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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Might 94L be beginning to make the predicted left-turn?
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T.C.F.A.
94L/INV/XX
MARK
31.75N/75.08W
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53835
Quoting Stormchaser2007:


More clouds filling in on the west-southwest
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Good Evening, Good to see the crew tracking and forecasting. So much good information here. Thanks!

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COASTAL HAZARD MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEWPORT/MOREHEAD CITY NC
412 PM EDT FRI MAY 25 2012

...HIGH THREAT OF RIP CURRENTS SATURDAY ALONG ALL BEACHES...

.SOUTHEAST SWELL FROM LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM OFF THE COAST OF THE
CAROLINAS IS FORECAST TO IMPACT NORTH CAROLINA COAST.

NCZ095-098-103-104-260415-
/O.NEW.KMHX.BH.S.0004.120526T1200Z-120527T0000Z/
CARTERET-ONSLOW-OUTER BANKS DARE-OUTER BANKS HYDE-
412 PM EDT FRI MAY 25 2012

...BEACH HAZARDS STATEMENT IN EFFECT FROM SATURDAY MORNING
THROUGH SATURDAY EVENING...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN NEWPORT/MOREHEAD CITY HAS ISSUED
A BEACH HAZARDS STATEMENT...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM SATURDAY
MORNING THROUGH SATURDAY EVENING.

* HAZARDS...HIGH RIP CURRENT RISK AND DANGEROUS SHORE BREAK.

* LOCATION...ALONG THE BEACHES.

* TIMING AND TIDES...THE MOST LIKELY TIME FOR LIFE THREATENING RIP
CURRENTS WILL BE A COUPLE OF HOURS EITHER SIDE OF LOW TIDE. LOW
TIDE WILL OCCUR AROUND 530 PM SATURDAY.

* POTENTIAL IMPACTS...DANGEROUS RIP CURRENTS COMBINED WITH ROUGH
SURF OF 4 TO 6 FEET.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

RIP CURRENTS ARE POWERFUL CHANNELS OF WATER FLOWING QUICKLY AWAY
FROM SHORE...WHICH OCCUR MOST OFTEN AT LOW SPOTS OR BREAKS IN THE
SANDBAR AND IN THE VICINITY OF STRUCTURES SUCH AS GROINS...JETTIES
AND PIERS. HEED THE ADVICE OF LIFEGUARDS AND THE BEACH PATROL. PAY
ATTENTION TO FLAGS AND POSTED SIGNS POSTED NEAR BEACH ACCESS
POINTS AND LIFEGUARD STATIONS.

IF YOU BECOME CAUGHT IN A RIP CURRENT...DO NOT PANIC. REMAIN CALM
AND BEGIN TO SWIM PARALLEL TO SHORE. ONCE YOU ARE AWAY FROM THE
FORCE OF THE RIP CURRENT...BEGIN TO SWIM BACK TO THE BEACH. DO NOT
ATTEMPT TO SWIM DIRECTLY AGAINST A RIP CURRENT...SINCE IT CAN
EXHAUST AND EVEN KILL THE STRONGEST SWIMMER.

SHORE BREAK OCCURS WHEN WAVES BREAK DIRECTLY ON THE BEACH. THE
MOST COMMON INJURIES WITH STRONG SHORE BREAK ARE NECK AND BACK
INJURIES...WHICH MOST OFTEN OCCUR WHEN THE POWERFUL SURF THROWS A
SWIMMER OR SURFER HEAD FIRST INTO THE BOTTOM. IT IS EXTREMELY
IMPORTANT TO PROTECT YOUR HEAD AND NECK WHENEVER YOU ARE IN
BREAKING WAVES BY KEEPING YOUR HANDS IN FRONT OF YOU AT ALL TIMES.

PLEASE VISIT THE FOLLOWING WEBSITE TO SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE
NEW BEACH HAZARDS STATEMENT...

