Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:27 PM GMT on July 20, 2006
Beryl appears to have stopped intensifying. The latest Hurricane Hunter center report at 7:13 am EDT found that the pressure had risen 1 mb from the 5am advisory, to 1002 mb. Surface winds remained at about 60 mph. Long range radar from New Jersey (Figure 1) shows the storm's structure nicely. While there is some good spiral banding, the storm has been unable to close off an eye. Visible satellite imagery from this morning shows a Central Dense Overcast (CDO) typical of a hurricane trying to form over the southern portion of the storm, where the shear is less. With the wind shear now rising steadily and sea surface temperatures declining, it is unlikely that Beryl will be to make the transition to hurricane status, although a few more hours probably remain for this to happen. A slow decline in strength should begin tonight. Wind shear is currently 10 - 20 knots from the west, and should increase to 20 - 30 knots by Friday morning. Sea surface temperatures are 25 - 26 C, and will fall to 24 - 25 C.
Figure 1.Current long-range radar out of Philadelphia.
Impact on New England
A strong band of westerly upper-level winds over New England will act to turn Beryl more to the northeast today. It is possible that the storm could penetrate far enough north to strike southeast Massachussestts early Friday, as indicated by the GFS and GFDL models. However, the further north Beryl does go, the likelier she is to significantly weaken, since wind shear increases sharply to the north. A close pass by a 50-60 mph tropical storm or a strike by a weaker 40-50 mph tropical storm are the two most likely scenarios for southeast Massachussetts. In either case, beach erosion will probably be the primary threat. Already, the waves at the mid-ocean buoy 230 miles east of New Jersey are up to 12 feet, and large waves on top of the expected 1-3 foot storm surge should cause some moderate beach erosion along the southeast Massachussetts coast. Beryl will be moving quickly when it passes Massachussetts, and much of the heaviest rain will remain offshore, so flooding from rainfall should be minor. Rains of 2-4 inches are expected in southeast Massachussetts.
Elsewhere in the tropics
An area of disturbed weather associated with an upper-level low pressure system continues a few hundred miles north of Puerto Rico. Wind shear, dry air, and cold air temperatures will keep any development of this system to a minimum. A large cloud of African dust over the eastern Atlantic should keep things quiet there the rest of the week. None of the computer models are hinting at any development over the next week.
I'll be back with an update this afternoon. The next Hurricane Hunter flight is scheduled to arrive at 2pm EDT. And in case you were wondering how to pronounce Beryl, check out wunderblogger MargieKieper's humorous blog.
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