Epsilon a hurricane!

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:56 PM GMT on December 02, 2005

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Epsilon has been upgraded to a 75-mph hurricane, only the 6th December hurricane ever recorded. Epsilon joins the ranks of Hurricane Nichole (1998), Hurricane Lili (1984), Hurricane Alice (1954), an unnamed 1925 storm, and an unnamed hurricane from 1887 as the only December hurricanes recorded in the Atlantic. Epsilon's location is the second farthest north and east of any December hurricane (next to Nicole of 1998), and marks the record 14th hurricane to form in the Atlantic this year. The previous record was 12 hurricanes, set in 1969.

Epsilon is apparently traversing a very narrow ribbon of relatively warm ocean waters of 75 - 77 F (22-23C), which has allowed its intensification. Water temperatures across the entire North Atlantic are still unusually high, averaging about 2 F higher than normal. Very cool waters of about 70 F (21 C) lie just 200 miles from Epsilon, so its intensification to hurricane status is likely short-lived. By Saturday night, cold waters and increasing wind shear should put an end to Epsilon's life--and perhaps the Hurricane Season of 2005.

Long range computer models are forecasting somewhat favorable conditions for tropical storm formation to return next week to the Caribbean Sea, and last through mid-December. I expect there is at least a 40% chance that Tropical Storm Zeta will appear in the Caribbean by the middle of the month.

I'll delay my summary of why the United States suffered so many hurricane strikes the past two years until next week.


Figure 1. Hurricane Epsilon (987 mb, 75 mph winds) at 9:45 am EST December 2, 2005.

Jeff Masters

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500. TampaSteve
12:20 AM GMT on December 05, 2005
They should call it Hurricane Energizer...it keeps going, and going, and going...
499. globalize
8:12 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
snowboy- rather liked 'the dreaded pinhole eye' comment. The pinhole eye is traditionally a characteristic of a possibly dreadful hurricane.
Member Since: August 30, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1150
498. CrucianCrip
8:02 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
Hey gang, I totally get the fascination so many have with these storms and this mind-boggling season, in particular. It's truly a once in a lifetime oportunity to see storms like Epsilon defying all of the things we hoped we "knew" about tropical weather.

But please remember that every tropical storm has the potential wreak havoc on people's lives, well-being, and property before you go cheering for "2-3 more T.S.s and a cane or two" to develop so the 2005 season can add another record to its growing list of firsts.
497. weatherboyfsu
7:57 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
Dr Jeff has a new blog
Member Since: July 17, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1025
496. supercell216
7:55 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
actually i think there have been 3 discussions with epsilon where they ahve used informal language. that beats any other storm. add that to the records snowman!!!
495. snowboy
7:52 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
hey Colby, that's TheSnowman's comment not mine - there have been other great NHC quotes (eg. "the dreaded pinhole eye")
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2547
494. ForecasterColby
7:46 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
Supercell, it will either by 80 or 85. They ran models at 80 before the current organization.
493. ForecasterColby
7:44 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
Hardly, Snowboy.

"After deepening at a rate that bordered on insane during the morning..."
492. supercell216
7:42 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
she is getting more elongated though. despite the obvious increase in convectiona around the eye lately, she is starting to weaken overall now and beginning the transition to extratropical status. i expect the 4pm advisory to bring it down to 75mph.
491. ForecasterColby
7:42 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
969.2mb

O_O WHOA.
490. TheSnowman
7:42 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
Epsilon has Not only become the first hurricane to Make the NHC talk in a NON-FORMAL way, but it is going to TRY and Tip Toe to the US!!!!
489. snowboy
7:40 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
Epsilon is looking better than a few hours ago - I'm not seeing any shear either
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2547
488. supercell216
7:37 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
487. ForecasterColby
7:36 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
Link to Dvorak?
486. globalize
7:36 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
Colby.. when I snap my finger.. just buy essentials... no plastic toys from China!
Member Since: August 30, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1150
485. globalize
7:32 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
All crop circle cutting is explained. It is and was always a hoax. Bigger hoax is, the people who produce documentaries also own the tabloids.
Member Since: August 30, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1150
484. supercell216
7:32 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
i agree dcw, the dvorak estimates are actually rising again after a brief decrease 3-4 hrs ago. it will survive as a hurricane into tonight at least i think.
483. ForecasterColby
7:30 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
I think Epsilon will hold on for a while yet. It'll be lowered to 80 at the next advisory. And every time we think it's weakening, it just strengthens more :DDD Looking at the IR though, I can't see much weakening - if anything else, it looks better.

