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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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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Here's mine
INIT 26/1500Z 40 KT 45 MPH
12H 27/0000Z 45 KT 50 MPH
24H 27/1200Z 50 KT 60 MPH
36H 28/0000Z 55 KT 65 MPH
48H 28/1200Z 45 KT 50 MPH...INLAND
72H 29/1200Z 30 KT 35 MPH...INLAND
96H 30/1200Z 35 KT 40 MPH...OVER-WATER
120H 31/1200Z 50 KT 60 MPH...
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Quoting WxLogic:


Couldn't disagree... typically the cloud pattern will give you a hint of where is heading (at least on the short term), but as we know if the High to the W deteriorates quicker than expect or Beryl strengthens considerably then a more N track (like ECMWF) could materialize.



The reason why the ECMWF is wrong though is that the high is stronger than it thinks, this is late May and that trough won't just blast into the southeast as if nothing is in its way. The ECMWF I think is confusing late May with late January, LOL.


Either way, the ECMWF is off track, the current movement of Beryl is not a jog, it has no choice but to go southwest for a while. It will eventually turn back west, but by that point it will be farther south than current expectations.


The GFS has been handling Beryl the best of the models so far, it predicted this turn back southwest way before some of the other ones which still have a north and northeast bias.

That is why the NWS here in Ruskin has been basing its forecast more on the GFS for this system, they don't really buy the other model solutions...
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1979. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128642
1978. 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?
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When is Weather456 comeing back?
Rumor was he was coming back.
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**THE LATEST**
(click to enlarge; graphics can further be enlarged in Link window)


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Here's my intensity forecast for Beryl.

...MAX WINDS...

INIT 26/1500Z 40 KT 45 MPH
12H 27/0000Z 40 KT 45 MPH
24H 27/1200Z 45 KT 50 MPH
36H 28/0000Z 50 KT 60 MPH
48H 28/1200Z 45 KT 50 MPH...INLAND
72H 29/1200Z 30 KT 35 MPH...INLAND
96H 30/1200Z 35 KT 40 MPH...OVER-WATER
120H 31/1200Z 45 KT 50 MPH...
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Sub-tropical storm andrea

look what i pulled up

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Quoting StormJunkie:
I'm not yet convinced that it is going to make it very far inland wannabe. I'm also thinking that there is a pretty big difference between heading inland over S. GA/N Fl then if it heads a little further S toward the Cape.

Loop de loops are a tricky one for the models though. Like you said, time will tell.


Good points. It will boil down perhaps to the timing between intensity at/near landfall and the timing of the trof and how soon the storm will feel the trof and kick back out (again depending on how far inland She gets perhaps).
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9220
1972. 7544
Quoting KingofNewOrleans:
Good Morning,

Can't say Beryl looks like much, but on the wider loops it does seem like that fetch of moisture to the east belongs more to her now than to the trof pulling out. Of course, the dry air to the west she's pulling in belongs to her too.


looks l;ike a ull to me lol
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Quoting BrickellBreeze:
How close is it to the Gulf Stream?

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

Can't say Beryl looks like much, but on the wider loops it does seem like that fetch of moisture to the east belongs more to her now than to the trof pulling out. Of course, the dry air to the west she's pulling in belongs to her too.
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Pretty sure the track will shift more to the south, how far south depends on the high. But we all know the models have a hard time with systems like this.
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How close is it to the Gulf Stream?
Member Since: March 22, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 723
I'm not yet convinced that it is going to make it very far inland wannabe. I'm also thinking that there is a pretty big difference between heading inland over S. GA/N Fl then if it heads a little further S toward the Cape.

Loop de loops are a tricky one for the models though. Like you said, time will tell.
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Well, despite rather weak convection, vort properties are looking strong, I would think this system has to fill in at some point given the above...
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I'll have to practice posting pictures on here. Beryl's projected path is aimed directly at my condo building for Sunday night! Cool!
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Quoting cg2916:
What is up with the convection going away? Is it because of the dry air?


