Hurricane Zeta?

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 6:27 PM GMT on January 03, 2006

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The Hurricane Season of 2005 refuses to quit. Tropical Storm Zeta has not changed much since yesterday, but the forecast for its future has changed considerably. Zeta may become a hurricane by tomorrow. The upper-level trough approaching Zeta is splitting in two, leaving a area of low wind shear just in front of the storm. Wind shear analysis from the University of Wisconsin shows that Zeta's westward motion is carrying the storm into an area of low wind shear less than 10 knots, and this reduced wind shear has the potential to allow Zeta to intensify into a hurricane, something the GFDL model has been consistently predicting for three days.

The reduced wind shear also means that Zeta will hang around much longer than previously thought. A trough of low pressure just to Zeta's west is expected to turn the storm northwards tomorrow, but this trough will probably not be strong enough to completely recurve the storm. Zeta will have to wait for the next trough late in the week before finally recurving and dissipating. During that period, Zeta may reach hurricane intensity for a day or so before increasing shear knocks it back down to a tropical storm.

Long-term tropical storm outlook for January
Today's model runs are now suggesting that a non-tropical low pressure system will form off the coast of Africa on Sunday, in a location similar but a little farther east of where Delta, Epsilon, and Zeta all formed. It is possible that this low could make the transition to a tropical storm early next week. However, the cooler water temperatures in this low's more easterly location will probably keep it from forming into a tropical storm.


Figure 1. Tropical Storm Zeta as seen by the polar-orbiting Terra satellite. Image courtesy of the Navy Research Lab.

Tomorrow: More on Zeta, and the Texas/Oklahoma drought.

Jeff Masters

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155. HurricaneSammy
1:56 AM GMT on May 19, 2008
Lol
154. TampaSteve
8:29 PM GMT on January 04, 2006
244 ACE...yet another record bites the dust in the Hurricane Season of 2005...

Alberto...where are you???
153. gippgig
6:34 PM GMT on January 04, 2006
Zeta wanted to break the ACE record. Now that it's done it it's giving up.

Seriously, what about that chart giving the ACE record as 265 in 1950? What is the correct record?
Member Since: December 5, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 64
152. observer12
6:15 PM GMT on January 04, 2006
ForecasterColby, thanks for the thoughts. I agree that the open Atlantic should cool, but shouldn't the equator and surrounding waters stay plenty warm, allowing passage of tropical waves from Africa to theoretically continue unhindered? I know this is more of a meteorological bulletin board, but I like to play climatological devil's advocate every now and then ;). And I'm an ecologist by training!
151. atmosweather
6:08 PM GMT on January 04, 2006
Yep, Zeta has hang on to break the ACE Index record. 2005 has broken another record. However, for no reason at all, Zeta is being destroyed this morning. I really have no explanation for the substantial deteoration, as there is almost no deep convection left. I expected after last night's brief strengthening trend to wake up to Hurricane Zeta, but instead find a weak tropical storm that will dissipate within 36-48 hrs.
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
150. ForecasterColby
6:06 PM GMT on January 04, 2006
*thinks*

If the Gulf Stream shut down, it should lower temps in the far open atlantic and raise them in the gulf and caribbean.
149. MZT
5:41 PM GMT on January 04, 2006
This is one of the driest looking tropical storms I've ever seen. It's basically a windswirl with little rain.
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 793
148. observer12
5:38 PM GMT on January 04, 2006
Hey guys new here. Was just wondering - we've all heard the reports of slight reduction in Gulf Stream transport, and it alleged future impacts on European weather. Any thoughts on the impact of retaining those warm surface waters in the tropics and subtropics in the western portion of the Atlantic Basin? Though we're probably talking small diffferences in volume, could a slowdown in the Gulf Stream minimize warmwater export, keeping temperatures in the south Atlantic warmer later in the year, possibly lengthening the storm season?
147. TheSnowman
5:35 PM GMT on January 04, 2006
THE OTHER BIG RECORD IS BROKEN!!!!!!

ACE 244 1950 243 !!!!!!!!
146. quakeman55
4:47 PM GMT on January 04, 2006
"AS YOU CAN SEE...I RAN OUT [OF]
THINGS TO SAY."

