Tropical Storm Cindy

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:47 PM GMT on July 05, 2005

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OK--its got a name, but this one will have no fame. Big brother Dennis is going to steal all the headlines this week. I've been championing Cindy as a beneficial drought-busting tropical storm, but the very real possibility exists that Cindy may dump enough rain over the Centeral Gulf states tomorrow that a direct hit by big brother Dennis next week over the same area would cause much more severe inland flooding problems than it otherwise would.

Dr. Jeff Masters

Entry from Monday, July 4
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Tropical Depression Three still looks like its hanging together enough to survive crossing the Yucatan crossing. There is plenty of dry air on the southwest side of the storm, but lots of deep convection on the northeast side, and a large enough circulation that the storm will have plenty of spin to re-energize the inner core convection once the center emerges over water.

As for the Yucatan being a "hurricane killing" traverse, let's look at the stats of those storms the past 10 years that attempted to cross the Yucatan:

Isidore (2002) hit the Yucatan as a Category 3, weakened to a 40 mph tropical storm, then gradually strenthened the next two days before hitting Louisiana as a 65 mph tropical storm.

Keith (2000) hit the Yucatan as a Category 4, weakened to tropical depression, then took 2 days to regain strength in the Gulf after the crossing and hit Mexico south of Brownsville as a Category 1 hurricane.

Katrina (1999) hit the Yucatan as a tropical depression, then died before it made the crossing.

Dolly (1996) hit the Yucatan as a Category 1, weakened to a tropical depression, then stregthened back to a Category 1 hurricane and hit Mexico after re-emerging into the Gulf.

Roxanne (1995) hit the Yucatan as a Category 3 hurricane, weakened to a 65 mph tropical storm, then re-strengthed to a category 1 hurricane once it emerged into the Gulf.

So for these five storms, all were significantly reduced in strength, but only one was actually terminated by its Yucatan crossing. Perhaps we should call the Yucatan "the bane of hurricanes". It is rare indeed that any storm that encounters the Yucatan regains its original strength. TD 3 could very well break this convention if it survives passage today.

Dr. Jeff Masters

Entry from Sunday, July 3
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We've got another tropical cyclone in the Atlantic, Tropical Depression Three in the Western Caribbean, continuing our pattern of above-average activity this hurricane season. TD 3 is only the third July tropical depression to form in the Western Caribbean in the past 136 years.

TD 3 has a large circulation envelope, so is likely to survive the crossing over the hurricane-killing Yucatan Peninsula and re-energize over the Gulf of Mexico into Tropical Storm Cindy. Will it make it to hurricane status? It's way too early to speculate, as the storm first has to survive crossing the Yucatan, then reorganize. It typically takes a storm about two days to reorganize once it crosses the Yucatan, which will give Cindy (if it makes it to Cindy-hood) just one more day over the warm Gulf of Mexico waters to intensify before it comes ashore in Texas or Louisiana. In all liklihood, Cindy will be a tropical storm, and be a blessing to drought-parched areas of Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas.

For a more detailed analysis of TD 3 and of all the happenings in the tropics this hurricane season, check out the blog of Steve Gregory, a former forecaster with the National Weather Service with 30 years experience forecasting tropical weather.

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14. Hurricanman
4:13 AM GMT on July 12, 2005
Yeah, I figured you did, but I had to say it.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 122
13. oriondarkwood
7:12 PM GMT on July 08, 2005
Hurricanman,

I know but I was talking about in the mainstream media most of the time they only show/talk about where the eye is going to hit. As far as tornados I know and understand. Lastly I don't think thier is much lightning in the hurricane. I don't know why I just seem to remenber that from somewhere (probably NOAA).
Member Since: July 5, 2004 Posts: 51 Comments: 42
12. Hurricanman
4:30 AM GMT on July 08, 2005
oriondarkwood,
They do try and tell you about the whole size of the storm, not just the "eye" of the storm. They have a wind map for that. They also have a system of watches and warnings that extend well east of an approaching storm. But they cannot forecast every tornado...Hurricanes and tropical storms seem to be pretty good at starting tornado outbreaks.
But as long as people live on the coast (not to mention surf during and after a storm) there will be deaths and there millions of dollars in damage.
I was just wondering if it was just me, or is there little or no lightning in a hurricane?
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 122
11. remcm
8:23 PM GMT on July 07, 2005
Once again, thank you for the news. Do yu feel this diminishing in strength will continue or isis short lived?

Gil bastardi was just on Fox news.He is the hurrican expert with Accuweather....He said that he expected Dennis to become a cat. 3 by 5 pm update????? DId he miss something????

He also says he expect w-nw movement and that strike area will be Pensacola to Louisiana boarder? What is your take on this?

Again thank you for your fine updates....
10. W8JPM
1:52 PM GMT on July 07, 2005
Dr. Masters .. Sorry for hitting the
"Spam" flag in error. Enjoy the comments
on this thread.
9. delstonejr
12:24 AM GMT on July 06, 2005
Yes, I live in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and people hereabouts are already fixating on Dennis. What they see is another Ivan, which followed a somewhat similar track.

