Isaac lashing the Lesser Antilles; TD 10 forms

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:06 PM GMT on August 22, 2012

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Tropical Storm Isaac is lashing the entire Lesser Antilles chain of islands with heavy rains this morning, and the winds will be on the increase this afternoon as the storm heads west at 19 mph. Isaac is still a weak and disorganized tropical storm, but that is changing. The Hurricane Hunters are in the storm, and have thus far found no increase in the storm's top surface winds, which remain near 45 mph. In their 7:44 am EDT center fix, an Air Force Reserve aircraft measured a rather unimpressive center pressure of 1007 mb, and top winds at their 1000 foot flight altitude of 56 mph. The plane did not observe an eyewall trying to form, and recent microwave satellite images also show no signs of an eyewall forming. A large area of dry air to the north of the storm, as seen on water vapor satellite loops, continues to interfere with development, and it is unlikely Isaac will become a hurricane today. Satellite loops, however, show that Isaac has developed a Central Dense Overcast (CDO) of high cirrus clouds, the hallmark of a developing storm. These clouds have very cold cloud tops, indicating that the updrafts creating them are quite strong. An analysis of upper level winds from the University of Wisconsin CIMSS shows that upper-level outflow is becoming well-established to the southwest and northwest, but outflow is restricted on the southeast side. A large clump of heavy thunderstorms several hundred miles southeast of the center continues to compete for moisture, and is interfering with the low level inflow and upper level outflow of the storm. The intensification rate of Isaac will increase if the storm is able to integrate this clump of heavy thunderstorms into its circulation, which satellite loops this morning suggest is now beginning to happen. Radar imagery from Barbados and Martinique show plenty of heavy rain showers, mostly on the south side of Isaac where it is moister, but little spiral banding. Hurricane hunter missions are scheduled for Isaac every six hours, and a NOAA hurricane hunter research aircraft will also be in the storm, with missions scheduled every 12 hours. The NOAA jet is first scheduled to fly into the storm on Thursday afternoon, to do a large-scale dropsonde mission to aid model forecasts.


Figure 1. Morning radar image of Isaac taken from the Barbados radar at 10:15 am EDT. Image credit: Barbados Weather Service.

Intensity forecast for Isaac
The latest 8 am EDT run of the SHIPS model shows that wind shear is moderate, 10 - 15 knots, but is expected to relax by this evening to a low 5 - 10 knots. Ocean temperatures have increased to a very warm 29°C, and the storm is now over waters with a high total heat content. The lowering wind shear and warm waters should allow the storm to wall off the dry air that has been interfering with development, and also allow the storm to integrate the thunderstorm clump on its southeast side that has been interfering with low level inflow and upper level outflow. It will take some time for the increase in organization to result in an increase in Isaac's winds, and I still expect top winds of 45 - 60 mph in the Lesser Antilles Islands this evening when the core of the storm moves through. On Thursday, when Isaac will be in the Eastern Caribbean, conditions should be favorable enough to allow steady strengthening to a Category 1 hurricane. The 11 am EDT wind probability forecast from NHC predicted a 47% chance that Isaac will become a hurricane by Friday morning, and a 16% chance it will be a Category 2 or stronger hurricane then. This is a reduction in the odds given in the 5 am advisory.

Impact of Isaac on the Islands
The entire Lesser Antilles Islands chain will have a three-day period of heavy weather Wednesday through Friday. Sustained tropical storm-force winds extend out about 50 miles to the north of the center and 30 miles to the south, so an 80-mile wide swath of the Lesser Antilles will potentially see tropical storm-force winds of 45 - 60 mph this Wednesday evening. Guadaloupe, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Montserrat, and St. Kitts and Nevis at highest risk of these winds.

Winds in St. Croix in the Virgin Islands will likely rise above tropical storm force on Thursday morning, and the south coast of Puerto Rico should see tropical storm-force winds by Thursday afternoon. The San Juan airport may be able to stay open Thursday afternoon and evening, but I think it is more likely they will be forced to shut down.

On Thursday night, heavy rains and tropical storm-force winds should arrive on the southern coast of the Dominican Republic, and all airports in the D.R. will probably be closed on Friday. Rainfall amounts of 8 - 12 inches will likely affect the Dominican Republic Thursday through Saturday, creating dangerous flash floods and mudslides.

