Beta on its way to hurricane status

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:46 PM GMT on October 27, 2005

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The Hurricane Season of 2005 remains unrelenting. Tropical Storm Beta formed this morning over the warm ocean waters of the southwest Caribbean, just north of Panama. Given the ideal environment for intensification setting up in the southwest Caribbean, this is likely to become Hurricane Beta by tonight, and could grow to major hurricane status before making landfall in Nicaragua on Sunday.

Recent satellite imagery shows a small but rapidly developing system. There is plenty of growing deep convection, good low-level spiral banding, and a Central Dense Overcast (CDO) forming over the center. An eyewall appears to be forming under the CDO, and there is a good chance we'll be talking about Hurricane Beta by this evening. The first hurricane hunter flight is scheduled for Friday afternoon.

Beta is stuck in an area of weak steering currents, and is being slowly pulled northwards by the trough of low pressure that swept Wilma over Florida. All the computer models except the Canadian model forecast that this trough will pull northwards and strand Beta in the southwest Caribbean. A weak ridge of high pressure will then build in and force Beta westward, with a landfall expected in northeastern Nicaragua. With water temperatures 29 - 30C, very light wind shear less than 5 knots, the chances of Beta growing to major hurricane status appear good. Intensification beyond Category 3 status is questionable, since Beta is travelling over relatively shallow water with lower heat content than Wilma had to work with. Additionally, Beta's slow forward speed may cause some upwelling of cold water from the depths that will interfere with the intensification process.

Beta's expected landfall in Central America is likely to be a major disaster. Although a small storm, Beta will bring 10-20 inches of rain over the interior mountainous regions of Nicaragua and Honduras, creating a serious flooding situation. The GFDL model indicates that Beta will survive the crossing of Nicaragua and emerge into the Pacific Ocean, where it will re-intensify into a Category 1 hurricane. The projected path takes the storm northwest along the coast of El Salvador, potentially adding to the destruction caused by Hurricane Stan earlier this month, which killed 69. Beta may also continue on to affect Guatemala, which suffered the cruelest blow of any nation this destructive hurricane season; between 1500 and 2000 Guatemalans died in floods and mudslides spawned by Hurricane Stan. The threat to El Salvador and Guatemala remains highly speculative at this point, since we are talking about events a week or more in the future.

There are no provisions for what to do in the event we have to retire Beta's name and replace it on the list of hurricane names. One possibility is that the storm will be dubbed Beta-2005 and the name Beta will be reused. Another possibilty is that Beta will be skipped over next time the Greek alphabet comes into use.


Figure 1. Current sea surface temperatures show the warmest waters in the North Atlantic are in the region just north of Panama where Beta formed.

Elsewhere in the tropics
The strong tropical wave spreading heavy rains through the Lesser Antilles remains disorganized today. The amount of deep convection has increased some since yesterday, but remains spread out along a long line. A weak circulation center has developed along the south edge of this line, near 12N 60W (the island of Barbados). Wind shear over the wave has decreased to 5 - 10 knots today, and is forecast to decrease further the next few days as the wave pushes into the central Caribbean. Development of a new tropical depression could occur as early as Saturday with this system. Any storm developing from this wave would likely be a threat to Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize, or Mexico later next week.

Another tropical wave, midway between Africa and the Lesser Antilles, remains poorly organized as it moves westward at 15 mph. While a circulation center has developed near 9N 40W, upper level winds are currently unfavorable for development of this system.

Jeff Masters

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149. Pensacola21
2:34 PM GMT on October 28, 2005
new blog
Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 30 Comments: 3912
148. seflagamma
2:18 PM GMT on October 28, 2005
OGal, I am total agreement. I believe in companies getting the room to make big money,however, with our fuel situation anyway, it is almost shameful for Big Oil to post such record breaking profits this year while everyone else is hurting. Gas is almost a monopoly; something we must have and cannot go elsewhere to get. This type of talk coming from someone like me could be funny but fair is fair and they should really think about taking a little less profit and lowering their prices a little.
OK I will shut up on this topic now.
(by the way I am a Republican but when something is not right it needs to be called out!)
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 302 Comments: 40957
147. palmettobug53
2:18 PM GMT on October 28, 2005
Morning, folks. Just sneaking a peek from work. Do a little catch up, and now, back to the salt mine!
Member Since: October 7, 2005 Posts: 239 Comments: 25426
146. OGal
2:10 PM GMT on October 28, 2005
Just a thought, since there is plenty of gas in Florida, why can't gas stations have generators on hand to pump that gas. Sure would make it easier for lots of people. Maybe since the oil companies are making so much money they could help their local stations get these generators.
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 72 Comments: 19224
145. seflagamma
2:00 PM GMT on October 28, 2005
weatherguru,
NOOOOOO

