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 WeatherWx:


You cant downcast or it upsets Taz. So I'd mix in a wild hunch with the rest of it if I were you.
Taz poofs downcasters without even hesitating.
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Quoting FrankZapper:
Permission TaZ, et al ?


You cant downcast or it upsets Taz. So I'd mix in a wild hunch with the rest of it if I were you.
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Quoting JLPR2:



Of course, but give something to support it. A map, a weather model, something.

If you don't have anything to back it up, indicate it is just a hunch.


I make it a point to say that my opinions are just my own opinion.
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Quoting WeatherWx:


Once in a blue moon. But you might want to ask Taz permission to think like this.
Permission TaZ, et al ?
Member Since: May 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1193
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:

Thanks Keeper, wish I had time to learn how to post these amazing charts like you do.
Not to be a 'doomcaster,' But has any body noticed that there is a big gap in the pacific ring of quakes/fire where the US east coast is? Especially on this map.
I do so hope that this is not going to be an item of intense activity in the near future.
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455. JLPR2
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


at least :)

Anybody think we'll still see a Cat. 5?


For some reason I don't think we'll see one of those.

But who knows, everything is possible.
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Quoting jitterboy:
Amateurs Guessing Weather


Well.. that is the point of a blog afterall.
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Quoting FrankZapper:
I often dream about a perfect season 0-0-0 !


Once in a blue moon. But you might want to ask Taz permission to think like this.
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451. JLPR2
Quoting WeatherWx:


Am I allowed to have my own opinion on here?



Of course, but give something to support it. A map, a weather model, something.

If you don't have anything to back it up, indicate it is just a hunch.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WeatherWx:


Am I allowed to have my own opinion on here?


Usually, but those with opposing or differing opinions will let you know theirs, too.
Member Since: September 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 616
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


I want to see the season go past even the Greek alphabet.

Would be pretty awesome...Bet it would an amazing season then, huh?
I often dream about a perfect season 0-0-0 !
Member Since: May 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1193
GFS continues to want to develop dual CV storms, NOGAPS has also been hinting at this. CMC also attempts to develop two systems, but fails to develop the first wave due to the second wave developing first. ECMWF doesn't portray two development, but does indicate a Tropical storm from one of these waves.

Point is, we'll probably have Ophelia and maybe even Philippe next week. We're well on course for Greek letters this year.
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Quoting jitterboy:
Amateurs Guessing Weather


I like that one too. plus 1
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Quoting PlazaRed:

Possibly the biggest problem humanity has ever had to deal with, Awesome to say the least.
If its true then the future direction of all nations and commercial existence will be in jeopardy.
Might just be caused by an increase in the burning of carbon based compounds in an oxygen rich atmosphere, leading to an increase in CO2.
The rest might just be history,one day.


Lets just say that humanity is doomed and leave it at that ok?
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Amateurs Guessing Weather
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Quoting MANYMOREGOOFSTOCOME:
lmao


that's not a choice...sorry :)
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32685
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


I want to see the season go past even the Greek alphabet.

Would be pretty awesome...Bet it would an amazing season then, huh?


I dont even know what protocol is if they were to reach the end of the Greek alphabet. Switch to a name system based off previous presidents names?
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


at least :)

Anybody think we'll still see a Cat. 5?
lmao
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Quoting Abacosurf:
So....what is AGW?

Possibly the biggest problem humanity has ever had to deal with, Awesome to say the least.
If its true then the future direction of all nations and commercial existence will be in jeopardy.
Might just be caused by an increase in the burning of carbon based compounds in an oxygen rich atmosphere, leading to an increase in CO2.
The rest might just be history,one day.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JLPR2:


Are you for real? We still have half of September to go with October's little peak and all of November.

Two and a half months seems like enough time to see at least 2-3 hurricanes.


at least :)

Anybody think we'll still see a Cat. 5?
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32685
Quoting JLPR2:


Are you for real? We still have half of September to go with October's little peak and all of November.

two and a half months seems like enough time to see at least 2-3 hurricanes.


Am I allowed to have my own opinion on here?
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Quoting WeatherWx:


Dont think so. But in all fairness to our buddy Taz, to not offend, its always possible the season could jump through the stratosphere and reach the end of the Greek alphabet.


I want to see the season go past even the Greek alphabet.

