Disturbance 99L more organized; record melting in Austrian Alps

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:02 PM GMT on August 01, 2012

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A tropical wave (Invest 99L) near 11°N 47°W, about 1000 miles east of the Lesser Antilles Islands, is showing increasing organization, and has the potential to develop into a tropical depression today or tomorrow as it moves westward at 15 - 20 mph. Visible satellite loops show that the disturbance now has two respectable low-level spiral bands, one to the north and one to the south, and a moderate amount of heavy thunderstorms near the center. The thunderstorm activity has not changed much in intensity this morning. A well-defined surface circulation is not evident on satellite images, but last night's 8:30 pm EDT pass from the ASCAT satellite showed a broad, elongated center with light winds had formed. Water vapor satellite loops show that 99L has a reasonably moist environment, and the latest Saharan air layer analysis shows that the dry air from the Sahara is not present in large quantities over the central tropical Atlantic. WInd shear over the disturbance has increased some since Tuesday, and is now at the moderate level, 10 - 15 knots. Ocean temperatures are 28°C, (82°F) which is about 0.5°C above average for this time of year.


Figure 1. Morning satellite image of Invest 99L.


Figure 2. Vertical instability over the tropical Atlantic in 2012 (blue line) compared to average (black line.) The instability is plotted in °C, as a difference in temperature from near the surface to the upper atmosphere. Thunderstorms grow much more readily when vertical instability is high. Instability has been lower than average, due to an unusual amount of dry, sinking air in the atmosphere, reducing the potential for tropical storm formation. Image credit: NOAA/NESDIS/CIRA.

Forecast for 99L
Wind shear is expected to remain light to moderate, 5 - 15 knots, through Friday, ocean temperatures will remain near 28°C, and mid-level moisture will be a moderate 60 - 70%, according to the 8 am EDT run of the SHIPS model. The disturbance has gained a bit of latitude and is now at 11°N, which will help it leverage the Earth's spin more to acquire its own spin. These conditions are probably sufficient for 99L to become Tropical Depression Five, with Thursday being the most likely day for this to happen. However, the reliable computer models are not very eager to develop 99L, and none show it becoming a hurricane over the next five days. This is probably because the atmosphere over the tropical Atlantic is unusually stable for this time of year (Figure 2), with large-scale areas of dry, sinking air present. Climatologically, we see very few Cape Verdes-type hurricanes forming near the Lesser Antilles Islands this early in August, and I expect 99L will struggle at times over the next few days. This is particularly likely if 99L goes north of 13°N, where a band a high wind shear of 20 - 40 knots associated with the subtropical jet stream lies. At 8 am Wednesday, NHC gave 99L a 60% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Friday morning. Residents and visitors to the Lesser Antilles Islands should anticipate heavy rains and strong winds from 99L beginning to affect the islands as early as Friday morning. The long-range fate of 99L next week is uncertain, but a track west to west-northwest through the Caribbean is the most popular solution from the models.


Figure 3. Typhoon Saola (bottom) and Typhoon Damrey (top) perform a pincer maneuver on Shanghai, China in this MODIS photo from NASA's Terra satellite taken at 02 UTC August 1, 2012. Image credit: NASA.

Two typhoons headed towards China
In the Western Pacific, typhoon season is in full swing with two typhoons headed towards China. The more dangerous of the two is Category 2 Typhoon Saola, which is predicted to skirt the northern coast of Taiwan and hit mainland China 300 miles south of Shanghai on Friday as a Category 3 typhoon. Typhoon Damrey, a Category 1 storm located just south of Japan, is expected to hit China about 150 miles north of Shanghai on Thursday at Category 1 strength.

Extreme heat in Oklahoma
The withering heat in America's heartland continued on Tuesday, with the prize for most ridiculous heat a 113° temperature recorded in Chandler, Oklahoma. A close second: Tulsa hit 112°, just 3° below the city's all-time high of 115° set on August 10, 1936. The low temperature in Tulsa was 88° Tuesday morning, tying the record for warmest low temperature in city history set just the previous day. Six locations in Oklahoma hit 112° or hotter Tuesday, and the forecast calls for highs near 112° again today over portions of Oklahoma.

