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 Klolly23:

Wouldn't that make her wind impacts stronger? Obliviously not as long lasting...TIA
yea but almost like a tornado come through for a little while and its over in less than an hour.
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Quoting bigwes6844:
wow maria moving at 54 mph!!!! she must be running track right now. her speed she going almost is as much as how strong she is.

Wouldn't that make her wind impacts stronger? Obliviously not as long lasting...TIA
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Quoting kwgirl:
Good afternoon everyone. After lurking and enduring the AGW debate yesterday (off and on) I was hoping for a milder discussion of anything different today. At least it is milder :) Living in the Keys, I know there is still a definite chance in the next 75 days that something could brew close to home. Last winter I enjoyed discussing other types of weather events. But if I don't like something that is being discussed in general on this blog, I go to another site. I don't announce it, I just go. No one would miss me since I have nothing to contribute but anecdotes from my many hurricane experiences. I enjoy the info different folks post on here, including about earthquakes, floods, etc. I love the weather and love this site. I just don't understand people who come on here to argue. Peace to all!


I for one love to hear hurricane anecdotes, specially as they relate to preparation and lessons learned (I will rather learn by other peoples experiences than having to make mistakes to learn). So please share with us your information, it's certainly a lot more fun and useful than the endless AGW debate.
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Quoting prcane4you:
poor penguins.


Penguins live in the southern hemisphere. Poor puffins!
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wow maria moving at 54 mph!!!! she must be running track right now. her speed she going almost is as much as how strong she is.
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Quoting WeatherWx:


Just like many scientists were so sure Galileo was wrong even though he was the minority viewpoint, he was found to be right. Thanks for proving my point neo.


It wasn't scientists who thought Galileo was wrong. It was the church who tried and convicted Galileo.
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Quoting kwgirl:
Good afternoon everyone. After lurking and enduring the AGW debate yesterday (off and on) I was hoping for a milder discussion of anything different today. At least it is milder :) Living in the Keys, I know there is still a definite chance in the next 75 days that something could brew close to home. Last winter I enjoyed discussing other types of weather events. But if I don't like something that is being discussed in general on this blog, I go to another site. I don't announce it, I just go. No one would miss me since I have nothing to contribute but anecdotes from my many hurricane experiences. I enjoy the info different folks post on here, including about earthquakes, floods, etc. I love the weather and love this site. I just don't understand people who come on here to argue. Peace to all!


+1000
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sigh


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Good afternoon everyone. After lurking and enduring the AGW debate yesterday (off and on) I was hoping for a milder discussion of anything different today. At least it is milder :) Living in the Keys, I know there is still a definite chance in the next 75 days that something could brew close to home. Last winter I enjoyed discussing other types of weather events. But if I don't like something that is being discussed in general on this blog, I go to another site. I don't announce it, I just go. No one would miss me since I have nothing to contribute but anecdotes from my many hurricane experiences. I enjoy the info different folks post on here, including about earthquakes, floods, etc. I love the weather and love this site. I just don't understand people who come on here to argue. Peace to all!
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Quoting washingtonian115:
What ever happend on the blog well I'm glad it didn't have anything to do with me.With that said let's move on...nothing to see here.

The blog should be renamed the maury povich blog, with all this bickering back and forth. It's ridiculous.
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Quoting Neapolitan:

I believe you missed my point, then, so please allow me to try once again. To expand on your story: though many scientists of the day decided in a genial and democratic fashion that the world was flat, it wasn't. IOW, the practice of science may vary based on which way the wind is blowing at a particular time, but the absolutes of science--in this case, the truth of the roundness of the planet--aren't moved a bit by whether anyone believes them or not.

Nature rules. All else comes after.


This is why we see weather systems go against science/forecasts sometimes.. Nature always comes first. Good post Neo.
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Quoting Neapolitan:

I believe you missed my point, then, so please allow me to try once again. To expand on your story: though many scientists of the day decided in a genial and democratic fashion that the world was flat, it wasn't. IOW, the practice of science may vary based on which way the wind is blowing at a particular time, but the absolutes of science--in this case, the truth of the roundness of the planet--aren't moved a bit by whether anyone believes them or not.

Nature rules. All else comes after.


