Tropical Storm Dolly Forms in the Gulf of Mexico

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:24 PM GMT on September 02, 2014

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Say hello to the Atlantic's fourth named storm of 2014--Tropical Storm Dolly, which formed Tuesday morning in the Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche. Radar loops out of Altamira, Mexico show Dolly's heavy thunderstorms were already beginning to move ashore over the coast of Mexico a few hundred miles south of the Texas border Tuesday morning, though the heaviest activity was still well offshore. Satellite loops on Tuesday morning showed the classic appearance of a tropical storm struggling with wind shear--a low level circulation center partially exposed to view, with the heavy thunderstorms limited to one side (the south side) by strong upper-level winds. Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) were very warm, near 30°C (86°F), but dry air to the north of Dolly was being driven into the center of the storm's circulation by strong upper-level winds from the north-northwest, keeping development slow. Dolly doesn't have long over water before it makes landfall on Wednesday morning, and likely will not have time to intensify into a hurricane, given the dry air to its north and continued moderate levels of wind shear expected to affect the storm. None of the Tuesday morning runs of the reliable hurricane intensity models showed Dolly becoming a hurricane. Heavy rain is the main threat of the storm, and Dolly's rains will be capable of generating dangerous flash floods and mudslides over the mountainous terrain of Mexico near and to the south of the landfall location. The heavy rain threat will be less to the north of the landfall location, due to the presence of dry air.


Figure 1. Latest satellite image of Dolly.

Say Hello, Dolly--again!
Dolly's formation on September 2 comes more than a week later than the usual formation date of the Atlantic's fourth named storm, August 23. The 2014 version of Tropical Storm Dolly is the eighth appearance of a storm named Dolly in the Atlantic. Dolly made its first appearance in 1953 as hurricane that weakened before passing over Bermuda. Dolly's most recent appearance, as a 2008 Category 2 hurricane that hit near the Texas/Mexico border, was its most damaging--$1.5 billion in losses were recorded. This was not enough to get the name Dolly retired, though, and I expect we will see the name Dolly get recycled again in 2020. (The record number of appearances of a storm name for the Atlantic is ten, held by Arlene.)

New African tropical wave this weekend may develop
A tropical wave is expected to come off the coast of Africa on Thursday and move to the west at about 15 mph. This wave will be capable of bringing heavy rain and strong winds to the Cape Verde Islands on Friday and Saturday. Our three reliable computer models for predicting tropical storm formation all show development by Saturday of the wave, and in their 8 am EDT Tuesday Tropical Weather Outlook, NHC gave the system 2-day and 5-day odd of development odds of 0% and 30%, respectively. The Tuesday morning runs of the GFS and European ensemble models favored the storm taking a more west-northwesterly track into the open ocean next week, with no long-range threat to the Lesser Antilles Islands indicated.

Tropical Storm Norbert a potential threat to Baja Mexico
In the Eastern Pacific, Tropical Storm Norbert is gathering strength a few hundred miles south of the southwestern coast of Mexico. Though Mexico's Baja Peninsula was not in NHC's cone of uncertainty for Friday, the 00Z Tuesday run of the reliable European model did show Norbert coming very close to Baja on Friday, and residents there should be alert to a possible shift in the predicted track of Norbert towards them in future NHC advisories. Satellite loops show that Norbert has plenty of heavy thunderstorms, but this activity was just offshore of Southwest Mexico on Tuesday morning. Norbert's formation on September 2 comes more than 5 weeks before the typical October 11 formation date of the season's fourteenth storm in the Eastern Pacific.

Jeff Masters

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664. hurricanes2018
10:47 AM GMT on September 06, 2014
Member Since: March 12, 2013 Posts: 54 Comments: 84341
663. hurricanes2018
10:47 AM GMT on September 06, 2014
Member Since: March 12, 2013 Posts: 54 Comments: 84341
662. hurricanes2018
10:46 AM GMT on September 06, 2014
Norbert continued to rapidly intensify through about 06Z. Since
then, the hurricane appears to have peaked in intensity, with the
eye becoming less distinct and the cold cloud tops in the eyewall
becoming asymmetric.
Member Since: March 12, 2013 Posts: 54 Comments: 84341
661. CaneFreeCR
3:01 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
Looks like that ULL over the Bahamas may have worked its way down and picked up some convection -=- that's a pretty suspicious-looking bit there now.
Member Since: August 12, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 282
660. CaneFreeCR
2:55 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
Quoting 653. FBMinFL:



But ... but ... I thought there was 10% more WV bad Mojo in the Atmo?
The problem is that when you increase the temps of the atmosphere it can hold more water vapor but that doesn't necessarily increase the RH -- in fact as we see it can actually decrease. But if it gets cooled to its former temperature -- watch out!
Member Since: August 12, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 282
659. EdMahmoud
2:46 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
Quoting 657. CybrTeddy:



It's not a linear decrease in RH, you'll note that 1995 had a huge spike in RH, followed by another huge spike after the 1997 El Nino event in 1998-2000. We can expect more spikes like that in the future, and thus active hurricane seasons, but the general trend is downwards imo.