And LOL global, "RRRRRR...me....go....shopping....RRRRR"
482. arcturus
7:29 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
I think hurricane Eppie is gonna circle the atlantic and try to blow my christmas tree away.
481. seflagamma
7:24 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
hey everyone,
just caught up since I last posted. You guys are not discussing things that I want to hear. I want to hear that Eppie is no longer with us! LOL...when I read the NHC's discussion earlier this morning I also laughed, it was great. hey these scientist are human also and this is baffling! LOL
I guess we will just wait and see. I will continue to check in and out this afternoon to see what you are all talking about. later! gamma
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 294 Comments: 40839
480. arcturus
7:24 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
Crop circles and UFO's fall into the same category. 90% explainable and 10% unexplained.

479. globalize
7:18 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
arcturus- crop circle cutters have been caught cutting at midnight a dozen times. But the story won't die because the complex keeps reinventing them in the public mind. Guess the stats show commercial success when the crop circle documentaries air. Citizens go into a hypnotic wonder trance when shown the pretty aerial images the crop circles and are then primed for the commercial advertisements which send them directly to Wal-Mart; pure hypnotic suggestion.
Member Since: August 30, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1150
478. ProgressivePulse
7:15 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
Still wraping around the center though, being very persistant.
Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 4863
477. ProgressivePulse
7:14 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
I don't see it being a cane much longer. Cold front is catching up and the convection is thinning out in the NW quad.
Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 4863
476. arcturus
7:10 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
Now i see the models taken it far south into the tropics then back west. Looks like Epsilon wants to hang around for the holidays!

475. globalize
7:09 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
The hyperbole I've used to get attention is just that. Nothing happening in the Atlantic or anywhere else on the orb is defying Newton' Laws. But something is happening, whether it is the effects of global warming approaching critical mass, or Japanese mafia with their electro- magnetic device.
Look at this storm, and what is happening under the most adverse conditions, and then consider what it would be doing in mid-July, next year. Time will tell.
Member Since: August 30, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1150
473. arcturus
7:04 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
Ok i just checked in and got the latest on Epsilon. What
happened to it becoming a remnant low? It just isn't possible but there it is as a hurricane.

I doubt its weather control weapons. My moneys on some link with crop circles!

472. palmettobug53
7:02 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
Yeah, I saw that discussion earlier at the NHC....and had to laugh! The last few weeks, I've seen them do a few of those "asides" instead of just the usual straight, strictly professional intonements. Guess those poor guys are totally exhausted and a little punchy, after this loooooong, insane season! LOL
Member Since: October 7, 2005 Posts: 229 Comments: 24575
471. snowboy
6:54 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
nicely put, supercell
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2547
470. thelmores
6:53 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
469. snowboy
6:51 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
cool link weatherboy, thanks - models are pretty much all together in predicting the biiiiig loop to the southwest starting later tomorrow
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2547
468. supercell216
6:48 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
the point is this: meteorology in all senses and forms (including many other environmental and atmospheric sciences) is inexact. there are no specified sets of conditions that make tropical cyclones form, strengthen, weaken, split, degenerate, regenerate or dissipate. what there are in reality are general rules that meteorologists go by to determine trends in track or intensity. structures can vary, water depth can be different ect. but the general rules dont change. that means that all forecasters in tropical meteorology make educated guesses all of the time. so really, people do misunderstand the "laws" that govern tropical cyclones. think about it. the world doesnt follow straight, narrow paths. it diverges in many places at many times. no one will ever be able to fully understand why certain things happen int his world; so neither can meteorologists at the nhc or us here. we just have our existing guides to go by, and climatology, and conventional wisdom. but all of those can be bypassed by tropical cyclones.

hope that clears some things up
467. snowboy
6:45 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
catch ya later, iyou - go Leafs!
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2547
466. weatherboyfsu
6:43 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
Heres a nice link for the models on Hurricane Epsilon:


