Tropical Storm Chantal: a Likely Harbinger of an Active Atlantic Hurricane Season

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:02 PM GMT on July 08, 2013

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Tropical Storm Chantal is speeding westwards at 26 mph towards a Tuesday encounter with the Lesser Antilles Islands. Satellite loops show that Chantal has plenty of spin, with several well-developed low-level spiral bands that have gradually increased their heavy thunderstorm activity this morning. However, Chantal is fighting dry air associated with the Saharan Air Layer (SAL). The heavy thunderstorm activity near Chantal's center is rather thin, and there are virtually no heavy thunderstorms on the storm's north side, where upper-level northwesterly winds are creating light to moderate wind shear of 5 - 15 knots, and driving dry air into the storm. This dry air is readily apparent on water vapor satellite loops. Ocean temperatures are fairly warm, though, at 27.5 - 28°C. There have not been any hurricane hunter missions into Chantal yet, but an Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft deployed to St. Croix on Sunday, and is scheduled to investigate Chantal on Monday afternoon.


Figure 1. MODIS image of Chantal taken at approximately 10 am EDT Monday, July 8, 2013. At the time, Chantal had top winds of 45 mph. Image credit: NASA.


Figure 2. U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Levi Denham, a WC-130J Hercules aircraft weather reconnaissance loadmaster assigned to the 53rd Reconnaissance Squadron (the Hurricane Hunters), performs pre-engine start-up inspections in St. Croix, Virgin Islands, on Sept. 16, 2010. DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez, U.S. Air Force. Thanks go to wunderground member Patrap for pointing out this photo.

Forecast for Chantal
The 8 am EDT Monday forecast from the SHIPS model predicts that Chantal will experience low to moderate shear through Tuesday afternoon as it heads west-northwest at 25 mph towards Hispaniola. With ocean temperatures expected to warm to 28°C during that time, Chantal has the potential to intensify to a 65 mph tropical storm before hitting Hispaniola. Working against intensification will be the fast forward speed of the storm--tropical storms moving faster than 20 mph in the deep tropics usually have trouble intensifying. In addition, the Eastern Caribbean is an area where the trade winds accelerate, helping drive sinking air that discourages tropical storm intensification. Dry air will also slow down the intensification process, and I don't see Chantal making it to hurricane strength before interacting with the mountains of Hispaniola and/or Cuba on Tuesday night and Wednesday. This interaction may be able to destroy the storm, since wind shear is also expected to rise to the high range, 20 - 30 knots, Tuesday night through Thursday. Chantal has the potential to cause big problems for Haiti, which is highly vulnerable to flash flooding due to the lack of vegetation on the deforested mountains. However, there is a lot of dry air to the west of Chantal, which may act to keep rainfall totals in Haiti down to a manageable 2 - 4". Over 300,000 people are still homeless and living in makeshift tent camps in Haiti, three years after the great 2010 earthquake.

Once Chantal crosses Hispaniola and enters the Bahamas late this week, the trough of low pressure pulling the storm to the northwest is expected to lift out. It is unclear at this point whether or not this trough will be strong enough to pull Chantal out to sea, or whether the storm might be forced back to the northwest into the U.S. East Coast by high pressure building in.


Figure 3. There have been only thirteen tropical depressions or tropical storms that have formed July 15 or earlier that have passed through the Lesser Antilles since 1851, an average of one such tropical cyclone every thirteen years. Note that two of these storms, Dennis and Emily, occurred during the notorious Hurricane Season of 2005. There were five other pre-July 16 storms that formed east of the Lesser Antilles Islands, but did not pass through the islands (Bertha of 2009, Barry of 1989, and unnamed tropical depressions in 1967, 1978, and 2001.) Image credit: NOAA's Historical Hurricane Tracks website.

Chantal: an uncommon early-season Cape Verde-type tropical storm
Formation of a tropical storm east of the Lesser Antilles Islands in early July from an African tropical wave is an uncommon occurrence. Since Atlantic hurricane records began in 1851, there have been only thirteen tropical depressions or tropical storms that have formed July 15 or earlier that have passed through the Lesser Antilles, an average of one early-season tropical cyclone every thirteen years. Note that two of these storms, Dennis and Emily, occurred during the notorious Hurricane Season of 2005. There were five other pre-July 16 storms that formed east of the Lesser Antilles Islands, but did not pass through the islands (Bertha of 2009, Barry of 1989, and tropical depressions in 1967, 1978, and 2001 that did not become named storms.)

