94L still disorganized; Hurricane Gordon bearing down on the Azores

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:44 PM GMT on August 19, 2012

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A tropical wave (Invest 94L) located midway between the Lesser Antilles Islands and the coast of Africa is headed west at 20 - 25 mph. This storm is a threat to develop into a tropical storm that will affect the Lesser Antilles Islands as early as Wednesday. The storm is under light wind shear of 5 - 10 knots, and is over waters of 27°C. A large area of dry air lies just to the north of 94L, as seen on the latest Saharan Air Layer (SAL) analysis and water vapor satellite loops. This dry air is interfering with development, and this morning's visible satellite loop shows that 94L's heavy thunderstorm activity is a bit sparse. The storm does have an impressive amount of spin at middle levels of the atmosphere, though. A pass from the Indian OceanSAT-2 satellite Saturday night at 10:06 pm EDT noted a broad, elongated center of nearly calm winds several hundred miles in diameter at the surface, and nothing resembling a well-organized closed surface circulation. 94L will pass near buoy 41041 on Monday morning. The first hurricane hunter mission into 94L is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.


Figure 1. Morning satellite image of Invest 94L.

Forecast for 94L
The latest 8 am EDT run of the SHIPS model predicts that wind shear will be low, 5 - 10 knots, and ocean temperatures will be near 27°C through Monday, then warm to 28°C by Tuesday night. As is typical with storms making the crossing from Africa to the Antilles, dry air to the north will likely interfere with development, and the SHIPS model predicts increased dry air as 94L approaches the Lesser Antilles on Wednesday. However, with shear expected to be low, dry air may be less of an issue for 94L than it was for Ernesto or TD 7. Our two best performing models--the GFS and ECMWF--have both been taking 94L through the Lesser Antilles with every run for the past 36 hours. Both models continue to agree on the timing, with 94L arriving Wednesday night or Thursday morning. The BAMM model, which performed as well as the ECMWF and GFS at 5-day forecasts in 2011, is showing a track just north of the Lesser Antilles. Given this agreement among our top three models for long-range forecasts, I give a 60% chance that 94L will pass through the Lesser Antilles. In their 8 am EDT Tropical Weather Outlook, NHC gave 94L a 60% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Tuesday morning. The GFS model has backed off on its forecast that 94L will develop into a hurricane before reaching the islands, and is now predicting 94L will be a tropical storm with 40 - 50 mph winds at that time. The ECMWF model does not develop 94L. It is unlikely that 94L will be able to organize quickly enough to become anything stronger than a Category 1 hurricane before reaching the islands, given the storm's current struggles with dry air, and the lack of model support for intensification. With 94L staying relatively weak and disorganized, the chances of it turning to the northwest and missing the Lesser Antilles, as the NOGAPS model has been predicting, are diminishing. The GFS model predicts that 94L will go on to hit the Dominican Republic as a strong tropical storm on Friday, though the storm could also miss the island, passing just to the north or the south. At longer ranges, the storm is capable of going anywhere from Canada to Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula; it's too early to tell.


Figure 2. The 00Z (8 pm EDT) run of the GFS model from August 18, 2012, was done 20 different times at low resolution using slightly different initial conditions to generate an ensemble of forecasts (pink lines.) The high-resolution operational GFS forecast is shown in white. The GFS ensemble forecast is showing decreasing risk to the U.S. East Coast at long ranges, and an increasing risk to the Gulf Coast.

Gordon bears down on the Azores
Hurricane warnings are flying for the central and eastern Azores Islands as Hurricane Gordon barrels eastwards at 21 mph. Gordon's peak 110 mph winds it had last night made it the strongest hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season so far. Latest visible satellite loops show that cold water and high wind shear are taking a toll on Gordon, with the southern portion of the storm deteriorating and the eye beginning to open up. However, Gordon will still be a Category 1 hurricane or strong tropical storm when it passes through the Azores Monday morning. Winds at Ponta Delgada were 11 mph out of the east at 10 am EDT this morning, but will rise through the day as Gordon approaches.

