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 TropicalAnalystwx13:
The wait is killing me.







we can both do a snow dace of some kind a round a camp fire too pass the time i even put on a dress for you
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115456
Quoting K8eCane:


I know u are in rocky pt and im near wilmington. Do u suppose we will get more rain from this?

Yes, more so than the National Weather Service is calling for. As 94L (Beryl) moves southwest tomorrow, we should get in on the heavy rainfall and gusty winds.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32877
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
The wait is killing me.





I know u are in rocky pt and im near wilmington. Do u suppose we will get more rain from this?
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JMA Model





then rides back up the east coast
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
Models have updated with the majority of them taking 94L into Georgia.



ECMWF is now really the outlier.
Wonder what the 12Z will bring.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9760
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
The wait is killing me.



doesnt it look like a huge fist headed towards us? lol
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975. Skyepony (Mod)
The new TRMM of Bud is too sad to post. Kinda expected, usually you don't see sensational Mexican Bud.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
The wait is killing me.






LOL
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115456
The wait is killing me.



Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32877
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Models have updated with the majority of them taking 94L into Georgia.

Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
94L should start displacing W very soon.
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Quoting weatherh98:
94l looks like a falcon.. Pretty cool stuff


Must be eyeing the Atlanta Falcons in Georgia...
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Quoting bluenosedave:
To give some idea of what a vast area 94L is affecting, the plume of moisture that has been sheared away from the system is bringing thundershowers to eastern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island.
it sure is going to be a huge rain maker over a huge amount of area
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Quoting weatherh98:
94l looks like a falcon.. Pretty cool stuff


I like Falcons:




slight similarity
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9760
CMC, GFS, NOGAPS, UKMET, GFDL, and HWRF all start this system off as a shallow warm core that eventually transitions to deep warm core.

Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
In the introduction to my 2012 hurricane forecast that I published here on April 5th(Post 106,) two butterflies are seen to appear front and center.

For those who might have doubted that this was a serious weather forecast, I can skip a rock to the first two tropical systems that have appeared on the Atlantic canvas. They are, from my perspective, center stage.



As the arguable accuracy sinks in, and the mood becomes more somber, pay attention to what follows. The butterflies depicted in the sky are different from those that are pinned to the spreading board.

In meteorology we're taught to rely at least in part on intuition. Sometimes it’s all you have, but it’s all a man living in the wilderness, needs.


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To give some idea of what a vast area 94L is affecting, the plume of moisture that has been sheared away from the system is bringing thundershowers to eastern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island.
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961. JLPR2
Good, Bud basically vanished before it reached the Mexican coast.

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960. Skyepony (Mod)
Bud making landfall in Mexico on MIMIC.
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Dewpoint values across the Southeast USA were in the 40s and 50s for Tropical Storm Alberto. They're in the 60s and 70s for 94L (Beryl)...I just don't see dry air as being much of an inhibitor.
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00z Dynamic

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15950
sorta off topic:

This is the 957th post. Will they make it to a 1000? Find out by staying tuned to the Dr. Jeff Masters blog here on Wunderground...
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42mph already in the NW quad. You have to assume winds are much higher in the NE.

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Quoting caribbeantracker01:


sub*
Well you all know what I mean :).
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17860
Quoting ProgressivePulse:


60mph, IMO. 94L, cough, "Beryl", cough, is a rather persistent entity.


Eeerrrr not yet ha but I guess that's your opinion
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Quoting washingtonian115:
I think sup=tropical at first and then gradually becoming tropical.


You are indeed correct ;).
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94l looks like a falcon.. Pretty cool stuff
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Top storm is a Powerhouse:
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High rainfall rate on the NW quadrant of Invest 94L (Beryl).

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32877
So much for a slow season!! Look forward to update at 11pm.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
I think sup=tropical at first and then gradually becoming tropical.


sub*
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Quoting tropicfreak:


What kind of winds are we looking at for 94L? 45 mph? and wow! Looks more impressive than it did yesterday off Florida.


60mph, IMO. 94L, cough, "Beryl", cough, is a rather persistent entity.
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


the clouds are not responding to the circulation as much as you would expect, the circulations are not are coupled, something is off.


Not really sure what you mean...

I think the convection is responding pretty nicely for still being pelted by an 80-knot UL jet streak. Once the UL system parks itself over 94L, then shear will decline rapidly over the circulation.

That is when I'd be worried about the convection. There should be much less divergence to drive bursts like this when that occurs.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15950
I think sup=tropical at first and then gradually becoming tropical.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17860
Mayor Vaughn: [to reporter] I'm pleased and happy to repeat the news that we have, in fact, caught and killed a large predator that supposedly injured some bathers. But, as you see, it's a beautiful day, the beaches are open and people are having a wonderful time. Amity, as you know, means "friendship".

Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 5458
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


the clouds are not responding to the circulation as much as you would expect, the circulations are not are coupled, something is off.

They're perfectly coupled, with 500 mb being a little elongated. Not quite sure what you're talking about.





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Quoting GTcooliebai:
Will this be Tropical Storm Beryl or Subtropical Storm Beryl?


I think STS Beryl but I just got on here.
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Quoting HurricaneDean07:

Its pretty much here.
Why is it that it looks so dry in the caribbean?
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25/2345 UTC 32.1N 75.2W ST2.5 94L -- Atlanti
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938. JLPR2
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
I'd say bag it and tag it by 11pm.



Yep, it's as close as it can be to a named storm without being one.

The B storm in May, wasn't expecting that, wasn't even expecting the A storm.
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8747
Will this be Tropical Storm Beryl or Subtropical Storm Beryl?
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
I'd say bag it and tag it by 11pm.



the clouds are not responding to the circulation as much as you would expect, the circulations are not all coupled, something is off.

by the way, how strong is the 3 barbed wind vector?
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Quoting washingtonian115:
When is the MJO suppose to be paying our basin a visit?

Its pretty much here.
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Quoting weatherh98:


Oh wow excellent point, that pretty much means that because the inflow is going under convection we then must assume that The low is under it too!


...
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When is the MJO suppose to be paying our basin a visit?
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Quoting ProgressivePulse:
I can say for certain that I have NEVER witnessed a 1001mb invest...


What kind of winds are we looking at for 94L? 45 mph? and wow! Looks more impressive than it did yesterday off Florida.
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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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