Isaac is potentially a very dangerous storm for Haiti, where 400,000 people still live outside underneath tarps in the wake of the 2010 earthquake. Heavy rains from Isaac will begin on Friday morning in Haiti, and last through Sunday. Rainfall amounts of 8 - 12 inches are possible, which will be capable of causing extreme flooding on the vegetation-denuded slopes of Haiti. It will be a major challenge to keep those Haitians living outside safe, if rainfall amounts of 5 - 10 inches occur.

Impact on Florida, Cuba, Jamaica, and the Bahamas
Florida, Cuba, Jamaica, and the Bahamas are all at high risk of receiving hurricane conditions from Isaac. The latest set of 06Z (2 am EDT) model runs for Isaac are fairly unified for the coming three days, showing a westward track to a point on the south coast of Hispaniola. All of the models then predict a more west-northwest track across the island and into eastern Cuba, as Isaac responds to a trough of low pressure over the Southeast U.S. Most of the models then predict a path for Isaac along the spine of Cuba, then into the Florida Straits off the coast of Miami by five days from now. A notable exception is our best-performing model, the ECMWF, which keeps Isaac just south of Cuba, and takes the storm more to the west between Jamaica and Cuba on Saturday, then into the Yucatan Channel between Mexico and Cuba by Monday. However, this model is keeping Isaac weaker than the other models, and thus predicts the storm will have a weaker response to the trough of low pressure over the Southeast U.S. If the official NHC intensity forecast is right and Isaac becomes a hurricane on Thursday, the more southerly track of the ECMWF is not going to verify, and Isaac will spend considerable time over Cuba on Saturday and Sunday. Where Isaac pops off the coast of Cuba will be critical in determining its future path and intensity. Some models predict a more easterly exit point, allowing Isaac to move up the east coast of Florida, and potentially make landfall in the Southeast U.S. The latest 06Z GFS model run predicts a more westerly track, which would potentially allow Isaac to move up the west coast of Florida towards Tampa. Keep in mind that the average error in a 5-day forecast is 260 miles. The two most recent runs of the GFS model, at 00Z and 06Z (8 pm and 2 am EDT), gave positions for Isaac that were about 250 miles apart--the earlier run putting the center near West Palm Beach, and the more recent run giving a location between Key West and Havana, Cuba. While passage over the high mountains of Hispaniola and then Cuba will substantially disrupt Isaac and probably reduce it below hurricane strength, the storm is quite large, and should be able to re-intensify once it emerges over the Florida Straits. Waters will be very warm, near 30°C, wind shear is predicted to be light, and forecasts of the upper-level winds show the possibility of an upper-level outflow pattern very favorable for intensification. If Isaac spends a day over water, that should be enough time for it to intensify into a Category 1 hurricane, and if the storm takes a longer 2-day track over water up either the east or west coast of Florida, a Category 2 or stronger storm is possible.

Isaac is a threat to affect Tampa during the Republican National Convention, August 27 - 30, and the official NHC forecast now has Tampa in the 5-day cone of uncertainly. The latest 11 am EDT wind probability forecast from NHC gives Tampa a 9% chance of receiving tropical storm-force winds for the 24-hour period ending on the morning of first day of the convention (Monday). I blogged about the climatological chances of a hurricane causing an evacuation of Tampa during the convention in a post last week, putting the odds at 0.2%. I put the odds of an evacuation occurring during the convention in the current situation at 3%.


Figure 2. Morning satellite image of Tropical Depression Ten.

Tropical Depression Ten forms in the Eastern Atlantic
The large tropical wave in the Central Atlantic, midway between Africa and the Lesser Antilles Islands, has become Tropical Depression Ten. The depression has an impressive amount of spin and heavy thunderstorm activity, as seen on visible satellite loops, and should be Tropical Storm Joyce by Thursday. None of the models show that TD 10 will be a threat to the Lesser Antilles Islands.

Which model should you trust?
Wunderground provides a web page with computer model forecasts for many of the best-performing models used to predict hurricane tracks. So which is the best? Well, the best forecasts are made by combining the forecasts from three or more models into a "consensus" forecast. Over the past decade, NHC has greatly improved their forecasts by relying on consensus forecast models made using various combinations of the GFS, GFDL, NOGAPS, UKMET, HWRF, and ECMWF models. If you average together the track forecasts from these models, the NHC official forecast will rarely depart much from it, and the NHC forecast has been hard to beat over the past few years. The single best-performing model over the past two years has been the ECMWF (European Center model). The GFS model has been a close second. You can view 7-day ECMWF and 16-day GFS forecasts on our wundermap with the model layer turned on. Ten-day ECMWF forecasts are available from the ECMWF web site. The European Center does not permit public display of tropical storm positions from their hurricane tracking module of their model, so we are unable to put ECMWF forecasts on our computer model forecast page that plots positions from the other major models. As seen in Figure 3, the HWRF and GFDL were well behind the ECMWF and GFS in forecast accuracy in 2011, but were still respectable. The BAMM model did very well at 4 and 5-day forecasts. The UKMET, NOGAPS, and CMC models did quite poorly compared to the ECMWF, GFS, GFDL, and HWRF. For those interested in learning more about the models, NOAA has a great training video (updated for 2011.)


