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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Just wondering what effect if any are we going to feel here in Miami?,some local met's were saying that the storm moving SW for a while will bring a lot of the moisture to all of Florida?,any thoughts about this?,this is a big system.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
72 hours to transition into a tropical storm...yeah right. It's already transitioning as we speak.

It seems void of convection on the southeast side of the circulation.
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Shoot! First day I decide to check on the blog thinking that I am early for hurricane season, only to find myself smack dab in the middle of the cone for Beryl here in PV Beach, just southeast of downtown Jax...

I am not ready for this yet... especially since all is now up to me alone...

Can I hope that the cone will change???
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1629. Levi32
Quoting CothranRoss:
What exactly does the anticyclone do for the storm? I know that it "ventilates" the storm, but what exactly does it ventilate from the storm?


In an upper anticyclone, the air is spreading out from the center of the storm in all directions. That's what we call "upper divergence". As the air spreads out from the top of the storm, air has to replace it from somewhere else. That somewhere else is the lower levels of the storm, and thus air rises from the bottom to replace what is lost at the top. The rising air condensates whatever moisture it is carrying into thunderclouds that intensify the storm further, as long as more air is lost at the top than is being taken in from the bottom. That's how the central air pressure of the storm falls.

EDIT - Sorry, I see NCHurricane2009 already answered the question.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26455
72 hours to transition into a tropical storm...yeah right. It's already transitioning as we speak.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30257
Quoting CothranRoss:


Thank you very much! I'm still a high school student in North Carolina and I obviously still have a lot to learn from tropical systems.

Answering questions for the curious is one of the top reasons I like to blog on here...keep 'em coming...
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Quoting Levi32:


I have her getting to around 60mph, but predicting how well these things can sustain convection in a fragile environment is always tricky. She could fail to strengthen or she could wind up quicker than forecast. Tropical transition storms are among the hardest things to forecast well.


Thanks, What a interesting system and track....
Member Since: March 22, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 723
Quoting NCHurricane2009:

Anticyclone is caused by the warm air column of the vertical warm core. The anticyclone is an upper-level high pressure (see post 1557).

When the upper-level high ventilates...we mean that the upper-level air leaves the high pressure environment. As the upper-level air escapes the storm top...there is less air above you. Because there is less air above you...surface pressures drop. The tropical cyclone is a product of the surface pressure drop....acting as a swirling vacuum of air.

Intensification of a tropical cyclone ----> When the ventilation rate is greater than the intake of the surface swirl

Weakening of a tropical cyclone ----> When the ventilation rate is slower than the intake of the surface swirl

Maintaining strength of a tropical cyclone ----> When the ventilation rate is the same as the intake of the surface swirl.


Thank you very much! I'm still a high school student in North Carolina and I obviously still have a lot to learn from tropical systems.
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1624. Levi32
Quoting BrickellBreeze:


Do you believe the peak intensity for Beryl is Conservative? Considering she is going to be over water for at least another 36 hours and over warm gulf stream waters?


I have her getting to around 60mph, but predicting how well these things can sustain convection in a fragile environment is always tricky. She could fail to strengthen or she could wind up quicker than forecast. Tropical transition storms are among the most difficult things to forecast well.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26455
1623. Levi32
Quoting ProgressivePulse:



What is that at 31.5N 75W. Low cloud cover is increasing there, see rotation and CIMMS has the highest Vort there?


I don't see anything special at those exact coordinates. The remnants of the baroclinic wave from earlier this morning have rotated all the way down to 30.5N, 75.5W, SSW of Beryl's center, and are basically already absorbed into her circulation. That's the only other notable surface feature I see.

Keep in mind the CIMSS vorticity maps are not perfect either, and much of the data is based on model input, which can be flawed.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26455
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

If some of the bloggers here would edit WPTC, we wouldn't have any trouble keeping the ~2500 articles up to date and accurate.


Ok, I'll join the fray.
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Evening all... I see we have Beryl. Gonna ruin many Memorial Day weekend plans but I'm sure many in the drought stricken SE will definitely appreciate the rains from Beryl. How strong is Beryl expected to be at landfall in NE FL? Would be interesting to see just how much it can restrengthen once it reemerges back into the Atlantic off the GA coast, and what other tricks Beryl has up her sleeve as far as impacts to the Carolinas.
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Quoting Levi32:
She's stalled, and will be coming back the other way now, moving over increasingly warmer SSTs as she does so:



Do you believe the peak intensity for Beryl is Conservative? Considering she is going to be over water for at least another 36 hours and over warm gulf stream waters?
Member Since: March 22, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 723
Quoting Levi32:
She's stalled, and will be coming back the other way now, moving over increasingly warmer SSTs as she does so:




What is that at 31.5N 75W. Low cloud cover is increasing there, see rotation and CIMMS has the highest Vort there?
Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 4863
when the next ch for a name storm
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Quoting CothranRoss:
What exactly does the anticyclone do for the storm? I know that it "ventilates" the storm, but what exactly does it ventilate from the storm?