Would be pretty awesome...Bet it would an amazing season then, huh?
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32685
Kate 1985 too. Jerry 1989. Lili 2002. Ida 2009.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
i try to get along with everyone yes i have called out trolls in the past and maybe the future but only when its obivious they are here to disrupt the board and they are making complete fools of themselves
i believe the reporting features may have fallen victim to abuse which in turn has caused most of our own problems on the blogs too quick with the trigger i reckon i myself is grayed out when set to show average but hey it comes with the program
many more i figure have been taken out that way as well to quick to minus and report after all we are our own self police with current features and we should sometimes not be so fast with the trigger after all if we all minus and report each other eventually there would be no one left and i think thats whats happening
Glad to see some of you guys are starting to see the light!
Member Since: May 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1193
434. JLPR2
Quoting WeatherWx:


Dont think you're going to get one. And if so, it will probably stay weak with unfavorable conditions in the Atl.


Are you for real? We still have half of September to go with October's little peak and all of November.

Two and a half months seems like enough time to see at least 2-3 hurricanes.
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Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
It'll be interesting to see if we have an active late-season, like 2010 and 2005.



Dont think so. But in all fairness to our buddy Taz, to not offend, its always possible the season could jump through the stratosphere and reach the end of the Greek alphabet.
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Quoting FrankZapper:
It is becoming more evident everyday that the hurricane season in the northern GOM is OVER for this year. The fronts are coming down on a regular basis now. Time to use those batteries and have a flashlight party. All those crackers, cookies and chips and dips get ready!


Juan,, 1985


dats why.

But I do lub me some sugarcane.
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Association of Genuflecting Wishcasters?
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Quoting Jasonsapology:

The thing that is most bothersome with this blog is the fact that when someone states an opinion that disagrees with their own or the group, they are immediately labeled a troll. Certain regulars can say the most idiotic things and no one challenges them or speaks their own opinion because they are afraid.
i try to get along with everyone yes i have called out trolls in the past and maybe the future but only when its obivious they are here to disrupt the board and they are making complete fools of themselves
i believe the reporting features may have fallen victim to abuse which in turn has caused most of our own problems on the blogs too quick with the trigger i reckon i myself is grayed out when set to show average but hey it comes with the program
many more i figure have been taken out that way as well to quick to minus and report after all we are our own self police with current features and we should sometimes not be so fast with the trigger after all if we all minus and report each other eventually there would be no one left and i think thats whats happening
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Quoting Neapolitan:

You are correct; there have now been five decent-sized quakes off the northeast coast of Japan in the past two hours: a 6.6, a 5.2, a 5.5, a 6.2, and a 5.6.

This sort of thing is not normally, normal, after all the times we had with discussing this back in March, April and its still going on.
If it gets out of hand and they are not out of the potential hurricane/typhoon season yet then they might have a whole bunch of new problems to cope with.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
Now that Maria has gone post-tropical, I thought I'd present the current ACE rankings for 2011:


KATIA: 24.8375
IRENE: 20.3425
MARIA: 8.6700
BRET: 2.9450
NATE: 2.8225
ARLENE: 1.9875
EMILY: 1.9875
CINDY: 1.8800
LEE: 1.7050
DON: 1.7000
GERT: 1.6025
HARVEY: 1.2350
JOSE: 0.5275
FRANKLIN: 0.4050
----------------
TOTAL: 72.6475

For the record, 2011 has now surpassed four of the seasons since 1995 where ACE is concerned: 1997, 2002, 2007, and 2009. (Next up is 2006 with 79). 2011 has also accumulated more ACE than 21 of the previous 61 seasons (that is, since 1950). The average over that time is 102.26, and the median value has been 88.

This seasons's 14 named storms has been equaled five times since 1950 (1953, 1990, 1998, 2000, and 2004). Only eight seasons since 1950 have had more than 14 named storms.

For the record, I still believe 2011 will produce another six to eight storms. But we'll see...


I like your positive outlook. I was thinking more like 4-5, with 2 hurricanes
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5243
It'll be interesting to see if we have an active late-season, like 2010 and 2005.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32685
Quoting Abacosurf:
So....what is AGW?
The last president.
Member Since: May 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1193
Quoting WeatherWx:


hurricane season is over buddy.
Yea its OVER. Lee was mostly beneficial for us here in LA. It did damage some sugarcane however.

Sorry Doomcasters, NOLA is STILL standing!
Member Since: May 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1193
Taz, quick, change the subject.
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Quoting WeatherWx:


Do I really need to explain that?
Please dont. I'll be sick.
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Quoting WeatherWx:


Do I really need to explain that?


No, that's quite okay. ;)
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32685
Quoting Abacosurf:
So....what is AGW?


Do I really need to explain that?
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Quoting Neapolitan:

Here, knock yourself out. ;-)
LMAO..

Easy neighbor...

What does the A stand for?

Is that better? LOL
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Quoting Abacosurf:
So....what is AGW?

A blog killer.
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Quoting Abacosurf:
So....what is AGW?

Here, knock yourself out. ;-)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Abacosurf:
So....what is AGW?


Shhh.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32685

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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.