Zeta looking strong

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 6:50 PM GMT on January 02, 2006

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Tropical Storm Zeta is making a comeback this afternoon, with deep convection blossoming and starting to wrap all the way around the center. Wind shear analysis from the University of Wisconsin shows that Zeta's westward motion is carrying the storm into an area of lower wind shear of about 20 knots, and this reduced wind shear is likely contributing the the storm's improving appearance. The lower shear will be short lived, however, and higher shear values of about 40 knots should impact the storm by Tuesday and significantly weaken or destroy Zeta. There is a small chance it might attain hurricane strength before the higher shear weakens the storm.

Long-term tropical storm outlook for January
OK, I can't believe I have to do this, but here comes the long-term tropical storm outlook for January. There are no other suspect areas to watch in the tropics for the next ten days, and wind shear levels are forecast to be too high to allow tropical storm formation. Historically, only one tropical storm has formed in January, an unnamed 1978 subtropical storm that formed near where Zeta is now. February, March, and April all have each had one tropical storm form since record keeping began in 1851. It would be no surprise if 2006 had a winter tropical storm form, given the ways things have gone of late. However, the chances of this happening are probably less than 20%, and I am forecasting that after Zeta, we're off the hook until early June.

Jeff Masters

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154. atmosweather
6:01 PM GMT on January 03, 2006
Hey everyone, hope you are all having a great day,

Zeta is approaching hurricane status now. I can see nothing in its way to reaching at least Category 1 status, with Category 2 looking ever more possible. As soon as deep convection wraps around the center we will be looking at Hurricane Zeta, the second atlantic basin hurricane in January. If Zeta maintains at least its current intensity for 2 more advisories, Zeta will make 2005 the year of the Highest ACE Index for one season.

Talk to you all later,

Rich (Atmos)
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
153. ForecasterColby
3:54 PM GMT on January 03, 2006
Tropical Storm Zeta
Amateur Hurricane Center
www.theahc.webhop.net
Advisory 6 - 10:00AM EST January 3, 2006

Zeta is not looking nearly as good as a few hours ago...however...recent satellite passes show a great many 60kt(70mph) and even a few 65kt(75mph) vectors in the storm. Therefore, the initial intensity will be increased to 60kt(70mph). It is important to note that Zeta probably has not strengthened...merely that the intensity was underestimated on the previous advisory. A convective ring has appeared in the mid-levels, which appears to be nearly a complete eye. However...the storm is vertically tilted somewhat along a 45 (SW to NE) axis...and the eye feature is somewhat removed from the low-level center. Zeta continues to move generally towards the west at about 3kt. Zeta is currently a wI2 and a pI1.

The track forecast is unchanged from the previous advisory. Zeta should continue westward until a trough from its west blocks the way and turns it towards the north, then northeast.

The intensity forecast is also similar, but has been revised upward somewhat due to the higher initial intensity. The forecast now calls for Hurricane Zeta tonight...and for the storm to nearly reach category 2 later tomorrow.

Initial: 23.0N 41.5W 60kt(70mph)
12 Hour: 23.0N 42.0W 65kt(75mph)
24 Hour: 23.0N 43.0W 70kt(80mph)
36 Hour: 23.0N 43.5W 75kt(85mph)
48 Hour: 23.0N 44.0W 70kt(80mph)
72 Hour: 23.0N 45.5W 60kt(70mph)
96 Hour: 23.5N 46.0W 55kt(65mph)
120 Hour: 26.0N 45.5W 45kt(50mph)...becoming extratropical
152. billsfaninsofla
3:41 PM GMT on January 03, 2006
HurricaneChaser.. thank you for your analysis... I do hope you are getting some much needed rest!

Matt.. I know what you are saying.. the NHC has to be accountable to millions of people in some cases.. I'm thankful we have sites like this that we can come to for the "real" information.
Member Since: September 5, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5528
151. oriondarkwood
3:35 PM GMT on January 03, 2006
It would be sad but also morbidly funny if we had a tropical system ever month of 2006 (think about it its possible). Also people ready to start taking bets on how many if any records the season of 2006 will break.

