Hurricane Maria rushes towards Newfoundland

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:41 PM GMT on September 16, 2011

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Hurricane Maria is bearing down on Newfoundland, Canada, as a Category 1 hurricane with 80 mph winds. The wind shear over Maria turned out to be much lower than was predicted yesterday, allowing the storm to organize into the season's third hurricane. Latest satellite imagery shows that Maria is steadily degrading, with a hole in the storm's southwest eyewall, and the cloud pattern distorted by 30 - 50 knots of wind shear. The eyewall has collapsed, as seen on recent microwave satellite imagery. Maria's very fast forward speed of 45 mph means that only locations on the right (strong) side will experience hurricane force winds. With the center of Maria expected to pass over the extreme southeast tip of Newfoundland, only a small region of the island near Cape Race will see the powerful right-front quadrant of the storm. Winds at Sagona Island on the south shore of Newfoundland were sustained at 50 mph at 7:30 am local time, but have dropped to 37 mph at 9:10 am. Winds in the capital of St. John's have been rising steadily this morning, and were sustained at 37 mph, gusting to 46 mph, at 10:30 am local time. Winds will probably reach sustained speeds of 55 - 65 mph between 1 pm and 5 pm today in St. Johns, causing considerable tree damage and power failures. Radar out of Newfoundland shows the hurricane has been dumping heavy rains over the southeastern portion of the island this morning; rainfall has been under a half inch thus far at most locations, though. Along with wind damage, heavy rains leading to flash flooding are the main threat from Maria; last year, heavy rains of up to 8 inches from Hurricane Igor caused major damage in Newfoundland. Fortunately, Maria's rains are not expected to be as heavy as Igor's. According to the Canadian Hurricane Center, rivers in eastern Newfoundland are currently at average to below average levels, which will limit the amount of flooding. Maria's storm surge will arrive when the normal astronomical tide will be going out, limiting the damage the expected 3-foot storm surge will do.

Yesterday, Maria brought a brief 8-minute period of sustained winds of tropical storm force, 39 mph, to the Bermuda airport. Bermuda picked up 0.20" of rain from Maria.


Figure 1. Radar image of Tropical Storm Maria taken at 10:13 am EDT September 15, 2011. Image credit: Bermuda Weather Service.

Newfoundland's second consecutive year with a hurricane
If Maria strikes Newfoundland as a hurricane, this will be the province's second consecutive year with a hurricane strike, something that has never occurred since hurricane record keeping began in 1851. Last year, Hurricane Igor killed one person on Newfoundland, and damage exceeded $100 million, making Igor the most damaging tropical cyclone in Newfoundland history. A summary of the impact of Igor prepared by Environment Canada put it this way:

"Hurricane Igor and its severe impacts certainly represent a rare event in Newfoundland history which has been described as the worst in memory. In statistical terms, this was effectively a 50 - 100 year event depending on how one chooses to define it. There are no hurricanes/post tropical events of this magnitude striking Newfoundland in the modern era. Hurricane Juan in Nova Scotia was the last Atlantic Canadian hurricane to cause extreme damage. Prior to the naming of hurricanes, the 1935 Newfoundland Hurricane 75 years ago was of similar intensity."


Figure 2. A ravine carved by Hurricane Igor's flood waters washed out the Trans-Canada Highway, isolating Southeast Newfoundland from the rest of the province. Image credit: CBC News.

Elsewhere in the tropics
All of the models have been sporadically predicting development of a tropical wave 5 - 7 days from now between Africa and the Lesser Antilles. The location and timing of the hypothetical storm have been inconsistent, and there is at present no signs of anything brewing. The NOGAPS model continues to predict a strong tropical disturbance or tropical depression could form in the Caribbean 6 - 7 days from now, near Jamaica. None of the other models is supporting this idea, so the NOGAPS model is probably wrong on this scenario. I'll have an update Saturday afternoon.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting RussianWinter:

It takes it west for the time being. We dont know if it goes to Cuba, Florida, Bahamas, East Coast, Bermuda, or somewhere in between where it's relatively harmless.
we in florida need to watch this one
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting FrankZapper:
It is so pleasant here tonight. No GW talk. Just hard tropical talk.

Latest coordinates, 18.4N 55.3W
is this the one that is going to hit florida around the 23rd??
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MoltenIce:
Get well soon! :D
Yes get well soon, must be really bothering you alot huh
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
It is so pleasant here tonight. No GW talk. Just hard tropical talk.

Latest coordinates, 18.4N 55.3W
Member Since: May 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1193
651. aspectre
1:07 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
631 twincomanche "There is no such thing as a good crash."