Link
Member Since: July 17, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1025
465. snowboy
6:40 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
globalize, you hit the nail on the head when you ask what other answers are out there to explain what is happening? This is indeed the question, and weatherboysfu has provided one possible answer. Colby has provided another reasonable one, namely that the scientific understanding of hurricanes is imperfect..
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2547
464. weatherboyfsu
6:39 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
I honestly believe that we only know about 25% of what makes a Hurricane Tick....Its so complicated, more so than anyone can imagine.......what history do we really have to go on?.........maybe 50 good years.....your kidding yourselves if you think we have a clue......we dont, as evident this year.........We have a long way to go and as I said last week on here.........It would not surprise me if we have 2 or 3 more storms....maybe more througout the winter months.......
Member Since: July 17, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1025
463. globalize
6:38 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
That's new to me. I've always been told that the scientists working on weather manipulation at the end of WWII ended up in the east, and the science was largely Soviet. The recent joke is that the science has been purchased by Japanese 'revanchistes'.
Member Since: August 30, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1150
462. iyou
6:36 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
snowboy-I agree, I like it when the NHC shows wonder and humour at the systems they track......hope you are well-I'll leave you folks to your discussion. .-)
Member Since: July 25, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5219
461. MarcD
6:32 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
the "weather weapon" crowd is already blowing their lids over Epsilon. Apparently it's either the French or the USA testing some kind of new hurricane-strengthening device.
460. globalize
6:29 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
Well guys, just don't call me a huge conspiracy theorist when I see things that pretty much defy natural laws of physics and look for other answers. There is no way this storm should be strengthening, even if the waters were 80 degrees. Look at the other variables. Look at the latitude, and the fact that we are two weeks away from the Winter solstice. The storm is not getting eight hours of sunlight at very low aperture. Look at the atmospheric temperature, shear values.
Member Since: August 30, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1150
459. weatherboyfsu
6:27 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
Hello guys........isnt it amazing....The NHC guy writing that he's baffled.......I think its simple.....Epsilon has low topped thunderstorms, correction low topped rain storms, meaning that the shear at the upper levels is not hurting the storm. Theres nothing at that level to be blown away. And the water temps dont need to be as high to maintain a low topped storm. Makes sense........I remember that Hurricane Jeanne was a low topped hurricane and was very strong.....and also did the loop de loop.....Bottom line!!!!! there is alot of energy in the atmosphere, alot of spunk, tenacity.......whatever you want to call it.......
Member Since: July 17, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1025
458. snowboy
6:25 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
hey iyou - for sure wasn't taken as a snide comment - I agree NHC folks deserve our utmost respect. They are THE authorities when it comes to hurricanes and forecasting. It's just fun when a bit of the human side of the NHC forecasters comes through in unusual situations like this one.
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2547
457. snowboy
6:21 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
hey globalize, seems that Epsilon is misunderstanding that past century of statistics...
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2547
456. iyou
6:18 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
snowboy-it wasn't meant as a snide comment-I give the NHC all due respect-you've got to wonder if they sleep at all during the season-I meant, they are starting to sound like us! .-)
Member Since: July 25, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5219
455. globalize
6:15 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
ForecasterColby
So the past century of statistics which teaches that a tropical storm INVARIABLY weakens over waters colder than 80 degrees (prior to the last year and a half) was misunderstood?
Member Since: August 30, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1150
454. snowboy
6:15 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
you have a point there iyou, but I think everyone is just thinking the same thing about this astonishing storm - models, conventional wisdom, and whatever else would indicate that Epsilon should be long gone but instead its flourishing. So when the poor chap at NHC has to make his forecast, and once again predicts the demise of Epsilon, he is for sure aware of and acknowledging (which is unusual) this history
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2547
453. snowboy
6:10 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
well globalize, conventional wisdom is great for conventional storms - but Epsilon is without a doubt an unconventional storm...
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2547
452. iyou
6:09 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
snowboy-the last sentence of that NHC paragraph, sounds like so many comments posted here, particularly during the latter part of the season!
Member Since: July 25, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5219
451. snowboy
6:08 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
hey Colby have you looked at the shear forecast? seems to me that if Epsilon picks its course carefully, it could just make it through into a pretty favourable environment in a few days
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2547
450. ForecasterColby
6:03 PM GMT on December 04, 2005
Or we completely misunderstand the thermodynamics of hurricanes...

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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.