Sad but true I think we are still rising to the peak, that last year was not the peak.
Member Since: July 5, 2004 Posts: 51 Comments: 42
150. KatrinaRitaWilmaZeta
2:47 PM GMT on January 03, 2006
hurricanechaser mail for you
149. TampaSteve
2:44 PM GMT on January 03, 2006
RL3AO: Where did you see those comments by the NHC? I can't seem to find them on the NHC page.
148. TampaSteve
2:39 PM GMT on January 03, 2006
Looks like that ACE record is gonna fall for sure...
147. weatherboyfsu
1:56 PM GMT on January 03, 2006
Good morning everyone.......ZETA.........is looking good....classic swirl around the center meaning that it is near hurricane strength......amazing.......if this keeps up we may not have a significant break at all.....January is suppose to be the height of winter.......have a great day everyone.........
Member Since: July 17, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1025
146. RL3AO
1:13 PM GMT on January 03, 2006
New Advisory is out-

65 MPH (55 Knots)
995 MB

"Outflow is looking good in all quadrants"
- NHC
"Westerly sheer could weaken substantually over the next 12-24 hours"
- NHC
"A hurricane is not unreasonable now"
- NHC

However, with this system looking better, and the sheer expected to weaking for a few hours they still are afraid to strethen the storm.
145. MattInMiami
1:09 PM GMT on January 03, 2006
In reference back to the NHC, it used to be that they would allow forecasters to make predictions. They no longer do that due to liability reasons and allow the bulk of the forecasting to be done by computers. "It wasn't me it was the Computer." In addition due to significant amounts of error programmed into their computers to maintain their all encompassing "cone of error" they tend to stink at long range forecasting. Their models really don't start to get accurate until around 24 hours prior to landfall. At that point they tend to be pretty good. I just wish that they would come out and state their true mission and explain how their models truly work and don't work with regard to forecasting sites of landfalls. At least this site allows individuals to go on the line and, right or wrong, make predictions.
144. hurricanechaser
12:24 PM GMT on January 03, 2006
Hey Colby..LOl..you are so right..but now I'm second guessing my second guess...lol. The latest Infrared is showing strong SW shear deteiorating the west quadrants of the circulation as the cloud tops have warmed as well all within an hours period of time. Naturally, this is not long enough to establish a significant weakening trend. However, it puts the brakes on any further strengthening in the short term and I have to back off my previous post that it would be upgraded by 11 am EST. Of course, the shear could just as quickly relax and the strengthening trend can once again restablish itself and still achieve hurricane intensity by that update. Honestly, I don't have the energy to stay up the next 3 hours to see which trend will materialize. It has been a long persistent strengthening trend with an eye developing as recently as an hour ago. Now, shear has certainly kept it from achieving hurricane intensity as of this hour but they could just as easily change with any relaxation of this current shear. I guess I will find out when I wake up later this morning.:)

Here's the latest Infrared satellite loop.:)



Link
143. ForecasterColby
12:16 PM GMT on January 03, 2006
Chaser, you need to sleep - LOL.
142. MattInMiami
12:02 PM GMT on January 03, 2006
BillsFan, I wonder that often too, if the NHC may do more harm than good at times (and at times they certainly do); but inherently I agree with HuuricaneChaser in that their inherent task is extremely difficult in trying to balance warning the public and accurate forecasting which sometimes are in conflict with each other.
141. hurricanechaser
11:59 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
Hey everyone,

I have stayed up all night to analyze Zeta for the first time since it first organized a couple of days ago. At that time, I felt that it would get close to but NOT quite achieve hurricane status. That being said, I have to adjust that original forecast and suggest that Zeta is at borderline hurricane intensity as we speak. The outflow channels have improved in all quadrents as well as the deep convection with cloud tops as cold as -70 degrees C being observed as this convection has completely wrapped itself around the center which is opening up into a clear spot on infrared imagery as well as on the visible satellite imagery. Most importantly, this strengthening trend has persisted now for a good 12 hours or so and the shear appears to actually be decreasing somewhat.

