Rina rapidly intensifies into a hurricane

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:59 PM GMT on October 24, 2011

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Rina is now a hurricane, just 21 hours after becoming a tropical depression. An Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft found winds of 75 mph--Category 1 hurricane strength--at 1:40 pm EDT in the north eyewall of Rina, using their SFMR surface wind instrument. Winds at flight level of 5,000 feet peaked at 78 mph, which typically translates to surface winds of 62 mph. On their second pass through the eye at 3:30 pm EDT, the winds were about 5 mph less, but the central pressure had fallen by two millibars, to 989 mb. Visible satellite loops show that Rina now has an eye, and the storm is steadily expanding in size and developing an impressive upper-level outflow channel to the north. Wind shear is a moderate 15 - 20 knots due to strong upper-level winds out of the southeast, and these winds are injecting dry air into Rina's southeast side, inhibiting heavy thunderstorm development there. Water temperatures are very warm, 29 - 30°C, and these warm waters extend to great depth.


Figure 1. Afternoon satellite image of Rina. An intense thunderstorm with a top that reaches into the stratosphere is visible on the southwest side of the eye. These "hot towers" are commonly seen in hurricanes undergoing rapid intensification.

Rina in historical context
Rina intensified into a hurricane just 21 hours after the first advisory was issued for it as a tropical depression. This is the second fastest such intensification since record keeping began in 1851. Hurricane Humberto of 2007 holds the Atlantic record for fastest intensification from first advisory issued to hurricane strength--18 hours. (Actually, Humberto did the feat in 14 1/4 hours, but this was rounded off to 18 hours in the final data base, which stores points every six hours). There have been six storms that accomplished the feat in 24 hours. Rina's formation brings this year's tally of hurricanes to six, which is average for an Atlantic hurricane season. The number of named storms this season is now seventeen, making it the 7th busiest Atlantic hurricane season since record keeping began in 1851. Only 2005, 1933, 1995, 1887, 2010, and 1969 had more named storms. However, 2011 has had an unusually low percentage of its named storms reach hurricane strength. Only 35% of this year's named storms have made it to hurricane strength, and normally 55 - 60% of all named storms intensify to hurricane strength in the Atlantic. The rare combination of near-record ocean temperatures but unusually dry, stable air over the Atlantic is no doubt at least partially responsible for this very unusual occurrence.


Figure 2. Microwave satellite image from 11:39 am EDT October 24, 2011, showing that Rina had a partially complete eyewall, which was open on the east side. Image credit: Navy Research Lab, Monterey.

Forecast for Rina
The hurricane hunters found an elliptical eyewall that had a gap in it during their 3:30 pm eye penetration. The aircraft measured a temperature difference of 6°C between the eye and the region outside the eye, which is difficult to get unless an eyewall is on its way to completion. Rina will need to complete its eyewall if it is to intensify into a major hurricane. Given the fact wind shear is not expected to increase until Wednesday, Rina has a 2-day period to close off an eyewall and intensify, and it will probably reach Category 3 or Category 4 strength by Wednesday. On Wednesday, Rina will encounter a dry airmass with high wind shear that lies over the extreme northwestern Caribbean. These conditions should weaken the hurricane, but Rina could still be a major hurricane if it makes landfall in the Yucatan Peninsula on Wednesday or Thursday.

A trough of low pressure is predicted to pass to the north of Rina late this week, and now that the hurricane is expected to be a Category 2 or stronger storm, the chances for Rina to make it farther north and affect the Florida Keys and Southwest Florida have increased. The latest 8 am EDT runs of the GFDL and HWRF models both predict that Rina will pass through the Yucatan Channel on Thursday and make landfall on Friday in the Florida Keys or extreme Southwest Florida, south of Naples. The NOGAPS and GFS models predict a weaker storm, and keep Rina trapped in the Caribbean. I think it is more likely that Rina will pass through the Keys. If Rina does make it to the Keys, it would likely be as a tropical storm, since wind shear, dry air, and possible land interaction with Western Cuba and Mexico would potentially knock down the storm's strength. Heavy rains from Rina should begin affecting Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, northern Belize, and extreme Western Cuba on Wednesday. Rina's intensification into a hurricane over the Western Caribbean during the last half of October bring to mind Hurricane Wilma, which also performed such a feat in 2005. Wilma went on to become a Category 5 monster, the strongest Atlantic hurricane of all-time. I don't think Rina will be another Wilma, even though the ocean temperatures and total heat content are similar to what Wilma experienced. Wilma had nearly ideal upper-level atmospheric conditions with an anticyclone aloft and light wind shear, under 5 knots. Rina is experiencing 15 - 20 knots of wind shear and is also a smaller storm, and is thus more vulnerable to the effects of wind shear and dry air.

