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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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
They're here for guidance; and they analyse the environment far better than we do.

And even if I look at the pattern, such a poleward track still seems unlikely. With the strength of the subtropical ridge, it'll be difficult for any cyclone to escape the Caribbean, let alone recurve essentially east of the Bahamas.

Maybe you should watch his video for the reasoning.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32802
Quoting fmhurricane2009:


Bay News nine is definitely the most agressive with every aspect of their forecast, especially during long range cold fronts they could be 5-10 degrees below everyone else in their forecast area (IMO Fox 13 is most conservative) Bay News 9 may overshoot it, but overall it has less long term error.

The reason why stations usually like to keep it conservative is if there is a switch in the models, they don't have to completely switch their forecasts and make viewers happier.



Good observation, Fox 13 isn't always the most conservative though, they seem to be a little less conservative when Paul Delagatto does the forecast, for example he had higher rain chances the whole time with tropical storm Debby which was a great call. It depends on the event. I notice they are more conservative otherwise though. I like how Bay News 9 is a bit more aggressive with their forecast. It changes more often but sometimes that's not a bad thing.

Honestly I usually look at a blend between 11, 13, and 9 then come up with my own forecast. I don't really follow 8 and 10 though.



I do think whole event has been down played somewhat which is a little strange given very wet patterns are common every year in August, 60% to 70% through Wednesday just makes more sense to me given everything coming into play.
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Quoting Houdude:
So I take it the GOM development is not being regarded as a regeneration of Helene and would get new TD number and name if it does strengthen??? This despite the fact it's located virtually at the spot of the last Helene advisory and was forecast by the GFS as a regeneration?

The only thing I can make of that is one of the forecasters has an ex-wife named Helene and is dead sick of looking at and hearing the name.
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Quoting Tropicalupdate:
Is there a ATcf on 95L and 94L



not on 95L but there is one on 94L
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115453
1059. JLPR2
Quoting Barbados:


The OceanSat from earlier had all of the circulations below 12N


That's an old pass and that's actually the TW that is ahead of 94L.
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Quoting Thewatchcontinues:
the noodle spaghetti models all seem to take 95l near east coast florida look at the essemble grpahics

nah the GFS ensembles have been shifting S and W soon they too will join the pack to track as caribbean storm yeah it may get Fl but it will be on its W side/GOM side if it does
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Quoting muddertracker:



TCFA on that? Didn't see that one coming..


no TCFA on 95L yet but there may be by tomorrow according to my Navy contact
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Quoting Tazmanian:




keeper all like jumping the gune on things
Is there a ATcf on 95L and 94L
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Don't use models. Just look at the pattern.


The models are set because of the pattern....
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Don't use models. Just look at the pattern.
They're here for guidance; and they analyse the environment far better than we do.

And even if I look at the pattern, such a poleward track still seems unlikely. With the strength of the subtropical ridge, it'll be difficult for any cyclone to escape the Caribbean, let alone recurve essentially east of the Bahamas.
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Quoting caneswatch:
I think 94L's analogs are Hugo, Andrew, Frances, and Earl.
Analogs.
We need more analogs.
Except we need to remember the "L's" that dissipated.
If we just remember the monsters as analogs, then it's nothing more than cowbell.
.
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Quoting muddertracker:



TCFA on that? Didn't see that one coming..




keeper all ways like jumping the gune on things
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115453
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
POSS T.C.F.A.
XXL/INV95/XX/XX
MARK
26.66N/94.66W



TCFA on that? Didn't see that one coming..
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:


ok go to floater loop and choose RGB or visible


The OceanSat from earlier had all of the circulations below 12N
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Funny and not very probable but the "Farmers Almanac" predicts a "Hurricane Threat" in the Virginia Beach area the last week of August. This supports Levi's thoughts and would put the outer banks in a brush by or more situation from 94L.
Just my two cents.
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1046. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
POSS T.C.F.A.
XXL/INV95/XX/XX
MARK
26.66N/94.66W
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:


A short term response from the Overall tightening in the South and Se Quads with the inflow.

Also the forward quick pace tends to increase that as well they occur together.




Thanks Patrap, makes sense. BTW, please feel free to shove all that moisture from the Big Easy WSW about 560 miles as soon as you have had your fill......
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Quoting Thewatchcontinues:
what a big hook out to sea?


Me thinks you know more than your letting on?
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5248
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Not one that I'ce seen model agrees with such a poleward track, and if there is one that does, forgive me as I haven't seen every single one.

Don't use models. Just look at the pattern.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32802
Quoting Tazmanian:



vary worng it wont follow gordon




none of them mode runs show it going out too sea





And none of them show it hitting the Conus either, You can't just extrapolate and extend a model run :) Bottom line it's either a hooker or will it up in Mexico like Ernesto and Herlene

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Quoting Thewatchcontinues:
what about dust and wind shear? could they play a role with 94l and keep it small?


