The Steering of Dorian

By: Lee Grenci , 3:54 PM GMT on July 26, 2013

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The 5 A.M. discussion from the National Hurricane Center indicated that Tropical Storm Dorian "lost organization" as it encountered southwesterly wind shear and middle- to upper-tropospheric dry air (one of the traditions I learned from the late John Hope was to never use "he" or "she" to describe a named tropical cyclone). NHC's discussion also focused on low- to middle-tropospheric winds associated with the the Atlantic subtropical high-pressure system (06Z GFS model analysis of 700-mb heights early this morning) as the primary steering currents for Tropical Storm Dorian (see the 06Z GFS model analysis of 700-mb heights and 700-mb streamlines below (larger image). At the time, Dorian was moving to the west-northwest at 17 knots.



The 06Z GFS model analysis of 700-mb heights and 700-mb streamlines on July 26, 2013. 700-mb wind speeds are color-coded in knots. Larger image. Courtesy of Penn State.

When I was a young forecaster (a long, long time ago), I typically looked at mid-tropospheric winds as a proxy for the general movement of tropical cyclones. That's because mid-tropospheric winds serve as a rough approximation for the mean airflow in the troposphere. More specifically, old timers like me looked at the winds between 700 mb and 500 mb at a radius of approximately five to seven degrees latitude from the center of the storm (one degree latitude equals 60 nautical miles). As it turns out, winds in the layer from 700 mb to 500 mb often tend to correlate best with the movement of tropical cyclones (at these radii, environmental winds are essentially unaltered by the circulation associated with the tropical cyclone).

Obviously, my approach as a young forecaster was old school. Nonetheless, my simple method had some merit. Indeed, research has shown that a deep-layer mean flow (between 1000 mb to 100 mb, for example) can be used as a tool to assess steering currents (this technique captures the spirit of my old-school approach).

Subtropical highs are not the only features that steer tropical cyclones. Indeed, mid-latitude systems (500-mb troughs, for example) can also steer tropical cyclones as they move poleward from the Tropics. At times, two tropical cyclones can steer each other, assuming that they're close enough for their circulations to interact (the Fujiwhara effect...a topic for a future blog). Finally, tropical cyclones contribute to their own steering, especially when steering currents are rather weak (the Beta effect, which is fodder for another future blog).


The variation of the steering layers for tropical cyclones with minimum central pressure. Larger image. Courtesy of CIMSS and Dr. Chris Velden.

That's all well and good, Grenci, but why did NHC specifically reference "low- to mid-tropospheric winds in their 5 A.M. discussion today? Experience gained from the careful observations of operational forecasters eventually prompted further research aimed at establishing the connection between the minimum pressure of a tropical cyclone and the corresponding depth of the steering layer. The bar graph above (larger image), which displays the minimum pressure of tropical cyclones versus the depth of their steering layers in the Atlantic basin, supports the notion that the steering layer for a tropical depression is shallower and resides lower in the troposphere. In contrast, the steering layer for strong hurricanes is much deeper. The simple physical connection for you to take away after reading my blog is that a weak tropical cyclone (like Dorian) is usually associated with a shallow vortex. Thus, the mean wind in a correspondingly shallow and low-level layer serves as the steering current. As a general rule, the deeper the vortex, the deeper the layer mean that steers the tropical cyclone.


The 09Z analysis of the streamlines designating the mean wind in the layer from 850 mb to 700 mb on July 26, 2013. Larger image. Courtesy of CIMSS.

To get a better sense for the movement of Dorian, focus your attention on the first layer on the left of the bar graph above (central pressure between 1000 mb and 1010 mb). The steering current for Dorian and other similarly weak tropical storms boils down to the mean wind between 850 mb (roughly 5000 feet) and 700 mb (10000 feet). The 09Z analysis from CIMSS (above; larger image) indicates the streamlines of the mean wind in the layer between 850 mb and 700 mb. Wind speeds are color-coded in knots.

At the other end of the spectrum, note the deep steering layers for strong tropical cyclones whose central pressures are lower than 940 mb or range from 940 mb to 949 mb.

I should point out that these results do not include the impact of the Beta effect on the movement of a tropical cyclone. Moreover, other factors such as season, latitude, easterly versus westerly environmental flow, the rates at which the intensity of tropical cyclones changes with time, etc., probably can skew these results a bit, but, as a general rule, the bar graph above will get you in the ballpark in all the ocean basins.

We've come a long way since I was a young forecaster.