Anticyclone is caused by the warm air column of the vertical warm core. The anticyclone is an upper-level high pressure (see post 1557).

When the upper-level high ventilates...we mean that the upper-level air leaves the high pressure environment. As the upper-level air escapes the storm top...there is less air above you. Because there is less air above you...surface pressures drop. The tropical cyclone is a product of the surface pressure drop....acting as a swirling vacuum of air.

Intensification of a tropical cyclone ----> When the ventilation rate is greater than the intake of the surface swirl

Weakening of a tropical cyclone ----> When the ventilation rate is slower than the intake of the surface swirl

Maintaining strength of a tropical cyclone ----> When the ventilation rate is the same as the intake of the surface swirl.
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Quoting yqt1001:


Me and TAWX would like to welcome you to the madness of Wikipedia Tropical Cyclone Project. :P Although only TAWX is actually in it, I just hang out in their IRC channel.

If some of the bloggers here would edit WPTC, we wouldn't have any trouble keeping the ~2500 articles up to date and accurate.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30257
1615. nigel20
Good night all...hopefully we'll see a better looking Beryl tomorrow!
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1614. Skyepony (Mod)
Fresh ASCAT~ S shaped center for sub-tropical..
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Quoting yqt1001:


Me and TAWX would like to welcome you to the madness of Wikipedia Tropical Cyclone Project. :P Although only TAWX is actually in it, I just hang out in their IRC channel.


My friend is cyclonebiskit BTW (if you've heard of him), good friend of mine who I met at weather camp last summer. And thanks!
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Quoting Levi32:
The whole principle behind tropical transition is that the cold environment aloft aids thunderstorm development and gets the convective processes going, and if conditions allow convection to persist, it starts feeding back and releasing latent heat, furthering more thunderstorms and releasing more heat, eventually releasing enough to reverse the cyclonic circulation aloft and form an anticyclone. Whether there is a cyclone or anticyclone aloft over the storm is only dependent on the pressure (which is dependent on temperature) above the storm relative to the surroundings, so it only has to warm the atmosphere to the level of the surroundings and then a little more to become tropical. The cold core aloft kick-starts everything, and then if conditions permit, the storm does the rest by itself.



Very high atmospheric moisture through the column is the key to efficient release of latent heat. Even a small layer of dry air is very inhibiting for for tropical cyclones because it disrupts the cycle thanks to evaporative cooling as thunderstorms gust out from that drier layer. Of course, the overall atmosphere could be plenty moist, and this factor can be hard to be aware of and predict.


Why I'm mentioning this is that unlike Alberto which was unusually dry atmospheric moisture wise for a tropical cyclone, Beryl has connection to a massive amount of moisture to help it out on its right side extending down into the tropics. Analysis has shown consistent PWAT values between 2.2 to near 3 inches at times. Very impressive.
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1610. yqt1001
Quoting WxGeekVA:
My friend and I are already getting the Beryl section of Wikipedia up to date!


Me and TAWX would like to welcome you to the madness of Wikipedia Tropical Cyclone Project. :P Although only TAWX is actually in it, I just hang out in their IRC channel.
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1609. Levi32
She's stalled, and will be coming back the other way now, moving over increasingly warmer SSTs as she does so:

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26455
What exactly does the anticyclone do for the storm? I know that it "ventilates" the storm, but what exactly does it ventilate from the storm?
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Evacuations will be ordered soon.. start preparing now,,,
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I did find this kinda interesting, it's the latest. Advisory Loc 32.5N 74.8W




Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 4863
My friend and I are already getting the Beryl section of Wikipedia up to date!
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I am going to call it a night as well. Since I live North of Tallahassee closer to the GA border, I am hoping that the big "D" headed for my house on Monday will bring lots of rain with it. Some of my relatives are farmers on the GA side of the border and they are praying for the rain; wells running a little low lately and they charge you an arm and a leg for a deeper water table drill.

See Yall Tomorrow.........WW.
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 8278
Beryl isn't leaving anytime soon. After making landfall near the Florida/Georgia border, a turn towards the northeast should occur as the ridge breaks down and a trough approaches from the west. This may act to put Beryl back offshore, and several of the models strengthen it rather significantly the second time around (ECMWF brings it down to 995 mbar).

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30257
The Track for Beryl seems to be in excellent agreement with the model runs.

A landfall around Jacksonville seems correct.
Member Since: March 22, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 723
1601. Skyepony (Mod)
WFTV just showed a Coast Guard boat rescue yesterday when 94L was off southern FL, near Miami. Boaters were out of gas. Waves were huge, threatening to over turn it. Saved five.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Beach goers/vacationers are going to be piiiiiiissed.