Dry air and Saharan Dry Dusty Air have impeded 94l and I think the other Low Pressue so close to 94L has had a impact.
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5248
Quoting Thewatchcontinues:
alot of models as of now suggest 93l towards mexico




there is no 93L
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115453
1036. Patrap
Quoting atmosweather:


The surface setup down there is dangerous down there..that's the one thing I can say about 95L.



Yuppers, as the potential is there downstream in time.

Nothing imminent, but they Tagged her to get the trends and tools a flowing.
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Quoting spathy:


Storm of the Century?
Could qualify for that!


Is the March 1993 Superstorm the Storm of the Century ? From tornados to a blizzard on the AL Gulfcoast in less than 20 hours
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I think Levi has the best handle on the storm to be honest.

Not one model that I've seen agrees with such a poleward track, and if there is one that does, forgive me as I haven't seen every single one.
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Quoting Patrap:





The surface setup down there is dangerous down there..that's the one thing I can say about 95L.
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Quoting LargoFl:
gee your so right there, this is going to be a very interesting week ahead alright...went to my local park yesterday..Just with that rain we had..the lake went up about 2 feet...over time this is going to be bad all around the gulf coast



Yeah I think we will get a soaking that's for sure! Well not for sure, lol you can never be sure bet it seems quite likely in my opinion.
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Quoting Thewatchcontinues:
is florida safe from all these storms?
keep an eye on them. more will be known later in the week
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Quoting Thewatchcontinues:
i think it might follow gordon eventually



vary worng it wont follow gordon




none of them mode runs show it going out too sea



Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115453
1028. LargoFl
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1027. Patrap
Quoting want2lrn:


Just an extreme rookie here and not "casting" in any sense (basically because i do not know enough to do so) but it appears as though 94L is making a WSW move. Would others agree?


A short term response from the Overall tightening in the South and Se Quads with the inflow.

Also the forward quick pace tends to increase that as well,when they occur together.


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1025. Patrap
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
StormChaser2007 has access to all the sweet models I could only dream of getting my hands on.

Anyways, latest floater loop of 94L. Increase in structure, decrease in convection. Note the clouds on the west side how puffy they look, means a lot of dry air. 94L's worst days are today and tomorrow, after such an increase in organization is possible.


Just an extreme rookie here and not "casting" in any sense (basically because i do not know enough to do so) but it appears as though 94L is making a WSW move. Would others agree?
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Quoting Thewatchcontinues:
scroll back thats what levi's graphic suggests a hook




not going out too sea on 94L


am going by what mode runs show
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115453
1021. Grothar
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I think Levi has the best handle on the storm to be honest.



Quelle suprise!
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27208
1019. Patrap
Well dere's always da Bunka,eh?

; )
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1017. Dakster
Quoting mobileshadow:


I have always wanted to chase a snow cane :)


32C maybe...
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10754
1016. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
T.C.F.A.
XXL/INV94/XX/XX
MARK
14.68N/39.99W
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1015. LargoFl
SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEWPORT/MOREHEAD CITY NC
330 PM EDT SUN AUG 19 2012

NCZ047-095-103-104-192030-
CARTERET-MAINLAND DARE-OUTER BANKS DARE-OUTER BANKS HYDE-
330 PM EDT SUN AUG 19 2012

...STRONG THUNDERSTORMS WILL MOVE ACROSS CARTERET...OUTER BANKS
DARE...MAINLAND DARE...AND OUTER BANKS HYDE THROUGH 430 PM EDT...

AT 329 PM EDT...DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A LINE OF STRONG
THUNDERSTORMS ALONG A LINE EXTENDING FROM 7 MILES SOUTHWEST OF DUCK
TO 16 MILES EAST OF ENGELHARD TO OCRACOKE...MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 25
MPH.

LOCATIONS IN THE PATH OF THESE STORMS INCLUDE...SOUTHERN SHORES...
KITTY HAWK...COLINGTON...KILL DEVIL HILLS...BUXTON...CAPE HATTERAS
LIGHTHOUSE.

HAZARDS INCLUDE...
PEA SIZE HAIL.
GUSTY WINDS OF 30 TO 40 MPH.
HEAVY RAINFALL AND MINOR FLOODING.

IF YOU SEE LIGHTNING OR HEAR THUNDER...YOU ARE AT RISK. TAKE SHELTER
INDOORS IMMEDIATELY. IF YOU CANNOT FIND SHELTER IN A BUILDING A
VEHICLE PROVIDES SAFETY FROM LIGHTNING.

&&
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Quoting Thewatchcontinues:
does the spaghetti models mean much are they accurate? alot of them show 94l heading towards east coast florida


There is no yes or no answer. If you really want to know, then just read and learn. It will be a while before anyone knows for sure where 94 will go.
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1013. Grothar
Quoting Dakster:


Interesting, but some bloggers heads are so large they might not fit on a playing card.


LOL.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27208

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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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