen nothing but positive responses from the blog vets. That's how I've been treated and I'm truly thankful. JMO
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Quoting StAugustineFL:


Should be a good game regardless of who wins. I have no rooting interest other than needing Jimmy Graham to put up some fantasy points for me.

Nate's been quite the surprise.

Will Maria stay on the low road?


..a Great NFL opener for sure.

Nate is problematic downstream, Maria needs to be watched as well.

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317. jpsb
Quoting Patrap:


Yeah,,when JFV and Palin run on a Ticket together maybe.

Im rooting for Joe Lombardi,,drew Brees QB coach.

He's Vince Lombardi's grandson.

Been with us number of years now.

He is a big part of our success.


I fry chicken when we play Atlanta,,twice a year, but still need a recipe for SeaHawk's though.
I will be sampling some of my Home Brew tonight so be advised, no politics! It's a little early, still needs 2 more weeks but what the heck. :)
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Quoting Levi32:


Only if he sits around for 5+ days before making a move for the land, and even then that's asking for a lot. At best maybe he'll sit for 4 days and then make a run for northern Mexico, bringing south Texas some rain, but a direct move into Texas still doesn't make much sense even after that amount of time.


ok, thanks Levi.
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Quoting mobhurricane2011:
So you still say North Gulf Coast? And about where on the NGC are you thinking?


General direction of the Mississippi River, but let's first see if the general motion forecast actually verifies lol. It's possible this will be an occasion where I am dead wrong, but a choice has to be made by forecasters in a situation like this when there are two opposing roads. I've made my choice.
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Quoting SwLAlawchick:
Creeping out from lurking...........maybe I should check on the ants.........
Couldn't hurt.
If we don't hear back from you then we'll know the ant mounds are more serious than we thought.:)
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Levi,

Does the intesification of Nate change your track reasoning any? Do you still think he will nudge between the highs to N or NE? Will the trough have any effect if he is a stronger than anticipated storm?

Thanks
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


People on here know not to feed the troll. So, if I know for sure that it is a troll, I'm not responding, simple as that.


But you DID respond!

Look at the bigger picture. You're a really bight kid, but not everyone has your intelligence!

Think about how you would explain things to the slow kid in your class?

Don't quote the troll but post the answer to the question anyway.

As in 'in my belief, the storm will/will not go east/west and will/will not hit x

Match your maturity to your intelligence and think about those who just watch the blog... some in fear of being laughed at if they ask what seems a dumb 'trollish' question to you.

Would love to see "numbers online now" figures for WU. It would give people a different perspective to how big the audience is, not just the 100 or so people who are confident to post!
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Quoting Levi32:
Good afternoon.

I must say that given Nate's satellite appearance, I don't think anybody in the world expected a pressure of 995mb and 70mph winds from the recon. We will have to see if Nate can actually hold this up once he starts moving northward, away from the friendly curved coast of the BOC and deeper into dry air and wind shear.


There's something about the fetch of low level air entering Nate that may be doing something to partially offset the extremely dry air to the north of the old frontal boundary. I haven't looked at the streamlines (a rough approximation of trajectory) but any air from the N moving into Nate's circulaton will have had, what, maybe 25 hours over the Gulf? That'll add some theta E as the low level flow comes into more equilibrium with the environment.
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Conditions at 42055 as of (4:50 pm CDT)

2150 GMT on 09/08/2011:
Unit of Measure: Time Zone:
Click on the graph icon in the table below to see a time series plot of the last five days of that observation.

Wind Direction (WDIR): NNE ( 20 deg true )
Wind Speed (WSPD): 15.5 kts
Wind Gust (GST): 21.4 kts
Wave Height (WVHT): 7.9 ft
Dominant Wave Period (DPD): 7 sec
Average Period (APD): 5.3 sec
Mean Wave Direction (MWD): NNE ( 12 deg true )
Atmospheric Pressure (PRES): 29.83 in
Pressure Tendency (PTDY): -0.05 in ( Falling )
Air Temperature (ATMP): 80.1 °F
Water Temperature (WTMP): 84.6 °F
Dew Point (DEWP): 73.4 °F
Heat Index (HEAT): 84.4 °F
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Quoting TexasHurricane:
Hi Levi,

I know TX is in the cone right now. But still seems like the thinking is MX or NE movement.

Is there any way that you think Nate could make it to TX?


Only if he sits around for 5+ days before making a move for the land, and even then that's asking for a lot. At best maybe he'll sit for 4 days and then make a run for northern Mexico, bringing south Texas some rain, but a direct move into Texas still doesn't make much sense even after that amount of time.
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Quoting Levi32:


Yes. The GFS has been bouncing from coast to coast. The ECMWF ensembles are solidly on Mexico now but we have a while yet to work this out. You gotta pick something. The NHC did too, but a lame-duck consensus is what they picked. They're between the two main sets of models with only the CLP5 for support lol.

