Tropical Storm Gordon forms; 5th earliest appearance a season's 7th storm

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:10 PM GMT on August 16, 2012

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Tropical Storm Gordon is here, born out of a tropical wave that emerged from the coast of Africa last week. Gordon's formation puts the hurricane season of 2012 in fifth place for the earliest date of formation of the season's seventh storm, going back to 1851. Only 2005, 1936, 2011, and 1995 had earlier formation dates of the season's seventh storm. Satellite loops show Gordon has developed a Central Dense Overcast (CDO)--a large and expanding area of high cirrus clouds over the center, due to a build-up of heavy thunderstorms. This is characteristic of intensifying tropical storms. Wind shear is light, but ocean temperatures are on the cool side, near 27°C. Water vapor satellite loops show that Gordon has moistened its environment considerably, but a large region of dry air lurks on three sides of the storm, ready to barge in and disrupt Gordon when wind shear rises on Saturday. The 8 am EDT run of the SHIPS model predicts that wind shear will remain light to moderate through Friday, then rise steeply to 25 - 40 knots over the weekend. At the same time, ocean temperatures will drop to 26°C. By Sunday, the combined effects of high wind shear, dry air, and cooler waters will likely act to weaken Gordon and make it no longer tropical, but Gordon will probably still be strong enough Sunday night to potentially bring damaging winds and heavy rain to the Azores Islands.


Figure 1. Morning satellite image of Tropical Storm Gordon.

Gordon's place in history
The 2012 version of Gordon is the fourth storm that has been given that name. Previous incarnations of Gordon appeared in 1994, 2000, and 2006. It's pretty unlikely that the 2012 version of Gordon will get its name retired, but the name Gordon should have been retired long ago. During the first appearance of Gordon in November 1994, the storm moved very slowly over Eastern Cuba, and dropped prodigious rains over Haiti. The resulting flash flooding killed over 1,100 people. Unquestionably, the 1994 version of Gordon should have had its name retired, due to the devastating impact it had on Haiti. However, after the 1994 hurricane season, Haiti did not send a representative to the annual World Meteorological Organization meeting that decides retirement of hurricane names, and no other country affected by Gordon requested that the name be retired.


Figure 2. Track of the 1994 version of Hurricane Gordon. The storm killed over 1100 people in Haiti.

Elsewhere in the tropics
In the Gulf of Mexico, a fall-like cold front is expected to stall out early next week. Wind shear is predicted to be low to moderate, and cold fronts stalled out over the Gulf of Mexico often serve as the seed for tropical storms. The most likely formation location of such a storm would be off the Texas coast, or off the Mexican coast south of Texas.

A large tropical wave is emerging from the coast of Africa today, and the GFS and ECMWF models predict this wave will develop into a tropical depression 4 - 5 days from now. Preliminary indications are that this new storm will follow a path similar to Gordon's, recurving to the east of Bermuda, but it is too early to be confident of this.

Jeff Masters

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177. etxwx
And now for the Asian weather news...
China issues top alerts on typhoon Kai-Tak
Updated: 2012-08-16 21:03
Excerpt: BEIJING - Chinese marine environment authorities upgraded the alert about sea waves and storm surges to the highest level of red for the approaching typhoon Kai-Tak on Thursday afternoon. The move was made at 4 p.m., eight hours after the previous upgrade in the morning, the National Marine Environmental Forecasting Center said in a report.
The center uses a four-tier color-coded wave warning system, with red being the most severe, followed by orange, yellow and blue. Typhoon Kai-Tak, the 13th of this year, was about 600 km to the southeast of Zhanjiang city of Guangdong province at 2 p.m. and was expected to hit the coastal area of southern Guangdong on Friday, at noon or during the afternoon, said the report. It forecast that from Thursday evening to Friday, northern waters in the South China Sea will produce waves six to eight meters high, while waters off coastal areas in Guangdong will see waves four to six meters high.
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Quoting WalkingInTheSun:


Ike was both. I think the major damage was from tidal surges as those came from it's pre-landfall winds, right? Didn't it then lose wind speed before landfall? So, it came across Houston less powerful than it really was at first, but the storm surge was already there, if I remember correctly.
It was still pushing the cat 4 surge from earlier. Same thing with Katrina. That's why it's so important to remember that wind category is not automatically synonymous with surge potential. I feel sorry for some of the Bolivar residents who stayed to help others get to safety, then couldn't get out because they didnt' expect the kind of surge impacts that actually occurred. I really wouldn't advise anybody to stay on a barrier island as a storm approaches. Unlike much of the Bahamas, these islands are extremely vulnerable to 100% washover. At least here most islands have a few spots above 35 ft where residents can huddle to get away from the surge...
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20734
Quoting WalkingInTheSun:


Ike was both. I think the major damage was from tidal surges as those came from it's pre-landfall winds, right? Didn't it then lose wind speed before landfall? So, it came across Houston less powerful than it really was at first, but the storm surge was already there, if I remember correctly.


