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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Doc, before I forget, can you add a link to the hurricane archives in your recommended links list? I see pple using the Wikipedia maps for past tracks when we have an excellent source of our own right on the site but not particularly accessible...
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Quoting BahaHurican:
I seriously doubt you will need to cancel or will have bad wx. IF and that is a big IF - 94L heads our way, you should be back in port in the US by the time it approaches the area... Best place to check for news, of course, is your cruise line.

If you are going to be here on Friday / Saturday, enjoy the Goombay summer!


Enjoy your cruise.Those boats stay out of storms way if at all possible.
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Quoting Patrap:
Georges 98




Ivan 04

(Ghost of Ivan Included)






ill never forget carl aradondo calling it that
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2260. bappit
Quoting Grothar:
Don't pay any attention to this. Just for illustration.


LOL I do like posts of the ensembles like Dr. M used in the blog because they show a spread downrange. Sorry my comment earlier offended.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 6019
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Just ignore me. I'm mad I have to get up at 7 am in the morning lol.
Pffft, that's nothing. I go to sleep around 3a.m, and have to be awake by 5:45a.m. You'll get used to never sleeping eventually hahaa.
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Quoting clwstmchasr:


Gained latitude. Interesting.....


No way...two bloggers from the Caymans have veriefied it is moving WSW. Don't buy it.
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2257. Levi32
Quoting floridaboy14:
Levi what are your personal thoughts on 94L? what do you see it doing in your opinion?


My blog entry from this morning has my thoughts on the system. If my thoughts change it will be in tomorrow morning's post.
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2256. Patrap
Quoting AussieStorm:

nope. did it rock your boat?


That takes a lil more mojo usually Aussie.

LoL

Hows ya doin mate?
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128230
SHIPS is staying aggressive, latest run makes 94L a major again.
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Quoting cat6band:


And I'm sure it will shift more.....It's not even a depression yet...everything is "Speculation" right now...you know this!


It just means the whole east coast and gulf coast is in the cone :)
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2253. Patrap
Georges 98




Ivan 04

(Ghost of Ivan Included)




Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128230
Quoting MAweatherboy1:

Nah, ignore me, I am ahead of myself... Getting depressing seeing so many potential storms fade away.


what storm is fading away tonight?

just curious
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7677
Quoting Patrap:


Def..


totes
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Quoting Patrap:
Did anyone feel that?

nope. did it rock your boat?
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Quoting Levi32:


I can see where they're coming from. The swirl we saw dive SW looks like it could be mostly mid-level from a dying convective cell, and it is moving a bit "too much" south of west for me to believe that is the motion of the true center. If you look close you can see hints of a true low-level circulation near the ATCF coordinates, but hard to tell without daylight and a good SCAT pass.

Levi what are your personal thoughts on 94L? what do you see it doing in your opinion?
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Just ignore me. I'd mad I have to get up at 7 am in the morning lol.

Nah, ignore me, I am ahead of myself... Getting depressing seeing so many potential storms fade away, lol.
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2246. Patrap
Quoting weatherh98:


aliens


Def..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128230
Quoting JeffMasters:
As far as a Gulf landfall goes, we may not have a good forecast on this until Friday morning. The trough of low pressure capable of pulling 94L to the north enters Western Canada Thursday night, and will get sampled by the North American radiosonde network in time for the 00Z Friday runs of the models. So far, the GFS pushes this trough faster to the east than the ECMWF, resulting in the GFS's 18Z prediction of a W. Florida landfall. It wouldn't take much of a shift in this trough for a Yucatan/Veracruz Mexican landfall to result, instead. All that being said, the pattern we've seen so far this year is for Yucatan landfalls, so that increases the odds in my book. Also, we have that huge drought region in the Midwest, which tends to create its own high pressure bubble, which reduces the odds of storms making the turn and hitting the Central or Western Gulf Coast. If 94L makes it to the Western Caribbean, the two most likely options are a Yucatan/Veracruz landfall, or on the Gulf Coast east of New Orleans.

Jeff Masters


Thanks, Doc! Great Explanation.
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2244. palmpt
Quoting JeffMasters:
As far as a Gulf landfall goes, we may not have a good forecast on this until Friday morning. The trough of low pressure capable of pulling 94L to the north enters Western Canada Thursday night, and will get sampled by the North American radiosonde network in time for the 00Z Friday runs of the models. So far, the GFS pushes this trough faster to the east than the ECMWF, resulting in the GFS's 18Z prediction of a W. Florida landfall. It wouldn't take much of a shift in this trough for a Yucatan/Veracruz Mexican landfall to result, instead. All that being said, the pattern we've seen so far this year is for Yucatan landfalls, so that increases the odds in my book. Also, we have that huge drought region in the Midwest, which tends to create its own high pressure bubble, which reduces the odds of storms making the turn and hitting the Central or Western Gulf Coast. If 94L makes it to the Western Caribbean, the two most likely options are a Yucatan/Veracruz landfall, or on the Gulf Coast east of New Orleans.