True. If you can walk away from it, it was a good landing.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
650. MoltenIce
1:06 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
Quoting scott39:
Hello Everyone, Im Back! I was in the hospital for 6 days. I was being treated for shingles on my head and eyelid. I also had a bacterial infection in my eye called Cellulitous. The docs did a good job and I did not loose my vision in the right eye. I see we have 97L invest.
Get well soon! :D
Member Since: August 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 768
649. WeatherNerdPR
1:06 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
Quoting twincomanche:
No.

Also(officially) 75 injured so far, and rising.
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5521
648. Gearsts
1:06 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
Can someone link me to the GFS model?I dont have the link in my laptop :(
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1017
643. aspectre
1:03 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
Bielle "Is anyone else getting an "invalid certificate" notification tied to a DND (Navy) url when you refresh this page?"

Yep, me. The USNavy doesn't trust the certifying organizations.
And neither should you. One of the majors got PWNed last week or thereabouts, so ya hafta get your web-browser updated or risk having your computer taken over by malware.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
638. WeatherNerdPR
1:01 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
Quoting Neapolitan:
OT breaking news: there's a "mass casualty aituation" with "multiple fatalities" at the Reno Air Races after a P51 piloted by Floridian Jimmy Leeward crashed into or near a grandstand at high speed.

Very sad...

I heard Dick Cheney was killed. Is this true?
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5521
636. FrankZapper
12:59 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
Quoting MANYMOREGOOFSTOCOME:
i saw the stray cats 2 times live
JVF?
Member Since: May 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1193
635. Gearsts
12:59 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
This blog needs a anti troll scan and quick.I see that we finally have 97L, with no MJO support it will probably have problems until it gets closer to the islands.
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1017
634. RussianWinter
12:59 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
Quoting AvidWeatherHound:
Ever heard if you feed a stray cat it keeps coming back?

At least you can tame it and it will make a cute pet. Can't do the same thing with trolls can ya?
Member Since: August 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 666
633. Chicklit
12:58 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
Quoting Neapolitan:

So, anywhere between Caracas and London. That certainly narrows it down...

rofl
or maybe nowhere
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11047
632. trHUrrIXC5MMX
12:58 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
Te hurricane season could be near it's final moves
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14869
630. JLPR2
12:57 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
Quoting Gearsts:
So many ignore comments:/


Hadn't noticed until you said, I'm missing 5-6 comments from 602 onwards.

Ignore feature is a hit! xD
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8459
628. will40
12:56 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
bad crash at an airshow in Nevada
Member Since: September 19, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 4066
627. AvidWeatherHound
12:56 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
Ever heard if you feed a stray cat it keeps coming back?
Member Since: September 5, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 78
626. aspectre
12:55 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
532 BDADUDE "If you post it.....it will come"

o m g... a GINORMOUS Hurricane-Maker poised above the Earth.
What are our politicians doing about this? Why isn't the media demanding action?

Truly beautiful photo. Thanks for sharing
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
625. Gearsts
12:55 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
So many ignore comments:/
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1017
622. FrankZapper
12:53 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
Quoting MANYMOREGOOFSTOCOME:
I HAVE TO SAY THEY WILL HAVE 97 REACHING CAT 3 OR 4 BY MONDAY BUT IT WILL FIZZLE TONGIHT
you are just passing through right?
Member Since: May 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1193
620. RussianWinter
12:52 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
whoops clicked quote instead of edit
Member Since: August 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 666
619. RussianWinter
12:51 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
Quoting Tazmanian:



mode runs dont take it out too sea it points it W

It takes it west for the time being. We dont know if it goes to Cuba, Florida, Bahamas, East Coast, Bermuda, or somewhere in between where it's relatively harmless.
Member Since: August 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 666
617. FrankZapper
12:49 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
Quoting usa777:


Yes I am lucky to be alive. No It was lightning. I had a great view of it from a tree I spent several hrs in.
Why didn't you leave? Surely you knew what Camille did to BSL.
Member Since: May 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1193
616. CaribBoy
12:48 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
Quoting Tazmanian:



mode runs dont take it out too sea it points it W


Yes I saw that on the GFS and NOGAPS... towards the lesser antilles.
Member Since: October 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5589
614. Neapolitan
12:47 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
Quoting Chicklit:

why don't you try to do it?

So, anywhere between Caracas and London. That certainly narrows it down...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13273
613. TropicalAnalystwx13
12:46 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30251
611. DJMedik91
12:46 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
Quoting Bielle:
Is anyone else getting an "invalid certificate" notification tied to a DND (Navy) url when you refresh this page?


I am and I'm using my cell phone.
Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 106

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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.