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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127. Caner
Quoting Neapolitan:
It appears as though Lee and his remnants will likely become the eleventh billion-dollar weather disaster of 2011. And here with hurricane season not even half over...


I find billion dollar natural disasters to be more and more passe with each passing year...

Largely because i have been alive long enough to remember when this same damage would only have been a 300 million dollar disaster.

Soon, it will take a trillion dollar price tag to really impress me, if things keep on the present course.

Remember when you could buy a pack of cigarettes and a coke with a dollar, and get change back?

I do, and it was only 30 years ago.
Member Since: June 27, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 179
WTF is going on at my house?!

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Thanks Dr :
That blog is from yesterday :(
Need an update !!!!
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Quoting Neapolitan:
It appears as though Lee and his remnants will likely become the eleventh billion-dollar weather disaster of 2011. And here with hurricane season not even half over...


Not trying to be picky, but the hurricane season IS past over...lol.
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Nate seems to be trying to choose between the blonde and the brunette. He just can't make up his mind!
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This feels weird saying, but I really, really hope Nate hits SE TX straight on. If it doesn't and makes landfall in northern Mexico or LA east that would be bad, bad, bad for us. Winds will increase because of the tighter gradient between Nate and our stubborn Texan high pressure system but we won't get much (or any) rain, a la Lee. That would cause our fire situation to become exponentially worse.

I'd much rather see Nate come on shore around Matagorda as a slow moving TS, but it doesn't look like that is in the cards...
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GFS 18z 48hrs.

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Dr Masters thinks MARIA will be at 50-70MPH while crossing the NE CARIB
Member Since: October 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6164
Quoting RickWPB:
Someone asked how to put up shutters on a stucco house. Here's a good link for 'Do-it-yourself' installation:

Do-It-Yourself Shutters


That was me. Helpful link, much appreciated.
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Quoting 69Viking:


Yeah you would have been about 7 then LOL!

Well been fun talking to you and others, time to go home and get ready to watch the opening of the NFL season! Go Saints because as a Viking fan I'll never root for the Packers! I'll probably check in later to see how Nate is doing!


Lol. Go Saints! I've been a Viking fan the last few years because of Favre, but I didn't inherit the hatred for the Packers. I don't mind them.
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115. DFWjc
ONE YEAR AGO TODAY…

Today is the one year anniversary of the Dallas Tornado and the Arlington Flooding. Both were a result of Tropical Storm Hermine tracking thru the heart of Texas. Some areas on this date last year received 10” of rain. And then in the afternoon 7 tornadoes touched down in North Texas including the one in near downtown Dallas.

Since Sept. 8 when most areas saw 6” to 10” of rain, it has been dry. Some areas were already in a drought prior to Hermine’s arrival. Hermine provided some much needed rain that helped fill up the reservoirs across North Texas. This is helping us out now as we continue in our drought. But since Sept. 8th the rainfall numbers are pretty bleak.

Looking at the numbers from DFW, we can see the lack of rain.

RAINFALL SINCE SEPT. 8, 2010: 22.49”
DEFICIT OF: 13.65”
Also in the past 365 days, there have been 43 days that have seen measurable rain at DFW. That doesn’t sound too bad. But only 16 of those days did more than .50” of rain fall.

DROUGHT WORSENS…

The latest Drought Monitor was updated today. It continues to show how bleak the drought is across Texas. 99.9% of the state is considered to be in a drought. 81% is in an Exceptional Drought. Exceptional Drought is the worst classification for drought. Just three months ago 57% of the state was in the Exceptional Drought category so you can see how the summer’s heat has exacerbated the drought.
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113. MTWX
Quoting spinningtop:
seriousy now is there a chance maria hits east coast florida?

there has always been a chance.
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It appears as though Lee and his remnants will likely become the eleventh billion-dollar weather disaster of 2011. And here with hurricane season not even half over...
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Quoting MississippiWx:


I'm only 23 years old, so I'm probably too young for that one. I'm aware of what Opal did, though.

18z GFS looks like it has shifted back to Mexico...we'll see. It's only 36 hours out.


Yeah you would have been about 7 then LOL!

Well been fun talking to you and others, time to go home and get ready to watch the opening of the NFL season! Go Saints because as a Viking fan I'll never root for the Packers! I'll probably check in later to see how Nate is doing!
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3022
Quoting aquak9:

go to his blog and watch his video. It's 12 minutes long and he covers everything.


But, that was so like 12 hours ago.

LOL.
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Quoting Martuch:


Levi !!!! Levi!!! Levi!!!
we need your opinion Maria Future track

thanks
san Juan PR

go to his blog and watch his video. It's 12 minutes long and he covers everything.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


I'm pretty sure everybody has, lol. I just don't see why people would think so though.


