Bud the strongest Eastern Pacific hurricane so early in the year; 94L may develop

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:14 PM GMT on May 25, 2012

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Category 2 Hurricane Bud is weakening, but still presents a formidable rainfall threat as it continues north-northeast towards an expected landfall between Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico late Friday night. Thursday night at 11 pm EDT, Bud peaked at Category 3 status, with 115 mph winds, becoming the earliest Category 3 hurricane on record in the Eastern Pacific. Recent Satellite loops show that Bud has weakened, though. The eye has disappeared, and the cloud pattern has shrunk and appears squashed, due to an increase in dry air, wind shear, and cooler sea surface temperatures affecting the storm. These hostile conditions should continue to weaken Bud to a Category 1 hurricane or strong tropical storm by the time of landfall. Bud is projected to cross the coast in a rugged, relatively unpopulated area, so wind and storm surge damage will probably be light to moderate. Heavy rain will cover a much wider area, and will be the main threat from Bud. The coast where Bud is headed towards is very mountainous, and numerous flash floods and dangerous mudslides will affect the region, probably including the cities of Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta. I don't think Puerto Vallarta will see much in the way of wind or storm surge damage, since it is in a well-protected location and will probably be on the weak (left-front) side of the hurricane. Manzanillo is at higher risk, since it will probably be on the stronger right-front side of the hurricane.


Figure 1. True-color satellite image of Hurricane Bud taken at 12:25 pm EDT May 24, 2012. At the time, Bud was a Category 2 hurricane with 110 mph winds. Image credit: NASA.

A record May for the Eastern Pacific hurricane season
Bud is the strongest Eastern Pacific hurricane on record for so early in the year, and is tied with Hurricane Alma of 2002 (115 mph winds) as the second strongest May hurricane on record in the Eastern Pacific. Only Hurricane Adolph of 2001 (145 mph winds) was stronger. Also, Bud's appearance on May 21 marked the earliest date since record keeping began in 1949 for formation of the season's second named storm. The previous record was set in 1984, when the second named storm formed on May 29. Hurricanes are uncommon in the Eastern Pacific in May; there have been just twelve since record keeping began in 1949--an average of one May hurricane every five years. If Bud ends up making landfall in Mexico as a hurricane, it would be only the second Eastern Pacific May hurricane on record to hit Mexico. The other was Hurricane Agatha of May 24, 1971, which hit the same stretch of coast that Bud is threatening. Agatha made landfall as a Category 2 hurricane about 45 mi (75 km) from Zihuatanejo, Mexico. Ocean temperatures this year in the region where Aletta and Bud formed are only slightly above average, so the large-scale atmospheric patterns are probably more to blame for this year's exceptionally early start to hurricane season in the Eastern Pacific.


Figure 2. Morning satellite image of Invest 94L.

Invest 94L off the Georgia coast could develop this weekend
An area of disturbed weather (Invest 94L) a few hundred miles east of the Georgia coast is headed northeast at about 15 mph. The disturbance has not become more organized over the past day, due to very high wind shear of 40 - 55 knots. However, the latest SHIPS model forecast predicts that wind shear will drop to the moderate range, 10 - 20 knots, on Saturday and Sunday. Most of our reliable models predict that 94L could organize into a subtropical or tropical depression or storm on Saturday or Sunday off the coast of Georgia/South Carolina. NHC is giving 94L a 70% chance of developing into a tropical or subtropical depression by Sunday morning. A ridge of high pressure is expected to build in over the weekend off the East Coast, which will force 94L to the west back towards the coast, and heavy rains from 94L are likely to begin affecting coastal South Carolina, Georgia, and Northern Florida on Saturday and Sunday. There is a lot of dry, continental air on the west side of 94L, so the rainfall amounts from the storm will be limited unless until the center makes landfall. If these rains do materialize, they would be welcome, considering the moderate to severe drought conditions in the area.

I'll have an update Saturday.