97L approaching ABC islands
A broad region of low pressure approaching the ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao (Invest 97L), is moving west-northwest at 10 mph. Heavy thunderstorm activity has increased today, but the activity is not organized into spiral bands, as is apparent from Curacao radar. 97L is surrounded by a large region of dry air, and this dry air will retard development. 97L is under low wind shear less than 10 knots, and this shear is expected to remain low through Thursday. By the time 97L reaches the region between Jamaica and Nicaragua in the Central Caribbean on Thursday or Friday, the storm should find a moister environment, and could develop into a tropical depression. However, none of the reliable models are predicting that 97L will develop. NHC is giving 97L just a 10% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Wednesday. I put the odds higher, at 20%.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting GTcooliebai:
You answered my question just before I was about to ask you, which was does 06000Z mean 2am?

lol, yeah.

It took me a while to learn my UTC times, but I have them down now.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32714
Quoting zparkie:
That thing better not hit my house or I will be pissed


my house hit wilma..lost my patio..this time don't hit my house
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
The next recon flight is 2AM tomorrow morning (or tonight, whichever way you think of it):

FLIGHT TWO -- TEAL 72
A. 25/0600Z
B. AFXXX 0318A CYCLONE
C. 25/0245Z
D. 16.9N 83.3W
E. 25/0530Z TO 25/0900Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT
You answered my question just before I was about to ask you, which was does 06000Z mean 2am?
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Quoting A4Guy:
should we be putting much faith in those models that push Rina back south...basically looping her in the W Carib?

Its always a possibility as Rina moves northeast in response to a trough. Then, ridging from the west builds back in strong, as forecast, forcing the system move eastward. However, with high pressure also located to the east, it would push Rina back south.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32714
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Had to go to Walgreens and buy one. 4.75 days.


Now I feel guilty. Ok, should be around your place around 8:22 AM Saturday morning. I assume you are in the West Palm Beach area by your handle.
Member Since: April 24, 2011 Posts: 1 Comments: 601
609. A4Guy
should we be putting much faith in those models that push Rina back south...basically looping her in the W Carib?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The next recon flight is 2AM tomorrow morning (or tonight, whichever way you think of it):

FLIGHT TWO -- TEAL 72
A. 25/0600Z
B. AFXXX 0318A CYCLONE
C. 25/0245Z
D. 16.9N 83.3W
E. 25/0530Z TO 25/0900Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32714
That thing better not hit my house or I will be pissed
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Quoting will40:


take off tomorrow at 11:00 eastern
Wrong.

ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. SUSPECT AREA (WESTERN CARIBBEAN)
FLIGHT ONE -- TEAL 71
A. 24/1800Z
B. AFXXX 0218A CYCLONE
C. 24/1445Z
D. 16.6N 82.4W
E. 24/1730Z TO 24/2100Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT

FLIGHT TWO -- TEAL 72
A. 25/0600Z
B. AFXXX 0318A CYCLONE
C. 25/0245Z
D. 16.9N 83.3W
E. 25/0530Z TO 25/0900Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT
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Quoting ProgressivePulse:


2am
Thanks by that time i'll be sleepimg
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Quoting Gorty:


Is it me or is 97l starting to organizing faster? Looks like 97l and Rina both have an eye LOL.


97L is slowly taking shape....

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This is 97L. It already has extreme cold cloud tops. Not unheard of, but unusual in something like this. I would not be surprised if the percentage goes up on this one as well. They do flare-up at times and then drop back down.