Lee

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Quoting 331. Patrap:


John Hope

Born May 14, 1919
Pennsylvania
Died June 13, 2002 (aged 83)
Macon, Georgia
United States
Fields Meteorologist


Source of Camille name on hurricane naming list

In 1969, Hope's daughter graduated from high school, so he added her name to the list of names to be used for hurricanes that year (at that time, there was no organized list of assigned names to be used, the only requirements were that the names had to be female – male names were not used at that time – in alphabetical order, and not otherwise retired).

He had no way of knowing at the time that the storm that would take his daughter's name – Camille – would become one of the most powerful and destructive hurricanes to ever hit the United States when it slammed into Mississippi as a Category five hurricane. His daughter Camille is married to former U.S. Representative Jim Marshall of Georgia.



Thanks that was very interesting. My Dad was a ham radio operator back in the day and helped out during Camille.
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Quoting 366. yonzabam:


They're on a scouting mission to test the water for the September blitzkrieg. Unless the ridge breaks down, could be a historic season.
Sadly... we got another CV tropical wave into Atlantic now. We got to watch that even though models aren't picking up.
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Convection very weak but holding on for dear life.
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If Dorian has an eye like feature , lookout down the road , when HE gets into warmer waters , then watch out , things could become very interesting , for everybody who's going to his funeral , had better wait , the patient has not died , and the comparisons to Andrew , are very VALID ! There's no arguing that fact , case closed! Go back and look at Andrew , look at his sat pics, you will see they are alike .
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What is that hole in the latest sat run? A new core or just a break in the storms? This whole thing is just odd.

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Jesse Ferrell ‏@Accu_Jesse 7h
@RyanMaue @bigjoebastardi Confirmed that the melting "North Pole Webcam" in media yesterday is really 350 miles S Link
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Quoting 263. K8eCane:



Nobody Listens. NEVER underestimate a tropical system.


Never write off a system, (and ncstorm, stop shaking your head, you know what it does to your hair)
My 4th post on this today.





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Quoting 352. PalmBeachWeather:
ecfl.....I really enjoyed TWC back then...I guess it's like everything else nowadays "Money"

Their "local on the 8s" isn't even local anymore have you noticed that? The channel itself isnt even all about weather ecfl is right. Its all....random stuff. They took away their theme song...changed the music on local on the 8s...anf their tropical update isnt even at 50 past the our anymore...they just get to it when they can.
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Dorian didnt make it to be a FISH storm like some poster said it would yesterday. Lo9ks like its taking last breaths. Next...
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39713
Quoting 357. weatherlover94:


I have seen totally naked swirls before and still be classified so we'll see....Dorian appears to be moving West again.
yes correct moving Toward the W or 276°
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12180
Quoting 363. washingtonian115:
???? o_0?.I wasn't directing anything at you.. Sure we have the storms..but we don't have the conditions.:)
Conditions usually don't allow it in Julys in past. Not this July this far north and east. And we got another CV system possibly forming even though models aren't picking it up. We'll see, though.
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Quoting 351. Bluestorm5:
Really can't ignore the fact we got CV systems firing up in July. That's something unheard of in most of years. This year, climatology might have to be adjusted or thrown away.


They're on a scouting mission to test the water for the September blitzkrieg. Unless the ridge breaks down, could be a historic season.
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39713
Quoting 356. Bluestorm5:
2004 and 2005 coverage were awesome to watch when I was just a kid. They were 100% on storms 24/7. They never took a break during the season.
Oh hell....I just got my AARP then
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Quoting 349. MTWX:


Did you even read my post??

I'm only talking about locations. So settle down... ok.

???? o_0?.I wasn't directing anything at you..
Quoting 351. Bluestorm5:
Really can't ignore the fact we got CV systems firing up in July. That's something unheard of in most of years. This year, climatology might have to be adjusted or thrown away.
Sure we have the storms..but we don't have the conditions.:)
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Quoting 341. ncstorm:
Ahem..
Joe Bastardi ‏@BigJoeBastardi 6m

May not mean much with Dorian, could die, but beware later for over correcting west on GFS with other storms that could mean something
Expand
Joe Bastardi ‏@BigJoeBastardi 6m

Suspect model was tweaked to correct bias. Putting Shinola on a sneaker doesnt make it a pair of shoes. US model glaring feedback problems
Expand
Joe Bastardi ‏@BigJoeBastardi 7m

NCEP GFS big bust if ecmwf/UKMET right as both track whats left of Dorian to nr S fla, not west like new super computer GFS did yesterday


