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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40.0n62.0w has been re-evaluated&altered for H.Maria's_12pmGMT_ATCF
39.8n62.2w, 42.8n58.2w are now the most recent positions
Starting 15Sept_12pmGMT and ending 16Sept_12pmGMT

The 4 southern line-segments represent HurricaneMaria's path,
the northernmost line-segment is the straightline projection for 16Sept_12pmGMT,
the coastline dumbbell at 47.113n54.077w-YYT is the endpoint of the straightline projection
connected to its nearest airport for the 16Sept_6amGMT*mapping,
and the island blob at 46.804n56.361w-FSP is the same for the 16Sept_12amGMT*mapping.

Using straightline projection of the travel-speed&heading derived from the
ATCF coordinates spanning the 6hours between 6amGMT then 12pmGMT :
H.Maria's travel-speed was 49mph(78.9k/h) on a heading of 43.9degrees(NE)
H.Maria was headed toward passing ~39miles(~63kilometres) southeast of Newfoundland ~4&1/2.hours from now

Copy&paste 46.804n56.361w-fsp, 47.113n54.077w-yyt, 31.2n67.8w-33.7n67.0w, 33.7n67.0w-36.8n64.9w, 36.8n64.9w-39.8n62.2w, 39.8n62.2w-42.8n58.2w, yyt, 39.8n62.2w-46.360n52.582w into the GreatCircleMapper for more info

The previous mapping for 16Sept_6amGMT

* The alteration of the endpoint of a TropicalCyclone's previous path also changes its previous travel-speed &heading, and the endpoint of its previous straightline projection...
...but I'm choosing to preserve the historicity of the mappings.
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Quoting TampaSpin:



Probably the Wave the Models are developing in the Caribbean KOG
its looks kinda like a low rider may not be much don't hurt to watch
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Quoting surfsidesindy:
It is hard to imagine any more storms on the horizon as the humidity levels have been down, the birds are back and fall seems on the horizon here in Florida. I'm not saying it's over, just saying it sure has been a nice break!

Feels pretty hot and humid here in Sarasota. Haven't seen rain in a couple of weeks. I think we still might see some sort of tropical system this year. Probably nothing too serious.
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A little bit of LOW LEVEL Vorticity also starting
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
XX/AOI/XXL
MARK
12N/57W



Probably the Wave the Models are developing in the Caribbean KOG
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XX/AOI/XXL
MARK
12N/57W
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thanks for update doc
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Quoting TampaSpin:
WoW the Bermuda/Azores High really gets strong during the next 7 days. HUM



pointing right at florida
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5111


Anything developing over the next 5-8 days goes completely WEST......NO OPEN DOOR NOW!
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Of course, MJO hasn't been that much of a factor this year - it hasn't been all that strong in the last month yet things have formed. I suppose this season's tendency to form storms off tail ends of frontal boundaries mean that MJO hasn't mattered so much (unlike 2008, where it seemed to be the pivotal factor in cyclogenesis).
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
Quoting bohonkweatherman:
Is it too early to think about next years tropical weather? Last 2 years for the most part the U.S. has been fortunate. The storm this year was bad because it hit areas that were already saturated.


Regardless it caused a disaster that will likely have the name Irene retired. A lot of damage occurred to a lot of small towns infrastructure.
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WoW the Bermuda/Azores High really gets strong during the next 7 days. HUM
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Wow, admin removed my post.. a one sentence post... Talk about aggressive.. Oh well.
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even the euro has the NC storm and hints at the cape verde system at 96 hours
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5111
Quoting TampaSpin:







Central Atlantic System hinting at development as well. Again 1 eye open!!!!

TX is so incredibly ripe for any tropical system to move in and put us back together, and will be for the next 10 days. But any Carib system must develop now, before the gate slams shut again!
Member Since: August 4, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 3174
Is it too early to think about next years tropical weather? Last 2 years for the most part the U.S. has been fortunate. The storm this year was bad because it hit areas that were already saturated.
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I choose Pikachu, but enough about me...
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Quoting hydrus:
[graphic of bleak precip outlook for Texas and others]
I don't want to click the minus (and shoot the messenger), but "I dislike this comment."
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Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:
lets see what the 12z models look like


YA 5-7 days out is not much to worry about, but when you start seeing 3 of 5 majors one better start looking at the sky some!
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It is Misting here, go ahead and laugh but that mist is one of my heaviest rains of the year. :)
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Last year, we started the season with a lull. After a couple of quick storms, the season was really slow in developing much activity. I remember that Dr. Masters predicted that, based on leftover shear from the previous la Nina.