It's because he is detaching from the trough... which aided in the firing of convection. Soon she will refire....
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Those "loop de loop" storms and forecasts, track wise, present quite a challenge to nail. I will be impressed if the general notion of viable re-emergence trending in the models does materialize but a lot can happen once the storm comes ashore. If it really weakens, and I don't think this one will be able to tap into any moisture from the Gulf, it might not be strong enough to get kicked back out. But I will go along with the model consensus for now.
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9220
Quoting cg2916:
What is up with the convection going away? Is it because of the dry air?

Dry air and the fact that the system isn't really over waters warm enough to support continued thunderstorm activity yet. That should change as we head into this afternoon and tonight.
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1961. guygee
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
000
NOUS42 KNHC 251445
IF CONVECTION IS ABLE TO PERSIST NEAR
THE CENTER...IT COULD LIFT THE TROPOPAUSE AND ERODE THE UPPER-LEVEL
LOW...ALLOWING BERYL TO TRANSITION TO MORE OF A TROPICAL STRUCTURE

I am going to save that sentence and re-use it from now on, except substituting the appropriate storm name and bolded on the *IF*...it is true of all shallow sub-tropical systems...

It is a statement of physical fact in the implicit form of IF-THEN.
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Quoting cg2916:
What is up with the convection going away? Is it because of the dry air?


Pretty much...An he is subtropical. Therefore deeper convection tends to be further removed from center. Day time heating may help moisten up the atmosphere a little. Decent moisture in front of the storm, but it is still pulling in dry air from the W and wrapping it in to the center.
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Blog update!
Subtropical Storm Beryl develops 5/26/2012
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24169
1958. cg2916
What is up with the convection going away? Is it because of the dry air?
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more clouds than yesterday. possible building showers in e. cen fl
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Quoting HurricaneDean07:
At this time, All the models are in agreement on Beryl strengthening before a landfall on the FL/GA border as a 50-60 mph tropical storm, and then making a U-turn and coming out in Georgia and restrenghtening some to a 45 to 60 mph storm, before becoming post-tropical.


Does anyone know if there has been a Georgia landfall since David in 1979? Or when the last time a storm made its first/only landfall in Georgia-- David went through the carribean/florida before it got to georgia.
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The current forecast intensity as seen by the National Hurricane Center for Beryl after it emerges off the coast of South Carolina/North Carolina is probably substantially too low. 50-60 knots is a good bet according to the latest model runs.

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At this time, All the models are in agreement on Beryl strengthening before a landfall on the FL/GA border as a 50-60 mph tropical storm, and then making a U-turn and coming out in Georgia and restrenghtening some to a 45 to 60 mph storm, before becoming post-tropical.
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**TROPICAL UPDATE**



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Good Morning Folks. Beryl has a little more meat on her right now than when I first looked at the loops this morning around 8. Best thing for NE FL/South Georgia, in terms of drought relief, would be a weaker storm at landfall that would break apart and dump lots of rain across the SE as opposed to a glancing visit to the area. Time will tell.
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9220
Quoting WxLogic:
You can see from the image below that the High is quite strong to the W of Beryl with the 588DM Height close to the SE Coast line.



I've highlighted the weakness (TROF line) to the SW/S of Beryl. Beryl has no choice but to turn SW (to S at times) in an attempt to travel around this High.


Yep WX, I can report that here in Charleston, the high is well in place. Clear blue skies will make for a great pool day. The wind is up due to the pressure gradient but that's about it.

I'm making a wild guess that it will make it about 20 miles inland just N of the cape before making a NE to N to NW turn.



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1949. K8eCane
Quoting StormJunkie:
Just from the looks of Sat imagery this morning, I would not be surprised if it approached the area just N of Cape C.



The moisture track in front of it seems to be a tell tale sign of where it's headed. If it gets that far S, it may not spend as much time over land when it makes the final u turn.