Jeff Masters

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Did anyone notice that the recon SFMR instrument measured 64 kt surface winds?
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

I can agree with that. A tropical wave currently in the Eastern Caribbean may add energy in the West Caribbean as we head into early next week. Models don't show anything though.



Well... It's in a favorable environment... shear is very low.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

I can agree with that. A tropical wave currently in the Eastern Caribbean may add energy in the West Caribbean as we head into early next week. Models don't show anything though.



I mentioned something about that last night on the 0Z GFS run, at around 105 hours there was a nice-sized ball of rain that formed out in the western Caribbean. This morning's models do suggest *something* moving from east to west bringing with it some moisture. There's no low associated with it at this point, but there's at least something going on.
Member Since: June 18, 2010 Posts: 3 Comments: 946
New Blog
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2028. flsky
Quoting HurricaneDean07:
Blog has completely halted.


People must be out enjoying the weekend!
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Quoting yqt1001:


Umm, no.
It was a hurricane strength low before it formed.

i didn't even know that, ._________.

Didn't know that was possible either.
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2026. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
JeffMasters has created a new entry.
2025. yqt1001
Quoting Articuno:

Andrea

Andrea became a hurricane later too.


Umm, no.
It was a hurricane strength low before it formed.
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2024. 7544
Quoting NJcat3cane:
seems beryl is moving DUE South the past few hours
yeap thanks good to see others noticing that move too if this keeps up thru the day we could see a cone shift imo
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Blog has completely halted.
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Not much difference between Beryl and Andrea from 2007 at the moment. Beryl needs to pick it up convection-wise.

Andrea

Andrea

Andrea became a hurricane strength low later too.
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seems beryl is moving DUE South the past few hours
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2020. 7544
Quoting Tazmanian:



a cat 5 is next


lol taz maybe 95l soon as you say
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Quoting 7544:
congrads all looks like we broke two records in may

2 name stroms
and over 2000 post made on wu whats next



a cat 5 is next
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115439
2018. 7544
congrads all looks like we broke two records in may

2 name stroms
and over 2000 post made on wu whats next
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Big difference between Andrea and Beryl is the large band to the east of Beryl.



I think once Beryl mixes out the dry air on the east side and makes it over the Gulf Stream, she will be more successful.

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Beryl is very nicely stacked as depicted by the image below. The 300 mb heights are in pink/purple. The faster that upper level cold low weakens, the faster Beryl can transition into a fully tropical cyclone.



850 mb heights are in light blue.
700 mb heights are in light green.
500 mb heights are in light brown.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32719
Not much difference between Beryl and Andrea from 2007 at the moment. Beryl needs to pick it up convection-wise.

Andrea
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Gonna do some chores and be back later. However, always very weird to see a tropical system going "south" along the US coast headed towards landfall..... :)
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9377
Morning everybody...

I figured Beryl would suck up all the rainy wx as it formed, leaving us with a sunny Saturday... unfortunately after a wonderfully sunny start it has been raining here for the last hour. My yard went from bone dry to 5 inches of standing water in the last 30 minutes....

t would be really great to have a 12 hour period that wasn't overcast and / or raining....

I just want to say this is not typical May weather for the Bahamas.
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Quoting SELAliveforthetropic:
Is the dry air in gulf slowly going away or is it just me.
Yeah I have been looking at that since last night. Take a look at this water vapor loop Link
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we could see 95L
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115439
Quoting NICycloneChaser:


That little area in the NW Caribbean has a nice little spin to it, and more convection firing. Worth keeping an eye on.