The water was washing cars off some of the roads in my county on the TX/LA border the morning of the 11th. And it only got worse and spread west after that.
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Quoting hurricanehanna:

Gustav landed as a 1, Ike as a 2. They referenced the word "major"


According to the Archivial record here on WU they both came in as a CAT 2 with very low MB's which caused the storm surge. I'm just quoting the data on this web page.
Member Since: August 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 255
Quoting Jedkins01:


Yeah I've been keeping an eye on this and I'm hoping it will happen, because the west coast of Florida has been extremely dry for August standards. It's the driest to date I've seen it here for August so we could use a big rain event. Maybe we will get all our month's rainfall in the last week or so, lol.


Given the pattern coming up Jed I think the west coast of FL is in for a major rain event as a strong SW flow takes hold and add cold mid level temps to the mix we should see a wide spread rain event for several days.

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I believe Gordon has rapidly intensified to a Category 1 Hurricane.



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2006


2012
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Shouldn't need a special... I'd guess by 5 p.m. our time Gordon would be good to go.


Yes, I mentioned it in the parentheses :)

The NHC can't send HH there, can they?
Member Since: September 7, 2006 Posts: 89 Comments: 2649
Quoting Bobbyweather:

expect a Special Advisory within 12~24 hrs if not less. (or maybe they'll upgrade it in the normal advisory package)
Shouldn't need a special... I'd guess by 5 p.m. our time Gordon would be good to go.

Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20734
Quoting Bluestorm5:
I wasn't trying to discredit Ike. Ike was a bad, bad storm. Just wasn't OFFICIALLY a major at landfall because the winds weren't there, but it did caused a damage a Category 4 would causes. Just like Katrina landfalling as Category 3, but causing a damage a Category 5 would creates. I agree NHC should've declared Ike a major hurricane, but since it isn't... then it had been 2,500 days since last major hurricane landfalling.


Ike was both. I think the major damage was from tidal surges as those came from it's pre-landfall winds, right? Didn't it then lose wind speed before landfall? So, it came across Houston less powerful than it really was at first, but the storm surge was already there, if I remember correctly.
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X
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15749
Quoting Bluestorm5:
Just found this on Twitter.

@spann

It has now been 2,500 days since a major hurricane made landfall on the U.S. coast… a record length of time.

History in the making, guys.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 109 Comments: 30268
It dosent have to be a so called "Major" to take Lives and do Billions in Damage in Multiple States.

TS Allison is a Good example.

The only Atlantic Tropical Storm to have its name retired, still.


All it has to do is be wet,and linger.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Outflow is good in all directions, but the northeast channel is exceptionally well established.


Got its act together.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Outflow is good in all directions, but the northeast channel is exceptionally well established.


expect a Special Advisory within 12~24 hrs if not less. (or maybe they'll upgrade it in the normal advisory package)

Sarcasm Flag: Uhh...
Member Since: September 7, 2006 Posts: 89 Comments: 2649
looks like pinhole eye there...
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I love small storms like Gordon.Seems that wave the exited Africa(last week) was destined to become Gordon after all XD.It was determined.
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Quoting Patrap:
If one is using Cat size to scale Impact...,

Well it was designed for Wind Loading on Structures and dosent handle Storm Surge and it's impact.

That's why we have new Products from the NHC Warning wise.







That was my point.
Member Since: August 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 255
Quoting aspectre:
57 PlazaRed: We are about 70 miles North of Gibraltar so its the same thing to us if we look West or South East, as the sea is not a long way from us, though out of sight due to big mountains.
I uploaded 3 photos to WU photos to show the state of our fields of dust.
Seville which is just North of here and we can see its lights at night, had 45.9/C last Friday. A lot of our trees are dying with their leaves still on them -- all brown, even almonds -- and lots of bush fires all over the place.