Extreme dryness in the Central U.S.
A few final tallies for July precipitation are in, and several U.S. cities in the heart of the drought region set new records for driest July:

Joplin, MO: 0.00" (ties record set in 1946)
Springfield, MO: 0.32" (previous record 0.33" in 1953)
Sioux Falls, SD: 0.24" (previous record, 0.24" in 1947, normal is 3.09")

Record early snow melt in the Austrian Alps
One of the longest meteorological data records at high altitude comes from Sonnblick, Austria, on a mountaintop in the Alps with an elevation of 3106 meters (10,200 feet.) The observatory typically sees maximum snow depths of 3 - 4 meters (10 - 13 feet) during winter. According to weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera, the snow had never completely melted at Sonnblick until the summer of 1992. Complete snow melt did not happen again until August 12, 2003, and has happened an average of once every two years since then--but always in September. Yesterday, on July 31, the snow completely melted at Sonnblick, the earliest melting since record keeping began in 1886. It's been an exceptionally hot summer in Austria, which experienced its 6th warmest June since record keeping began in 1767. Sonnblick Observatory recorded its all-time warmest temperature of 15.3°C (60°F) on June 30. Vienna hit 37.7°C (100°F) that day--the hottest temperature ever measured in June in Austria. Note that the two mountains in the Alps with long climate records, Saentis in Switzerland and Zugspitze in Germany, beat their records for earliest melting last year in 2011 (Saentis beat the previous record of 2003, and Zugspitze tied the record set in 2003.)


Figure 4. The Sonnblick Observatory in Austria on April 26, 2010. Image credit: Michael Staudinger.

Jeff Masters

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I say looking at the sat now 99L has a fully closed circulation and convection is now wraping around the circulation I would say by 3 or 4pm today the convection should fully wrap around and for 99L to continue its W-N of due W track
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12Z GFS @ 114 hrs - South of Cayman Island!
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
even if i was poor i would walk crawl bike beg if i wanted to get out of the way of a storm its no excuse really


Exactly! Funny how people said they didn't have the means of leaving but after the Hurricane hit the bridge was full of people walke out to get away from the flood waters. Why couldn't they walk out before the storm hit, I know I would have!
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

They chanted the URL..

They could have told us beforehand.
They didn't want us to see 99L circulation to see if it was closed or not. Though it would've been nice for them to let us know somehow.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7942
I think that person was KMAN

Quoting Grothar:


No one reads it, why should I bother. By the way, who was the guy who wrote this morning that the next blow-up of convection would be in the NW quadrant??

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GFS is going to stregthen 99L in the NW Caribbean with that type of UL pattern.
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Quoting kwgirl:
You are correct. You must be able to sustain yourself without rescue if you are going to shelter in place. We are told there is MANDATORY evacuation in the keys. Well you will see a lot of Conchs not evacuating and I am one of them. I really worry about evacuations of the keys with our narrow road. Of course there comes a point, Cat 4-5, that if I do evacuate, I am probably not coming back because there won't be anything or anyway to get back here. But we'll cross those bridges when we get to them :)
I do not need to leave my home in event of hurricane because I'm 100 miles inland in Raleigh. Hazel was the strongest storm in Raleigh area history at 105 mph, a Category 2 wind. If a Category 5 EVER hit the coast between Myrtle Beach and Carolina Beach, that would breaks Hazel record but the winds in Raleigh will be in Category 3 at 115-120 mph. I'll make it just fine, but I'll need hurricane kit to survives the aftermath with no power.
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Quoting wxmobilejim:


Looks to be moving it more north now.
Yes and look at the trough coming down and the weakness between the Subtropical Ridge and Ridge over the Plains.
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a.wk.ago..home.insurance.paid..e.cen.florida
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The discussions on here often vary every few hours depending on the presentation of a system, in a short-term time frame, and it's hard not to get caught up in the "moment" as opposed to the patience and persistance needed when analyzing tropical systems and particularly cyclogenisis.