I find that to be rather humorous :)
Member Since: March 31, 2002 Posts: 1 Comments: 1276
145. theboldman
4:21 PM GMT on January 04, 2006
really a hurricane?
Member Since: September 8, 2005 Posts: 25 Comments: 2
144. TampaSteve
4:09 PM GMT on January 04, 2006
Still gonna break the ACE record, though...
143. ForecasterColby
3:52 PM GMT on January 04, 2006
Never mind, I see it. I've issued a new advisory Link
142. ForecasterColby
3:40 PM GMT on January 04, 2006
I'm seriously beginning to wonder if that is indeed what is happening here. There is no explanation whatsoever except...what are the 200mb temps?
141. ProgressivePulse
1:39 PM GMT on January 04, 2006
Maybe it is a freak new breed of storm that actually feeds on shear, ha.
Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 5396
140. ForecasterColby
10:56 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
I've issued a statement, would someone explain to me what the NHC's up to with the 50kt?

Tropical Storm Zeta
Amateur Hurricane Center
www.theahc.webhop.net
Statement - 6:00AM EST January 4, 2006

Satellite imagery that Zeta has inexplicably fallen apart overnight. The latest QuickScat passed directly over the cyclone, and found not a single vector of 50kt(60mph) or more, and only one uncontaminated vector over 35kt(40mph). The cloud pattern is now extremely poor, though it has changed little over the past few hours. This statement is to update initial and forecast intensities.

Initial: 40kt(45mph)
12 Hour: 40kt(45mph)
24 Hour: 40kt(45mph)
48 Hour: 30kt(35mph)
72 Hour: Dissipated
139. ForecasterColby
10:44 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
This is bizzare...Zeta finally gets its good enviornment, and falls apart?
138. sohailg
10:11 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
go horns. zeta go away.
137. StormDrain
9:22 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
Zeta. Zeta. Zeta. What secrets do you hold about scrappy winter storms in wind and tepid water?
Member Since: October 9, 2005 Posts: 13 Comments: 495
136. gippgig
9:12 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
I can't believe Zeta is still at 55kt. It looks horrible in IR. On the other hand, the last time it looked this bad it came back stronger than it was before. Who knows?
Member Since: December 5, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 64
135. hurricanechaser
8:58 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
Hey Colby, Mattinmiami, Sherre (Billsfan), Rich, David, and everyone else.:)

I was just checking back in before I called it a night.

Colby,

I was apologizing for my usual typos in one of my long posts back when Mousey started her blogs and you said, "spell check was my friend".LOl:) On two other occasions Palmetto suggested I download one from Google as well:)

Mattinmiami,

I didn't mean to identify the author of the comments I was responding to and that says a lot about you as a person to leave the comment you did. I completely understood your rationale for the thoughts.:)

Sherre,

I completely understand you being a bit defensive as I am honestly regarding the Katrina downgrade, you know how bad it was from personal experience. It is safe to say you didn't get category one conditions as I've heard it erroneously suggested in my humble opinion.:)

David,

I am sorry I haven't responded soon enough to your email on here. I tend to forget to look there. I don't have any CNN Wilma footage. I will simply gather as much footage from the news media that I did get for Dennis, Katrina, Charley from 2004, and Wilma and send it to you as soon as I am done. I hope to complete it in a week or so. I appreciate your patience, I've just been so busy with work lately.:)

Rich,

Thanks for offering to let me know I have mail from David for him. Once again, excellent posts as usual and I am looking forward to the continuation of your Katrina blog. I know it's very time consuming especially when we still have a named storm to track.:)

I hope each of you and everyone else has a great night.:)

Your friend,
Tony


134. Trouper415
8:15 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
Thank you dallas for following up on my question. what you said directly clarifies to what I was asking. tropical formaton coriliating to a different time period, therefore clarifying the AMO cycle. thank you.

trouper415
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 637
133. Trouper415
8:12 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
gippig, a good idea considerning the madness of epsilon, gamma and now zeta. However vertical windsheer as I see it has no positive effect on hurricanes, only negative to their strucure. However, according to these hurricanes that have fire up in the middle of Winter, I wouldnt doubt it hahaha.
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 637
132. gippgig
7:35 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
It's odd that Zeta has weakened since entering the region of lower wind shear. Is it possible that the wind shear drives the convection in these weird systems sort of like a conveyer belt?
Member Since: December 5, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 64
131. AySz88
7:12 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
* .... if it would want to get to hurricane status. (That would be bad for the poor rowers....)
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 8
130. AySz88
7:11 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
Don't know what the heck happened to Zeta the past few hours - convection's falling apart. It better get its act together soon.
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 8
129. dallastornado1957
5:23 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
Arkweather, Ty & Trouper- I'd asked a question a couple of days ago, but got the book name wrong. Elmer Keaton wrote "The Time It Never Rained" about the multi-year drought in Texas during the 1950s. This matches the season of December-January Hurricane Alice in 1954.

Someone asked about the 1980s, we had Allen in 1980, I think. It was huge but fizzled. Then Alicia hit Houston in '83 but it form from a nontropical low off the Gulf Coast. 83 was also the coldest December ever recorded in TX, so no match with right now. I don't recall the early 80s as tropically busy in the Gulf.