(thanks for the link)
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 302 Comments: 40957
144. weatherguru
1:52 PM GMT on October 28, 2005
Link

you might want to see this click on storm 26
143. ivorb
1:43 PM GMT on October 28, 2005
OGal, Does this mean the intesity of Beta will increase?
142. OGal
1:38 PM GMT on October 28, 2005
Our weatherman here in Orlando said that the blob northeast of Beta will become part of Beta, so Gamma you are safe, at least at the moment.
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 72 Comments: 19224
141. wadcane
1:36 PM GMT on October 28, 2005
Hi Just testing out a IR water vapor linkLink
140. seflagamma
1:07 PM GMT on October 28, 2005
NOOOOO, I don't want a hurricane named after me!
They are too mean and wicked this year? LOL
Gamma
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 302 Comments: 40957
139. thelmores
1:05 PM GMT on October 28, 2005
i too notice this feature norheast of beta.....

in the latest floater water vapor loop of beta this blob to the northeast of beat seems larger, with higher cloud tops.

will be interesting to see if this feature holds together today. could this be gamma????
Member Since: September 8, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3805
138. ivorb
12:46 PM GMT on October 28, 2005
As a beginner, is there any chance the two systems ( Beta and the one to the NE) could combine? Looking at the loops it seems their tracks could converge.
137. wadcane
12:29 PM GMT on October 28, 2005
Sorry about the confusion I meant Beta (NOT WILMA) form my post. I guess I just have wilma still on my mind
136. wadcane
12:24 PM GMT on October 28, 2005
I am no expert but looking at the Carribean water vapor this morning (8:00 AM EDT) I think that wilma if she survives the shear will be dragged much further North. Also there is a blog just NE of wilma(15N75W) that seems to be flaring up. Originall all the models were projecting weatward track but wilma seems to be headed more north. Also what affect will this disturbance (15N75W) have on wilma???
135. seflagamma
12:23 PM GMT on October 28, 2005
leonrosk,
greetings. Sorry you are also getting some of Wilma. I know you do get a lot of our storms over in northern Europe and the UK. HOpe it is not as bad but she is really a nasty lady! We in South Florida have not forgotton her at all. My house still has no power. A lot of clean up work do to; she left her mark here and made sure we remember her for months to come!
Take care.
Gamma
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 302 Comments: 40957
134. leonrosk
12:07 PM GMT on October 28, 2005
Hi All,

You've probably forgooten all about Wilma by now.

Buet here in the UK, we should be seeing what's left of her at the weekend :(

http://www.metcheck.com

"Wilma's Remains...
Added : Fri 28 Oct : 12:28:44 PM

As often can be the case during the hurricane season within the Atlantic basin, the remnants of hurricanes travel Northwards and become transformed into ex-tropical and sometimes potent North Atlantic low pressure systems. This will be the case this weekend as the remnants of hurricane Wilma come ashore within a potent North Atlantic low pressure.

After what is expected to be a mostly dry and settled day away from the Southwest of the UK during Saturday, the weather will deteriorate rather quickly, with cloud and wind increasing, heralding the arrival of some heavy and persistent rain. A wild night is expected across many parts of the country on Saturday night with strong to gale force winds and heavy rain. "
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
133. OGal
11:57 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
Gamma, so glad to hear that you agree with preparation. It is not the governments job to take care of us. Let's really work on this blog to make sure we all prepare for next season. Of course if we get hit by cat 4 or 5 all bets are off. I think even getting your trees cleaned out is a good idea. Don't cut them down if you do not have to because they help divert the wind. Let's talk about what best to do for 2006------------------YUCK!!!
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 72 Comments: 19224
132. Hecker
11:54 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
Wave now at 10N 42W
Member Since: June 29, 2005 Posts: 24 Comments: 311
131. seflagamma
11:45 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
Good morning everyone, just caught up on what has been posted since I left work last night. Good to see some more names popping up. CGables, I was wondering about you; glad to see you are up and running and helping people. We still have no power at my house so I can only use PC at work. Even if we get power, Comcast cable is also my internet service and no telling when they will get on line. We have a great neighborhood and have always worked together in these types of events, all sharing our stuff and cooking together, removing trees and downed fences together lol, lol...

