Alberto nears hurricane strength

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:16 PM GMT on June 12, 2006

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The latest report from the hurricane hunters found winds of 74 knots (85 mph) at flight level of 1500 feet, and a central pressure of 997 mb, down 4 mb from the 8am EDT penetration. After surviving some very strong wind shear last night, Alberto has reorganized, and a new center has formed under the deep convection on the east side of the storm. The old center is still visible on satellite imagery, drifting southward over the Gulf of Mexico. Spiral banding has appeared on both visible satellite imagery and the Tampa radar animation.


Figure 1. Accumulated rain so far from Alberto, as estimated by the Tampa radar.

All this strengthening occurred in the face of strong wind shear of 20-30 knots, which is unusual. I was calling for a 10% chance of Alberto becoming a hurricane, but Alberto certainly has other ideas! The storm's central pressure was a very unimpressive 1006 mb last night when I thought the storm might get ripped apart, but the 9 mb drop in pressure since then is an impressive achievement for a storm under 20-30 knots of wind shear. The shear has not changed much in the past 12 hours, nor is it expected to do so over the next few days. This should limit Alberto's intensification. Hurricane Ophelia last year strengthened in the face of similar amounts of shear, and I anticipate that Alberto will grow no stronger than Ophelia. Maximum sustatined winds of 80 mph are probably the highest we will see from Alberto.

The major threat of damage with Alberto now appears to be storm surge, with a surge of 8 - 10 feet possible over portions of the west coast of Florida. The waters off the coast are very shallow for a long stretch, which allows a rather large surge to build up. High winds will be a problem for mobile homes, and cause moderate tree damage and power outages in the affected area. Heavy rain will also be a concern, but as I discussed yesterday, this may be more of a boon than a bane given Florida's moderate drought conditions. Rain amounts of up to six inches have fallen in portions of the Keys and Naples, Florida.

We'll update this blog later today as conditions warrant.

Jeff Masters

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888. snowboy
4:23 AM GMT on June 13, 2006
Although I'm focussed on Alberto, I would agree that the system approaching the NE Caribbean has potential and may well become TD2..
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2555
887. iyou
4:21 AM GMT on June 13, 2006
Dr. M. has a new blog up folks!
Member Since: July 25, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5219
886. SirVivor
4:19 AM GMT on June 13, 2006
HEY! What the heck happened to the frontal boundary that was headed my way??? Dadgummit, I need the rain! I demand my share, darn it! So far I've got a few clouds and a little blustery wind. So, who the heck stole my rain storm????? Lefty, StormJunkie...I'm counting on you guys to figure out some way to steer a little of that rain into SE Bama.....Not a lot...I don't want several inches...just enough to water my garden for a day or two...and enough that the local farmers don't lose their peanut, cotton and corn crops...but not so much that the duhmaters and melons burst on the vines. How 'bout it???? Hmmm???? Pretty please with nanner pudding on top?
885. snowboy
4:19 AM GMT on June 13, 2006
I can't do loops on my dial up system, but it sure looks to me like precipitation is intensifying across FLA and convection is starting to develop in the Gulf..
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2555
883. cTampa
4:18 AM GMT on June 13, 2006
TPAweatherguy- can attest to that. I am in Palma ceia.
Member Since: August 30, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 20
882. cTampa
4:16 AM GMT on June 13, 2006
hey goularogue! Nice to see you here this evening. How are things in Goula this evening?
Member Since: August 30, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 20
881. ndcohn
4:14 AM GMT on June 13, 2006
while wobbles aren't particularly rare or anyting, the storm has been pretty steady in its NE trajectory (which would be expected given that the steering currents aren't very weak, its definetly veering pretty strongly to the north for the last 4 frames or so. Even a little to the NNW... i wonder if it will persist.