How do the 1930s compare to the 1950s, and to right now?
128. atmosweather
5:18 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
For heaven's sake I cannot believe this stupid computer. Sorry for the multiple posts. I really am getting annoyed now.
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
127. atmosweather
5:17 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
For heaven's sake I cannot believe this stupid computer. Sorry for the multiple posts. I really am getting annoyed now.
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
126. atmosweather
5:11 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
Yeah David I will,

Have a great night :)
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
125. atmosweather
5:11 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
Yeah David I will,

Have a great night :)
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
124. atmosweather
5:10 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
Yeah David I will,

Have a great night :)
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
123. KatrinaRitaWilmaZeta
5:06 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
hey atmosweather this one more post lol

if you see hurricanechaser come back on tonight can you yet him no that he had mail and have him get back to me if you are sit on her iwhen he comes on her thank you

and you have more mail lol and good night
122. atmosweather
5:00 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
Have a great night David and haydn,

I am so sorry gippgig. I thought you meant the maximum intensity not an advisory intensity :( Sorry, you are indeed correct
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
121. KatrinaRitaWilmaZeta
4:49 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
well atmosweather i am off to bed now and if you see hurricanechaser come back on tonight can you yet him no that he had mail and have him get back to me if you are sit on her iwhen he comes on her thank you
120. haydn
4:47 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
I would stay up, but I must work in the morning. Good night.
119. KatrinaRitaWilmaZeta
4:46 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
atmosweather 6hours is that how fast a hurricane can do from a cat one to a cat 5 in this 6 hours has a hurricane ever done that befor
118. gippgig
4:41 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
Advisory #20 (5AM AST Dec. 4) on Epsilon (www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2005/pub/al292005.public.020.shtml?) downgraded Epsilon to a tropical storm (70mph winds). The final report kept it a 75mph hurricane.
Member Since: December 5, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 64
117. atmosweather
4:38 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
Yeah lol David. Thanks!!! I have emailed back on the second one. I am trying to reply to the first as well but my connection is just terrible.
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
116. KatrinaRitaWilmaZeta
4:32 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
hey atmosweather yes when i said it was going to be a cat 5 i did not mean on that night i think the winds where more like 195mph at the time of the 882mb


you have one more e mail that i would like you to take a look at and get back to me
115. MZT
4:26 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
Zeta certainly has its work cut out for it, with those strong westerlies everywhere. I think it may finally be succombing now (11:30 est) though. The high cirrus isn't spinning out like it was this afternoon, and new convection appears to be only sustained on the east side of the storm.
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 793
114. atmosweather
4:20 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
Yeah KRWZ, you said it would be from cat 2 to cat 5 in 12 hours. It actually took 6 hours lol!!! Great call on that one!!! We all thought you were crazy, but you got it right on the money!!!
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
113. Skyepony (Mod)
4:20 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
ForecasterColby~ How could the QuickSCAT have been down? Even though we couldn't get to the web site for days, near every discusion mentioned it~ including when the QuickSCAT missed the storm, as well as when the QuickSCAT was reading higher than what Zeta's intensity had been set at. Your right though ~the data from 12-30 til today is most unavailable:/
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 162 Comments: 37829
112. haydn
4:18 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
Favorite new year chant


no more greek letters
no more greek letters
no more greek letters
no more greek letters.....
111. BenRMac
4:17 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
hmm, Wikipedia is down.
110. atmosweather
4:15 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
There was no upgrade to Epsilon
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
109. KatrinaRitaWilmaZeta
4:15 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
hey haydn some one out there gets back to me lol


i do not no i like KRWZ, i think it is coool and not to long and it is fun and how did i no Zeta was going to be out there and how did i no that we where going to see 3 cat 5 hurricane and when i said Wilma was going to be a cat 5 on that night i did not mean in 12 hours or what time that was wow on that one
108. PERSONDJ
4:14 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
No more Greek letters, we have a whole 2006 name list to use before we get back to doing that again.
107. gippgig
4:13 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
For those keeping track, besides the Katrina downgrade there was a very small upgrade to Epsilon. I don't know about the other reports.
Member Since: December 5, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 64
106. cgableshurrycanegal
4:13 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
haydn, actually, he chose the name adter the fact. earlier name had about a dozen 8's in it. None of us could ever remember how many... we just called him 888... ::G:: now he sounds like a radio or tv station!
Member Since: July 12, 2005 Posts: 24 Comments: 212
105. haydn
4:12 AM GMT on January 04, 2006
We have to start with Alberto. We're in 2006 now.

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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.