Gordon is not a threat to any other land areas, and the extratropical remnants of Gordon will not bring any strong winds or significant rain to Europe. The last time the Azores were affected by a tropical storm was in 2009, when Tropical Storm Grace brought 65 mph winds on October 4. No significant damage was reported. Ironically, the last hurricane to affect the Azores was the 2006 version of Hurricane Gordon, which caused minor damage in the Azores, consisting of mostly fallen trees and power outages. However, after Gordon became an extratropical low, four injuries due to falling debris from high wind were reported in Spain, and Gordon brought high winds and rain that affected practice rounds at the Ryder Cup golf tournament in Ireland.


Figure 3. MODIS satellite image of Hurricane Gordon taken on Saturday August 18, 2012, at 11:50 am EDT. At the time, Gordon was a Category 1 hurricane with 80 mph winds. Image credit: Navy Research Lab, Monterey.

Jeff Masters

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2813. Gearsts
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2812. emguy
Quoting Grothar:


I do not see any large track change due to intensity right now. The high is to remain strong and the system is a little further South than before. I do not see any impulses coming down which could change this until much later, after 94L is in the Caribbean.

I did a blog this morning, that explains it.


I absolutely positively agree...I may have described this poorly, just stating the model representation of very expansive and weak, versus a reality of tighter and smaller stronger Isaac is a counter ballance. It's a yin-yang with the idendical end result and the end track result will be the same. We are settling into a gereneral path for this storm towards Florida. I suspect gulf side, but it could be up the spine or ofer the ATL side just as easy. Either way, it's a good center of cone, and the dynamics of how it will be, versus what the models see, will probably be differrent as we discuss this all week long into early next week.

P.S. I like Gro, he's good!
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Hey Gro and largo can u imagine a season like this!
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2810. LargoFl
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33465
2809. LargoFl
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33465
2808. LargoFl
one good thing, sure doesnt look like its getting its act together yet, and moving along at 25 mph it might not for days until it slows down, remember ernesto
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33465
Quoting Grothar:


It has been doing very well. The other models on this have not been that far off. There has been a good 'general' consensus from the beginning. Sometimes we just listen to the wrong people.
Yeah Gro u right about that. One more question Gro, How do u feel about the High in the atlantic? will it break down or stay strong IYO?
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2806. LargoFl
..FLASH FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT THROUGH TUESDAY MORNING...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN TALLAHASSEE HAS ISSUED A

* FLASH FLOOD WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF FLORIDA...NORTHERN FLORIDA
AND NORTHWEST FLORIDA...INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING AREAS...IN
FLORIDA...CALHOUN...CENTRAL WALTON...GADSDEN...HOLMES...INLAND
BAY...INLAND DIXIE...INLAND FRANKLIN...INLAND GULF...INLAND
JEFFERSON...INLAND TAYLOR...INLAND WAKULLA...INLAND WALTON...
JACKSON...LAFAYETTE...LEON...LIBERTY...MADISON AND WASHINGTON.
IN NORTHERN FLORIDA...COASTAL DIXIE...COASTAL JEFFERSON AND
COASTAL TAYLOR. IN NORTHWEST FLORIDA...COASTAL BAY...COASTAL
FRANKLIN...COASTAL GULF...COASTAL WAKULLA AND SOUTH WALTON.

* THROUGH TUESDAY MORNING

* WIDESPREAD RAINFALL TOTALS OF 2 TO 3 INCHES ARE LIKELY THROUGH
TONIGHT. HOWEVER...A FEW AREAS MAY GET MUCH MORE THAN THIS IF
STORMS WITH HEAVY RAIN RATES MOVE OVER THE SAME AREAS
REPEATEDLY. RAINFALL TOTALS IN SUCH CASES COULD REACH 6
INCHES...AND IF THIS OCCURS IN A FAIRLY SHORT TIME...FLASH
FLOODING COULD RESULT. THE MOST VULNERABLE LOCATIONS ARE URBAN
AREAS...DITCHES AND POOR DRAINAGE AREAS...AND ALONG SMALL CREEKS
AND STREAMS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A FLASH FLOOD WATCH MEANS THAT CONDITIONS MAY DEVELOP THAT LEAD
TO FLASH FLOODING. FLASH FLOODING IS A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION.

PLEASE MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD
FLASH FLOOD WARNINGS BE ISSUED.