So you still say North Gulf Coast? And about where on the NGC are you thinking?
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Quoting UKHWatcher:


TA13... Maria and Nate are moving closer together, may even interact... Who knows?

Pls look at the question IT IS VALID, not just who posted it.

You may be on a permanent troll hunt like one or two others, but the rest of us are here for info and if we haven't asked the question ourselves, because we might feel stupid in the presence of such superior minds, we are hardly likely to ask again if other's questions are dealt with so severely.

New people come on here every day, especially if the cone is heading their way. Some of those in fear for their lives.

Recently Grandpato4 was savaged during Irene early on for asking if it would affect Florida. Whether he was a troll or not, there were a thousand lurkers from Florida who probably daren't ask the same question for fear of ridicule.

Thankfully some folk answered his question rather than declaring him a troll. This blog should be informative. What's seems like a dumb "wind up" question might be from someone who's "Heard there's a possibility" who may never have experienced TS or H conditions before. Concerned, they Googled TS/H XXXXX's forecast and found the blog (like I did) and thought... These people might be able to inform me.


This is one of the best posts I've seen on this blog in a long time. Wake up folks, not everybody on here is a Levi or a Drak.

Thanks to all of you that consistently answer (often the same) questions all day every day when a tropical cyclone hit is probable.
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Quoting Patrap:


Yeah,,when JFV and Palin run on a Ticket together maybe.

Im rooting for Joe Lombardi,,drew Brees QB coach.

He's Vince Lombardi's grandson.

Been with us number of years now.

He is a big part of our success.


I fry chicken when we play Atlanta,,twice a year, but still need a recipe for SeaHawk's though.


Should be a good game regardless of who wins. I have no rooting interest other than needing Jimmy Graham to put up some fantasy points for me.

Nate's been quite the surprise.

Will Maria stay on the low road?
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Quoting SwLAlawchick:
Creeping out from lurking...........maybe I should check on the ants.........
LOL... an ant bit me today...

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Quoting ScottLincoln:


It's not the pressure itself, it's the pressure gradient. And estimates are just that, estimates. Good for when you have nothing else, but not full-proof. They will be shown wrong from time to time.


990 is going to be needed here to attain the proper pressure-gradient. It's not naturally that strong in the Gulf of Mexico. He is a small system so sub-990 probably won't be needed like most Atlantic systems, but right around 990 is likely necessary.
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302. DFWjc
Quoting Patrap:


Yeah,,when JFV and Palin run on a Ticket together maybe.

Im rooting for Joe Lombardi,,drew Brees QB coach.

He's Vince Lombardi's grandson.

Been with us number of years now.

He is a big part of our success.


I fry chicken when we play Atlanta,,twice a year, but still need a recipe for SeaHawk's though.


Hey Patrap, got a problem, drafted GB for DEF, but love NOLA, what should i do? And should I also cancel my trip to NOLA on 15-17 because of the storm?
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Quoting Levi32:


It needs a pressure of 990mb for that, not 995. I can't imagine it can pull that off without even -70C cloud tops. The Dvorak estimates of weak tropical storm strength are what make this so funny, and it also means that our assessments of his strength on satellite have not been crazy, since the computer-based analysis agrees.


It's not the pressure itself, it's the pressure gradient. And estimates are just that, estimates. Good for when you have nothing else, but not full-proof. They will be shown wrong from time to time.
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Quoting TexasHurricane:
Hi Levi,

I know TX is in the cone right now. But still seems like the thinking is MX or NE movement.

Is there any way that you think Nate could make it to TX?

guess you dont like to read very much
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tht xtrap model looks strange ??
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Quoting MississippiWx:


It appears that all of the models have shifted to a Mexico solution. Gonna stick with your Northern Gulf Coast landfall? Lol.

0z runs should have G-IV flight information.


Yes. The GFS has been bouncing from coast to coast. The ECMWF ensembles are solidly on Mexico now but we have a while yet to work this out. You gotta pick something. The NHC did too, but a lame-duck consensus is what they picked. They're between the two main sets of models with only the CLP5 for support lol.

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Quoting Levi32:


It needs a pressure of 990mb for that, not 995. I can't imagine it can pull that off without even -70C cloud tops. The Dvorak estimates of weak tropical storm strength are what make this so funny, and it also means that our assessments of his strength on satellite have not been crazy, since the computer-based analysis agrees.


Well, I wouldn't say it NEEDS a pressure of 990 mb. since there are exceptions. And a 70 mph tropical storm with a 40 mph satellite presentation seems to be an exception for winds, lol.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32835
Quoting UKHWatcher:


TA13... Maria and Nate are moving closer together, may even interact... Who knows?

Pls look at the question IT IS VALID, not just who posted it.

You may be on a permanent troll hunt like one or two others, but the rest of us are here for info and if we haven't asked the question ourselves, because we might feel stupid in the presence of such superior minds, we are hardly likely to ask again if other's questions are dealt with so severely.

New people come on here every day, especially if the cone is heading their way. Some of those in fear for their lives.