Figure 3. Skill of computer model forecasts of Atlantic named storms 2011, compared to a "no skill" model called "CLIPER5" that uses just climatology and persistence to make a hurricane track forecast (persistence=a storm will tend to keep going in the direction it's current going.) OFCL=Official NHC forecast; GFS=Global Forecast System model; GFDL=Geophysical Fluid Dynamic Laboratory model; HWRF=Hurricane Weather Research Forecasting model; NOGAPS=Navy Operational Global Prediction System model; UKMET=United Kingdom Met Office model; ECMWF=European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasting model; TVCA=one of the consensus models that lends together several of the above models; CMC=Canadian Meteorological Center (GEM) model; BAMM=Beta Advection Model (Medium depth.) Image credit: National Hurricane Center 2011 verification report.

I'll have a new post this afternoon.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting tamipeach:
So...does a new center help move the path away from Florida? I went to grab a couple of cases of water and missed like 30 pages lol. thanks!

not really. if it allows it to get stronger it will feel the weakness more than a weak storm like the Euro shows going thru the caribbean.
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Quoting TampaBayStormChaser:
WORST FLOODING I have ever seen in St. Petersburg small ditches are filled and about to flood the roads in my neighborhood...St. Petersburg and Pinellas County had major flooding problems yesterday and Isaac if it impacts us will create a flooding disaster. 


If the worst flooding you have ever seen is some small ditches being filled... you haven't seen a flood
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6704
Quoting HurricaneDean07:

The center is reforming... Its been shown by recon passes.


NICE CALL SLU!!! Being on the BALL!
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I generally just lurk on this blog, since I don't have the knowledge and expertise that many of you seem to have. However, if Isaac does form a new center to the south, what does that do to the potential track of Isaac for the next 3/4 days?
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Remember, just because the center reforms doesn't mean Isaac has to go more south, but it increases the chances... We may see the cone shift down towards Jamaica at 5PM.

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1188. LargoFl
Quoting TampaBayStormChaser:
WORST FLOODING I have ever seen in St. Petersburg small ditches are filled and about to flood the roads in my neighborhood...St. Petersburg and Pinellas County had major flooding problems yesterday and Isaac if it impacts us will create a flooding disaster. 
unless issac is 500 miles off the coast, we sure are going to get flooding, all the ditches and ponds etc are full, many streets have water on them right now..and so much more is still coming in from the gulf right now..geez..enough already mother nature
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42095
Quoting HurricaneDean07:

The center is reforming... Its been shown by recon passes.

One center has 1004 MB - The current center. - which is slowly dissipating.
The other has 1006 MB- The new developing center. - which will take the place and slowly strengthen.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Recon went by the old circulation that was at 16.1, pressures have risen to 1007mb and no windshift either this time. This tells me the old circulation has died and the new one is taking over at 15.2N.Loads of westerlies found earlier from that circulation and lowering pressures to about 1005mb. Good call by some bloggers on here.


I was a bit skeptical at first. Nice job by SLU to pick up on it.
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******FRESH RADAR LOOP FROM FDF******

...time to play everybody's favorite quiz sensation: "Pick Out the COC"!

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1184. Gorty
Quoting Gorty:


And from Ernesto, we all know what a cyclone can do when in a favorable environment...

btw for the record, JB was right with Ernesto, intensifying close to land and remaining weak till then.


The bold part... just to make sure everyone sees this :p
Member Since: November 8, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 1058
So...does a new center help move the path away from Florida? I went to grab a couple of cases of water and missed like 30 pages lol. thanks!
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Quoting SLU:
A new center is definitely forming further SE. The winds might now respond right away so the RECON might have a hard time closing it off at first but something is definitely going on there.


