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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Quoting will40:


the GFS run i saw never had her in the GOM
I know, sorry about the confusion. I was going off the other maps showing a TC in the GOM.
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6871
Quoting scott39:
I see her weak in the Eastern and central caribbean following the GFDL. The MJO will give her a shot in the arm in the Western Caribbean, and that may be what is showing up in Eastern GOM.


the GFS run i saw never had her in the GOM
Member Since: September 19, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 4251
786. AussieStorm

Thanks for the link to live streaming in Japan at Ustream!
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Quoting will40:
00z GFS shows her very weak then drops her at 216hrs
I see her weak in the Eastern and central caribbean following the GFDL. The MJO will give her a shot in the arm in the Western Caribbean, and that may be what is showing up in Eastern GOM.
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6871
Quoting scott39:
Im going to go out on a big limb here and say that could be Ophelia.


that would def be the roundabout route to florida for ophelia
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picks her back up at 348 hrs off the coast of NC

a weird run indeed
Member Since: September 19, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 4251
Quoting songman77:


What model is this? GFS is also showing something in GOM in 10-11 days


GFS
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Quoting DJMedik91:


I'm in Brandon. Well, kinda. Technically I'm in Tampa, but if I walk to the sidewalk I'm in Brandon. Lol

Definitely a nice storm though...
There used to be a really good pizza place and Italian restaurant in Brandon.
Angelina's.
Is it still there.

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Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:


ouch is right
Im going to go out on a big limb here and say that could be Ophelia.
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6871
00z GFS shows her very weak then drops her at 216hrs
Member Since: September 19, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 4251
Quoting TampaSpin:



It is pouring on me in the West Chase area!


I'm in Brandon. Well, kinda. Technically I'm in Tampa, but if I walk to the sidewalk I'm in Brandon. Lol

Definitely a nice storm though...
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Quoting petewxwatcher:


Georges was 13 years ago. I think Georges made 8 landfalls.
It took 17 days to hit the USA. Lets hope Ophelia is not a creeper!
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6871
Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:


ouch is right


What model is this? GFS is also showing something in GOM in 10-11 days
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Quoting luigi18:
It look to me that this is the storm we where looking for , last good one was Georges 12 years ago!

I hope Not!


Georges was 13 years ago. I think Georges made 8 landfalls.
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800. ryang
Quoting JLPR2:
Not sure what to make of this:


Further south?
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ouch is right
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Quoting TampaSpin:
OUCH!!!!




That will spin tampa!!
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Quoting JLPR2:
Not sure what to make of this:
lol

Very broad and elongated, but closed. Not very well defined either.
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This is a weather blog, so why are people talking about Communists and Muslims?
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795. JLPR2
Not sure what to make of this:
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Keep an eye on how fast Ophelia is moving. Right now it is slow. Slow tracks allow weather patterns to change in front of it.
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6871
793. JLPR2
Quoting Gearsts:
More rain for us


Yeah, keeping everything wet before Oheplia's visit. Some pretty serious floods could happen this weekend, early next week.
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Quoting JLPR2:
Meanwhile ex-99L craves some attention.
More rain for us
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1808
Quoting sunlinepr:


No I don't believe in those models... If I did I would move to live there....
But I don't believe in a model that gives CEO bankers all the money, while giving the Avg. american a hard time to make a living.... with my feet on the ground - I think our superman years are getting to an end...

Anyhow, I respect your point of view....

And I share your outrage towards Wall St
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Quoting sunlinepr:


Mano, no se llama Frank, se llama Kerry...


como sea !
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Quoting luigi18:


Oye Frank Ofelia esta lejos!


Mano, no se llama Frank, se llama Kerry...
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Quoting mossyhead:
That will be the trough that turn Oph. It will be way stronger than the one that is hanging over the east coast, which will disapate.
Oh thanks !
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It look to me that this is the storm we where looking for , last good one was Georges 12 years ago!

I hope Not!
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Live Video streaming by Ustream

Over looking Enoshima Island, Near Tokyo, Japan.

MORE than a million Japanese have been warned to leave their homes, as a strong typhoon is forecast to land and make its way across Japan's largest island of Honshu today.

The Japan Meteorological Agency was calling for "the greatest possible vigilance" as Typhoon Roke, bringing strong winds and heavy rain, approached this morning.