I see some discussion and I agree. People are told to be prepared for 7 days of no help after a storm. It is not a big deal; just pick a closet, think about what items you will need if you are going camping with no power or water then add to this the tarps, first aid kit, etc. Then put them all in plastic containers in the closet and tell the rest of the family they cannot touch until Dec 1st!
Even though it's only Hubby our dog and I, I pack enough for the kids and their family because I know they will come to us if things get bad (it did and they came!)
Once again, good to hear from you all...
Gamma
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 302 Comments: 40957
130. OGal
11:05 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
dcw, I think that this is truly a Wilma wantabe.
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 72 Comments: 19224
129. dcw
10:16 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
Does this look disturbigly Wilma-like to anyone else?
Member Since: August 2, 2001 Posts: 2 Comments: 3
128. OGal
10:08 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
Interesting about being ready for hurricanes. We keep a complete cupboard full of food in our laundry room. We bought a generator after being hit three times last year and losing power. We have several tarps and keep about 12 cases of bottled water. It is all about what you can do for yourself and your neighbors. We worked as a neighborhood helping to patch roofs and remove trees until help could come. You have to rely on yourself. South Florida had plenty of warning.
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 72 Comments: 19224
127. njsammy
9:42 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
As far as being prepared in an emergency is concerned, I think it's always a good idea to keep some bottled water, enough for at least 5 days, and at the least about 10 cans of tunafish per person (plus a manual can opener) on hand. No fun eating canned tuna for 5 days, but at least it's easy to have on hand, you won't starve, and you dont need refrigeration. I do find it odd that with so much advance warning many people in S. Florida seem to have been caught unprepared. I know that the FLA east coast got hit harder than expected, but still...they should have been expecting some power outages.
126. njsammy
9:30 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
LOL, gamera...

From now on, if your wife finds she's not welcomed with open arms the next place she visits, hope she won't take it personally...

125. weatherguru
9:19 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
Mistake Models show it moving more north than west, in other words they have no clue where its going
124. weatherguru
9:16 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
Where can you go to get the model loops, like the ones i saw yesterday, with Beta moving north? Oh yeah Accuweather said if the trof is strong enough it will steer Beta north and will threat Cuba and South Fl. More and more models show it moving more north and West.
123. gamera
7:40 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
I think I should apologise for my wife.
She was going to New Orleans and Katrina struck, she was due in Cancun the day Wilma hit. Currently she is in Mexico heading for Guatemala.

If I give you her full itinerary it should end speculation about hurricane tracking.
122. 8888888889gg
4:19 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
how do i post a photo on to a blog?
121. Hecker
3:54 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
Latest Navy microwave image
Member Since: June 29, 2005 Posts: 24 Comments: 311
120. planner
3:43 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
Been lurking here through several storms and feel compelled to respond to the dialogue about responsibility. What we have here is a failure to (be a) community.

119. snowboy
3:39 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
oops! well keep a close eye on the weather - if you have internet access check into the NHC and Wunderblogs, and you'll be on top of things. If no internet, have someone at home keep tabs and let you know what's happening.

Current forecast is for Beta to rain itself out over Nicaragua/Honduras. Quote from 11 pm NHC discussion:
IF BOTH TRACK AND INTENSITY FORECAST VERIFY...BETA WILL LIKELY
BE A VERY SERIOUS HURRICANE PRIMARILY FOR NICARAGUA PRODUCING
CONSIDERABLE DAMAGE FROM BOTH WINDS AND TORRENTIAL RAINS.

I would stay well away from Nicaragua and southeastern Honduras, but as said keep an eye on things please.
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2555
118. cctexgal
3:26 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
Hi, uh 9 days; needless to say long planned trip; mostly going to the ruins, Tikal etc but they say we can get up to Atitlan area and we are supposed to go to Copan in Honduras to the Mayan site as well; (??)
Member Since: September 19, 2005 Posts: 1 Comments: 141
117. snowboy
3:20 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
you're certainly much better off in Guatemala than Honduras or Nicaragua - how long you staying?
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2555
116. cctexgal
2:58 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
Anyone care to make predictions on rainfall/ flooding potential into Guatemala from TS/Hurricane Beta over the next couple days? AS luck would have it I'm flying there in the next 2 days and have no idea what if anything to watch out for, this blew up so quickly and I can't get out of the trip. Thanks
Member Since: September 19, 2005 Posts: 1 Comments: 141
115. snowboy
2:54 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
From 11 pm NHC advisory:
AT 11 PM EDT...0300Z...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM BETA WAS LOCATED
NEAR LATITUDE 12.1 NORTH...LONGITUDE 81.4 WEST OR ABOUT 35
MILES...55 KM...SOUTHEAST OF SAN ANDRES ISLAND AND ABOUT 160
MILES...260 KM...EAST OF BLUEFIELDS NICARAGUA.