The center is reforming... Its been shown by recon passes.
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Link
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1180. LargoFl
ECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIAMI FL
312 PM EDT WED AUG 22 2012

FLZ068-168-222000-
COASTAL PALM BEACH COUNTY FL METRO PALM BEACH COUNTY FL
312 PM EDT WED AUG 22 2012

...A SIGNIFICANT WEATHER ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT FOR EASTERN PALM BEACH
COUNTY...FOR FREQUENT TO EXCESSIVE LIGHTNING AND GUSTY WINDS OF 45 TO
55 MPH...

* UNTIL 400 PM EDT

* AT 311 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS DETECTED A
STRONG THUNDERSTORM NEAR GOLDEN LAKES...AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 10
MPH.

* THE STORM WILL AFFECT...
GLEN RIDGE...
WEST PALM BEACH...
MANGONIA PARK...
RIVIERA BEACH...
PALM BEACH GARDENS...
NORTH PALM BEACH...
AND SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES.

THE PRIMARY IMPACTS WILL BE FREQUENT TO EXCESSIVE LIGHTNING AND GUSTY
WINDS OF 45 TO 55 MPH. LIGHTNING IS THE NUMBER ONE WEATHER RELATED
KILLER IN FLORIDA. TREES AND OPEN SHELTERS OFFER NO PROTECTION. THESE
WINDS CAN DOWN SMALL TREE LIMBS AND BRANCHES...AND BLOW AROUND
UNSECURED SMALL OBJECTS. SEEK SHELTER IN A SAFE BUILDING UNTIL THE
STORM PASSES.

LAT...LON 2669 8003 2665 8010 2666 8014 2670 8020
2677 8020 2686 8016 2682 8004 2679 8002
2677 8002 2677 8003 2676 8003
TIME...MOT...LOC 1912Z 221DEG 10KT 2671 8014

$$

60
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42095
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1177. Patrap
TS Isaac Rainbow Loop

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129841
Quoting SLU:
A new center is definitely forming further SE. The winds might now respond right away so the RECON might have a hard time closing it off at first but something is definitely going on there.



Its a mess for sure SLU. We will have to wait till the Hurricane Hunters are finished. Does anyone have a link for tracking the plane while in flight?
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"Couple Steps Back to Take 10 Forward" IMO
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1173. JLPR2
Right now pressure is down to 1013.4mb in my room (Carolina,PR), was 1018.3mb last night. Kinda neat to see that effect. XD
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1172. LargoFl
Quoting Gorty:


it CAN be valid. But stuff can change and they will have to change the track and intensity.
ok ty
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42095


First band from Isaac reaching Puerto Rico.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:

however, there's no way a model could pick up a center reformation.
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1169. keisa90
New center definitely seems to be taking over on radar.
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I can see a shift south and west on the next advisory for sure. Like it or not the euro has done pretty well with Isaac so far. I do believe there will be a center relocation to the south. Isaac will likely miss a lot of land during its path through the Caribbean and clip the western tip of Cuba heading into the boiling pot
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Thanks to those of you who responded to my question. Most appreciated.
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1166. Relix
Yup, SE won. Will pass farther away from PR. Meh, won't buy gasoline then lol.
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Quoting BeanTech:


your.misuse.of.periods.is.very.annoying....


*steps up to the soap box*

There are many, many reasons why he/she might have periods between every word. I for one, don't care because really, what does he/she do that annoys you so much? Each and every comment he/she makes, to me anyway, is always a valid comment with reference to the blog. So maybe it's a broken keyboard, maybe the person is using some sort of program that lets them type with a pencil or whatever....geez, take a pill.

*gets off her soapbox as I apologize to the blog for the rant*

Lindy

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Recon went by the old circulation that was at 16.1, pressures have risen to 1007mb and no windshift either this time. This tells me the old circulation has died and the new one is taking over at 15.2N.Loads of westerlies found earlier from that circulation and lowering pressures to about 1005mb. Good call by some bloggers on here.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24574
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
From StormCaribe

- Barbados

Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2012 14:52:29 -0400
The rain is here in ChristChurch. It is wild, windy, driving, heavy rain. The street lights have come on. The low grey clouds are moving very fast.



Here in St. Michael it is pouring also but no high winds and the sea is crazyyyyyyyyy.
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1162. LargoFl
Quoting Grothar:
The FIM9

either way he goes, going to be a stormy day or two in south florida looks like
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42095
Quoting SLU:
A new center is definitely forming further SE. The winds might now respond right away so the RECON might have a hard time closing it off at first but something is definitely going on there.