Recently Grandpato4 was savaged during Irene early on for asking if it would affect Florida. Whether he was a troll or not, there were a thousand lurkers from Florida who probably daren't ask the same question for fear of ridicule.

Thankfully some folk answered his question rather than declaring him a troll. This blog should be informative. What's seems like a dumb "wind up" question might be from someone who's "Heard there's a possibility" who may never have experienced TS or H conditions before. Concerned, they Googled TS/H XXXXX's forecast and found the blog (like I did) and thought... These people might be able to inform me.


Grandpa can no longer be with us. We should all just remember him in silence.
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Hi Levi,

I know TX is in the cone right now. But still seems like the thinking is MX or NE movement.

Is there any way that you think Nate could make it to TX?
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Quoting Levi32:


It needs a pressure of 990mb for that, not 995. I can't imagine it can pull that off without even -70C cloud tops. The Dvorak estimates of weak tropical storm strength are what make this so funny, and it also means that our assessments of his strength on satellite have not been crazy, since the computer-based analysis agrees.


It appears that all of the models have shifted to a Mexico solution. Gonna stick with your Northern Gulf Coast landfall? Lol.

0z runs should have G-IV flight information.
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Quoting P451:


Outside of the natural variability of the day to day or year to year weather one comes to expect I'm thinking that whole La Nina thing could be stirring up some of the more recent trouble.


We've had La Nina years before - many times - and previous years were much stronger La Ninas, yet they certainly weren't like this year in regards to weather disasters or climate extremes.
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Quoting UKHWatcher:


TA13... Maria and Nate are moving closer together, may even interact... Who knows?

Pls look at the question IT IS VALID, not just who posted it.

You may be on a permanent troll hunt like one or two others, but the rest of us are here for info and if we haven't asked the question ourselves, because we might feel stupid in the presence of such superior minds, we are hardly likely to ask again if other's questions are dealt with so severely.

New people come on here every day, especially if the cone is heading their way. Some of those in fear for their lives.

Recently Grandpato4 was savaged during Irene early on for asking if it would affect Florida. Whether he was a troll or not, there were a thousand lurkers from Florida who probably daren't ask the same question for fear of ridicule.

Thankfully some folk answered his question rather than declaring him a troll. This blog should be informative. What's seems like a dumb "wind up" question might be from someone who's "Heard there's a possibility" who may never have experienced TS or H conditions before. Concerned, they Googled TS/H XXXXX's forecast and found the blog (like I did) and thought... These people might be able to inform me.


People on here know not to feed the troll. So, if I know for sure that it is a troll, I'm not responding, simple as that.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32835
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Going to be a hard call for the National Hurricane Center at 11PM...SAB, TAFB, and ADT are still at 35 knots, lol.

Satellite appearance recon data means that they probably won't upgrade to a hurricane at 11PM, although considering recon only winds 4 mph away, its probably very close to becoming a hurricane right now.


It needs a pressure of 990mb for that, not 995. I can't imagine it can pull that off without even -70C cloud tops. The Dvorak estimates of weak tropical storm strength are what make this so funny, and it also means that our assessments of his strength on satellite have not been crazy, since the computer-based analysis agrees.
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Quoting Levi32:


Prepare for a TS no matter what....TD/TS right now is a matter of semantics. These tropical waves have been carrying TS-force winds with them all season even before they were classified. Think of how many straight upgrades to tropical storms we have seen so far in the central Atlantic.
Good point. LOL i feel stupid asking you dont know why :/
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 2001
Creeping out from lurking...........maybe I should check on the ants.........
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TS Nate
Storm Relative 1km Geostationary Visible Imagery


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Going to be a hard call for the National Hurricane Center at 11PM...SAB, TAFB, and ADT are still at 35 knots, lol.

Satellite appearance recon data means that they probably won't upgrade to a hurricane at 11PM, although considering recon only winds 4 mph away, its probably very close to becoming a hurricane right now.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32835
Quoting Gearsts:
So for PR we should still be expecting a TS, cause the NHC says that she will weaken to a TD.


Prepare for a TS no matter what....TD/TS right now is a matter of semantics. These tropical waves have been carrying TS-force winds with them all season even before they were classified. Think of how many straight upgrades to tropical storms we have seen so far in the central Atlantic.
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Quoting Patrap:


Shoooosh, wbg


Im trying to focus my Cheese Head Voodoo Mind meld.

We're also having Cheese Fondue as well.





Are you rooting for the packers too Patrap?
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Quoting CaribBoy:


That's an introduction before Maria


Marias ring bell Boy
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


What happened to Hurricane Mitch? Its gone..?


WU randomly removes my avatar at times. It will come back.
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Quoting Levi32:


She's weak but there. She won't be a hurricane until she's clear of the Caribbean islands and gets near and north of the Bahamas.
So for PR we should still be expecting a TS? Cause the NHC says that she will weaken to a TD.
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 2001

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