Therefore, it appears that Zeta will achieve hurricane intensity by the 11 am EST advisory if this current trend doesn't unexpectantly come to an abrupt hault. I would now be more surprised if Zeta were not to achieve hurricane intensity and the 2005 season will most certainly break the record for seasonal ACE index established by the 1950 hurricane season.

Now that I have spent all night observing Zeta and realize it should achieve hurricane intensity and then some, I thought I better get some much needed rest.:) I hope everyone has a great night.:)

Your friend,
Tony


139. ForecasterColby
10:17 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
Oh crap. The models are showing the through missing Zeta, and to quote the NHC - "the gfdl's forecast doesn't seem so unreasonable anymore"

:D
138. hurricanechaser
6:55 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
Wow! I must have lost my last post. I was posting an important correction regarding my previous post. I obviously need to get some sleep.:) Therefore, I hope each of you have a great night.:)

"However, any decrease ever so small wil hault the current strenthening trend and keep Zeta as a strong tropical storm."
137. hurricanechaser
6:52 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
Yet another important correction..need to get slep everyone.:) I hope you all have a great night.:)

"However, any decrease ever so small will hault the current strenthening trend and keep Zeta as a strong tropical storm."
136. hurricanechaser
6:49 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
It is official by my standards (a sustained 6 hours of persistence of either strengthening or noticiable weakening)that Zeta is indeed closing in on Hurrcane intensity. At this moment, I would suggest a 65-70 mph storm. If it can resist the shear and maintain the consolidated convection around its center, it is likely that Zeta will achieve minimal hurricane intensity within the next 6 to 12 hours. However, any decrease ever so small wil hault the current weakening trend and keep Zeta as a strong tropical storm. I stated from advisory number one that it would get close but NOT quite make it to hurricane intensity. Right now, it looks like I could just miss that forecast or be right on with it. We wil know the answer no later than 12 hours from now.:) If I was more concerned with being right from the outset, I would be hedging my bets.:)

If it indeed makes it to hurricane intensity...give Trouper credit for calling it two days ago.:)


135. hurricanechaser
6:41 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
Hey Cory,

I'm sorry I also missed you earlier. I hope you are doing well. It looks as though you will get to add the new ACE index record to your impressive blog.:)

Hey Phillysfan,

I hope you are doing well also and great posts earlier I must add.:)

Your friend,
Tony


134. hurricanechaser
6:39 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
I need to take time to proof read my posts...sorry about all the typos.:)
133. phillyfan909
6:38 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
Hey there Snowman, sorry I missed you, I hop around a lot! :-) Catch you around!
132. hurricanechaser
6:33 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
Hey Billsfan (Sherre),

It is always a pleasure to see you on here.:) I hjope you are having a great New Year thus far as well.:)