&&

$$
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33465
Now dennis did strengthen after cuba
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2804. LargoFl
Quoting bigwes6844:
it seems to show lots of land action on most of them. but i think its gonna be okay largo if it stays over haiti and cuba for a long time. remember GFS has been doing good so far
yes we will see in a few days what happens
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33465
2803. Grothar
Quoting bigwes6844:
it seems to show lots of land action on most of them. but i think its gonna be okay largo if it stays over haiti and cuba for a long time. remember GFS has been doing good so far


It has been doing very well. The other models on this have not been that far off. There has been a good 'general' consensus from the beginning. Sometimes we just listen to the wrong people.
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Quoting Grothar:


As of now, look at this.

it seems to show lots of land action on most of them. but i think its gonna be okay largo if it stays over haiti and cuba for a long time. remember GFS has been doing good so far
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2801. LargoFl
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33465
Gustav weaken some and got stronger after haiti but after cuba didnt grow any more
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2799. Grothar
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2798. LargoFl
Quoting Grothar:


As of now, look at this.

this is not looking good at all
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33465
2797. Grothar
Quoting bigwes6844:
and that sharp turn could be GOM im guessing?


As of now, look at this.

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2796. Grothar
Quoting emguy:


Grothar...as I'm staring at that, I am looking at the track, and paying less attention to the intensity...because the track is reasonable...but the tweak would be between a weak storm/extremely large envelope as the model is showing, versus a smaller envelope, more intense hurricane, which may be the actual. Big storm intensity differences, but resulting in little to no change in track philosphy overall. Your thoughts?


I do not see any large track change due to intensity right now. The high is to remain strong and the system is a little further South than before. I do not see any impulses coming down which could change this until much later, after 94L is in the Caribbean.

I did a blog this morning, that explains it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:


No, I do not think so. There is no guarantee it is going to Florida, but the high pressure is remaining quite stong. I believe that even if it were to get stronger, it would not react the the trough off the East Coast until it is well into the Caribbean. It could then take a very sharp turn NW.
and that sharp turn could be GOM im guessing?
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2794. emguy
Quoting Grothar:


No, Largo. it doesn't.


I agree. and Largo...you got mail.
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2793. LargoFl
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33465
2792. Grothar
Quoting emguy:


Actually, be careful in that comment. It's true that mountains in easten Cuba, and over Hispanola have done their part in weakening tropical cyclones and disrupting them...and while some have never recovered, others have and did much harm. Its probably a 50/50 split on those stats.

Either way, this scenario seems to be focused mostly on the eastern gulf, with an extreme eastern extent of North Carolina, and an extreme western most track being New Orleans/Mississippi Delta.


That is very true. Depending on how fast they are moving and what parts of the Islands they hit. Many storms has intensified after crossing them.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting emguy:


Actually, be careful in that comment. It's true that mountains in easten Cuba, and over Hispanola have done their part in weakening tropical cyclones and disrupting them...and while some have never recovered, others have and did much harm. Its probably a 50/50 split on those stats.

Either way, this scenario seems to be focused mostly on the eastern gulf, with an extreme eastern extent of North Carolina, and an extreme western most track being New Orleans/Mississippi Delta.
i hope it doesnt head by me in nola. that beast would be horrible. and yeah i saw some storms that did make it across the haiti and cuba land and strengthen again.
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2790. emguy
Quoting Grothar:


Grothar...as I'm staring at that, I am looking at the track, and paying less attention to the intensity...because the track is reasonable...but the tweak would be between a weak storm/extremely large envelope as the model is showing, versus a smaller envelope, more intense hurricane, which may be the actual. Big storm intensity differences, but resulting in little to no change in track philosphy overall. Your thoughts?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2789. Grothar
Quoting bigwes6844:
so Gro tell me this, if 94L strengthens today and becomes a TD, does the whole florida scenerio goes out the window?


No, I do not think so. There is no guarantee it is going to Florida, but the high pressure is remaining quite stong. I believe that even if it were to get stronger, it would not react the the trough off the East Coast until it is well into the Caribbean. It could then take a very sharp turn NW.
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2788. LargoFl
Quoting LargoFl:
..3 models have it hitting florida, lets see what todays changes occur, we still have days to go yet and its not formed yet
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33465
2787. LargoFl
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33465
Quoting Grothar:
so Gro tell me this, if 94L strengthens today and becomes a TD, does the whole florida scenerio goes out the window?
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2785. LargoFl
Quoting Grothar:


No, Largo. it doesn't.
well I have my supplies etc..im ready, i do hope floridians are reading this blog and watching the tracks..just in case this does happen..in central florida the ground is soaking wet, wont take much wind to topple the tree's etc
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33465
Quoting VR46L:


As your post with wave heights shows if 95L develops and follows the Model tracks of late last week, Both North Texas and NOLA need to keep an eye .94L is about 10 days from US this thing is not. It needs a watching IMO
yep u right. A lot of people would be in shock but shouldnt be.
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2783. emguy
Quoting bigwes6844:
Yea dats true. but the way the GFS saying that its going to hit Haiti then cuba. the most im looking at if that is the scenerio would be a TS.