Of course it spikes up and down, but look at the RH of the inactive 70s and 80s versus the 2000s. 2005 should have been slower than the 70s and 80s. And again, pre-satellite era, was a network of ships releasing balloons all over the tropical Atlantic on a daily basis?
Member Since: October 19, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1142
658. SFLWeatherman
2:21 PM GMT on September 03, 2014


Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4967
657. CybrTeddy
2:19 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
Quoting EdMahmoud:


That plot has been trending down since it started, yet the 2000s were more active than the 70s and 80s.

Not sure how pre-satellite era 500 mb RH was measured with any great accuracy over the open ocean.


It's not a linear decrease in RH, you'll note that 1995 had a huge spike in RH, followed by another huge spike after the 1997 El Nino event in 1998-2000. We can expect more spikes like that in the future, and thus active hurricane seasons, but the general trend is downwards imo.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24511
656. SFLWeatherman
2:17 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
Year to date precipitation 43.15 Average 41.30

Quoting 639. StormTrackerScott:

A difference of 20" of rain from Miami to Naples & Fort Myers area so far this year.
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4967
655. ricderr
2:15 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 675 Comments: 22091
654. ricderr
2:15 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 675 Comments: 22091
652. HurricaneAndre
2:14 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
Invest by today, definitely. Code orange by today definitely.
Member Since: June 11, 2013 Posts: 20 Comments: 3381
651. eyewallblues
2:13 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
Ok, now what do we do?
Member Since: September 4, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 215
650. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
2:13 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
JeffMasters has created a new entry.
649. JNFlori30A
2:12 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
Checking in from NW FL...

Member Since: July 14, 2014 Posts: 0 Comments: 208
648. yankees440
2:12 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
Quoting WeatherConvoy:
Just a question about Thunderstorm mass on SE florida coast. I seem to see a circulation north of cuba but then I see one near NW Bahamas too. Can this be a LLC developing?


Seems unlikely at this point....
There is no vorticity at the surface


With the 500mb velocity quite elongated


Although, what it does have going for it is increasing low level convergence


And increasing upper level divergence
Member Since: August 28, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 455
647. Levi32
2:10 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
Quoting 632. ricderr:



hey stormy.......i use this graph as do many here...but you have to remember....the CPC does not...last week the CPC gave the weekly reading for the 3.4 area a 0.4c above average.....as you can see from this graph.......there were no readings that high.....


The CPC calculates the mean over a coarser SST grid (ERSST.v3b) than the CDAS data I use. This can smooth out their anomaly field relative to mine. The ENSO region is often filled with small-scale eddies of warm and cold water, so the different grids can easily cause our values to differ.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26686
646. StormTrackerScott
2:09 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
A good analog IMO for this Winter is the 2002/2003 winter across the US.

President's Day storm of 2003

The image to the left from NOAA's National Weather Service Northeast River Forecast Center shows snowfall totals in the Northeast for the snow event on the 16th and 17th February 2003. Well over a foot (30.5 cm) of snow fell across almost the entire state of Massachusetts, and much of the rest of southern New England and New York. However, the storm covered in snow an area from Kentucky to Connecticut on the 16th and 17th and at least 10 deaths have been attributed to the storm (Reuters). Some of the largest accumulations from the President's Day Storm occurred in and around New York City with Central Park receiving 19.8 inches (50.3cm) from the storm. This makes February 2003 the fourth snowiest February in Central Park with the total so far (as of the 18th) standing at 26.1 inches (66.3 cm) for February 2003. This total is also nearing the snowiest month of all time which was March 1896 with 30.5 inches (77.5 cm). Boston received a remarkable 27.5 inches (69.9 cm) of snow - the largest snowfall total for any storm in the city since records began.
The storm left portions of the Southeast contending with ice and sleet instead of snow, and travel conditions were dangerous across large portions of the Carolinas and Georgia over the President's Day weekend. Airport delays across the entire eastern seaboard left thousands of travelers stranded over the Sunday 16th-Tuesday 18th period.