With that being said, I was very gung ho on imminent development this morning but looking at the current short-term loops, and particularly the VW loops, the wave is quickly lifting further to the North, prior to consolidation, and getting ripped apart by sheer over it's NW quadrant.

I stand corrected and volunteer to eat my crow (in the short term) at this time.....I need to learn some patience................ :)
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9122
417. yoboi
Quoting LargoFl:
Make sure your hurricane kit includes:

Flashlights & extra bulbs
Battery-operated radio
Battery-operated lanterns
Batteries (in different sizes!)
Matches
First aid kit
Duct tape
Rain gear
Clock (wind-up or battery-powered)
Plastic garbage bags
Fire extinguisher
Scissors
Can Opener
Clean clothes
Extra blankets
Heavy gloves


been thru many canes, if you drive a vehicle make sure ya have several cans of fix-o-flat....if not be prepared to do alot of walking....
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Looks to be moving it more north now.
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CMC changed back 99L trayectory over PR...

Previously it was N of PR, yesterday S of it

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Quoting hydrus:
This storm has the potential to kill and cause widespread damage somewhere. I wont be disappointed if it gets obliterated by shear.


Hydrus, Hey how are ya? I was wondering from all the reading I been doing on the blog for the past few weeks or more, a lot of folks been saying anything that get in the Caribbean will be torn apart, is that still true? I think they where saying the upper level winds where like 15-30 or something like that. Plus with El nino isn't it cooler waters? I may have it all wrong I don't know. I mean some where saying it's gonna be a quite season, i know it only takes one to make it a bad season.

Sheri
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412. MahFL
Yikes, some of the models are bringing a hurricane to NE Fl.....
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Since Recon is planning on going out an investigating Invest 99L tomorrow I thought I would provide the link for the Live Recon Data now for those plotting at home, make sure you all bookmark it if you don't have this link already.

Live Recon Data
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This picture was taken here in South MS by a local aviator on his flight back home. The cell was severe-warned at the time and he said his onboard radar was showing cloud heights of 55,000ft at the time of the picture. Absolutely incredible.

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10244
..........................................NHC 72 Hour Forecast
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406. MahFL
Quoting ncstorm:


The govt never told them it was going to be okay..I remember the mayor on TV telling people to LEAVE..but again it goes back to those who couldnt which were a majority of those who died..


Mayor Nagan said "This is the real deal". I also vividly remembering him telling people to keep axes handy, to be honest I could hardly beleive that a situation so bad would occur where you'd need an axe. Hopefully that situation won't occur again, I am pretty sure many lessons were learned, and won't be too quickly forgotten.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Or you probably couldn't afford it....


Or, they used previous events to make the decision to stay. I worked from Bay St Louis to Biloxi MS after Katrina. One of my applicants in Bay St Louis stated he intended to ride the storm out showing me a mark on the stilt/support he made after hurricane Camille at a height of 4 feet. Katrina's high water mark was in the 3rd floor of the home. Tidal surge in the area was estimated at 29 feet. The only reason he evaced was his wife threatened divorce.
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Quoting Pocamocca:

Very close. Although this latest run of the GFS takes him ever so slightly north and a but slower.
If you would be so kind could you post the other runs please?.
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Quoting jeffs713:

No, I never said anything about stupidity. that would fall under "blind faith". Blind faith of the government that all would be OK. Blind faith by the people that all would be OK, and the government would take care of them even if the government didn't know they were there.

The response after Katrina was a HUGE part of the disaster. Preparing your kit based on one storm, while a good exercise in "worst possible case", isn't the best suggestion. The best suggestion is to prepare for what you know you can handle. For some, that may mean riding out everything up to a cat 2. For others (like me, who lives 80 miles inland, at 154' ASL), that means preparing for everything, including a cat 5, and up to 10 days without food/water/resupply.

