Typhoon Roke bears down on Japan; 98L continues to grow more organized

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 6:48 PM GMT on September 20, 2011

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Powerful Category 3 Typhoon Roke is bearing down on Japan, and is expected to hit the main island of Honshu on Wednesday morning, local time. Roke is on a dangerous track for Japan, one that would take the storm over some of the most heavily populated areas of the country. Heavy rains from Roke have already reached the coast of Japan, as seen on Japanese radar. However, Roke is starting to weaken, as seen in latest satellite imagery. The eye is no longer apparent, the cloud tops have warmed, and a slot of dry air has gotten wrapped into the storm's northwest side. Wind shear should continue to weaken Roke as it approaches landfall; shear is currently a high 20 knots, and will increase to 30 knots by Wednesday morning. Given the current weakening trend, I expect Roke is most likely to be a Category 2 typhoon at landfall.

Typhoon's Roke's storm surge, winds, and heavy rains will all be a concern. A damaging storm surge is likely to the right of where the center makes landfall, since Roke is a large storm whose winds are spread out over a wide area. If Roke tracks farther to the east than expected, a large storm surge may affect Tokyo Bay. Perhaps the biggest concern from the storm is heavy rain. The soils over much of Japan are saturated from the passage of Tropical Storm Talas during the first week of September. Talas was a very slow moving storm, and brought extreme rainfall amounts of over six feet to some portions of Japan. Roke is expected to bring up to 20 more inches of rain along its path. Roke could bring winds of 30 - 40 mph and heavy rains of 3 - 5 inches to the damaged Fukishima-Dai-Iche nuclear plant northeast of Tokyo.


Figure 1. MODIS image of Typhoon Roke taken at 1:45 pm local time (4:45 UTC) on Tuesday, September 20, 2011. At the time, Roke was a Category 2 storm with 110 mph winds. Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory.

Invest 98L continues to grow more organized
A tropical wave midway between Africa and the Lesser Antilles (Invest 98L) has increased in organization this afternoon, but still lacks a well-defined surface circulation. Satellite imagery shows a number of curved spiral bands have formed this afternoon, and the area covered by heavy thunderstorms has steadily increased. An ASCAT pass from 8:21 am EDT this morning did not capture the full circulation of the storm, but did show winds of 30 mph on the east side of the center. Wind shear as diagnosed by the SHIPS model has increased to a moderate 10 - 15 knots, and is predicted to stay moderate through Friday. Ocean temperatures are 28 - 28.5°C, well above the threshold typically needed for a tropical storm to spin up. Water vapor satellite images show 98L is embedded in a moist environment, but there is dry air to the system's northwest. Given that the shear has now increased to the moderate level, this dry air may begin to hinder development on Wednesday. An analysis of upper level winds from the University of Wisconsin CIMMS group shows a pattern favorable for development, with an outflow channel open to both the north and south available to ventilate the storm and allow 98L to efficiently lift plenty of moisture to high levels.


Figure 2. Afternoon satellite image of 98L.

The latest 8 am EDT (12Z) runs of the computer models show either no development of 98L, or development of 98L into a tropical depression or weak tropical storm by Saturday. 98L's westward motion of 5 - 10 mph should bring the storm into the Lesser Antilles Islands by Saturday, though the models are not in strong agreement about the forward speed of the storm. The GFDL model brings 98L into the islands on Friday, while the HWRF model keeps the storm east of the islands through Sunday. If 98L takes a more west-northwesterly path through northern Lesser Antilles, which has been the preferred track for tropical systems this year, the disturbance should encounter high wind shear in excess of 20 knots due to strong upper-level winds out of the west. This shear should make it difficult for 98L to intensify as it moves though the islands. However, if 98L takes a more southerly path across Barbados, as predicted by the GFDL model, the storm will miss seeing the high shear area that lies over the northern islands, and the storm would have more opportunity to strengthen. The most likely scenario I see at this point is for 98L to be a weak tropical storm on Saturday as it moves through the Lesser Antilles--but there is more than the usual amount of uncertainty in both the track and intensity forecast. NHC gave the disturbance a 70% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Thursday in their 2 pm Tropical Weather Outlook.

September temperatures return to normal over the U.S.
The summer of 2011 was the second hottest in U.S. history, but September of 2011 is so far shaping up to be an average one for temperature. A series of cold fronts and cold-cored low pressure systems have moved southwards out of Canada this month, bringing typical amounts of cool air to the country. If you want to select dates for the start and end of the U.S. heat wave of 2011, the dates to pick would be May 20 - September 4. During the period May 20 - September 4, 2011, the number of daily record high temperatures at the 515 major airports in the U.S. exceeded the number of daily low temperature records every day but one. That's an astonishing 107 out of 108 days! Only July 15 had more record daily lows than highs during that 108-day period. I doubt one could find a similar stretch of days anytime in U.S. weather history where such a lopsided ratio of high temperature to low temperature records existed. For the 3-month summer period of June, July, and August, 2703 daily high temperature records were set, compared to 300 daily low temperature records--a ratio of 9-to-1. Not surprisingly, the summer of 2011 wound up as the hottest summer in 75 years in the U.S., and was only 0.1°F cooler than the all-time record hottest summer, during the Dust Bowl year of 1936. But so far this September, the ratio of high temperature records to low temperature records has been close to 1-to-1. There were 283 daily high temperature records set during the first sixteen days of September, and 246 low temperature records. Eight of the first sixteen days of September have seen the lows outnumber the highs, and eight have seen the highs outnumber the lows. The latest 2-week forecast from the GFS model shows a continuation of pretty normal weather over the U.S. for the rest of the month, and September temperatures will end up close to average.