This Nor-easter hit December 23rd thru the 25th

major winter storm affected much of the eastern United States during December 23-25, 2002. Significant accumulations of snow were reported from the Texas panhandle, through Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and northern Arkansas during the 23rd-24th, causing 12 deaths (Associated Press). Springfield, MO reported 33cm (13 inches) of snow, or 52 cm (20.5 inches) for the month, for a new December snowfall record. Snow spread eastward from parts of the Ohio Valley and into the Northeast on Christmas Day, with some locations experiencing the snowiest Christmas Day ever recorded.
Member Since: February 28, 2013 Posts: 7 Comments: 3950
645. EdMahmoud
2:04 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
Quoting 622. TropicalAnalystwx13:

500mb relative humidity for the June-July-August period was the lowest on record in the tropical Atlantic:


(Image from AmericanWx)


That plot has been trending down since it started, yet the 2000s were more active than the 70s and 80s.

Not sure how pre-satellite era 500 mb RH was measured with any great accuracy over the open ocean.
Member Since: October 19, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1142
644. Envoirment
2:04 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
Quoting 622. TropicalAnalystwx13:

500mb relative humidity for the June-July-August period was the lowest on record in the tropical Atlantic:


(Image from AmericanWx)


Perhaps it's due the lack of strong-very strong El Ninos (Click To Enlarge)?



Every decade since the 50s there's been at least one strong-very strong El Nino. But during the 2000s, there were only moderate ones. Not sure what else could be a factor in the decrease of humidity.
Member Since: June 16, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 995
643. StormTrackerScott
2:03 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
Quoting 640. ricderr:

I love people from Florida,they are so smart.

obviously you have never lived there :-) ta da da boom!


Better to live here than El-Paso. Ta da da da da boom!!!
Member Since: February 28, 2013 Posts: 7 Comments: 3950
642. stormwatcherCI
2:03 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
Quoting 628. prcane4you:
Too far away.Do you think this one can survive all the way to the carib.?
It may be improbable but not impossible. Ivan developed not too far off the African coast and moved straight through the Caribbean into the GOM. It was also around this time he developed.
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8435
641. StormTrackerScott
2:03 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
Quoting 636. ricderr:




Well see how that verifies as some of the models are unloading the cold air by days 8 to 10. This same pattern happened last year as well come mid September and it stayed in place thru a good chunk of 2014. That being the mid west trough.
Member Since: February 28, 2013 Posts: 7 Comments: 3950
640. ricderr
2:02 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
I love people from Florida,they are so smart.

obviously you have never lived there :-) ta da da boom!
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 675 Comments: 22091
639. StormTrackerScott
2:01 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
A difference of 20" of rain from Miami to Naples & Fort Myers area so far this year.
Member Since: February 28, 2013 Posts: 7 Comments: 3950
638. TropicalAnalystwx13
2:00 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
Quoting 626. TimSoCal:



That's a pretty interesting graph and shows a clear long-term trend in addition to the short-term drop you mentioned.

Anything before the 1970s is suspect because polar orbiting satellites were not in operation, but yeah, there's been a clear decline in 500mb RH over the tropical Atlantic during the past few decades.
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637. ricderr
2:00 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 675 Comments: 22091
636. ricderr
2:00 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 675 Comments: 22091
635. StormTrackerScott
1:59 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
This is thru 7/31 but you can see SW FL has had a dry year so far. Orlando is near 40" after 7" in August.

Member Since: February 28, 2013 Posts: 7 Comments: 3950
634. unknowncomic
1:58 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
Quoting 626. TimSoCal:



That's a pretty interesting graph and shows a clear longthat explains quite a bit about the activity me when it starts going back up lookout-term trend in addition to the short-term drop you mentioned.
That explains quite a bit about the lack of activity in the Atlantic. When that starts to go back up Look Out!
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632. ricderr
1:57 PM GMT on September 03, 2014


hey stormy.......i use this graph as do many here...but you have to remember....the CPC does not...last week the CPC gave the weekly reading for the 3.4 area a 0.4c above average.....as you can see from this graph.......there were no readings that high.....
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 675 Comments: 22091
631. WeatherConvoy
1:57 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
Just a question about Thunderstorm mass on SE florida coast. I seem to see a circulation north of cuba but then I see one near NW Bahamas too. Can this be a LLC developing?
Member Since: June 30, 2014 Posts: 0 Comments: 10
629. WeatherConvoy
1:54 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
ULL off SE coast of Florida has nice symmetry. If it can develop a LLC forget about it cuz warm sea surface temperatures are mid to high 80s. Tons of potential energy. My 2 cents
Member Since: June 30, 2014 Posts: 0 Comments: 10
627. StormTrackerScott
1:51 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
Quoting 623. Tornado6042008X:

Good morning fellow weather bloggers. I hope you all have been getting along on here. I just have a quick question.