Chantal: a likely harbinger of an active Atlantic hurricane season
Chantal's formation on July 8 is an usually early date for formation of the season's third storm, which usually occurs on August 13. A large number of early-season named storms is not necessarily a harbinger of an active season, unless one or more of these storms form in the deep tropics, south of 23.5°N. According to Phil Klotzbach and Bill Gray, leaders of Colorado State's seasonal hurricane forecasting team,

"Most years do not have named storm formations in June and July in the tropical Atlantic (south of 23.5°N); however, if tropical formations do occur, it indicates that a very active hurricane season is likely. For example, the seven years with the most named storm days in the deep tropics in June and July (since 1949) are 1966, 1969, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2005, and 2008. All seven of these seasons were very active. When storms form in the deep tropics in the early part of the hurricane season, it indicates that conditions are already very favorable for TC development. In general, the start of the hurricane season is restricted by thermodynamics (warm SSTs, unstable lapse rates), and therefore deep tropical activity early in the hurricane season implies that the thermodynamics are already quite favorable for tropical cyclone (TC) development."

Two of this season's three storms have formed in the deep tropics--Tropical Storm Barry, which formed in the Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche at a latitude of 19.6°N, and now Tropical Storm Chantal, which formed at a latitude of 9.8°N. With recent runs of the GFS model predicting formation of yet another tropical storm southwest of the Cape Verde Islands early next week, it appears that the Atlantic is primed for an active hurricane season in 2013.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting 1378. DataNerd:



Ernesto did this and then Recon fixed the correct new center and we suddenly realized we had a decoupled dying system and the previous NHC advisory plus all other assumptions as to were the center was were wrong including my own.

Like I said, I will wait for a VDM on whatever pass that comes on to confirm where the center is but regardless of that, there is no wind thus far on the entire southern periphery of this system. That basically means its half dead.


I'm aware of that. Regardless, it is unwise to base a systems organization off of one single pass unless that pass was directly over the CoC. The CoC appears to be farther north based on satellite. We'll see.
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Recon has turned east towards the main body of convection to see if there is another center

Time: 21:57:30Z
Coordinates: 10.9833N 54.4833W
Acft. Static Air Press: 966.8 mb (~ 28.55 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 402 meters (~ 1,319 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 1012.3 mb (~ 29.89 inHg)
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 191° at 15 knots (From the S/SSW at ~ 17.2 mph)
Air Temp: 22.8°C (~ 73.0°F)
Dew Pt: 18.9°C (~ 66.0°F)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 16 knots (~ 18.4 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 11 knots (~ 12.6 mph)
SFMR Rain Rate: 1 mm/hr (~ 0.04 in/hr)

Our highest winds should be somewhere in here.
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The GFS spares Chantel the trouble of land interaction with the mountainous areas.
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90HR
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Quoting 1365. CybrTeddy:


You're operating under the assumption the center is what they found, and not some random vorticity that Chantal is spitting out. Ernesto did this. The NHC wouldn't throw out a 1005mb pressure for no reason.



Ernesto did this and then Recon fixed the correct new center and we suddenly realized we had a decoupled dying system and the previous NHC advisory plus all other assumptions as to were the center was were wrong including my own.

Like I said, I will wait for a VDM on whatever pass that comes on to confirm where the center is but regardless of that, there is no wind thus far on the entire southern periphery of this system. That basically means its half dead.
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1377. Patrap
At 21:57:30Z (last observation), the observation was 376 miles (606 km) to the ESE (113°) from Bridgetown, Barbados.


Product: Air Force High Density (HDOB) Message (URNT15 KNHC)
Transmitted: 8th day of the month at 21:56Z
Date: July 8, 2013
Aircraft: Air Force Aircraft (Last 3 digits of the tail number are 302)
Storm Number: 03
Storm Name: Chantal (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 1
Observation Number: 22