BETA IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTH NEAR 2 MPH ... 4 KM/HR...AND THIS
MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS WITH A TURN
TO NORTHWEST AND WEST THEREAFTER.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE INCREASED TO NEAR 65 MPH...100
KM/HR...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. BETA WILL LIKELY BECOME A HURRICANE ON
FRIDAY.

TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 60 MILES ...95 KM
FROM THE CENTER.

ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 994 MB...29.35 INCHES.

Question: how low can the pressure and how far north can Beta go?
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2555
114. EllistonVA
2:44 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
hee hee - thanks NOLA - I'm off now to bed time for some Zzzz's before getting up in the morning to do it all over again!

Night all!
Member Since: May 3, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
113. snowboy
2:25 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
NOLAinNC that is my problem precisely. I'm looking at the IR or WV and see major convection (which could actually influence the position of the center of a forming TS), and am left wondering...
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2555
112. ricstevenson
2:22 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
i'm still not 100% on cable modem, it's up.. for now. lights are still on though. fpl says another 7-10 working days for power at the office.
111. NOLAinNC
2:18 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
Elliston, I like hearing your opinions - keep the soapbox handy!
110. NOLAinNC
2:17 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
Is it possible to look at the IR with the center point marked? Is that a dumb question? I'm still new at this!
109. NOLAinNC
2:15 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
Yeah, dcw, but our taxes and good faith should count for something. I will say no more, don't want to start a political debate.

Elliston, by the time people in the S'dome realized that there was no calvary coming, there really wasn't any way to walk out of there, even for folks that were able bodied. The Greater New Orleans bridge was literally being guarded by armed white police who were ostensibly afraid of the "dangerous" black New Orleans refugees.

Like I said, I agree with everything else. When we have so much warning about hurricanes, it is inconceivable that people would not be better prepared. I'll go even further than that, though. We should ALL have supplies on hand for a few days survival - there are all sorts of disasters and most of them come without warning.
108. snowboy
2:15 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
Is anyone able to tell if the heaviest convection (as per satellite IR and WV) is over the center of Beta (as defined by NHC)? Seems a bit east to me.
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2555
107. dcw
2:07 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
Something to note:
'Our inept government' is not responsible for us. We are.
Member Since: August 2, 2001 Posts: 2 Comments: 3
106. EllistonVA
2:06 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
I think we all understand that there is always a disclaimer for those with disabilities, etc. That's not the majority of people who they were interviewing for 5 days on the nightly news however.

I generally don't get on my soap box and really shouldn't have here. So I give my apologies. Thinking about that Pakistani guy and then hearing a woman on the news in Florida complaining that she had no ice just really got to me.
Member Since: May 3, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
105. NOLAinNC
2:05 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
I guess I should have said hi too, before I jumped in and started! Hi everyone. It is great that we are hearing from more and more South Florida folks.
Hi 21!
104. Pensacola21
2:02 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
Hey all :-)
Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 30 Comments: 3912
103. NOLAinNC
1:58 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
Hey Elliston,
I agree with you 95% - we are a country that sues McDonald's when we spill hot coffee (ouch!) and expects a water truck to drive up to our house 15 minutes after a hurricane. The 5% that I disagree about is this comment

"In New Orleans they sat for days in the Superdome rather than walking the 100 feet through waist-deep water and out the nicely paved roads to the next town. "

The earliest evacuees to the Superdome where special needs people and their families, those people couldn't just walk out (a walk that would have taken a few hours in blistering hot sun) Some people DID attempt to cross the Miss River Bridge (all other routes were flooded) and were turned back by armed Gretna Police. There were also rumors flying around about snipers and armed gangs (not hard to believe in New Orleans, although later said to be mostly untrue) I think you have to live that situation to truly comprehend.

Anyhoo, my 2 cents. Most Americans need to get real, quit eating twinkies and shopping as a form of entertainment, and figure out a way to be productive and not rely on our apparently inept government.
102. EllistonVA
1:30 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
jasmine -happy to see you made it through!
Member Since: May 3, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
101. palmettobug53
1:27 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
Jasmine, someone was asking last night if anyone had heard from you. Can't remember who, now. Sorry. So many posts! You came through OK?
Member Since: October 7, 2005 Posts: 239 Comments: 25426
100. nightbloomingjasmine
1:10 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
Hi all Just checking in from Naples Just got power back and internet. Anyone heard from other Naples people? Spent the storm in the inyerior hallway 121 MPH winds at airport about 3 blocks away. Really scared.
99. EllistonVA
12:59 AM GMT on October 28, 2005
still though Gables, bless you for going out there and trying anyway.
Member Since: May 3, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 0

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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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