Beginning to agree strongly with you.
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1160. Chiggy
One can see the difference in center location in this latest steering maps.., and according to this map, if Issac stays weak not sure how it cannot end up near Jamaica..
Member Since: June 26, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 297
Quoting Tribucanes:
41 dead now from West Nile with the worst yet to come. Just a friendly heads up. Many thousands will be affected this season.


Dengue fever and Chagas disease are also spreading, probably due to global warming.
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LinkWVLoop
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Well safe to say, today, Isaac got a lot more interesting and unpredictable. HH's must be scratching their heads. How are they to determine what he's doing, if Isaac doesn't know himself. Really hope by the 5PM update the NHC has a better grasp on this most uncertain situation.
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So it's almost safe to rule out Irene path toward Carolinas if the location shifted to southern center?
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1155. Grothar
The FIM9

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1154. icmoore
Quoting MississippiWx:
For selfish reasons, this needs to take the FL route or somehow get jolted east of there. A track like the Euro is showing would be devastating to someone along the N Gulf Coast as it would have a lot of time over open water and favorable upper level conditions. The Euro has not shown a storm bombing out all season long. Just goes to show what could happen if it took that path. If it hugged the FL West Coast, it would most likely not be very strong. However, flooding could be terrible. Still plenty of time for changes and they could easily change for the better!


Well, for my own selfish reasons I would much rather he not hug the west coast of FL :)
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If Isaac ever fills in the N part of his circulation, he's going to be massive.

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Quoting hydrus:
And once the large storm has good momentum, they take longer to weaken, even when they move inland. Hugo comes to mind..WIKI-The storm reached Charlotte, roughly 150 miles (240 km) inland, only six hours after landfall. By this time, it was still a fairly strong tropical storm with sustained winds of 54 mph (87 km/h) and gusts of 87 mph (140 km/h).[16] This was enough to topple trees across roads and houses, leaving many without power, closing schools for as long as two weeks, and spawning several tornadoes. The storm took many in the area by surprise, especially since many coastal residents from both Carolinas often wait out storms there.

By 7:00 am, it was still strong enough to cause heavy rain and tear down hundreds of trees in Conover.[17]

In all, 29 counties in North Carolina were declared federal disaster areas, with damages in that state alone estimated at $1 billion (1989 USD, $1.87 billion 2012 USD).
Yes hydrus this in the point that needs to be made if a Camille type storm was moving very fast lots of inland areas would feel the strongest winds.
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1151. SLU
A new center is definitely forming further SE. The winds might now respond right away so the RECON might have a hard time closing it off at first but something is definitely going on there.

Member Since: July 13, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 5367
Quoting hydrus:
A small shift to the south will make the difference between a nuisance and flooding event, or a major disaster.


Whats the odds this system staying weaker than forecasted for the next 72 hours and if it does will it stay on the south side of the model guidance. I beginning to think that is what we are going to watch unfold for the next couple of days.

This storm has at least 3 different wind shifts in it. That is something that is going to take a couple of days to iron out.
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Question, has anyone seen Reedzone's projection for Isaac yet?

I certainly miss his 1400-mile wide 5-day cones.
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1148. Gorty
Quoting LargoFl:
yes but in the meantime until they DO change the track, its still valid right?


it CAN be valid. But stuff can change and they will have to change the track and intensity.
Member Since: November 8, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 1058
1147. LargoFl
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42095
Quoting AllStar17:
It would also appear any kind of center relocation to the south would not be good news...in fact, the alleged new center is about 75 miles SE of the current center.


Yeah, but being southeast of the old center, it should lift north due to the flow around the old vortmax
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6704
StormCarib

St. Lucia
From: George
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2012 14:55:12 -0400

Rain & cloud since morning, and mid-afternoon temp. now down to about 22°C. Looks like we have a lot more rain to come. Pressure steady at 1009 (up from a low of 1008), and wind now out of the SSW.  Live data here:

http://www.pwsweather.com/obs/IGROSISL2.html
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1144. Grothar
These are just the FIM experimental models.

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1143. LargoFl
Quoting Gorty:
People who post the 2 PM, 8 PM, 2 AM and 8 AM NHC tracks, you do realize that those are just repeated from the last major advisory right? They only update the track and forecast intensity at 5 AM, 11 AM, 5 PM and 11 PM.
yes but in the meantime until they DO change the track, its still valid right?
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42095

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