Actually, be careful in that comment. It's true that mountains in easten Cuba, and over Hispanola have done their part in weakening tropical cyclones and disrupting them...and while some have never recovered, others have and did much harm. Its probably a 50/50 split on those stats.

Either way, this scenario seems to be focused mostly on the eastern gulf, with an extreme eastern extent of North Carolina, and an extreme western most track being New Orleans/Mississippi Delta.
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2782. Grothar
Quoting LargoFl:
..this is not looking good for Florida huh Gro


No, Largo. it doesn't.
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Quoting LargoFl:
yes while everyone is watching 94L..this one might sneak up on us
yep always the smaller ones do
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2780. Grothar
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2779. LargoFl
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33465
2778. LargoFl
Quoting Grothar:
..this is not looking good for Florida huh Gro
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33465
2777. Grothar
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2776. VR46L
Quoting bigwes6844:
Yea dats true. but the way the GFS saying that its going to hit Haiti then cuba. the most im looking at if that is the scenerio would be a TS.


As your post with wave heights shows if 95L develops and follows the Model tracks of late last week, Both North Texas and NOLA need to keep an eye .94L is about 10 days from US this thing is not. It needs a watching IMO
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2775. LargoFl
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33465
Quoting VR46L:


The water in the Gulf is ROCKET FUEL and the Caribbean is like BATH WATER!!!

Anyways with that in mind 95L needs a watching ... but at the moment seems Mexico Bound like its Mama , Helena

Yea dats true. but the way the GFS saying that its going to hit Haiti then cuba. the most im looking at if that is the scenerio would be a TS.
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2773. LargoFl
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33465
2772. LargoFl
Quoting bigwes6844:
yeah but that darn front is gonna stall out and help out 95L big time or should I say Helene's remmants
yes while everyone is watching 94L..this one might sneak up on us
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33465
Quoting LargoFl:
im guessing it goes up to your area in the gulf then gets caught up in that trough, then over to florida..just a guess we will see what happens
yeah but that darn front is gonna stall out and help out 95L big time or should I say Helene's remmants
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2770. VR46L
Quoting bigwes6844:
i tell ya one thing, if any type of storm slows down in the GOM, they will be growing big time. in better words RI


The water in the Gulf is ROCKET FUEL and the Caribbean is like BATH WATER!!!

Anyways with that in mind 95L needs a watching ... but at the moment seems Mexico Bound like its Mama , Helena

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Quoting LargoFl:
wow sure is going to BE an active week with all those possible storms huh
yep but the main thing is dat 94L runs have been kinda weak lately. so idk yet to believe it
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2768. LargoFl
Quoting bigwes6844:
wave heights are increasing around 95L. Almost up to 4ft
im guessing it goes up to your area in the gulf then gets caught up in that trough, then over to florida..just a guess we will see what happens
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33465
2767. LargoFl
I know tracks change but this is starting to look a lil hairy in regards to florida..either east OR west coast with the track this morning..lets see how it goes in a few days
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33465
wave heights are increasing around 95L. Almost up to 4ft
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2765. LargoFl
Quoting bigwes6844:
rainy weekend for us in the new orleans area. It was nasty all day today. But Good morning to ya. check out comment post#2753 largo. Tell me wat u think
wow sure is going to BE an active week with all those possible storms huh
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33465
Quoting LargoFl:
good morning wes!..going to be an active week alright, lets see what today produces,still days away for the first storm, but a rainy week ahead around My area
rainy weekend for us in the new orleans area. It was nasty all day today. But Good morning to ya. check out comment post#2753 largo. Tell me wat u think
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2763. LargoFl
For those folks travelling to Tampa for the convention, here is our 7-day forecast..have a safe trip..
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33465

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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.