Another interesting observation -- when Arlene approached the coast a couple of weeks ago people herebouts were asking local media why so many tropical systems are affecting this particular patch of the Gulf Coast. They wondered if Ivan "did something" to the gulf to cause tropical cyclones to favor the north-central patch of shoreline, Northwest Florida in particular. We all know that's superstitious nonsense, but back in the mid-'80s this area was nicknamed "Hurricane Alley." We do seem to get more than our fair share of storms.
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 141 Comments: 81
8. Weathership
7:01 PM GMT on July 05, 2005
I tend to agree with Dr. Matthews. Cindy will help with the precip. in the short term, but Dennis will be the real threat probably next Monday or Tuesday. Maybe a c3H. This contunuing pattern of hits along the LA-MISS-FLA curve must have residents quite anxious to say the least.
7. oriondarkwood
5:48 PM GMT on July 05, 2005
A bit of addition to my earlier post:

... Got thinking and in addition to the "lack of common sense" and "lack of respect for the awesome fury of nature" (ie building closer and closer to water, more and more disreguard for watches and even warnings, etc.. etc..). Is that in the case of tropical systems, more and more people that currently are living in tropical system prone areas are people that did not grow up in these areas but transplants from areas that are not prone to tropical systems (ie huge amounts of people moving from the north to the south).

I can speak from personal knowledge of this (having moved from NC to upstate NY). I have heard about the cold and snow, but until you actually seen 20 inches of snow fall in 8 hours or watched it go from 60 to 10 in the span of a couple of hours.. You are not prepared for it and can be caught unawares.

Another thing is people forget the size of hurricanes and its power can be spread out of hundreds of miles. As Ike said. Ivan hit Gulf Shores Alabama, but was able to have the power to spawn tornadoes and kill people in a town 167 miles away (google map - http://tinyurl.com/8l7tb ).

For a good example of just how big hurricanes can get take a look at the size Typhoon Tip was (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typhoon_Tip)

The changes of a tropical system that big would be fairly high IMHO (remenber I am not a expert). Due to the land masses and the areas most hurricanes develop (the only likely chance would be a Cape Verde hurricane that stalled in the middle of the ocean for a while. Then is still a long shot due to the shortage of warm ocean to feed a system of that size.

Member Since: July 5, 2004 Posts: 51 Comments: 42
6. IKE
4:28 PM GMT on July 05, 2005
oriondarkwood...you bring up a good point. When Ivan hit, tornadoes were spawned well east of the "center" of that dangerous hurricane...over around the Marianna, Fl. area killing several people. And how far is that from the center of where Ivan hit? i'm guessing somewhere around 150-200 miles east. There's a lot more to a hurricane than just the central point. It will be interesting to see what becomes of Dennis. I have a feeling about this storm and it's effects in the gulf coast region...from louisiana to florida.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
5. oriondarkwood
1:14 PM GMT on July 05, 2005
Got another question for hurricane fans out in cyberspace (probably a well beat question but I am starting to get interested in hobbies I have been long nelecting). Why is everyone focused on the "moving dot" of the eye of a hurricane. Should people and NOAA push to use a area type map (ie show the area of the storm instead of the eye). I know everyone should know this but sadly we live in a world of increasing "lack of common sense".
Member Since: July 5, 2004 Posts: 51 Comments: 42
4. SteveGregory
4:30 PM GMT on July 04, 2005
Jeff - you might want add Hurricane Allen (1980 I believe) to the 'list' as well -- another great example of the Yucatan turning a powerfull (CAT 5) storm into a not so powerfull storm (I don't recall for certain, but I believe Allen ended up hitting the Texas coast as a strong CAT 2)

In general though, a storm crossing northern Yucatan is adversely affected - "mile for mile" -- the same as one crossing Florida due to the relatively flat terrain. (Unlike some locations in Cuba and the bigger northern Caribbean Islands where mountainous terrain - mile for mile -- will shred a hurricanes circulation very quickly.)

Steve
Member Since: July 1, 2005 Posts: 217 Comments: 0
3. IKE
10:01 AM GMT on July 04, 2005
Looking at computer models and satellite pictures....doesn't look like a Texas hit to me. I'd say LA eastward to Florida with this one. In what form...TS or hurricane? I'll say a strong TS that should get picked up by the westerlies as it approaches... shunting it towards the east/NE.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
2. GetReal
2:26 AM GMT on July 04, 2005
Ditto thegreatdr, what away to lose credibilty by describing the Yucatan as hurricane-killing. Hurricane Isidore had to spend three or four days over the Yucatan to lose hurricane strength. Weak systems, such as depressions easily transverse this land mass with no problem, and sometime manage to still become better organized aloft. In addition, this current system appears to be taken a shorter route, nw, and should come into the Gulf of Mexico on the north side of the Yucatan. GetReal.
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8852
1. thegreatdr
1:03 AM GMT on July 04, 2005
Hurricane-killing? For me, the phrase carries a conotation that no TCs survive the passage through the Yucatan...sounds quite dramatic and seems misleading to me.

Hurricanes are easy storms to weaken...a little wind shear or just moving it over land, where rain-cooled or cool/dry surface air can elevate the hurricane force winds aloft, and technically you no longer have a hurricane.

When was the last time a storm/tropical depression hit the Yucatan and did not survive the trip? I think it's been 6 years since that happenned (Katrina I believe), but plenty of storms have crossed the Yucatan as far back as I can recall, and Katrina is the only TS or TD I can think of that didn't survive the trip across the Yucatan. Other storms weakened to tropical storms or depressions, but didn't completely die.

DR

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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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