JB is pretty good sometimes. He has a northeast coast bias though, and in particular NYC
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Quoting 341. ncstorm:
Ahem..
Joe Bastardi ‏@BigJoeBastardi 6m

May not mean much with Dorian, could die, but beware later for over correcting west on GFS with other storms that could mean something
Expand
Joe Bastardi ‏@BigJoeBastardi 6m

Suspect model was tweaked to correct bias. Putting Shinola on a sneaker doesnt make it a pair of shoes. US model glaring feedback problems
Expand
Joe Bastardi ‏@BigJoeBastardi 7m

NCEP GFS big bust if ecmwf/UKMET right as both track whats left of Dorian to nr S fla, not west like new super computer GFS did yesterday


He never passes on a chance, no matter how slim to bash NOAA/NWS/NHC. He must of interviewed with them once and was judged not qualified.
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 11223


Looking nice.....
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Quoting 342. washingtonian115:
My point is though is that climatology supported both storms to eventually have favorable conditions as they both happened in late August.Where as in July climatology doesn't really support a storm like Dorian and conditions are suppose to be pretty unfavorable until like you said earlier August 15 when the real season starts.I'm gonna leave 2005 alone as that year was a exception rather than followed the rules.


That's not climatology though. The fact that Dorian exists defies climatology.
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Quoting 348. sar2401:

couch***cough***ignore***cough***cough.
You ok sar? I have the same affliction, sometimes
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Quoting 318. AllStar17:


There is a reason some models intensify Dorian in the Bahamas...the environment should change. Now, in the near term, the fate of Dorian is certainly in question.


I have seen totally naked swirls before and still be classified so we'll see....Dorian appears to be moving West again.
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Quoting 346. ecflweatherfan:


Yup. Back when TWC was all about the weather... not a bunch of shows/series. Before they were owned by WSI. I sure miss the good ole days of TWC.
2004 and 2005 coverage were awesome to watch when I was just a kid. They were 100% on storms 24/7. They never took a break during the season.
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39713
That wave leaving africa looks pretty powerful. Granted it's going to be up against the same odds as Dorian, but it's got a really nice satellite presentation.

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Quoting 337. HurricaneAndre:
I think we have 90L now.


ATCF has not made 90L active so there is no invest at this time.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14412
Quoting 346. ecflweatherfan:


Yup. Back when TWC was all about the weather... not a bunch of shows/series. Before they were owned by WSI. I sure miss the good ole days of TWC.
ecfl.....I really enjoyed TWC back then...I guess it's like everything else nowadays "Money"
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Quoting 342. washingtonian115:
My point is though is that climatology supported both storms to eventually have favorable conditions as they both happened in late August.Where as in July climatology doesn't really support a storm like Dorian and conditions are suppose to be pretty unfavorable until like you said earlier August 15 when the real season starts.I'm gonna leave 2005 alone as that year was a exception rather than followed the rules.
Really can't ignore the fact we got CV systems firing up in July. That's something unheard of in most of years. This year, climatology might have to be adjusted or thrown away.
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Quoting 346. ecflweatherfan:


Yup. Back when TWC was all about the weather... not a bunch of shows/series. Before they were owned by WSI. I sure miss the good ole days of TWC.

I miss it too :(
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349. MTWX
Quoting 328. washingtonian115:
Lol.Stop comparing this to a Katrina/Andrew come back..both were in late August and eventually became cat 5's.Something this storm will not..


Did you even read my post??

I'm only talking about locations. So settle down... ok.

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Quoting weatherlover94:


Where ?

couch***cough***ignore***cough***cough.
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Quoting 338. kmanislander:


Just a naked swirl now which means the NHC may be forced to declassify this later this evening.


:) Hard to beat simplicity. That is exactly what it is, kman. No need to mince words about it. Agreed. It's been a fighter though, and I would not rule out a comeback yet.
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Quoting 334. PalmBeachWeather:
What a wonderful person to watch in action..He knew what the hell was really going on


Yup. Back when TWC was all about the weather... not a bunch of shows/series. Before they were owned by WSI. I sure miss the good ole days of TWC.
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Quoting 336. CybrTeddy:


We're not comparing this to Katrina and Andrew, we're comparing this to how they both were storms that were completely written off that came back and were quite nasty. Dorian will probably not become a Category 5, indeed will probably not ever get beyond 60kts as it reaches the Bahamas and may not ever strengthen.