21:57:30Z 10.983N 54.483W 966.8 mb
(~ 28.55 inHg) 402 meters
(~ 1,319 feet) 1012.3 mb
(~ 29.89 inHg) - From 191° at 15 knots
(From between the S and SSW at ~ 17.2 mph) 22.8°C
(~ 73.0°F) 18.9°C
(~ 66.0°F) 16 knots
(~ 18.4 mph) 11 knots
(~ 12.6 mph) 1 mm/hr
(~ 0.04 in/hr) 10.3 knots (~ 11.9 mph)
68.8%
Time Coordinates Aircraft
Static Air Pressure Aircraft
Geopotential Height Extrapolated
Surface Pressure D-value Flight Level Wind (30 sec. Avg.) Air Temp. Dew Point Peak (10 sec. Avg.)
Flight Level Wind SFMR
Peak (10s Avg.) Sfc. Wind SFMR
Rain Rate Estimated Surface Wind (30 sec. Avg.)
Using Estimated Reduction Factor Peak Wind at Flight Level to
Est. Surface Reduction Factor
HDOB Observations
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125553
Quoting 1371. DataNerd:
There doesn't seem to be anything there at all.


West winds? Barely any. The circulation may be open to the south.

If it is closed its very indefinite right now. They are still not finding any wind to the south. Highest winds thus far were:

Time: 20:43:00Z
Coordinates: 13.0833N 56.0833W
Acft. Static Air Press: 582.2 mb (~ 17.19 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 4,672 meters (~ 15,328 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 1013.1 mb (~ 29.92 inHg)
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 94° at 35 knots (From the E at ~ 40.2 mph)
Air Temp: -1.0°C (~ 30.2°F)
Dew Pt: -4.0°C (~ 24.8°F)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 36 knots (~ 41.4 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: -
SFMR Rain Rate: -


On the north side outer edge in the spiral banding.


you are aware they are on the south side, getting further away from the center right?
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7233
Quoting 1366. Tazmanian:




am starting too think the nhc jump the gune last night and named it way two soon
I will wait until more passes to make a conclusion.
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1374. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125553
UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 8.1.4
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 08 JUL 2013 Time : 204500 UTC
Lat : 11:45:59 N Lon : 53:48:25 W


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
3.5 / 999.3mb/ 55.0kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
3.3 3.0 3.0

Center Temp : -31.1C Cloud Region Temp : -46.7C

Scene Type : CURVED BAND with 0.54 ARC in LT GRAY

Positioning Method : FORECAST INTERPOLATION

Ocean Basin : ATLANTIC
Dvorak CI > MSLP Conversion Used : ATLANTIC

Tno/CI Rules : Constraint Limits : NO LIMIT
Weakening Flag : ON
Rapid Dissipation Flag : OFF

C/K/Z MSLP Estimate Inputs :
- Average 34 knot radii : 46km
- Environmental MSLP : 1014mb

Satellite Name : GOES13
Satellite Viewing Angle : 28.2 degrees

Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 9 Comments: 6676
There doesn't seem to be anything there at all.


West winds? Barely any. The circulation may be open to the south.

If it is closed its very indefinite right now. They are still not finding any wind to the south. Highest winds thus far were:

Time: 20:43:00Z
Coordinates: 13.0833N 56.0833W
Acft. Static Air Press: 582.2 mb (~ 17.19 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 4,672 meters (~ 15,328 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 1013.1 mb (~ 29.92 inHg)
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 94° at 35 knots (From the E at ~ 40.2 mph)
Air Temp: -1.0°C (~ 30.2°F)
Dew Pt: -4.0°C (~ 24.8°F)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 36 knots (~ 41.4 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: -
SFMR Rain Rate: -


On the north side outer edge in the spiral banding.
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downgrade to depression at 8pm EST?
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Quoting 1353. washingtonian115:
Please don't mention Ernesto.Worst storm ever -_-.
He makes some bloggers fight other cry and someones like me anxious.
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Quoting 1355. CybrTeddy:


Patience young Skywalker, patience. Give it a few more passes.


It amazes me how the idea of patience never sets in on this blog.
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7233
Another thing to keep in mind is that this system has a very small low-level center. There might be a tight pressure gradient.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30247
Quoting 1361. allancalderini:
The circulation is closed but the winds are really weak.




am starting too think the nhc jump the gune last night and named it way two soon
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Quoting 1358. DataNerd:
Still no wind

Time: 21:47:30Z
Coordinates: 11.0N 54.9W
Acft. Static Air Press: 966.6 mb (~ 28.54 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 403 meters (~ 1,322 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 1012.2 mb (~ 29.89 inHg)
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 326° at 3 knots (From the NW/NNW at ~ 3.4 mph)
Air Temp: 22.2°C (~ 72.0°F)
Dew Pt: 20.2°C (~ 68.4°F)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 4 knots (~ 4.6 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 19 knots (~ 21.8 mph)
SFMR Rain Rate: 2 mm/hr (~ 0.08 in/hr)

No further drop in pressure, lowest so far was 1010 just south of 11.5 N by 54.4 west right around visible center.