And yet ya'd complain ifn a minor (ex)hurricane was sent your way? (Gordon's roar would be nearly muted by the cool waters between the Azores and Iberia)
I thought he was welcoming it... am I wrong???
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20734
Quoting StormTracker2K:
I suspect there will be some flooding issues for the west coast of FL this weekend as this strong front rolls in and stalls as the NAM and Euro are hammering the west coast of FL with high rain fall totals.



Perfect set up for training of thunderstorms coming in off the Gulf starting this weekend.



Yeah I've been keeping an eye on this and I'm hoping it will happen, because the west coast of Florida has been extremely dry for August standards. It's the driest to date I've seen it here for August so we could use a big rain event. Maybe we will get all our month's rainfall in the last week or so, lol.
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Outflow is good in all directions, but the northeast channel is exceptionally well established.

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Quoting WalkingInTheSun:
Looks like a little spin-off from the ex-TD7 activity stalled(?) over SE Mex. coastal areas. Is it getting ready to gear up & just sending off spits & spats here & there? -- Central GOM starting to look VERY "flammable": increasing water vapor, high sea temps.

Elsewise,...seems interesting that in the peak of hurricane season, the greatest activity seems to be a TS headed towards the Azores. lol.
Peak of the season isn't until next month... I get the feeling Gordon is just the opening number...
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20734
Quoting flsky:


That was a great storm! Looks like you were out chasing it for quite a while. They're predicting a re-occurance for today


Some of those were from news viewers
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How many days has it been since a storm whose name has an odd number of letters made landfall on a Tuesday?
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152. flsky
Quoting StormTracker2K:
Here some pics from yesterdays massive storms that rolled thru E C FL.

Ponce Inlet


Lightning bolt over a Clermont


Port Orange


Flagler Beach


Very near my house


That was a great storm! Looks like you were out chasing it for quite a while. They're predicting a re-occurance for today
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Quoting Msdrown:



I stand corrected. My memory was that they both were CAT3 at some time but you are right when they came in they both were CAT2's. I guess my memory was the storm surge was very high and in Ikes case severe damage to the coast of TX. I had 11ft storm surge in my neighborhood with Gustav and 8ft with Ike for 3days off and on even though it was two states away.

My bust.


It's alright..they both were stronger before they made landfall. For those that experienced them, they felt major
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Ike was 110mph, 1mph shy of major, throw in the 20 ft storm surge, call it what you want. If you lived on the coast and got wiped out or flooded like Galveston did from rising water it was a major, if you were where I'm at inland with no shingles missing and fence still standing,and no flooding, then no major



That was my point as well, I was two states over and got flooding for 3days.
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Looks like a little spin-off from the ex-TD7 activity stalled(?) over SE Mex. coastal areas. Is it getting ready to gear up & just sending off spits & spats here & there? -- Central GOM starting to look VERY "flammable": increasing water vapor, high sea temps.

Elsewise,...seems interesting that in the peak of hurricane season, the greatest activity seems to be a TS headed towards the Azores. lol.
Member Since: June 7, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1148
57 PlazaRed: We are about 70 miles North of Gibraltar so its the same thing to us if we look West or South East, as the sea is not a long way from us, though out of sight due to big mountains.
I uploaded 3 photos to WU photos to show the state of our fields of dust.
Seville is just North of here, and we can see its lights at night.
Had 45.9*C
[~115*F] last Friday. A lot of our trees are dying with their leaves still on them -- all brown, even almonds -- and lots of bush fires all over the place.

And yet ya'd complain ifn a minor (ex)hurricane was sent your way?
(Gordon's roar would be nearly muted by the cool waters between the Azores and Iberia)
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Quoting Patrap:
Rolling Warnings can be done in a personal Blog as that way it rolls to top as well,of the directory.


Pat you watching the Gulf?
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This is scary Link
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I suspect there will be some flooding issues for the west coast of FL this weekend as this strong front rolls in and stalls as the NAM and Euro are hammering the west coast of FL with high rain fall totals.

Perfect set up for training of thunderstorms coming in off the Gulf starting this weekend.


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Quoting STXHurricanes2012:

They both wren't majors



I stand corrected. My memory was that they both were CAT3 at some time but you are right when they came in they both were CAT2's. I guess my memory was the storm surge was very high and in Ikes case severe damage to the coast of TX. I had 11ft storm surge in my neighborhood with Gustav and 8ft with Ike for 3days off and on even though it was two states away.