Were we this far along, with an M storm at this time last year?
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lets see what the 12z models look like
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5111
Quoting basti11:



very wise choice REED


Sounds good to me too......as he for sure is 1st but, good SOLID Science would help too.
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Notice post 16 was deleted by admin........LOL
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Quoting hydrus:
It has been comfortable here in South Florida. The moisture will be back shortly tho, and rainy season will return. The MJO is coming back and along with it an uptick in tropical development.




That one doesn't seem to show a whole lot coming this way?
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
Quoting TampaSpin:







Central Atlantic System hinting at development as well. Again 1 eye open!!!!


matches up well with the canadien model, 2 on board anyway
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5111

Grayling Michigan 39(where i'm headed after work)
Grayling Alaska 48
lol
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Crown Weather

Elsewhere In The Tropical Atlantic:
Besides Maria, we are currently in a lull in activity across the Atlantic Basin. A tropical disturbance was located to the southwest of the Cape Verde Islands near 35 West Longitude. Satellite imagery this morning showed some scattered convection, however, it was poorly organized and lacked deep convection. There is the possibility of some development of this disturbance over the coming days as it is in a somewhat favorable shear environment with a moist environment around it. The GFS and European models forecast no development from this disturbance and only the NOGAPS and the UKMET models forecast development sometime next week. This disturbance will be watched, however, I do not expect tropical development from it anytime soon.

Most of the global model guidance have backed way off on the forecast of development in the western Caribbean next week. I think given the forecast pattern that the western Caribbean needs to be monitored for possible tropical development over the next 6 to 10 days. It’s interesting to note that the ensemble guidance members of the European and GFS models forecast lowering pressures in the western part of the Caribbean starting around Tuesday or Wednesday and continuing through next Sunday.

Also, it looks likely that a non-tropical low pressure system will develop off of the coast of North Carolina late this weekend and track quickly northeast well east and southeast of the Canadian Maritimes by about Tuesday. The combination of a large high pressure system over New England and this developing low pressure system will cause strong onshore winds with very rough surf and locally heavy rainfall from the coast of North Carolina northward across parts of the Mid-Atlantic coast from Saturday afternoon until about Monday morning.

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Thanks Dr. Masters
Grateful for the lull and hopefull that the hurricane season comes to early close. As for the GW debate, this lurker prefers to just watch. I do have to admit that when politics comes into the discussion, I turn off.
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Central Atlantic System hinting at development as well. Again 1 eye open!!!!
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00 canadien 78 hours shows the storm off North Carolina and not sure we can see it in this pic a cape verde wave that is already a closed circulation moving west
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5111
What's up with the SHF5 model? That would get some excitement going. ;)

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Dr. Masters it looks like 2 of 3 hinting at possibly something in the Caribbean and even the third showing Low pressure. Need to keep 1 eye open for sure!!!
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Quoting surfsidesindy:
It is hard to imagine any more storms on the horizon as the humidity levels have been down, the birds are back and fall seems on the horizon here in Florida. I'm not saying it's over, just saying it sure has been a nice break!
It has been comfortable here in South Florida. The moisture will be back shortly tho, and rainy season will return. The MJO is coming back and along with it an uptick in tropical development.
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Wonder if next season will follow a similar bias in track that we've tended to see in the last couple of years.

The early 1950s tended to favour an east coast bias, as well, particularly for CV storms. Of course, US 'homegrown' storms still impacted the Gulf, like Audrey.



Maria's sorta gone splat. Will it make it to Newfoundland prior to post-tropical transition? As it's so close, you'd think so. Impact and conditions would probably be similar regardless.

anyway, looks a slowish blog. Some are sybaritic with joy at not having to discuss GW, but with Maria likely to depart the scene shortly, there's not a whole lot to talk about aside a possible storm off Africa which at the moment is just a phantom until more consistency.
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
It is hard to imagine any more storms on the horizon as the humidity levels have been down, the birds are back and fall seems on the horizon here in Florida. I'm not saying it's over, just saying it sure has been a nice break!
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13. MTWX
Just realized something. It is currently colder in the northern Minnesota than the northernmost reaches of Alaska!
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People should not be surprised by a lull.

Hopefully Newfoundland shouldn't have nearly as much as trouble as last year.

OT, but cool:

"A planet orbiting two suns - the first confirmed alien world of its kind - has been found by Nasa's Kepler telescope, the US space agency announced.

It may resemble the planet Tatooine from the film Star Wars, but scientists say Luke Skywalker, or anyone at all, is unlikely to be living there.

Named Kepler-16b, it is thought to be an uninhabitable cold gas giant, like Saturn.

The newly detected body lies some 200 light years from Earth." Link

That'd be some sight. Nice to have the theory of planets (even if Jovian as comapred to terrestrial) being able to form around binary systems confirmed.
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300

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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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