You're operating under the assumption the center is what they found, and not some random vorticity that Chantal is spitting out. Ernesto did this. The NHC wouldn't throw out a 1005mb pressure for no reason.
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Quoting 1355. CybrTeddy:


Patience young Skywalker, patience. Give it a few more passes.
I'm patient lol. These obs are just a little "unexpected" I guess.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
Quoting 1356. Ameister12:

Either you're trolling, or you're completely oblivious that Chantal will always be a struggling tropical storm.
He's trolling.He also forecast 94L to be a cat 4 Audrey part 2 which never happened.
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Quoting 1356. Ameister12:

Either you're trolling, or you're completely oblivious that Chantal will always be a struggling tropical storm.


Always be a struggling tropical storm?
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5238
Quoting 1351. Tazmanian:
i think the HH are finding a open wave
The circulation is closed but the winds are really weak.
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Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 7506
Still no wind

Time: 21:47:30Z
Coordinates: 11.0N 54.9W
Acft. Static Air Press: 966.6 mb (~ 28.54 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 403 meters (~ 1,322 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 1012.2 mb (~ 29.89 inHg)
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 326° at 3 knots (From the NW/NNW at ~ 3.4 mph)
Air Temp: 22.2°C (~ 72.0°F)
Dew Pt: 20.2°C (~ 68.4°F)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 4 knots (~ 4.6 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 19 knots (~ 21.8 mph)
SFMR Rain Rate: 2 mm/hr (~ 0.08 in/hr)

No further drop in pressure, lowest so far was 1010 just south of 11.5 N by 54.4 west right around visible center.
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18z GFS further to the right thus far.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
Quoting 1340. Camille33:

You don't understand what we are dealing with here,this is a very tight llc and capable of easily Ri in short notice.

Either you're trolling, or you're completely oblivious to the fact that Chantal will always be a struggling tropical storm.
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Quoting 1337. MiamiHurricanes09:
Flight level winds are like 2kts and the pressure is 1010mb+. LOL


Patience young Skywalker, patience. Give it a few more passes.
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84HR
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Quoting 1345. TylerStanfield:

May have been, but still, this recon trip is just as revealing of what's "under the hood" as Tropical Storm Ernesto's last year... Definitely a lot more disorganized than some may have expected.
Please don't mention Ernesto.Worst storm ever -_-.
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Chantal got a closed low from Recon Obs so far, pressures are high, TS force winds are found, the center doesn't appear exposed, Recon still has a lot of investigating to do before the mission is concluded and conclusions can be drawn, but so far Chantal IMO is decent little storm.
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 7506
i think the HH are finding a open wave
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Quoting 1340. Camille33:

You don't understand what we are dealing with here,this is a very tight llc and capable of easily Ri in short notice.


LOL - thanks for keeping the conversation light.
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1348. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125553
Quoting 1340. Camille33:

You don't understand what we are dealing with here,this is a very tight llc and capable of easily Ri in short notice.
Yeahhhh...nope.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
Quoting 1342. DataNerd:
Nothing to speak of on the south side:

Time: 21:47:30Z
Coordinates: 11.0N 54.9W
Acft. Static Air Press: 966.6 mb (~ 28.54 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 403 meters (~ 1,322 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 1012.2 mb (~ 29.89 inHg)
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 326° at 3 knots (From the NW/NNW at ~ 3.4 mph)
Air Temp: 22.2°C (~ 72.0°F)
Dew Pt: 20.2°C (~ 68.4°F)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 4 knots (~ 4.6 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 19 knots (~ 21.8 mph)
SFMR Rain Rate: 2 mm/hr (~ 0.08 in/hr)

Absolutely nothing. Might be an instrument issue since there are some dead calms showing up but I doubt it. No suspect data warnings thus far.


21:39:00Z 11.300N 54.567W 965.7 mb
(~ 28.52 inHg) 405 meters
(~ 1,329 feet) 1011.7 mb
(~ 29.88 inHg) - From 271° at 3 knots
(From the W at ~ 3.4 mph)

Its closed
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7233
Quoting 1332. CybrTeddy:
Looks to me what we saw was a vorticity rotating around Chantal, or being spit out judging by the location.