Jeff Masters

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This is the REAL Ophelia!
Click on the link to see the REAL Ophelia. I couldn't figure out how to embed the video on here....?? It's by The Band!!!

Link
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Henry Margusity on Facebook

Henry Margusity Fan Club
Ophelia, while I think will stay out to sea, I can see how it does come back west to the US coast next week.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 13451
All that VOODOO in the Caribbean, has created a zombie invest.
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NEW BLOG ENTRY
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Quoting Tazmanian:



stop saying 99L is back from the dead i dont see 99L up any where you need too start calling it ex 99L


Taz, 99 is back buddy
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Starting from scratch..



Given 850MB VORT and SAT, the initialization appears to be a bit too far N.

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99L won't give up.
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flat line...paddles...flat line...paddles...Nurse, it lives! 99L is back from the dead!
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Good Morning...
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Starting from scratch..

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morning everyone...99L lives i see....could anything come of the blob below cuba?? got some storms firing up....
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99L is back up on ATCF:

AL, 99, 2011092112, , BEST, 0, 178N, 606W, 25, 1011, DB, 34, NEQ, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1014, 130, 40, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, S,
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900. Jax82
Ophelia has a tough road ahead, she may not even make it, NHC seems to think she wont get that strong at all.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INIT 21/0900Z 12.7N 41.8W 40 KT 45 MPH
12H 21/1800Z 13.0N 43.8W 40 KT 45 MPH
24H 22/0600Z 13.2N 46.5W 45 KT 50 MPH
36H 22/1800Z 13.5N 49.2W 45 KT 50 MPH
48H 23/0600Z 14.0N 52.0W 45 KT 50 MPH
72H 24/0600Z 15.7N 57.0W 45 KT 50 MPH
96H 25/0600Z 18.0N 61.5W 40 KT 45 MPH
120H 26/0600Z 20.0N 65.5W 35 KT 40 MPH
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The Big question,is she gonna be a fish storm?LOL
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Easy to see where the center is...Farther north and west than the NHC's 5AM coordinates.



Good pic there. Should be a requirement for all storms to show their centers like that each day.

Might get boring in here though with an end to all position discussions.
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896. MTWX
Quoting Tazmanian:



stop saying 99L is back from the dead i dont see 99L up any where you need too start calling it ex 99L

Taz ex-99L looks halfway decent to me too. Take a look at it this morning! Link

Heading into the islands.
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The blob over Western Africa, Pouch 32L, is forecast to develop (to varying degrees) by ECMWF, GFS, UKMET, NOGAPS, and HWRF. But, as always, we'll see:

Click for larger image:

Appropriate tropical weather-related image.
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what a weird season.....
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Puerto Rico NWS Discussion

A RAPIDLY MOVING TROPICAL WAVE/DISTURBANCE WITH AXIS NOW JUST EAST
OF THE NORTHERN LEEWARDS WILL ENTER THE EASTERN CARIBBEAN LATER
TODAY. MODELS SUGGEST A BRIEF WIND SURGE TO ACCOMPANY/TRAIL THIS
WAVE AS THE PRESSURE GRADIENT TIGHTENS WHEN IT ENTERS THE EASTERN
CARIBBEAN. THIS MAY RESULT IN PERIODS OF SQUALLY WEATHER OVER
PARTS OF THE REGIONAL WATERS AS THIS WAVE MOVE ACROSS THE REGION
THROUGH THURSDAY.

BASED ON LATEST INFORMATION FROM THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER...
THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM OPHELIA WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE
12.7 NORTH... LONGITUDE 41.8 WEST. OPHELIA IS MOVING TOWARD THE
WEST NEAR 13 MPH...AND THIS GENERAL MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE
FOR THE NEXT TWO DAYS OR SO. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 45MPH...
WITH HIGHER GUSTS. SOME GRADUAL STRENGTHENING REMAINS POSSIBLE
DURING THE NEXT DAY OR SO. ON THE CURRENT TRACK THE CENTER OF OPHELIA
IS FORECAST TO MOVE JUST NORTHEAST OF THE LOCAL ISLANDS DURING THE
LATTER PART OF THE UPCOMING WEEKEND. PLEASE REFER TO THE LATEST
BULLETINS AND ADVISORIES ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER
IN MIAMI.
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For those with a frosty heart this morning (hope the video works and yes, it is weather related):

Link
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Quoting JLPR2:
Ex-99L just doesn't give up.