As of 10am local time (11am AEST), the typhoon was located some 40 kilometres off the southern-most tip of the Kii Peninsula, Kyodo News reported.

The storm was heading northeast toward the Tokai region in central Japan at a speed of 35 kilometres per hour, packing winds of up to 216km/h.

It will likely reach Fukushima prefecture, which was severely hit by the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and ensuing nuclear disaster, about 9pm local time, according to the agency.

The city of Nagoya, a regional commercial hub located near the home of Toyota Motor, issued an evacuation advisory to some 1.09 million residents at one point yesterday because of worries that rivers might burst their banks.

The advisory was lifted from parts of the city, but landslide, flooding and tornado warnings affected more than a million people were still in place as night fell.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
TROPICAL STORM OPHELIA HAS FORMED


RUH ROH!
Models still spread out...



Member Since: August 28, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 2899
Quoting FrankZapper:
If I lived in PR I would whip up an emergency pot of Menudo, and eat it even before Ophelia approached.


Oye Frank Ofelia esta lejos!
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Quoting TravisBickle:
http://www.meteo.psu.edu/ewall/SAT_US/anim16ir.ht ml  what is that swirling around the great lakes ??
That will be the trough that turn Oph. It will be way stronger than the one that is hanging over the east coast, which will disapate.
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Quoting RussianWinter:


2004
Hurricane Frances
Hurricane Jeanne
?

No storm is exactly the same as another but they can be pretty damn similar.


yes more like jeanne!
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*Click on image to magnify (image can also be magnified in Link Window by clicking anywhere on it)
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697 TomTaylor "But when you said it was undoubtedly closed and didn't bring anything else to the table, I was left with the one [ASCAT] pass and had to argue that there's no way you could call it undoubtedly closed."


I'd always assumed LO implies a closed Low -- lower level inflow and upper level outflow -- which in turn implies some degree of spin.
And what prevented a LO from being declared a TropicalDepression was either too low of a max.sus.wind or a lack of a clear CenterOfCirculation or both.

And since preOphelia's max.sus.wind hadn't been too low for 24hours, finding a sustained CoC hadda have been the problem.
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Quoting CaribBoy:
...yeah at the moment I have the feeling Ophelia won't be exactly like Maria. 2 storms can't do the same things! I think Ophelia will be a little south and stronger while crossing the Northern Leewards. I don't know why but a 75mph category 1 wouldn't surprise me.. at least at the moment and considering shear forecast could be less defavorable.


2004
Hurricane Frances
Hurricane Jeanne
?

No storm is exactly the same as another but they can be pretty damn similar.
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11:00PM Advisory
*Click on image to magnify (image can also be magnified in Link Window by clicking anywhere on it)
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Ironically, the NHC forecasted a 75MPH Maria just east of the Leewards, and this storm ended up being only a 40-45MPH sheared TS..............

Now with Ophelia, it could be the contrary!

We never know..
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775. ackee
I would not be suprise if ophelia track thought the carrb think given her size will take her some time to fully organize going with a futher west and south track guess we see
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POSS.T.C.F.W.
16L/TS/O/CX
MARK
12.27N/40.23W
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54634
...yeah at the moment I have the feeling Ophelia won't be exactly like Maria. 2 storms can't do the same things! I think Ophelia will be a little south and stronger while crossing the Northern Leewards. I don't know why but a 75mph category 1 wouldn't surprise me.. at least at the moment and considering shear forecast could be less defavorable.
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http://www.meteo.psu.edu/ewall/SAT_US/anim16ir.ht ml  what is that swirling around the great lakes ??
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"Cooperate with us and together we CAN solve the world's problems!"


??????????

Since WWI and WWII, the most of the world allied countries has cooperated, copied our American dream model and Where does the world stands today??? AND Where do we stand looking to solve the world problems???



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So we have Ophelia. NHC not very bullish on it.
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768. 7544
hi all imo this one is going to be a low rider into the caribiean she will go
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Looks like EPAC will finally put out a storm.
Hilary about to form...
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I think the model forecast is being too aggressive with North West turn and not aggressive enough with intensity forecast, but that is purely my 'gut' feel from looking at the satellite loop and from where it is located.

This is a Islands/ Caribbean storm, is my gut feel and maybe stronger than the NHC forecasts.
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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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