Member Since: April 24, 2011 Posts: 1 Comments: 601
Just in case anybody missed it...Tomorrow's recon plan:


(Click to enlarge a little)
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32714


Link Institute of Meteorology of the Republica of Cuba

Aviso de Ciclón Tropical.
Centro de Pronósticos, INSMET.
Fecha: 24 de Octubre de 2011 Hora: 6:00 PM.

AVISO DE CICLON TROPICAL No 5.

HURACÁN RINA.

According to NHC 5 p.m. advisory, GIVEN THE EXTREMELY LARGE SPREAD IN THE GUIDANCE...AND THE POOR RUN
TO RUN CONSISTENCY...THERE IS MUCH LOWER THAN NORMAL CONFIDENCE IN THE LONG-RANGE TRACK FORECAST OF RINA.


Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11410
Quoting hang10z:


Sure I can, this is an english blog. Nevermind the fact that English wasn't the first language i learned either...

but again that doesn't matter.

You have mail.
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598. Gorty
Quoting sunlinepr:


Is it me or is 97l starting to organizing faster? Looks like 97l and Rina both have an eye LOL.
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Quoting belizeit:
When is the next HH mission?


take off tomorrow at 11:00 eastern
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Had to go to Walgreens and buy one. 4.75 days.


their are going to be alot of kids dissapointed in south florida and west cuba.
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Quoting belizeit:
When is the next HH mission?


2am
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Also note a few -24 degree pixels showing up in your LSU loop
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Quoting TampaSpin:


Yes there is certainly a question in the timeframe....seen that earlier as well.....i was looking also at the timing of the cold front and how strong it will be is still much in question.


One of the many questions to be answered!

I think that it will depend on the cool/cold front the moves off to the east. Sometimes they pick up the storms and off they go.

Not a good scenario -- if it heads to So Fla, not much time to prepare.
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Intensity models for Rina:

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When is the next HH mission?
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There is even orange showing in the yellow. This would indicate exteme cold cloud tops. And I'm color blind, so if anyone sees anything different, please correct me. I'd be embarrassed as heck if they turned out to be blue.

Member Since: April 24, 2011 Posts: 1 Comments: 601
Quoting Gorty:


Well, 2011 could of had it too but it decided to shut off for much longer in Oct. than 2005.


you can't be so sure about it though.
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
You can tell him to stop being the blog police but please DO NOT criticize his spelling or language. Thanks.


Sure I can, this is an english blog. Nevermind the fact that English wasn't the first language i learned either...

but again that doesn't matter.

Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 34
Quoting Patrap:


Gobbling up that dry air for sure.
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Quoting zoomiami:
Unless I'm missing something -- NHC forecast has the storm off the Yucatan on Thursday --- then moving to the NE -- that would mean that the keys could be affected Sunday or Monday.

The models that were posted by Levi & Woody show basically a 120 hours out -- affecting the keys.

That's quite a difference. Will be interesting to see the next track update by NHC.


I just found it odd that the GFDL & HWRF were so close this far out. They usually differ quite a bit. The timing of this system should be difficult to deduce an accurate time frame. The new track should be interesting. The intensity has me concerned.

Member Since: April 24, 2011 Posts: 1 Comments: 601
582. Gorty
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
Off topic... The first letter of the Greek alphabet was over on this day

TROPICAL DEPRESSION ALPHA ADVISORY NUMBER 10
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
5 PM EDT MON OCT 24 2005

...TROPICAL DEPRESSION ALPHA WEAKENS TO A TROUGH...

AT 5 PM EDT...2100Z...SATELLITE IMAGERY INDICATED THAT TROPICAL
DEPRESSION ALPHA HAS WEAKENED TO A TROUGH NEAR LATITUDE
29.0 NORTH... LONGITUDE 70.0 WEST OR ABOUT 385 MILES... 620 KM...
SOUTHWEST OF BERMUDA.


Well, 2011 could of had it too but it decided to shut off for much longer in Oct. than 2005.
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Off topic... The first letter of the Greek alphabet was over on this day

TROPICAL DEPRESSION ALPHA ADVISORY NUMBER 10
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
5 PM EDT MON OCT 24 2005

...TROPICAL DEPRESSION ALPHA WEAKENS TO A TROUGH...