A SMALL AREA OF LOW PRESSURE LOCATED JUST EAST OF THE NORTHERN
LEEWARD ISLANDS CONTINUES TO PRODUCE DISORGANIZED SHOWERS AND
THUNDERSTORMS. ALTHOUGH DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM IS NOT
EXPECTED...THIS LOW COULD BRING A BRIEF PERIOD OF HEAVY RAINFALL
AND GUSTY WINDS TO PORTIONS OF THE NORTHERN LEEWARD ISLANDS TODAY
AS IT MOVES WESTWARD AT 15 TO 20 MPH. THIS SYSTEM HAS A LOW
CHANCE...NEAR 0 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.
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890. JLPR2
Ex-99L just doesn't give up.
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889. JLPR2
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Easy to see where the center is...Farther north and west than the NHC's 5AM coordinates.



Even though it looks sheared, Ophelia now looks like a normal tropical storm.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


These probably wouldn't be named:

- Cindy
- Franklin
- Gert
- Jose


Okay. :) Any other suggestions from anyone?
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Quoting cat5hurricane:

Hey Cotillion - You think this Ophelia has a chance of affecting the Continental U.S.?


I don't normally bother with forecasts (or for most people, it's called a guess) as enough people try and pitch in with that. Given the uncertainty, there's always a small outside chance of it clipping by something, particularly with Ophelia so far out in the Atlantic. Not something you'd bet on right now.
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Easy to see where the center is...Farther north and west than the NHC's 5AM coordinates.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30251
Quoting Cotillion:
If this was say, the 1951 season or the 1971 season... how many of these tropical storms would have been named, do you think?

(Not to say they shouldn't be named - if they fit the proper criteria, they should - but just curious).


These probably wouldn't be named:

- Cindy
- Franklin
- Gert
- Jose
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30251
If this was say, the 1951 season or the 1971 season... how many of these tropical storms would have been named, do you think?

(Not to say they shouldn't be named - if they fit the proper criteria, they should - but just curious).
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almost impossible to make the center here with no doubt this is old however not too much so i still think the nhc track is uncertain or with a question mark and the center is exposed but may try and cover soon
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I guess that proves that we're still waiting for the proper lull.

Personally wouldn't be surprised if October's quiet. It may not be, but typically one of the three peak months are.

Another storm to remain at TS, maybe?

Hmm.
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Quoting Marou:
hi, I am not Taz, but I thik that the center is around 13.1 N and 42.7 W... but I'm maybe wrong...


hmm yes that almost sound correct looking at the visible
but the center seem to be exposed as well more west i guess just like maria
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Quoting caribbeantracker01:
Taz what do you make of ophilia's sat pic do you think the center is where the nhc says?



yes
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
So, I see we have Ophelia, and not a surprise here the models are all over the place, and the NHC is conservative as usual, in terms of strengthening. We'll see I still believe this will become a Hurricane.


Highly doubt that.

All of the models predict that there will a sharp increase in westerly wind shear as it approaches the islands. It would be better if it was coming from the east, the same direction is going. However, if it is coming from the west, imagine that you are in a car moving at 30-50 mph. Sticking your hand out the window is convection trying to form, and the wind is the wind shear. Now, try going against that...its DIFFICULT, isn't it?

Really is no doubt in my mind that Ophelia will stay a hurricane, at least until it is north of the Caribbean Islands.
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877. Marou
Quoting caribbeantracker01:
Taz what do you make of ophilia's sat pic do you think the center is where the nhc says?
hi, I am not Taz, but I thik that the center is around 13.1 N and 42.7 W... but I'm maybe wrong...
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
So, I see we have Ophelia, and not a surprise here the models are all over the place, and the NHC is conservative as usual, in terms of strengthening. We'll see I still believe this will become a Hurricane.


I think it may as well. The irony is if it stays weaker now it will stay more south, which may allow it to dodge the shear and therefore have more of a shot at intensification down the road.
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A webcam of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Generating Station overlooking the power plant in Fukushima, Japan Link
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Good Morning All.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30251
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Taz what do you make of ophilia's sat pic do you think the center is where the nhc says?
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Quoting aislinnpaps:
Taz, I like your new avatar, that from this weekend?

My classroom is waiting, kids expect a teacher there before them for some reason. Everyone have a wonderful Wednesday!



yes
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114053
Taz, I like your new avatar, that from this weekend?

My classroom is waiting, kids expect a teacher there before them for some reason. Everyone have a wonderful Wednesday!
Member Since: August 22, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 3112
aww Taz, too early to quote stuff like that!
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Quoting Autistic2:
Is it time to start FL casting yet?



whats not even go there plzs not at 4AM
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114053
Quoting islander101010:
ninety nine is on my mind back from the dead



stop saying 99L is back from the dead i dont see 99L up any where you need too start calling it ex 99L
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114053
865. BVI
Quoting CaribBoy:
I hope we in the extrem N Antilles will get some decent rains from ophelia! And if she does like Maria, WE WONT GET ANYTHING! And that really sux for our plants..

Where are you? We had a lot of rain from Maria in the Virgin Islands and have had a lot more this week. The soil is saturated. We don't need more right now
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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.