Since I don't have easy access to the ECWMF model runs, does the ECWMF hint on a big mid September cool down like the GFS has been hinting?

Sorry to bother, I'm just curious?


yes, it does infact every 2 days starting this weekend cold fronts start moving east across the US with the one at days 9 & 10 having some pretty cold air with it with 30's across the upper midwest for lows.
Member Since: February 28, 2013 Posts: 7 Comments: 3950
626. TimSoCal
1:48 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
Quoting 622. TropicalAnalystwx13:
500mb relative humidity for the June-July-August period was the lowest on record in the tropical Atlantic:


(Image from AmericanWx)


That's a pretty interesting graph and shows a clear long-term trend in addition to the short-term drop you mentioned.
Member Since: July 9, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 782
625. SRQfl
1:48 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
Quoting 619. LargoFl:

alot of dead fish washing up onto the beaches because that red tide is killing the fish
Yes, and the bloom is still pretty far offshore even. I hope it stays out there or we get a storm sometime before its too late. Sarasota Bay estuaries cannot handle a large fish kill right now, we get it bad every year almost. The little baby grommets in the bay need a chance to grow up...and hit a dinner plate eventually...
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 155
624. yankees440
1:45 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
Found this about ull's becoming tropical...


"Often upper level low pressure systems dive south into the Gulf of Mexico or southwest tropical or subtropical Atlantic. These can be very intense at twenty to forty thousand feet and can cause a large mass of showers and thunderstorms to form along their eastern quads. If they persist over tropical or subtropical waters they can at times begin to develop showers and thunderstorms that are more widespread and the mid and upper level low pressure begins to descend to the sea surface and form low pressure there. If t-storms persist and they are collocated with an area of surface low they can eventually become a subtropical or tropical cyclones. This process takes many days, as constant convection near the circulation core acts to heat the atmosphere and in response a LLC forms and continues to feed from convective feedback and thus a warm core cyclone develops".

Here's a website I found regarding the ull that is forecast to come thru Florida today thru Friday... Link
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623. Tornado6042008X
1:44 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
Good morning fellow weather bloggers. I hope you all have been getting along on here. I just have a quick question.

Since I don't have easy access to the ECWMF model runs, does the ECWMF hint on a big mid September cool down like the GFS has been hinting?

Sorry to bother, I'm just curious?
Member Since: March 29, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 334
622. TropicalAnalystwx13
1:43 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
500mb relative humidity for the June-July-August period was the lowest on record in the tropical Atlantic:


(Image from AmericanWx)
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32562
621. ncstorm
1:42 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
Quoting 618. LargoFl:

did'nt one model have a tropical something off the carolina's sometime this weekend?


Euro/CMC/UKMET..weak though..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16083
620. StormTrackerScott
1:39 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
Quoting 615. Sfloridacat5:



ULL is moving into the Florida region today. That should add some energy to the afternoon storms.

With the easterly flow across southern Florida, the west coast should see some strong storms later this afternoon when the sea breeze sets up.
But almost anywhere could see some activity today.


500mb temps are expected to cool to around -9C which is much colder than a couple of days ago. Storms should be widespread come later this afternoon.



Already very high cape across the interior of FL.

Member Since: February 28, 2013 Posts: 7 Comments: 3950
619. LargoFl
1:39 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
Quoting 612. SRQfl:


Maybe the ULL SE of FL can work down to the surface and blow the red tide bloom away from W CFL.

alot of dead fish washing up onto the beaches because that red tide is killing the fish
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41158
618. LargoFl
1:37 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
Quoting 617. ncstorm:

06z run


did'nt one model have a tropical something off the carolina's sometime this weekend?
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41158
617. ncstorm
1:35 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
06z run

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16083
616. TropicalAnalystwx13
1:33 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
Tropical Storm Norbert is approaching hurricane intensity this morning. The shear that was plaguing it has weakened (which was not forecast by the SHIPS), so it looks like this could become a potent hurricane like the HWRF suggested days ago.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32562
615. Sfloridacat5
1:29 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
Quoting Skyepony:
There's that blob I was threatening FL with..



ULL is moving into the Florida region today. That should add some energy to the afternoon storms.

With the easterly flow across southern Florida, the west coast should see some strong storms later this afternoon when the sea breeze sets up.
But almost anywhere could see some activity today.
Member Since: September 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8352
614. Neapolitan
1:29 PM GMT on September 03, 2014
For a brief respite, here are a couple of shots from the ongoing fissure eruption at Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano. I especially like the pyrocumulus cloud in the bottom image. For scale, note that the crack from which lava is bursting forth is roughly half a mile in length.





Images copyright by and courtesy of Einar Gudmann - WWW.GUDMANN.IS
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13628

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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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