That's what I like about Michigan. Although I have my name as "NCHurricane2009"...that's because that's where I used to live (and been blogging on here since '09)....

In Michigan...we've got way more coastline with all the inland small lakes and also the Great Lakes...so you can go to shore without hurricanes to worry about. As a matter of fact...I'm going fishing tomorrow....
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whats the nex ch of a name strom?
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Quoting MississippiWx:


The fact that Beryl already has convection partially over and near the center leads me to believe that she will transition with no problem.


What about the dry slot in the SE half? This is a tough one...waiting for a few more satellite frames for a definitive trend...then I'll post my blog update...
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Quoting Levi32:
The whole principle behind tropical transition is that the cold environment aloft aids thunderstorm development and gets the convective processes going, and if conditions allow convection to persist, it starts feeding back and releasing latent heat, furthering more thunderstorms and releasing more heat, eventually releasing enough to reverse the cyclonic circulation aloft and form an anticyclone. Whether there is a cyclone or anticyclone aloft over the storm is only dependent on the pressure (which is dependent on temperature) above the storm relative to the surroundings, so it only has to warm the atmosphere to the level of the surroundings and then a little more to become tropical. The cold core aloft kick-starts everything, and then if conditions permit, the storm does the rest by itself.


Beautifully said.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10156
Alberto gave us an inch of rain, but we are still very dry around here. The rivers are down several feet, and some normally navigable rivers, like the Ogeechee, have impassable sandbars. Hopefully Beryl will meander around enough to give us a socking (but not too much...)
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Going to agree with TA13 on this one. The cold core upper low does slow the process of tropical transition, but it will aid in the instability process as well. Cold above warm = instability. The latent heat process will help to warm the core of the low pressure area all the way to the top, thus creating a warm-cored tropical low pressure.


You are correct.
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1594. nigel20
Beryl

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Quoting MississippiWx:


The fact that Beryl already has convection partially over and near the center leads me to believe that she will transition with no problem.


I agree.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30257
1592. Levi32
The whole principle behind tropical transition is that the cold environment aloft aids thunderstorm development and gets the convective processes going, and if conditions allow convection to persist, it starts feeding back and releasing latent heat, furthering more thunderstorms and releasing more heat, eventually releasing enough to reverse the cyclonic circulation aloft and form an anticyclone. Whether there is a cyclone or anticyclone aloft over the storm is only dependent on the pressure (which is dependent on temperature) above the storm relative to the surroundings, so it only has to warm the atmosphere to the level of the surroundings and then a little more to become tropical. The cold core aloft kick-starts everything, and then if conditions permit, the storm does the rest by itself.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26455
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You folks have a safe, enjoyable Memorial Days Weekend!

Good Night!
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Quoting LargoFl:
your so right there jed, we were hopining you would come on today, did you get any rain at all by you last night?


Actually, I did get some rain last night, after everything kinda went around us some additional cells popped and we picked up around 1/3 of an inch, nothing special but better than being dry :)


We actually got rain tonight, and ironically the only cell in the whole area, picked up around 0.25 from a quick 5 minute shower and a little lightning.



BTW, the reason for slow and delayed responses is that I'm working 2 jobs this summer, at least 60 hour weeks plus summer classes, I'm working a lot to help prevent getting into debt for college, or at least lessening the load dramatically less for when graduation comes around :)
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:

Exactly...but the question is how fast can this happen? I think wihtin the framework of current forecasting skill...this is more art than science on how fast it happens....


The fact that Beryl already has convection partially over and near the center leads me to believe that she will transition with no problem.

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10156
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Out for now. Back later with a blog, SO KEEP AN EYE OUT!

Thanks for the rebuttal, Levi. Spirited exchange is crucial to growing, both as a person and as friends.
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Going to agree with TA13 on this one. The cold core upper low does slow the process of tropical transition, but it will aid in the instability process as well. Cold above warm = instability. The latent heat process will help to warm the core of the low pressure area all the way to the top, thus creating a warm-cored tropical low pressure.

Exactly...but the question is how fast can this happen? I think wihtin the framework of current forecasting skill...this is more art than science on how fast it happens....
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Amazing how Mother Nature comes through sometimes too. The current track takes the system as a depression right into the vicinity of some really dark red drought areas in Southern GA.....Hope it brings plenty of rain inland with it.
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 8278
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

That's true. However, it won't take much for Beryl to warm the cold core low pressure area and become fully tropical.


I'm not sure I totally agree with you on the difficulty of the transition to a tropical storm. Maybe I am the only one, but I feel like the NHC has the intensity correct to within 5 mph per day. And believe me, I almost always question the validity of the NHC's forecasts.
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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.