HTTP://WWW.WEATHER.GOV/SURVEY/NWS-SURVEY.PHP?CODE =CHMBHS

&&

$$
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RIP CURRENTS KILL!!
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I Think it will peak from 65 to 75 mph.
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beach goers be a bit careful this weekend, especially in the Carolina's.........................swells are already starting
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Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15891
Quoting GTcooliebai:
and nowhere for the air to go but up which means t'storms.
yes i think your right there..add all the heat here and the lifting..boomers are in our near future
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Quoting Levi32:
There is a glaring problem with 94L becoming a hurricane, because every global model is reluctant to deepen it below 1005mb on their coarse grids, which is probably a limit of 1000mb in reality. While the global models completely missed Alberto, that was due to his small size, and 94L is large and is being picked up by the models. One should always watch out for unanimous reluctance by the global model suite to deepen a tropical cyclone, because often that means they are seeing an unfavorable environment for it. Here, nothing on the models suggests that hurricane intensity is particularly likely. Even the CMC and NAM refuse to wind it up much, and when those two models won't feedback for you, you had better consider that in your intensity forecast, because normally they have a high tendency to spin up convective systems.

I don't understand why the models aren't spinning it up -- they never have.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32038
Quoting caribbeantracker01:


probably when recon finds information and 94l starts firing deeper convection then the models will go excited


Unless recon finds a strong storm, the models still won't go overboard with intensification, considering it'll only be 24-36 hours away from landfall, and conditions are far from suitable for RI.
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darn auto correct. I meant center


blockquote class='blogquote'>Quoting SCwannabe:
It looks like some vertical stacking forming around the vented????




ockquote class='blogquote'>Quoting reedzone:
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Quoting Levi32:
There is a glaring problem with 94L becoming a hurricane, because every global model is reluctant to deepen it below 1005mb on their coarse grids, which is probably a limit of 1000mb in reality. While the global models completely missed Alberto, that was due to his small size, and 94L is large and is being picked up by the models. One should always watch out for unanimous reluctance by the global model suite to deepen a tropical cyclone, because often that means they are seeing an unfavorable environment for it. Here, nothing on the models suggests that hurricane intensity is particularly likely. Even the CMC and NAM refuse to wind it up much, and when those two models won't feedback for you, you had better consider that in your intensity forecast, because normally they have a high tendency to spin up convective systems.


probably when recon finds information and 94l starts firing deeper convection then the models will go excited
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It looks like some vertical stacking forming around the vented????




ockquote class='blogquote'>Quoting reedzone:
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Quoting Levi32:
There is a glaring problem with 94L becoming a hurricane, because every global model is reluctant to deepen it below 1005mb on their coarse grids, which is probably a limit of 1000mb in reality. While the global models completely missed Alberto, that was due to his small size, and 94L is large and is being picked up by the models. One should always watch out for unanimous reluctance by the global model suite to deepen a tropical cyclone, because often that means they are seeing an unfavorable environment for it. Here, nothing on the models suggests that hurricane intensity is particularly likely. Even the CMC and NAM refuse to wind it up much, and when those two models won't feedback for you, you had better consider that in your intensity forecast, because normally they have a high tendency to spin up convective systems.


Is there any model at all calling for hurricane strength? Personally, I don't think this has a shot at being a hurricane much, I would agree with 10%.
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Quoting NICycloneChaser:

Bud is absolutely falling apart. Kinda reminds me of when Don met the Texas heatwave.




Oops, forgot the pretty picture.

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Bud is absolutely falling apart. Kinda reminds me of when Don met the Texas heatwave.

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There is a glaring problem with 94L becoming a hurricane, because every global model is reluctant to deepen it below 1005mb on their coarse grids, which is probably a limit of 1000mb in reality. While the global models completely missed Alberto, that was due to his small size, and 94L is large and is being picked up by the models. One should always watch out for unanimous reluctance by the global model suite to deepen a tropical cyclone, because often that means they are seeing an unfavorable environment for it. Here, nothing on the models suggests that hurricane intensity is particularly likely. Even the CMC and NAM refuse to wind it up much, and when those two models won't feedback for you, you had better consider that in your intensity forecast, because normally they have a high tendency to spin up convective systems.
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Quoting LargoFl:
....................................all those clouds headed west from the east coast are going to bump head on into the west coast seabreeze, just like last night
and nowhere for the air to go but up which means t'storms.
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Quoting stormpetrol:
12N/77W will probably be the next AOI.

agreed but not 12N 77W I say more like 13N 67W and 12N 77W once the two merge plus the moisture in the NW caribbean come together I expect that to be late this weekend going into early next week
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Bud near 1004 mb according to buoy.
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707. Gorty
Looks like 94l is finally starting to get moisture on its south and west side. Just clouds right now but hey, you do need moisture for clouds.
Member Since: November 8, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 1058
Quoting cg2916:


Considering the last 9L was Irene, I would agree.