I agree with your comment about the NHc being too conservative with their intensity observations at times, with Katrina's downgrade being a prime example. However, I want to agree with Mattinmiami asnd highlight the difficulties the Nhc has to deal with concerning warning a specific area in advance of a hurricane. It is estimated conservatively that it costs roughly one million dollars per mile that has to be evacuated ahead of a threatening storm. That is a huge hiot to the local economies for the larger area that will not receive to great an impact. In addition, this large area spaning hundreds of miles in some cases that don't get a devastating hit will have residents who go through the trouble of evacuating and decide it's not worth the trouble the next time they are asked to evacuate. Unfortunately, the next time may be the last time they stay to face a devastating storm because they may pay the ultimate price. On the other hand, if the NHC tries to not overwarn and issue to narrow a warning, thousands of people would not evacuate and end up getting the brunt of a powerful storm that might make a last minute wobble and could cause large loss of life in that scenario as well. The same is true regarding intensity forecasts where they could cause massive gridlock like in Houston and Galveston where large numbers of people could be stuck on the roads in their cars as a powerful hurricane bares down on them faster than the traffic is moving. Not too even mention, many who might evacuate unnecessarily creating even more gridlock out of panic if the NHC forecasts a category four and it remains a moderate category two for example. In such a scenario the sick and elderly who would be moved out of apparent harms way may end up dying as a result of accidents like the bus explosion in stalled traffic near Galveston during Ritas approach. This is a good example because if these people would not have been evacuated, they would still be alive today. In contrast, they could very well may have lost their lives along with countless others had they not evacuated and Rita struck the Galveston area at category four strength which would've been more likely than its weakening in the cooler waters near the Northern Gulf shoreline. This simply illustrates the immense conflicting life and death decisions that the NHC is faced with. Regardless of any decision they make, there is going to be someone unhappy about evacuating unnecessarily and determined to stay the next time and still others who will blame the NHC for not giving enough earning when a storm does the unexpected. So there is a very fine line between over warning the public that could lead to more loss of life in the future versus not enough warning and loss of life from the unexpected. The same holds true for the intensity forecasts, there is a good reason they don't predict a category five with 180 mph winds to hit La. while it is only a marginal Tropical storm east of the SE Fl. coastline which would cause the NHC to lose any credibility with such extreme forecasts that are unlikely to materalize as was the case with Katrina. She was not a 180 mph category five that hit west Of Grand Isle as some want to commend a blogger for their excellence on this one forecast. This same blogger also predicted both hurricanes Dennis and Emily to also hit La. as a category five storm. If that was the forecasts that came out of the NHC, people would have a field day blasting them on the blogs, in the media and worse yet, people would disregard their forecasts which most certainly has and will continue to save tens of thousands of lives. It is most irresponsible to forecasts the extreme event when the stakes are as high as they are as alluded to in the aforementioned paragraphs. In Katrinas case, the NHc was forecsting at least a powerful category three landfall very near New Orleans, La. 48-60 hours ahead of landfall which should be more than enough time to evacuate the areas in its path. If the NHC styarts issuing warning farther out than 48 hours which isn't even the standard applied now, there would be too much overwarning as there is now resulting in the aforementioned problems listed above. I hope people can at least appreciate the immense complexities with not only forecasting these storms but warning the public in a responsible and professional manner.

Thanks,
Tony


131. atmosweather
6:04 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
Happy new year Beth!! Hope all goes well
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
130. hurricanechaser
6:00 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
Hey Beth,

Thanks so much for your thoughtfulness and please know that your loved one is and will continue to be in our thoughts and prayers while they are traveling in the open waters of the Atlantic. I also want to wish you and yours a very safe and wonderful New Year ahead. Thanks for joining this community and making it even better by your presence.:)


129. ProgressivePulse
5:46 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
Happy New Year to you and your loved one also Beth, I hope all is, and remains safe with the team. This is a great resource for more things than people know, as you are coming to realize. This site helped many people through they 05 hurricane season and I am looking forward to a much more informed 06 season. Again I wish your loved ones a safe return and Thank You for your post.
Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 5395
128. atlantic
5:32 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
Dear Hurricanchaser, and to everyone who participate sin this dialogue - I am a novice, who just began readin because some one dear to my heart is crew aboard a sailing yahct that left the Canary Island on Dce 26, bound for Antigua.

I appreciate so much all the thoughtful commentary. What a wonderful cyber community you have! I can tell from writing, that there are many really nice and interestng people who have developed friendships here. Happy New Year, and thanks. Sincerely, Beth (atlantic)
127. TampaSteve
5:19 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
It just keeps going...and going...and going...
126. billsfaninsofla
5:04 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
thanks to all of you for your input!

thanks Tony :) .......happy days to you...


MattinMiami....the NHC is way too consvertive and could be harming more people than they help...IMO....:)
Member Since: September 5, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5528
125. atmosweather
4:57 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
Have a great night Skyepony
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
124. Skyepony (Mod)
4:55 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
Atmos~thanks for trying the QuikSCAT ~ off to sleep ~Nite all
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 162 Comments: 37829
123. ProgressivePulse
4:49 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
Link from Skyepony shows shear tapping in from the north east due to the passing low
Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 5395
122. ProgressivePulse
4:40 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
Looks like front #2 may grab up Zeta, Much deeper system.
Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 5395
121. Skyepony (Mod)
4:33 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
Happy New Year to you too ProgressivePulse!