My bust.
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Ike was 110mph, 1mph shy of major, throw in the 20 ft storm surge, call it what you want. If you lived on the coast and got wiped out or flooded like Galveston did from rising water it was a major, if you were where I'm at inland with no shingles missing and fence still standing, then no major
I wasn't trying to discredit Ike. Ike was a bad, bad storm. Just wasn't OFFICIALLY a major at landfall because the winds weren't there, but it did caused a damage a Category 4 would causes. Just like Katrina landfalling as Category 3, but causing a damage a Category 5 would creates. I agree NHC should've declared Ike a major hurricane, but since it isn't... then it had been 2,500 days since last major hurricane landfalling.
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Rolling Warnings can be done in a personal Blog as that way it rolls to top as well,of the directory.


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 415 Comments: 125630
...
Member Since: September 7, 2006 Posts: 89 Comments: 2649
If one is using Cat size to scale Impact...,

Well it was designed for Wind Loading on Structures and dosent handle Storm Surge and it's impact.

That's why we have new Products from the NHC Warning wise.




Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 415 Comments: 125630
Almost at the same exact location... compared to now

2006

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Quoting Bluestorm5:
Excuse my bad mood today... but do we really have to see what's going on in Florida everyday? I'm okay with people posting weather from their state, but it get old after posting it everyday. I understand Florida got 20 million of people, but...



AGREED!!!
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Quoting Msdrown:
??

I guess Gustav and Ike doesn't count??
Both came in below Cat 3 according to NHC. Both had been majors earlier, though.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20734
Gordon about to be picked up by that stream and accelerate to the Azores....


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Quoting Jeff9645:


Typical, every day, every year normal thunderstorms! Its not like its an amazing thing that afternoon storms form ya know but hey some people get really excited over some rain and thunder!
Doesn't stop the pics from being great, though.

Quoting kwgirl:
Looking at this pic, it appears there are two centers of rotation. But it could just be my old eyes are seeing something not there. I see the one over water, but to the sw there is a circulation to the clouds over land. Does anyone else see that? BTW Good Morning :)
Could just be unstacked.


Quoting ILwthrfan:


Microwave showed about an 80% eye wall structure had developed in just about 24 hours. Tonight should be interesting to see how he will intensify. He has a trough to the west that is providing excellent outflow to his north and east, just like Chris from earlier this season.
The small radius of winds isn't hurting, either.

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Quoting STXHurricanes2012:

They both wren't majors

Legalistic nonsense.
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Quoting Msdrown:
??

I guess Gustav and Ike doesn't count??

Gustav landed as a 1, Ike as a 2. They referenced the word "major"
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Gordon going through RI now?.

Looks like it. Here is the NHC definition of rapid intensification.

"An increase in the maximum sustained winds of a tropical cyclone of at least 30 kt in a 24-h period."
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Ike was 110mph, 1mph shy of major, throw in the 20 ft storm surge, call it what you want. If you lived on the coast and got wiped out or flooded like Galveston did from rising water it was a major, if you were where I'm at inland with no shingles missing and fence still standing,and no flooding, then no major
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Regarding folks posting Florida weather, a few thoughts:

1- I bet most of us Floridians really care about the weather in other parts of the Country; I know we were all sending prayers and wishes out to the folks in Texas last year when the Death Ridge came to stay;

2- Our weather is right at the edge of what's happening in the true Tropics, so it's relevant to the topic of this blog;

3- WU is a community of weather fans 'n followers from all over the U.S! People post on here about storms firing in the Dakotas, Massachusetts, etc., and do so on a daily basis WHEN they're having active weather!

4- We're all on here to learn. When I hear that Jedkins can't get rain this year even when conditions and climatology indicate it should be happening, I want to know ... because it's probably going to happen to me here at some point if it hasn't already. Storms in Texas can get out in the Gulf and fester, making tropical weather for others (dunno about you guys but I have relatives in other states!).

We're a weather blog, and we're a community. Ideally, weather is exciting without killing all of us, and we're here in part because weather is too exciting to keep to ourselves!

Hope that helps....
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Quoting Msdrown:
??

I guess Gustav and Ike doesn't count??

They both wren't majors
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Quoting jascott1967:


Good.


:)
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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.