Its funny, I read an article once about how hurricanes just DONT want to go into the bend, as if they had a choice. I forget the storm right now, but i think it was an E storm... anyway, it turned around and hit in a completely unexpected direction.
I obviously dont see any evidence that its going to do that or anything, but I just think its interesting that as the storm moves into the bend, its... resisting...
879. TampaCat5
4:10 AM GMT on June 13, 2006
Really enjoyed the discussion tonight. It's bedtime. Goodnight folks. (erm goodnight alberto! lol)
Member Since: June 11, 2006 Posts: 4 Comments: 445
878. Tazmanian
4:10 AM GMT on June 13, 2006
night night lol lol lol and give me a fly by Bump to say hi in my blog ok night night night
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115375
876. snowboy
4:09 AM GMT on June 13, 2006
TampaCat5, this one for sure isn't over till it's over. If you saw how dead Alberto looked yesterday at this time, and how ominous it looked this morning (12 hours later) then in my view this should make the NHC's call quite comprehensible. We have not had landfall yet and strengthening overnight is easily possible..
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2555
875. TampaSteve
4:08 AM GMT on June 13, 2006
Well, folks...it's just after midnight here, and we've got a strong rain band coming through...finally getting some wind here. Hasn't been much else this evening though...just some rain on and off. Still under a tornado watch until 8 am. Good night, everyone...
873. MahFL
4:07 AM GMT on June 13, 2006
Snowboy, the radar is certainly getting redder here west of Jacksonville, where I am currently working all night till 11 am tomorrow.
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869. snowboy
4:02 AM GMT on June 13, 2006
Is it just me, or is regional radar starting to reflect increased activity in the northeastern Gulf?
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2555
868. ndcohn
4:01 AM GMT on June 13, 2006
I understand what you mean, tampa, but don't you think its the only option given the potential changes in the intensity of the storm, the scope of the storm, and the direction of the storm? I dont see how they could have done it any other way.
867. HurricaneMyles
4:00 AM GMT on June 13, 2006
They semi mis-quoted Dr. Grey's(really Dr. Klotzbach's) forecast. The entire US east coast(including E. coast of Florida) has a 69% chance for a major hurricane cat 3, 4, or 5.
Member Since: January 12, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 827
865. TampaCat5
3:59 AM GMT on June 13, 2006
I guess my main gripe is the hurricane warning painted all along the Florida coast. I think, well it looks to me, they found a sliver of near hurricane force winds, I mean they fly and fly and fly until they find a sliver of near hurricane force winds, while in reality most of the system is a weak tropical storm. I don't beleive they are presenting the system to the public very well. Yes I agree they do a great job with the track and intensity prediction is tough.
Member Since: June 11, 2006 Posts: 4 Comments: 445
864. HurricaneMyles
3:57 AM GMT on June 13, 2006
I am almost certain they mis-quoted Dr. Gray. I'm going to find out right now.
Member Since: January 12, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 827
863. ndcohn
3:57 AM GMT on June 13, 2006
i'd also point out that while we have dozens of people on here that like to criticize the NHC, i dare someone to find me anyone on this blog that has more accurately forcasted its path and intensity then the nhc. There were people who forcasted anything from dissapation to a major hurricane[sometimes people forcasted both in the same day :P, and landfalls from texas to ft. myers. The NHC has been money, as usual.
861. ndcohn
3:53 AM GMT on June 13, 2006
it looks to me like the storm is taking a bit of a jog to the north in the last hour.
860. bamaweatherwatcher
3:53 AM GMT on June 13, 2006
hurrianemyles and ndcohn... i agree completely. i have been tracking this storm since before it knew it was going to be even a rainstorm and the NHC did the best job they could given the cirumstances. I dont think anybody could call this storm and easy predication. And myles is right they have had it landfalling around where is going to since it first formed.

859. HurricaneMyles
3:52 AM GMT on June 13, 2006
floodzone,

A 64% chance for a cat 4 or 5, or a 64% chance of a landfalling system? 64% chance is extremely high for a landfalling cat 4 or 5 anywhere along the coastline, let along the northeast.
Member Since: January 12, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 827
854. HurricaneMyles
3:48 AM GMT on June 13, 2006
I dont see how the NHC has done a bad job. If your biggest gripe is sending in too many recon then take your shots at them. They won't ever skimp on recon if thier is a US landfalling system eminent. I would hope that even if they do go over thier expected budget for hurricane hunters that they would still be able to find some money to send as much recon possible to storm that threatens the US. If not then there would be some problems.
Member Since: January 12, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 827
851. ndcohn
3:48 AM GMT on June 13, 2006
tampa05 - it seems to me like tampa has been lucky enough to be caught in a wedge of dry air which is pretty much making sure that you largely avoid the brunt of the storm. Be happy instead of complaining. That said, the NHC has done an excellent job on this storm. They have been calling this landfall location since it was a tropical depression, and their intensity forcast has never been more then 15KTS off, and for most of the time, its been within 5/10KTS. I dont know why you think they have been doing poorly.
850. tropicalstorm006
3:46 AM GMT on June 13, 2006
Sorry but last question to me it seems like the WU models had been shifting back to the left little by little. So will they continue to do so? and will the local hurricane statements in SC start shifting north into NC? We need rain in southeastern NC and I'm hoping to see rain from Alberto.
848. tampaJoe
3:45 AM GMT on June 13, 2006
Winds are really picking up in western Hills Cty...
847. goularogue
3:43 AM GMT on June 13, 2006
lefty is right
846. tropicalstorm006
3:43 AM GMT on June 13, 2006
will that front draped across NC & SC have any effect on Alberto and if yes what?
844. K8eCane
3:42 AM GMT on June 13, 2006
maybe it will turn towards la or texas and that way it will forever be a true tropical system eh?? lol
Member Since: April 26, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 3222
843. TampaCat5
3:36 AM GMT on June 13, 2006
Yea, the NHC isn't exactly giving me loads of confidence at the moment

My sentiments exactly Ldog.
Member Since: June 11, 2006 Posts: 4 Comments: 445
842. Ldog74
3:33 AM GMT on June 13, 2006
Yea, the NHC isn't exactly giving me loads of confidence at the moment. Later on in the year with a cat 4-5 in the gulf or Carib they wont be able to send in recon flights cause they are "low on funds".
Member Since: June 11, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 165
840. TampaCat5
3:33 AM GMT on June 13, 2006
tpa, where in Tampa do you live? I'm not seeing any gusts.
Member Since: June 11, 2006 Posts: 4 Comments: 445
839. snowboy
3:32 AM GMT on June 13, 2006
I wonder if that convection over Louisiana will get drawn into Alberto - if so, it could close up the center just in time for a last burst before landfall
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2555
838. TampaCat5
3:32 AM GMT on June 13, 2006
Myles, thanks. I stand corrected. One of those even fromed in July. Ok you cannot cross this line, 7N! :)
Member Since: June 11, 2006 Posts: 4 Comments: 445

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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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