Boy, you guys, don't miss anything!
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26131
Quoting stormpetrol:
12N/77W will probably be the next AOI.
might have to wait to 94s future to be gone
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Quoting reedzone:


That's a bit high there.. I'm thinking more 10%.. Course storms have known to surprise us.. If it does become a Hurricane, I'm in trouble.

I don't know if it should be that low. Conditions are expected to be more conducive for strengthening for 94L than they were with Alberto, so at least 60 mph is a good bet. Given it's already a little stronger than anticipated, and 850 mb winds are already up to 60 mph, I think it will likely peak around 60-65 knots. I know it has already been stated that sometimes the curvature of the coastline can help systems to consolidate, so...yeah.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32038
guys that tropical wave in the E caribbean has a upper level anticyclone just to its W causing 5kt shear the wave needs to be watched closely as it moves W

Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12024
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

I'd give it about a 40% chance.


That's a bit high there.. I'm thinking more 10%.. Course storms have known to surprise us.. If it does become a Hurricane, I'm in trouble.
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No worries it's already been declared the "Florida storm"



blockquote class='blogquote'>Quoting Bluestorm5:
Just a wonder. It's pretty fun tracking this storm, knowing I'll be going south to Charleston for few days.
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
Just a wonder. It's pretty fun tracking this storm, knowing I'll be going south to Charleston for few days.
oh yes, it is fun to track these and wonder if and when it will grow etc..sure is something different to do..
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
Does it have a chance to be a Category 1 hurricane?

I'd give it about a 40% chance.
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....................................all those clouds headed west from the east coast are going to bump head on into the west coast seabreeze, just like last night
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Quoting LargoFl:
i dont think it has time to do so, so much dry air is invading it on its west side, but then you never know
Just a wonder. It's pretty fun tracking this storm, knowing I'll be going south to Charleston for few days.
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Quoting Ypere104:


A ridge of high pressure is forecast to block 94L from going ENE and forced to go around in a W or WSW direction, it should start turning by tomorrow.

What is funny to me is that common folklore on the island here is that we're "protected" from hurricanes because they normally do the arc pass the curve of the CONUS in the southeast. So here's the one storm in 100 that disproves the theory? I still sort of don't believe this zigging to the SW of the models. There's still a few days for them to moderate the direction of this storm.
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Quoting LargoFl:
lol lets go for it


Now I'm scared to post after 990.
Member Since: December 21, 2007 Posts: 13 Comments: 3046
Quoting Skyepony:
Not surprised to see the models shift south on 94L..GEOS-5 has been way south like KSC for the last few days. It's 12Z run just got far enough to see it shift a hair north to Daytona.
I would like to see that happen, then more of central Florida would get its rains
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94l is still subtropical the visible presentation continues to improve but the cloud tops are still not cold enough in my opinion.i think by 9 o clock we should start seeing some sort of development in any case soon this may be designated sub tropical storm beryl

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Quoting Bluestorm5:
Does it have a chance to be a Category 1 hurricane?
i dont think it has time to do so, so much dry air is invading it on its west side, but then you never know
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Does it have a chance to be a Category 1 hurricane?
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.......................west coast seabreeze is about to kick in,more storms along the west coast later on the local weather guy said
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Quoting MississippiWx:


Taz said he would cook fresh crow for the person who has the 1,000th post.



it will cost you $100 per crow i fix
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115096
Quoting MississippiWx:


Taz said he would cook fresh crow for the person who has the 1,000th post.
lol lets go for it
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Quoting LargoFl:
you folks are going to hit the 1000 post mark tonight for sure


Taz said he would cook fresh crow for the person who has the 1,000th post.
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686. Skyepony (Mod)
Not surprised to see the models shift south on 94L..GEOS-5 has been way south like KSC for the last few days. It's 12Z run just got far enough to see it shift a hair north to Daytona.
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Quoting LargoFl:
local weather guy said it was 99 today in tampa,gee i walked the dogs and almost wilted..this is MAY isnt it? not august
It looks like the dog days of summer has approach, make sure to drink lots of water when doing activities outside.
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Quoting Patrap:


June 1 the ESL site will go operational with the Tropical Views.


Thanks Pat!
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26131
Quoting LargoFl:
you folks are going to hit the 1000 post mark tonight for sure


Been a while since it's happened.
Member Since: December 21, 2007 Posts: 13 Comments: 3046

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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.