Jeff Masters


Dang, doc! That was fast. Thanks for the insight. Levi, the doc is playing ball for sure.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Without a scatterometer pass, their best guess is as good as ours. Satellite imagery just indicates that there's a broad gyre of cyclonic curvature in that general vicinity. I don't see one consolidated area of circulation.


usually the nhc does not go 80% with a broad system, guess we will have to see how it plays out
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7677
2242. Levi32
Quoting JeffMasters:
As far as a Gulf landfall goes, we may not have a good forecast on this until Friday morning. The trough of low pressure capable of pulling 94L to the north enters Western Canada Thursday night, and will get sampled by the North American radiosonde network in time for the 00Z Friday runs of the models. So far, the GFS pushes this trough faster to the east than the ECMWF, resulting in the GFS's 18Z prediction of a W. Florida landfall. It wouldn't take much of a shift in this trough for a Yucatan/Veracruz Mexican landfall to result, instead. All that being said, the pattern we've seen so far this year is for Yucatan landfalls, so that increases the odds in my book. Also, we have that huge drought region in the Midwest, which tends to create its own high pressure bubble, which reduces the odds of storms making the turn and hitting the Central or Western Gulf Coast. If 94L makes it to the Western Caribbean, the two most likely options are a Yucatan/Veracruz landfall, or on the Gulf Coast east of New Orleans.

Jeff Masters


Thank you for your insight. In case you misunderstood my previous comment as some of the bloggers did, I was conveying my desire to see more of these kinds of thoughts from you, more often.
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2241. Grothar
Don't pay any attention to this. Just for illustration.

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Quoting MAweatherboy1:

How am I getting ahead of myself? Doc just said the Yucatan is looking like a good possibility, so that would mean a weak system.


no he said the chances are increasing
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:

How am I getting ahead of myself? Doc just said the Yucatan is looking like a good possibility, so that would mean a weak system.

Just ignore me. I'm mad I have to get up at 7 am in the morning lol.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31992
2238. Patrap
94L is a Big Ballet Dancer.

And we all know it takes awhile to get them Arms going around before she can tighten up and spin into all she can be.

And we most certainly don't want to see that downstream.

But the NHC and NOAA are making all the right calls such as the POD for a G-4 sniff and such.

Climo aint our friend for 6 more weeks.


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128230
Quoting Patrap:


I thought maybe it was just me.

: )


aliens
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Quoting bamagirl1964:


Dear BahaHurican - Thank you so very much for taking the time to respond to my question and you have certainly put my mind at ease! By the way...what is Goombay summer? LOL - Thanks again!
It's a weekly summer "festival" where they have local food and music. As usual, these happen in the evenings and are held right on Bay St., which is just a block away from the cruise port. [Like Junkanoo.] Some of my friends have been and said it's been good. I haven't been yet this summer, and since my vacation ends this week, I need to try to catch the one this weekend myself.

Now I'm hoping we don't get a visit from 94L for both our sakes... lol
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


if that is the case, 94L does not deserved code red, satellite loops do not show a circulation at that location
Without a scatterometer pass, their best guess is as good as ours. Satellite imagery just indicates that there's a broad gyre of cyclonic curvature in that general vicinity. I don't see one consolidated area of circulation.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Way to get ahead of yourself.

How am I getting ahead of myself? Doc just said the Yucatan is looking like a good possibility, so that would mean a weak system.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
2196- So JMA says 10 minute sustained of 65 kts and JTWC has one minute sustained of 55 kts???





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2231. bappit
Refinery explosion? I didn't feel a thing.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 6019
2230. JeffMasters (Admin)
As far as a Gulf landfall goes, we may not have a good forecast on this until Friday morning. The trough of low pressure capable of pulling 94L to the north enters Western Canada Thursday night, and will get sampled by the North American radiosonde network in time for the 00Z Friday runs of the models. So far, the GFS pushes this trough faster to the east than the ECMWF, resulting in the GFS's 18Z prediction of a W. Florida landfall. It wouldn't take much of a shift in this trough for a Yucatan/Veracruz Mexican landfall to result, instead. All that being said, the pattern we've seen so far this year is for Yucatan landfalls, so that increases the odds in my book. Also, we have that huge drought region in the Midwest, which tends to create its own high pressure bubble, which reduces the odds of storms making the turn and hitting the Central or Western Gulf Coast. If 94L makes it to the Western Caribbean, the two most likely options are a Yucatan/Veracruz landfall, or on the Gulf Coast east of New Orleans.