AT 5 PM EDT...2100Z...SATELLITE IMAGERY INDICATED THAT TROPICAL
DEPRESSION ALPHA HAS WEAKENED TO A TROUGH NEAR LATITUDE
29.0 NORTH... LONGITUDE 70.0 WEST OR ABOUT 385 MILES... 620 KM...
SOUTHWEST OF BERMUDA.
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Time for a break and watch the games on the tube....later all....take a break too....or this stuff will kill ya.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 179 Comments: 20448
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22687
HWRF always overdoes intensity and pressures.
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My friend Elway just got back from the corner Tavern.
He says rumor has it that a major hurricane is headed for the Gulf.
I told him he had too much to drink.
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Quoting roatangardener:
we've had so much rain in the last 2 weeks really dont need any more at the moment. we had mudslides last week so hopefully not too much rain with rina. i will keep checking during the night just to see how big it gets and if the path stays as forecast. currently breezy and pleasant. and one spectacular sunset today. rg
Glad you r not getting more rain... I saw some of the impacts of the extended rain over Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador. Maybe Rina will be good to you and let you get a chance to dry out some.... :)
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22687
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:

so this is wrong


110 mph to 943 mb


forecast models usually do not do well comparing matching up to two

HWRF seems to like the low pressures on systems
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7874
Quoting zoomiami:
Unless I'm missing something -- NHC forecast has the storm off the Yucatan on Thursday --- then moving to the NE -- that would mean that the keys could be affected Sunday or Monday.

The models that were posted by Levi & Woody show basically a 120 hours out -- affecting the keys.

That's quite a difference. Will be interesting to see the next track update by NHC.


Yes there is certainly a question in the timeframe....seen that earlier as well.....i was looking also at the timing of the cold front and how strong it will be is still much in question.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 179 Comments: 20448
Quoting WoodyFL:


This is at 114 hours. Get a calculator and figure it out yourself. :)



Had to go to Walgreens and buy one. 4.75 days.
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11518
Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale
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How big is the threat to South Florida and what should we expect? Do you think Rina could affect us with tropical storm force winds at least? I'm saying that this will get pulled over the Florida Keys as a category one or two hurricane, bringing tropical storm/hurricane conditions to much of South Florida during the first part of next week.
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Quoting TampaSpin:
The Yucatan is gonna get hit hard from this bugger.....

.
A hurricane sitting over warm water for a few days and then skirting the coast is not a happy scenario for coasties.
Would love to hear from someone about the timing of the trough that will lift it north.
Wish I understood more about the dynamics
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11410
Quoting TampaSpin:
The Yucatan is gonna get hit hard from this bugger.....


Would be a shame -- they certainly don't need a lot of hurricane damage going into season.
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Unless I'm missing something -- NHC forecast has the storm off the Yucatan on Thursday --- then moving to the NE -- that would mean that the keys could be affected Sunday or Monday.

The models that were posted by Levi & Woody show basically a 120 hours out -- affecting the keys.

That's quite a difference. Will be interesting to see the next track update by NHC.
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168 hours out and still there but so signs of Sean
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting Hurricanes101:


from what I have seen a CAT 1 hurricane generally has a pressure between 976mb and 990mb


Ya that was my bad.......yes you was correct.....

970-989mb/60-90kts storms
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 179 Comments: 20448
Re post 548: I am not saying the RATE of RI is the same; I am saying they both went through a period of RI.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22687
Quoting BahaHurican:
Hey, RG.... was wondering how u guys were faring. I guess no rain so far? A lot is going to depend on how much Rina expands overnight, I guess. At least u guys are now in the SW quadrant, which is about as good as it gets with a 'cane...
we've had so much rain in the last 2 weeks really dont need any more at the moment. we had mudslides last week so hopefully not too much rain with rina. i will keep checking during the night just to see how big it gets and if the path stays as forecast. currently breezy and pleasant. and one spectacular sunset today. rg
Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 54 Comments: 198

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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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