May have been, but still, this recon trip is just as revealing of what's "under the hood" as Tropical Storm Ernesto's last year... Definitely a lot more disorganized than some may have expected.
Member Since: June 2, 2013 Posts: 4 Comments: 711
Quoting 1339. Hurricanes101:


they already found west winds, the circulation is closed


Barely.
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Nothing to speak of on the south side:

Time: 21:47:30Z
Coordinates: 11.0N 54.9W
Acft. Static Air Press: 966.6 mb (~ 28.54 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 403 meters (~ 1,322 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 1012.2 mb (~ 29.89 inHg)
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 326° at 3 knots (From the NW/NNW at ~ 3.4 mph)
Air Temp: 22.2°C (~ 72.0°F)
Dew Pt: 20.2°C (~ 68.4°F)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 4 knots (~ 4.6 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 19 knots (~ 21.8 mph)
SFMR Rain Rate: 2 mm/hr (~ 0.08 in/hr)

Absolutely nothing. Might be an instrument issue since there are some dead calms showing up but I doubt it. No suspect data warnings thus far.
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If you're a Visual-type person.

Here you go.
Member Since: June 2, 2013 Posts: 4 Comments: 711
Quoting 1337. MiamiHurricanes09:
Flight level winds are like 2kts and the pressure is 1010mb+. LOL

You don't understand what we are dealing with here,this is a very tight llc and capable of easily Ri in short notice.
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Quoting 1324. DataNerd:


It may not be closed still. Recon moving south and not really finding any wind yet coming around.

Remains to be seen lets watch.


they already found west winds, the circulation is closed
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7233
Quoting 1314. DataNerd:
So much for 55 mph upgrade! proof that rain loves to mess with windsat.


There is just nothing there:

Time: 21:37:30Z
Coordinates: 11.35N 54.5167W
Acft. Static Air Press: 966.7 mb (~ 28.55 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 395 meters (~ 1,296 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 1012.0 mb (~ 29.88 inHg)
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 229° at 6 knots (From the SW at ~ 6.9 mph)
Air Temp: 20.8°C (~ 69.4°F)
Dew Pt: 20.8°C (~ 69.4°F)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 8 knots (~ 9.2 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 38 knots (~ 43.7 mph)
SFMR Rain Rate: 16 mm/hr (~ 0.63 in/hr)


Will wait for a vdm to confirm this but we could be back to 95L here.


95L? No.
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5238
Flight level winds are like 2kts and the pressure is 1010mb+. LOL
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
69HR
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1334. Patrap
At 21:47:30Z (last observation), the observation was 350 miles (563 km) to the ESE (114°) from Bridgetown, Barbados.


Product: Air Force High Density (HDOB) Message (URNT15 KNHC)
Transmitted: 8th day of the month at 21:47Z
Date: July 8, 2013
Aircraft: Air Force Aircraft (Last 3 digits of the tail number are 302)
Storm Number: 03
Storm Name: Chantal (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 1
Observation Number: 21

21:47:30Z 11.000N 54.900W 966.6 mb
(~ 28.54 inHg) 403 meters
(~ 1,322 feet) 1012.2 mb
(~ 29.89 inHg) - From 326° at 3 knots
(From between the NW and NNW at ~ 3.4 mph) 22.2°C
(~ 72.0°F) 20.2°C
(~ 68.4°F) 4 knots
(~ 4.6 mph) 19 knots
(~ 21.8 mph) 2 mm/hr
(~ 0.08 in/hr) 14.2 knots (~ 16.4 mph)
475.0%
Time Coordinates Aircraft
Static Air Pressure Aircraft
Geopotential Height Extrapolated
Surface Pressure D-value Flight Level Wind (30 sec. Avg.) Air Temp. Dew Point Peak (10 sec. Avg.)
Flight Level Wind SFMR
Peak (10s Avg.) Sfc. Wind SFMR
Rain Rate Estimated Surface Wind (30 sec. Avg.)
Using Estimated Reduction Factor Peak Wind at Flight Level to
Est. Surface Reduction Factor
HDOB Observations
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125553
Quoting 1318. Grothar:


I believe a little further south.

I agree with this also

Taco :o)
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About JeffMasters

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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