Yes, but science is the explanation of how the natural world around us works. Nature does rule, but that is not the discipline of science.
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Quoting daddyjames:


I disagree. Science is a democracy - and a slow moving one at that (something that is really lost on non-scientists).
Scientists, at one time, did agree that the world was flat. And that was the prevailing theory for a very long time. As evidence accumulated, from a variety of scientific disciplines, the prevailing theory was abandoned. Sure, i could advance a theory that that humans do come from storks (delivered i imagine in swaddling). Create hypotheses, collect the data, and present the evidence. I could spend a lifetime advocating that theory. However, would have doubts about my ability to collect any data to support that theory. In fact, the theory would be quickly disproven. Happens all the time in science, most recently with the Higgs boson. Your argument is fatally flawed. Actually Nea, based upon previous conversations, I am surprised by your statement

I believe you missed my point, then, so please allow me to try once again. To expand on your story: though many scientists of the day decided in a mostly genial and democratic fashion that the world was flat, it wasn't. IOW, the practice of science may vary based on which way the wind is blowing at a particular time, but the absolutes of science--in this case, the truth of the roundness of the planet--aren't moved a bit by whether anyone believes them or not.

Nature rules. All else comes after.
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Quoting Bielle:


That's too bad. In a democracy everybody, qualified or not, gets an equal say. In a meritocracy, only those with intelligence and appropriate education or experience are considered. This is a fairly significant difference, and applies to many more things than climate.


Science was my strong point, social sciences, not much. Please don't hold it against me ;D
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I am sure everyone knows they can respond to another blogger without quoting them. I know sometimes it will make no sense to anyone else but you and the person you are responding to will no.
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Quoting daddyjames:


Ok Bielle, I cannot parse out the difference between merit- and democracy.
However, in essence, whether or not something is accepted does rely on the scientific community to reach a consensus, an agreement, as to whether or not a theory is accepted. It definitely is not a dictatorship.


That's too bad. In a democracy everybody, qualified or not, gets an equal say. In a meritocracy, only those with intelligence and appropriate education or experience are considered. This is a fairly significant difference, and applies to many more things than climate.
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well i can bet that if it had to be copied and pasted it would at least slow down some of the trolls
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Quoting will40:
have you seen me quote anyone nuthead?
'

I wasn't directing it specifically to you, it applies to everyone in general.
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6878
Quoting petewxwatcher:
Pressure at Cape Race is lower than the advisory pressure. 28.99" or 981.7 mb. Wind is sustained at 31 mph from the SSW, so the central pressure is a little lower. Maybe 980 mb or so. With the wind from the SSW that means the center is heading west of Cape Race, meaning a landfall on the Avalon peninsula.
poor penguins.
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Quoting Bielle:


What you are describing is not a democracy at all, though many on this blog seems to think that the "demos" ("the people") should make such determinations. Science, if it is any "ocracy", is a meritocracy: those who are qualified in the field, those who have merit, determine whether there is sufficient evidence that something can be proven and whether that something can be falsified or not.

The laws of science are descriptive; they describe what can be observed and proven. Opinion is rarely involved, and even when it is, the only valid opinion is that of the science community. Very few who participate in the comments on this blog belong to that meritocracy, and thus our opinions matter little.

Of course, we may hold whatever opinion we like, but we have no reason to expect anyone else to accept that we speak some kind of scientific truth. My neighbour may have a very strong opinion about the soundness of the engine of my car, but, unless he is a mechanic who has actually assessed the problem, I will pay his opinion as much attention as I would my infant daughter's. For him to get heated about my failure to be persuaded, especially if he disagrees with my mechanic, would strike me, and everyone else around, as bizarre and presumptuous.


Ok Bielle, I cannot parse out the difference between merit- and democracy.
However, in essence, whether or not something is accepted does rely on the scientific community to reach a consensus, an agreement, as to whether or not a theory is accepted. It definitely is not a dictatorship.
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Quoting petewxwatcher:
The core of the storm Maria has been crossing the Avalon peninsula and is now exiting the peninsula just south of St. Johns.

hurricane warning for the north pole.
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WOW! I am a long time lurker and sometime post comments. I left yesterday during the global warming slug fest, and it looks like it continued thru today! MY OPINION is just simply that according to science classes I have taken, this beautiful planet we call Earth has had cyclical climate changes throughout her whole "life". Remember the Ice Age that is documented as scientific fact? And let's not forget the hot, swampy time of the dinosaurs.

Perhaps we can agree that the Earth has climate changes. Perhaps we can agree that human beings MIGHT be contributing to the natural climate changes of the Earth. I cannot help but believe that we are contributing when we cut down rain forests, pollute our waterways and cities, etc.