Also, and I can't stress this enough - talk with your neighbors. Coordinate your supplies and plans. You'd be amazed how much more prepared you are when you're coordinated with your neighbor. For example, my wife and I have the grill, medical supplies, and much of the food. My neighbor across the street has weapons (to prevent looting), the generator, chainsaw, additional food supplies, and a satellite phone. They also have access to additional supplies via their work (a major railroad).
You are correct. You must be able to sustain yourself without rescue if you are going to shelter in place. We are told there is MANDATORY evacuation in the keys. Well you will see a lot of Conchs not evacuating and I am one of them. I really worry about evacuations of the keys with our narrow road. Of course there comes a point, Cat 4-5, that if I do evacuate, I am probably not coming back because there won't be anything or anyway to get back here. But we'll cross those bridges when we get to them :)
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Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9727
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Quoting ncstorm:


Jeff..when I see you suggest the govt programs about evacuation and then I remember all those buses in flooded waters that could have taken so many people away from harm..I just dont remember it as you do..

I actually just posted in regards to this. The government response in preparation leading up to Katrina, and following Katrina, was the largest travesty I've ever seen. Hundreds died because of that atrocious response. In 7 years, quite a bit has changed. Lots of lessons have been learned. I'm not saying they died because they were stupid, or they died because they were poor. I'm saying they died because three things happened:
1. They were not made aware of what to expect, and the community/government resources available to assist them.
2. The community/government resources available were woefully and tragically inadequate.
3. Those with means to act on their own willfully ignored the warnings that were made, and did not heed the pleas for proper preparation.

Note the first part of #3. "Those with means to act on their own". That is the key.

The people who died who were too poor or destitute to get out on their own are absolutely a victim of the completely dysfunctional community/government resources that were available. No excuses.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5881
Quoting MahFL:


What about the poor though, who stayed and died, would you call them stupid ?
even if i was poor i would walk crawl bike beg if i wanted to get out of the way of a storm its no excuse really
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53782
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

They changed the URL..

They could have told us beforehand.


they didnt want you to find it
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9727
every time I see 99L I start imagine it would ruin my vacations and I don`t want that.does the Gfs is developing Florence in the near future?
Member Since: October 15, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 4302
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Quoting wxchaser97:

I just got on the page:)
ASCAT is working for me now

They changed the URL..

They could have told us beforehand.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31994
Quoting CosmicEvents:
What year of Hurricane Emily?
*checks records*
ahhh...you must mean the 2005 version.

yes 05
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
So all of you rooting for a northerly track...

That would more than likely kill it within days.

The southern route is it's best bet to become anything significant.
This storm has the potential to kill and cause widespread damage somewhere. I wont be disappointed if it gets obliterated by shear.
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Quoting jeffs713:

No, I never said anything about stupidity. that would fall under "blind faith". Blind faith of the government that all would be OK. Blind faith by the people that all would be OK, and the government would take care of them even if the government didn't know they were there.

The response after Katrina was a HUGE part of the disaster. Preparing your kit based on one storm, while a good exercise in "worst possible case", isn't the best suggestion. The best suggestion is to prepare for what you know you can handle. For some, that may mean riding out everything up to a cat 2. For others (like me, who lives 80 miles inland, at 154' ASL), that means preparing for everything, including a cat 5, and up to 10 days without food/water/resupply.

Also, and I can't stress this enough - talk with your neighbors. Coordinate your supplies and plans. You'd be amazed how much more prepared you are when you're coordinated with your neighbor. For example, my wife and I have the grill, medical supplies, and much of the food. My neighbor across the street has weapons (to prevent looting), the generator, chainsaw, additional food supplies, and a satellite phone. They also have access to additional supplies via their work (a major railroad).


The govt never told them it was going to be okay..I remember the mayor on TV telling people to LEAVE..but again it goes back to those who couldnt which were a majority of those who died..
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The HWRF and LBAR tracks seem most reasonable to me.
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Quoting Chiggy:
Run after run for a few days now, GFS has been keeping 99L weak ad on a West path. Very consistent, the new 12Z run shows the same.
its.organizing
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GFS needs an update lol
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:


There is no way this is still an invest looking at satellite imagery.
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
I say 99L track like hurricane Emily
What year of Hurricane Emily?
*checks records*
ahhh...you must mean the 2005 version.
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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.