Nothing is ever set in stone.
Bingo. I still remember I was in 5th grade and doing Current Event in which we tell the class what's going on in the world. I was watching Weather Channel and looking NHC (have so since 2003). I saw Katrina was named off coast of Florida and I saw NHC's forecast so I just didn't think it'll do anything. Anyway, I told the class that a new named storm had formed off coast of Florida and her name was Katrina. The class thought it was cool and we move on to next current event. Guess what? Katrina became a monster and became the most famous hurricane in history. No one will ever forget what I told them a week before Katrina made the news. I haven't forgotten exactly what I told the class.
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Quoting 302. moonlightcowboy:


The exposed low-level center I find interesting, maybe a bit unusual. Looks more like an eyewall feature. Although the whole thing is relatively small, the coc/eyewall (yeah, I'ma call it that for now) is large comparative to its size.

So, what's that mean? Definitely not dead. Still has a vigorous circulation, closed system. It just doesn't have any convection overhead, likely more due to the fast, low-level easterly flow than it is about shearing considering its position. Certainly, seems the disproportionate coc to its size may be quite capable of churning out any infiltrating dry air. Still, it's gotta have that convection overhead to mature. Again, convergence seemed to be improving, it's trying to get its act together.

And, I say unusual in that if Dorian finds its sea legs soon in warmer waters, the small system has a potential to grow in size (not necessarily intensity) fairly quickly.


Doesn't it remind you of Karen? She went all the way across with a naked circulation --- lots of funny business about her skirts!
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Quoting 337. HurricaneAndre:
I think we have 90L now.


Where ?
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Quoting 333. Bluestorm5:
We can't assume that, Wash. Emily did became a Category 5 early in July. Also, this is 2nd farthest east tropical storm in July history so we don't know what this will do. It could strengthen so quickly over Bahamas that Florida could be caught offguard. It could go into Gulf as well. We just got to wait and see.
Quoting 336. CybrTeddy:


We're not comparing this to Katrina and Andrew, we're comparing this to how they both were storms that were completely written off that came back and were quite nasty. Dorian will probably not become a Category 5, indeed will probably not ever get beyond 60kts as it reaches the Bahamas and may not ever strengthen.

Nothing is ever set in stone.
My point is though is that climatology supported both storms to eventually have favorable conditions as they both happened in late August.Where as in July climatology doesn't really support a storm like Dorian and conditions are suppose to be pretty unfavorable until like you said earlier August 15 when the real season starts.I'm gonna leave 2005 alone as that year was a exception rather than followed the rules.
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Ahem..
Joe Bastardi ‏@BigJoeBastardi 6m

May not mean much with Dorian, could die, but beware later for over correcting west on GFS with other storms that could mean something
Expand
Joe Bastardi ‏@BigJoeBastardi 6m

Suspect model was tweaked to correct bias. Putting Shinola on a sneaker doesnt make it a pair of shoes. US model glaring feedback problems
Expand
Joe Bastardi ‏@BigJoeBastardi 7m

NCEP GFS big bust if ecmwf/UKMET right as both track whats left of Dorian to nr S fla, not west like new super computer GFS did yesterday
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15750
Quoting 279. JLPR2:
Circulation is basically heading alone into the dry air.



LLC is right at 45W, below 18N.

I find it a bit hard to believe Dorian will recover from this, the dry air was bad enough alone and then the shear arrived. But who knows, maybe it will surprise us.


It does appear as if it is passing just north of the driest of the dry air. And according to the WV loop, a slight increase in moisture is surging in (pretty quickly, at that) from the north and northeast. That LLC looks to be moving between WNW-NW, and if it gets to around 19N 48W, it should have more fuel to work with.
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Quoting 332. wunderkidcayman:

storm seem to be stabilizing


Stabilizing how ? as in dying ?
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Quoting 302. moonlightcowboy:


The exposed low-level center I find interesting, maybe a bit unusual. Looks more like an eyewall feature. Although the whole thing is relatively small, the coc/eyewall (yeah, I'ma call it that for now) is large comparative to its size.

So, what's that mean? Definitely not dead. Still has a vigorous circulation, closed system. It just doesn't have any convection overhead, likely more due to the fast, low-level easterly flow than it is about shearing considering its position. Certainly, seems the disproportionate coc to its size may be quite capable of churning out any infiltrating dry air. Still, it's gotta have that convection overhead to mature. Again, convergence seemed to be improving, it's trying to get its act together.

And, I say unusual in that if Dorian finds its sea legs soon in warmer waters, the small system has a potential to grow in size (not necessarily intensity) fairly quickly.