I am so disappointed that the discussions got so heated that valued members of this blog are leaving. Grothar, please don't. Your knowledgable insights and contributions to the tropical weather are very much appreciated by me and lots of other folks.

I am going to end this for now. I hope that when everyone cools down, that you all can just laugh this off and continue to provide much needed observations and opinions as to the tropical weather (and any other severe weather that might occur during the year).
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Quoting Neapolitan:

Actually--to borrow that overused adverb--it's only a democracy in the sense that to be done correctly, it needs to show certain democratic values and principles: honesty and openness, a constant push to question authority, respect for evidence, a tolerance for opposing points of view, and so on. But where the rubber meets the road, science is anything but a democracy. In fact, it's more like an iron-fisted dictatorship, a despotic regime; science rules, period, and what it dictates is how it is and always will be. Every scientist in the world could declare tomorrow that baby humans do after all come from storks, but that wouldn't make it so.


I disagree. Science is a democracy - and a slow moving one at that (something that is really lost on non-scientists).
Scientists, at one time, did agree that the world was flat. And that was the prevailing theory for a very long time. As evidence accumulated, from a variety of scientific disciplines, the prevailing theory was abandoned. Sure, i could advance a theory that that humans do come from storks (delivered i imagine in swaddling). Create hypotheses, collect the data, and present the evidence. I could spend a lifetime advocating that theory. However, would have doubts about my ability to collect any data to support that theory. In fact, the theory would be quickly disproven. Happens all the time in science, most recently with the Higgs boson. Your argument is fatally flawed. Actually Nea, based upon previous conversations, I am surprised by your statement
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Quoting will40:
ignore is useless until the quote feature is done away with


Then don't quote!
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6878
Looks interesting.

This one might be the one that will brake the lull in the CV Season and one of the last ones.

I am watching this one because is supposed to move west.

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Quoting daddyjames:


Thanks, sorry i misinterpreted it.


That's ok, I think all of us are a bit edgy today.
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6878
WOW AGW again. Let the scientist argue about it. It does me no good to argue for or against it I am not a climatologist,(but I did stay at Holiday Inn last night. I personally have read many articles both pro and con and do have my own opinion, but it would seem to me to express it in here might bet me banned because of my view on the subject. Enough said. How about them Cowboys.... LOL we need some tropical action to reinforce blog rules....
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If a storm does form next week it'll be the latest I've seen in a while.The last time I rmember a storm forming off of Africa was Nana backin 08.I'm sorry she originated from one.
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Quoting WeatherWx:
The tropics are dead btw.


Not completely, we do have one yellow circle out there off of Africa.

Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6878
Pressure at St. Johns West is quite a bit lower than the advisory pressure. 28.84" or 976.6 mb. The NHC pressure estimate in their advisory was quite a bit off!
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ignore is useless until the quote feature is done away with
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Quoting tropicfreak:


LAST BUT NOT LEAST, PLEASE DON'T FEED THE TROLLS!!!


Very true, you feed them and its like throwing water on a Gremlin!
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The core of the storm Maria has been crossing the Avalon peninsula and is now exiting the peninsula just south of St. Johns.

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For this blog season is over.Nothing interesting to read just the same thing.
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Quoting tropicfreak:


No no I wasn't referring to you as a troll, I was referring to what you said to Grothar and I was backing up your opinion.


Thanks, sorry i misinterpreted it.
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Quoting daddyjames:


Actually, science is very much a democracy, and perhaps the oldest form of such in our modern society.
It relies on someone postulating a theory to explain an observation(s), design hypotheses to test that theory, gather and interpret the data, and presents evidence of whether there is support for the theory for peer review. If in the judgement of fellow peers versed in the science, the tests are rigorous enough, and designed appropriately to address the hypothesis postulated and the results interpreted appropriately, then the results are published for an open discussion and debate. Whether or not a theory ultimately becomes a law is when the evidence presented overwhelmingly supports the theory postulated, and is generally accepted by the scientific community that the theory cannot be disproven.

Ok really off to work.

Actually--to borrow that overused adverb--it's only a democracy in the sense that to be done correctly, it needs to show certain democratic values and principles: honesty and openness, a constant push to question authority, respect for evidence, a tolerance for opposing points of view, and so on. But where the rubber meets the road, science is anything but a democracy. In fact, it's more like an iron-fisted dictatorship, a despotic regime; science rules, period, and what it dictates is how it is and always will be. Every scientist in the world could declare tomorrow that baby humans do after all come from storks, but that wouldn't make it so.
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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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