I can agree with that. A tropical wave currently in the Eastern Caribbean may add energy in the West Caribbean as we head into early next week. Models don't show anything though.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32719
Is the dry air in gulf slowly going away or is it just me.
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2008. 10Speed
I am also considering that if she takes up enough of a southward track that she'll be pushed left rather than right.
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Quoting 10Speed:


Not a whole lot. We've had a lot of near misses though and had a "few" timely showers over the past couple of months that have kept things close to reasonable. The area, in general, could be doing much worse. We've seen it a lot worse than what we're having this year.
Yeah that is how it has been over here on the west coast of FL. besides the the ripple of energy we had from a trough of low pressure a couple weeks ago, the most measurable rainfall has come from afternoon seabreezes, however Alberto brought subsidence down the state and Beryl is doing the same, so if models hold true on bringing this south and west across the state hopefully Beryl will linger around long enough to dump heavy rains before a trough comes and gets it.
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Quoting weathermanwannabe:
Another point to consider; while She is still sub-tropical, there may be the possibility that her interaction with the Gulf Stream might give her enough heat to make the transition to tropical at the last minute. Gonna be real interesting to see what happens in the 6-12 hours before landfall.
And after.
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:


Looks like it is regaining convection now on the South and East side.
Member Since: March 22, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 723
Quoting Seastep:
I think Beryl track will keep nudging S. I think will def be a FL landfall.

Meanwhile, RAMMB is tracking something in the Bahamas and W Carib.

Baha Loop



Carib Loop



That little area in the NW Caribbean has a nice little spin to it, and more convection firing. Worth keeping an eye on.
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Another point to consider; while She is still sub-tropical, there may be the possibility that her interaction with the Gulf Stream might give her enough heat to make the transition to tropical at the last minute. Gonna be real interesting to see what happens in the 6-12 hours before landfall.
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9377
Quoting Tazmanian:
2,000

;)
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2,000
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115439
1999. Patrap




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I wonder where Levi's Tropical Tidbit is...?
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32719
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
It's been quite windy here today.



Correct me if im wrong, But it looks like convection is starting to Build on the South side of the system?
Member Since: March 22, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 723
Quoting weatherh98:


Might have our first 2000 commenter of the season

It's sorta obvious we are.
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1994. Patrap
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1993. Seastep
I think Beryl track will keep nudging S. I think will def be a FL landfall.

Meanwhile, RAMMB is tracking something in the Bahamas and W Carib.

Baha Loop



Carib Loop

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1992. 10Speed
Quoting GTcooliebai:
The drought may have something to do with that, any rain by you lately?


Not a whole lot. We've had a lot of near misses though and had a "few" timely showers over the past couple of months that have kept things close to reasonable. The area, in general, could be doing much worse. We've seen it a lot worse than what we're having this year.
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It's been quite windy here today.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32719
Jedkins01 I must say its seem like your pretty much on point most the time, I'm thinking this will be the case also. It will continue SW for some time then head west, which will make the NHC change there track to the south. Plus models have a hard time with systems moving in this direction.
Member Since: May 28, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 288
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1988. Patrap
Beryl-itis ?
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Quoting HurricaneDean07:

Very close by, just a little less than 100 miles west of her.


Hmmmm...
Member Since: March 22, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 723
Lots of factors in play. I still think that the Gulf Stream might give her a little kick (10-20 knots?) at some point but the stream is not that wide and runs parallel to the coast. If she is moving right from east to west over it, less time; diagonally across, a little more time (and moving into warmer waters the further South She goes).. Not splitting hairs here but just making the observation.
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9377
Quoting HurricaneDean07:
Page 40...
Were shredding through pages today, arent we?


Might have our first 2000 commenter of the season
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6539
1984. 7544
Quoting 10Speed:
Why am I thinking Beryl will make more of an initial landfall into FL than Ga. and perhaps even a bit further south in FL than is being anticipating?


agree and the further south she goes she could get more enigize from the the stuff around the baha and cuba all in all will be fun to see what she has up her sleve
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Page 40...
Were shredding through pages today, arent we?
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Quoting 10Speed:
Why am I thinking Beryl will make more of an initial landfall into FL than Ga. and perhaps even a bit further south in FL than is being anticipating?
The drought may have something to do with that, any rain by you lately?
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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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