Im glad you mentioned that. There used to be a forecaster(hurricane expert) John Hope on the weather channel. That what you are saying is exactly what he used to teach the viewers as he was giving his updates. He said that was always your clue
Member Since: April 26, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 3189
1948. WxLogic
Quoting StormJunkie:
Just from the looks of Sat imagery this morning, I would not be surprised if it approached the area just N of Cape C.



The moisture track in front of it seems to be a tell tale sign of where it's headed. If it gets that far S, it may not spend as much time over land when it makes the final u turn.


Couldn't disagree... typically the cloud pattern will give you a hint of where is heading (at least on the short term), but as we know if the High to the W deteriorates quicker than expect or Beryl strengthens considerably then a more N track (like ECMWF) could materialize.
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Quoting tropicfreak:


Right now it's over marginal water temps (80-81°)so I agree once it gets into the warmer waters of the gulf stream especially as it moves southward we'll definitely see strengthening... no doubt. Maybe a transition to a tropical system.


Its closer to 78
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Quoting yqt1001:
Andrea anyone?



Beryl:


2007 may end up a good analogue considering the fact we've compared Beryl to both Andrea and Beryl now. :P
I believe that was also when we had several wild fires in Florida. That is all smoke in south florida in the image of Andrea.

Surfed Delray that day. Really good.
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Dry air is still very pronounced and obviously negatively impacting Beryl.

Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 46 Comments: 11669
IS A LITTLE
SOUTH OF THE PREVIOUS ONE THROUGH LANDFALL AND THEN VERY NEAR THE
PREVIOUS ADVISORY.


***Track Shifted South 15 NM at landfall*** now the center is expected to come through around I-295 in the North Side of Jacksonville, instead of Nassau County (F. Beach). It'll be interesting to see if any more shifts come at 5PM to the S or N.
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1943. WxLogic
You can see from the image below that the High is quite strong to the W of Beryl with the 588DM Height close to the SE Coast line.



I've highlighted the weakness (TROF line) to the SW/S of Beryl. Beryl has no choice but to turn SW (to S at times) in an attempt to travel around this High.
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No big changes to the projected path... but I'm now in the cone.

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I'll tell you one thing, the current forecast from the ECMWF is junk for Beryl, the GFS ensemble is probably the closest, but still, I think the Southwest movement will continue for some time before it turns west.
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Just from the looks of Sat imagery this morning, I would not be surprised if it approached the area just N of Cape C.



The moisture track in front of it seems to be a tell tale sign of where it's headed. If it gets that far S, it may not spend as much time over land when it makes the final u turn.
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Well, it looks like I'm a bit slow... :P
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 46 Comments: 11669
1938. 7544
Quoting HurricaneDean07:

It might turn almost due south, before turning west again.


looks ssw to me
but more south from here
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It appears a lot of models quickly pick it up from an approaching trough on Tuesday after briefly making landfall right on the Georgia/Florida border coastline.

My 2 cents. It'll make landfall there by 00z Monday(60MPH) then circle north then east over Central Georgia, emerge into the SW Atlantic 00z Tuesday(40MPH), then finally curve towards Cape Hatteras(70MPH) and potentially Long Island by Wednesday(45MPH or remnant low)!
Member Since: May 26, 2007 Posts: 47 Comments: 1311
Quoting reedzone:
Beryl should start to strengthen as it starts moving over the Gulf Stream, despite dry air intrusion.


Right now it's over marginal water temps (80-81°)so I agree once it gets into the warmer waters of the gulf stream especially as it moves southward we'll definitely see strengthening... no doubt. Maybe a transition to a tropical system.
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Quoting WxLogic:
That's what I though:

...BERYL TURNS SOUTHWESTWARD...
11:00 AM EDT Sat May 26
Location: 31.6°N 76.3°W
Max sustained: 45 mph
Moving: SW at 9 mph
Min pressure: 1001 mb

It might turn almost due south, before turning west again.
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Quoting WxLogic:


SW based on my observations.



Good estimate, NHC just updated the system, movement is indeed southwest :)
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Beryl somewhat reminds me of Andrea from 2007 this morning.
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 46 Comments: 11669

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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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