Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Angela Fritz , 9:19 PM GMT on October 27, 2011
Tropical Storm Rina has taken a beating in the past 48 hours. Between a mass of dry air to its west and strong southerly wind shear, Rina has not been able to overcome its environment. At 5pm EDT, Rina had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph and was moving north at 7 mph. At 3:30pm EDT, Rina was located about 50 miles south of Cozumel. The most recent Hurricane Hunter mission found surface wind speeds of around 55 mph (moderate tropical storm-strength) on the north side of the storm and central pressure of 993 mb and rising. Rina's thunderstorm activity has decreased markedly since yesterday. The storm is battling a whopping 30 knots of wind shear, and its surface center is becoming exposed again this evening, which is apparent on satellite.
Wind speed on Cozumel is a breezy 10-15 mph with gusts to 25 mph. The island has received 0.28 inches of rain so far today, and it doesn't look like it's going to get much more than that. At Cancun, winds are blowing at 8 mph with gusts up to 15 mph and wave height on the beach is pretty low.
Figure 1. Infrared satellite imagery shows Rina's thunderstorm activity has all but disappeared, and the surface center is exposed, likely due to the high wind shear from the south. Source: NOAA.
Forecast for Tropical Storm Rina
The official forecast from the National Hurricane Center is for Rina to make landfall near Cozumel later this evening as a tropical storm. Over the next 48 hours, Rina is expected to weaken to a tropical depression as a cold front nudges it back into the Caribbean (Figure 2). The GFS is forecasting Rina to re-intensify to around 55 mph early next week. The ECMWF was predicting a similar event in this morning's forecast but has since backed off, and the HWRF agrees. The most likely scenario is that Rina's remnants will linger in the western Caribbean through the beginning of next week before finally dissolving into the surrounding environment.
Figure 2. Surface forecast for Saturday morning from NOAA's Hydrometeorological Prediction Center. A cold front dipping south into the Caribbean will be responsible for kicking Rina back into the Caribbean.
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