Lol...Well, they don't feel like typing out Mississippi, so they abbreviate it with "Miss".
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Maria will follow the GFS in my opinion
Member Since: October 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6164
Blog Update

Tropical Update: September 8th; 5:55p.m EDT


Brief updates on both Nate and Maria. Feel free to check it out.
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Quoting aquak9:
sorry to hear that, Dak, didn't know the 'Canes were gonna do so poorly this year.


Miami TropicalWaves?
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


The person is a troll, haven't you noticed? (Not Taz)
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


The person is a troll, haven't you noticed? (Not Taz)


Maybe a troll... Don't know, don't care that much, but 'POOFing' when a VERY valid question is being asked may put off other lurkers on the blog. The Doc in the blog did say he wondered whether she would go for H status as she approached the coast.

...and Taz.... can't you just press ignore/report instead of boosting your post count with public hissyfits?
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Quoting aquak9:
sorry to hear that, Dak, didn't know the 'Canes were gonna do so poorly this year.


It has to do with 8 top players being suspended... Ohh well - there is always next year.

Anyways... Nate is looking pretty impressive this afternoon, looks like he is getting his act together. Too bad he can't visit Texas with some rain.
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Quoting MississippiWx:


I've been called worse.


I'm pretty sure everybody has, lol. I just don't see why people would think so though.
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Quoting thedawnawakening3:
A tropical wave is interacting with a strong upper level low just northeast of the islands that is producing the disorganized showers and storms as wind shear is clearly disrupting the tropical wave, without this upper level low there we could have had four named storms in existence.


and a more healthy Maria. Go away upper low
Member Since: October 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6164
Quoting 69Viking:


Could be an indication that the shear has dropped and he could be doing some strengthening tonight. Seems to be getting his act together this afternoon more and more by the hour. Hate to mention it but were you around for Opal? That one hit our area bad!


I'm only 23 years old, so I'm probably too young for that one. I'm aware of what Opal did, though.

18z GFS looks like it has shifted back to Mexico...we'll see. It's only 36 hours out.
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Levi !!!! Levi!!! Levi!!!
we need your opinion Maria Future track

thanks
san Juan PR
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Quoting putintang3:
Quoting bigwes6844:
so this thing has a chance that it will go to LA instead of TX? WHY!!



yeah WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


In an oversimplified nutshell - There is a HIGH pressure system over Texas. It can't go through it, so it has to go around it. Either to the SOUTH or to the NORTH...
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sorry to hear that, Dak, didn't know the 'Canes were gonna do so poorly this year.
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What does the ECMWF say about Maria's future track?
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Amazing video of wildfire moving through Bastrop State Park ESE of Austin, TX. This fire has burned over 33k acres and destroyed over 1300 homes.

Link
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Gulf looks cooler than before. this going to continue or will it warm up again?
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
MississippiWx, you get called a girl a lot. :P


I've been called worse.
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GFS 18z 30hrs.



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Quoting bigwes6844:
so this thing has a chance that it will go to LA instead of TX? WHY!!



yeah WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Convection has filled in over the center, at least temporarily.



Could be an indication that the shear has dropped and he could be doing some strengthening tonight. Seems to be getting his act together this afternoon more and more by the hour. Hate to mention it but were you around for Opal? That one hit our area bad!
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3022
Quoting aquak9:

iceberg's chance in Hell


Great. Just tempt Mother Nature why don't you...

I would have said, about the same as the Hurricanes do at winning the national championship this year...
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Quoting UKHWatcher:



Taz that was a serious question if you take a look at the cone... Pls don't be so quick to react.



The person is a troll, haven't you noticed? (Not Taz)
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MississippiWx, you get called a girl a lot. :P
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Quoting Tazmanian:




POOF



Taz that was a serious question if you take a look at the cone... Pls don't be so quick to react.

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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

Sorry, meant that other wave/disturbance over the eastern caribbean. Fixed it :P
I LOL a little bit ^^
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Quoting MississippiWx:


There's no guarantee that it's even going to hit the Northern Gulf, especially when the model consensus has shifted back to the Mexico solution. I certainly can't give you an idea on strength until we know where Nate is going first.
thanks Miss.
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Quoting MississippiWx:


The Texas ridge is displaced to the south over Northern Mexico and should stay there for the next several days. Its placement even keeps South Texas from receiving a direct hit from Nate. The end result will be one of 2 extremes. Either Southern Mexico or the Northern Gulf Coast will take the direct hit.


Glad you said it, I was thinking it but I've posted that too many time already today! We get to watch Nate for a while before he decides where he's going. Trust me though if this next trough is as strong as the last one there is no doubt he's going to be paying us a visit!
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3022
Quoting spinningtop:
seriousy now is there a chance maria hits east coast florida?

iceberg's chance in Hell
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A tropical wave is interacting with a strong upper level low just northeast of the islands that is producing the disorganized showers and storms as wind shear is clearly disrupting the tropical wave, without this upper level low there we could have had four named storms in existence.
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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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