Jeff Masters
Quoting Levi32:


I can see where they're coming from. The swirl we saw dive SW looks like it could be mostly mid-level from a dying convective cell, and it is moving a bit "too much" south of west for me to believe that is the motion of the true center. If you look close you can see hints of a true low-level circulation near the ATCF coordinates, but hard to tell without daylight and a good SCAT pass.


maybe, but it seems to me that if this were true, that 94L is not as well organized as we thought, it has a lot of work to do IMO
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7677
Quoting Levi32:
AL, 94, 2012082000, , BEST, 0, 151N, 406W, 25, 1010, DB, 34,

ATCF 0z says 94L gained latitude.
the best chance we get an exact center is when the HH fly threw him tuesday.
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Derived from (NHC) ATCF data for CategoryOne HurricaneGordon for 20August12amGMT
MinimumPressure increased from 978millibars to 980millibars
MaxSusWinds decreased from 75knots(86mph)138km/h to 70knots(81mph)130km/h
Vector changed from 73.8*ENEast@21.5mph to 67.1*ENEast@21.2mph(34.1km/h)

CVU-Corvo :: PDL-SaoMiguel :: SMA-SantaMaria

The westernmost dot on the shortest line is H.Gordon's most recent position

The shortest line is a straightline projection through H.Gordon's 2 most recent positions to its closest approach to the nearest coastline
19August12amGMT: Cat2. H.Gordon had been headed for passage 135miles(217kilometres)South of SantaMaria (bottom of dumbbell beneath the straightline projection)
19August6amGMT: Cat2. H.Gordon had been headed for passage 88miles(142kilometres)SSEast of SantaMaria (top of dumbbell beneath the straightline projection)
19August12pmGMT: Cat2. H.Gordon had been headed for passage 36miles(57kilometres)SSEast of SantaMaria (egg beneath the straightline projection,upper)
19August6pmGMT: Cat1. H.Gordon was heading for passage 37miles(59kilometres)SSEast of SantaMaria (egg beneath the straightline projection,lower)
20August12amGMT: Cat1. H.Gordon was heading for passage 8miles(13kilometres)SouthSouthEast of SantaMaria in ~2&1/3.hours from now (when this was posted)

Factoring in today's rate of curvature, I expect landfall upon SantaMaria.

Copy&paste cvu, 34.975n24.941w-35.655n24.842w, 36.424n24.872w-36.41n24.869w, pdl, sma, 34.3n35.0w-34.7n32.6w, 34.7n32.6w-35.2n30.6w, 35.2n30.6w-35.7n28.4w, 35.7n28.4w-36.4n26.3w, 35.7n28.4w-36.817n24.964w, 36.928n25.017w-36.817n24.964w into the GreatCircleMapper for a larger-scale map and other information
The previous mapping for comparison
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
Amazing how fast things change in the tropics... A couple days ago we were looking at a potential East Coast monster. Now we may be looking at a weak TS into Central America.


Way to get ahead of yourself.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31992
Quoting Hurricanes101:


if that is the case, 94L does not deserved code red, satellite loops do not show a circulation at that location


Patience is key for this one.

Boys at the NHC just don't throw percentages at a disturbance for no reason.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Not sure where you're getting that from. Those coordinates put it right where that new convective burst is going up.


the loop to me does not look like there is a circulation there, the one they were tracking from 18Z at the spot they had it went WSW or south of west since then

I have seen atcf be adjusted, it happens all the time, I do not think 94L is north of 15
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7677
2223. Levi32
Quoting Hurricanes101:


if that is the case, 94L does not deserved code red, satellite loops do not show a circulation at that location


I can see where they're coming from. The swirl we saw dive SW looks like it could be mostly mid-level from a dying convective cell, and it is moving a bit "too much" south of west for me to believe that is the motion of the true center. If you look close you can see hints of a true low-level circulation near the ATCF coordinates, but hard to tell without daylight and a good SCAT pass.

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2222. Patrap
Quoting weatherh98:


Yes


I thought maybe it was just me.

: )
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128230
2221. Gearsts
Quoting MAweatherboy1:

And didn't strengthen.
Where the dot of convection is?
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2220. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
2202. MAweatherboy1 1:20 AM GMT on August 20, 2012
2196- So JMA says 10 minute sustained of 65 kts and JTWC has one minute sustained of 55 kts???



It'll be 75 knots at the next JTWC advisory (likely)
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Gordon track

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2218. palmpt
Quoting RussianWinter:


Bay of Campeche?


Weak goes west... Strong goes poleward. Let's hope weak. Strong means monster.
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Quoting Patrap:
Did anyone feel that?


Yes
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


if that is the case, 94L does not deserved code red, satellite loops do not show a circulation at that location

Not sure where you're getting that from. Those coordinates put it right where that new convective burst is going up.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31992
Amazing how fast things change in the tropics... A couple days ago we were looking at a potential East Coast monster. Now we may be looking at a weak TS into Central America.

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2214. Patrap
Did anyone feel that?
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128230
Quoting indianrivguy:


But Levi, the models are spread that far apart.. what would you have the Doc say if not the truth.
We wanted him to say he knew something we didn't... and have that be the truth.... lol

Quoting Dakster:


I remember when Publix used to put them on their paper grocery bags.
City Market used to do that here too.

Quoting WoodyFL:


Just a little sarcastic there don't you think
More ironic than sarcastic, I'm thinking...

Quoting Dakster:


Yes, Bermuda (maybe) and Central/South America... You never know.
Definitely Bermuda and CA...

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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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