Just a naked swirl now which means the NHC may be forced to declassify this later this evening.
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I think we have 90L now.
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Quoting 328. washingtonian115:
Lol.Stop comparing this to a Katrina/Andrew come back..both were in late August and eventually became cat 5's.Something this storm will not..


We're not comparing this to Katrina and Andrew, we're comparing this to how they both were storms that were completely written off that came back and were quite nasty. Dorian will probably not become a Category 5, indeed will probably not ever get beyond 60kts as it reaches the Bahamas and may not ever strengthen.

Nothing is ever set in stone.
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000
NOUS42 KNHC 261503
REPRPD
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
1100 AM EDT FRI 26 JULY 2013
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
VALID 27/1100Z TO 28/1100Z JULY 2013
TCPOD NUMBER.....13-056

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. NEGATIVE RECONNAISSANCE REQUIREMENTS.
3. SUCCEEDING DAY OUTLOOK: BEGIN 6-HRLY FIXES FOR TROPICAL
STORM DORIAN AT 28/1730Z NEAR 19.5N 60.0W.


II. PACIFIC REQUIREMENTS...........................(NO CHNAGES)
1. NEGATIVE RECONNAISSANCE REQUIREMENTS.
2. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY.....NEGATIVE.

$$
JWP
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15750
Quoting 331. Patrap:


John Hope

Born May 14, 1919
Pennsylvania
Died June 13, 2002 (aged 83)
Macon, Georgia
United States
Fields Meteorologist


Source of Camille name on hurricane naming list

In 1969, Hope's daughter graduated from high school, so he added her name to the list of names to be used for hurricanes that year (at that time, there was no organized list of assigned names to be used, the only requirements were that the names had to be female – male names were not used at that time – in alphabetical order, and not otherwise retired).

He had no way of knowing at the time that the storm that would take his daughter's name – Camille – would become one of the most powerful and destructive hurricanes to ever hit the United States when it slammed into Mississippi as a Category five hurricane. His daughter Camille is married to former U.S. Representative Jim Marshall of Georgia.



What a wonderful person to watch in action..He knew what the hell was really going on
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Quoting 328. washingtonian115:
Lol.Stop comparing this to a Katrina/Andrew come back..both were in late August and eventually became cat 5's.Something this storm will not..
We can't assume that, Wash. Emily did became a Category 5 early in July. Also, this is 2nd farthest east tropical storm in July history so we don't know what this will do. It could strengthen so quickly over Bahamas that Florida could be caught offguard. It could go into Gulf as well. We just got to wait and see.
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Quoting 322. Patrap:
Tropical Storm 04L

UW-CIMSS Automated Satellite-Based
Advanced Dvorak Technique (ADT)
Version 8.1.4
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Estimation Algorithm

Current Intensity Analysis



UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 8.1.4
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 26 JUL 2013 Time : 181500 UTC
Lat : 17:51:45 N Lon : 44:29:12 W


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
3.0 /1006.7mb/ 45.0kt


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

Center Temp : -56.3C Cloud Region Temp : -36.3C

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 : OFF
Rapid Dissipation Flag : OFF

C/K/Z MSLP Estimate Inputs :
- Average 34 knot radii : 43km
- Environmental MSLP : 1018mb

Satellite Name : MSG3
Satellite Viewing Angle : 54.2 degrees



storm seem to be stabilizing
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12180


John Hope

Born May 14, 1919
Pennsylvania
Died June 13, 2002 (aged 83)
Macon, Georgia
United States
Fields Meteorologist


Source of Camille name on hurricane naming list

In 1969, Hope's daughter graduated from high school, so he added her name to the list of names to be used for hurricanes that year (at that time, there was no organized list of assigned names to be used, the only requirements were that the names had to be female – male names were not used at that time – in alphabetical order, and not otherwise retired).

He had no way of knowing at the time that the storm that would take his daughter's name – Camille – would become one of the most powerful and destructive hurricanes to ever hit the United States when it slammed into Mississippi as a Category five hurricane. His daughter Camille is married to former U.S. Representative Jim Marshall of Georgia.



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330. MTWX
Quoting 321. fabian171017:


I think it was TD 10.


You are right. it was td 10. Katrina was 12.

Fixed my previous post too. Thank You.
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The big question, will Dorian die or survive to live another day? I'm going to check out for a while and check back later and see how it's doing. I'm going to put my money on Dorian surviving to live another day whether it is downgraded to an open wave or not. Better times ahead.
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Lol.Stop comparing this to a Katrina/Andrew come back..both were in late August and eventually became cat 5's.Something this storm will not..
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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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