The last few frames on the GOES shows the tail of the front coming at Zeta from the west just fading fast as it approaches. I don't think this front is gonna tear her up, she's gettin off on the increased pressure gradient as expected & with that front weakening as she drops southward, she looks like she's gonna grow & troll westward. it will be interesting to see how much, if any the front pulls her north before passing.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 162 Comments: 37829
120. atmosweather
4:32 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
Stupid computer.
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
119. atmosweather
4:31 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
No Skyepony, I don't know what is wrong with QuickScat's page. I too would really like to see it, but I guess I will have to stick with the dvorak t-numbers for now.
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
118. atmosweather
4:30 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
No Skyepony, I don't know what is wrong with QuickScat's page. I too would really like to see it, but I guess I will have to stick with the dvorak t-numbers for now.
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
117. atmosweather
4:25 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
Outflow is improving in all quadrants. I can see nothing in its way to becoming a hurricane now. An eye feature has now developed in the mid-levels, maybe soon it will consolidate at the lower levels. There is also an established ring of deep convection as the NHC noted. It may be the start of an eyewall. Overall, we are looking at the future Hurricane Zeta, the second hurricane ever to form in January in the atlantic basin.

3 advisories at 45mph or more and 2005 becomes the highest season ACE index in recorded history.
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
116. Skyepony (Mod)
4:22 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
Can ya'll get to the QuikSCAT page??? For days all i get is "page can't be displayed". They usually mention it in the discussion & the 10pm was really making me want to see it since it was aluded to having stonger wind vector readings than what they were saying Zeta was at.

Initial intensity is being increased to 50
knots and I could go even higher if the latest Quikscat is used.


As for New Orleans~ I understand the history & that back in that history New Orleans was alot smaller. The older districts are actually above sea level & that's all good, but the land that was created from the sea when the levies went in should have never had people living on it. Good point that it could be your grandchildren getting swept out to sea next time from there. We're humans~ we need air ~ so it is foolhearty to insist on living below sea level.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 162 Comments: 37829
115. ProgressivePulse
4:14 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
Starting to grab a feed from the south too.
Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 5395
114. ProgressivePulse
4:13 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
There were only brief times that I seen Epsillon this healthy and at that time it was a cane.
Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 5395
113. ProgressivePulse
4:12 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
Hiya Skyepony! Happy New Year.
Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 5395
112. ProgressivePulse
4:10 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
Dvorak is more concentrated, tis a cane.
Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 5395
111. Skyepony (Mod)
4:10 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
Like i said in days past~ wouldn't be suprised to see Zeta reach a cat 1. Even yesterday it was in the back of my head perhaps a 2, but just seems like it shouldn't be in January & i'd be suprised (in that this is unreal sense) to see any storm reach a 2 in January even though it looks entirely possible with Zeta here. Been a little off on my forecast direction. Though the call for wobbling has been on, Zeta really likes those warmer waters & has moved much more south of the NW direction that i'd thought she'd take. The further south she stays, the better the odds she'd get missed by more fronts.

For Atmos & others of us that have dabbled in the world of gaming. HURRICANE FUTURES MARKET is up & trading (well when a storm has a better than 1% chance of hitting the USA).

Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 162 Comments: 37829
110. ProgressivePulse
4:10 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
Looks like a cane to me.
Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 5395
109. atmosweather
4:07 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
Yeah exactly Progressive. That is why they cannot rebuild. It is just a waste....of lives, time and money.
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
108. atmosweather
4:05 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
"...ZETA STRENGTHENED AGAINST ALL ODDS AND FORECASTS..."

It is just unbelievable. The NHC have been floored for the 453rd time this season. I cannot believe this is happening, its hysterical.

"A BRAVO FOR THE GFDL".....Lol
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
107. ProgressivePulse
4:05 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
Yeah it was atmos, hard to imagine that out of a cat3. Just makes me wonder how succeptable that area is.
Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 5395
106. atmosweather
3:59 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
Well it was the worst case scenario for all those displaced, but meteorologically, it was a miracle.
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
105. ProgressivePulse
3:56 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
New Orleans got spared this time, look at what happened there, just imagine if it hit dead on like it was forcast to, missed by only a few miles. That is all I have to say about that.
Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 5395
104. TheSnowman
3:55 AM GMT on January 03, 2006
So Zeta is pulling a Epsilon Thing Back Up To 60mph!!!!

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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.