Bermuda braces for Hurricane Florence

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:16 PM GMT on September 10, 2006

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Today marks the peak day of the Atlantic hurricane season, and we've got the second hurricane of the season to watch now. Hurricane warnings are flying in Bermuda, and the island is bracing for what may be a direct hit by a Category 2 Hurricane Florence on Monday. Florence has an impressive appearance on satellite imagery this morning, with a large 50-mile diameter eye, an outflow channel at upper levels well established to the north, and a smaller one to the east. Given the very large size of the eye, it appears likely that at least a portion of Bermuda will be affected by the eyewall when Florence makes its closest approach Monday. Satellite intensity estimates are steadily increasing, but we'll have to wait until the Hurricane Hunters arrive back at the storm around 2pm EDT this afternoon to see how much intensification has occurred. The last Hurricane Hunter mission departed the storm at 3:30am EDT this morning. One can see some impressive rain bands enveloping the island on Bermuda radar and the Bermuda radar animation.


Figure 1. Latest satellite image of Florence, updated every 1/2 hour.

Florence has a very large swath of tropical storm force winds that have been blowing for many days over a huge stretch of ocean. These factors, when combined with the storm's expected intensification into a Category 2 hurricane, will create very high ocean swells that will impact the entire Atlantic coast from the Lesser Antilles to Canada. The highest seas can be expected from North Carolina to Newfoundland, with five to ten foot seas common in many nearshore areas. Twelve foot seas are expected off Cape Hatteras by Tuesday. The wave height forecast animation from the global wave model run by the National Weather Service is most impressive, and predicts wave heights up to 30 feet offshore the Newfoundland coast on Tuesday. Bermuda can expect waves of 15-25 feet on top of a 6-8 foot storm surge on Monday when the center of Florence passes.

Elsewhere in the tropics
An area of disturbed weather 900 miles east-southeast of Florence has a pronounced surface spin that one can see on visible satellite imagery, and was declared "Invest 93L" by NHC on Saturday. Wind shear has fallen to just 10 knots over this disturbance today, and some slow development is possible as it follows the a track similar to Florence. This storm may be a threat to Bermuda, but probably nowhere else.

There are no other threat areas in the Atlantic to discuss. The computer models forecast a new development off the coast of Africa by the middle of next week, but anything developing in this region is likely to recurve out to sea.


Figure 2. Preliminary model tracks for Invest 93L, 900 miles east-southeast of Florence.

Hurricanes and Bermuda
Hurricanes and Bermuda are no strangers. Since 1551, at least 65 tropical storms and hurricanes have hit the island. Twenty-five of these were major hurricanes. In the past century, the most severe hurricane to hit was the Havana-Bermuda Hurricane of October 22, 1926. This Category 4 storm struck the island with 135 mph winds and killed 88 sailors on a British war ship moored in the harbor that capsized and sank. Since the naming of hurricanes commenced in 1950, the only Bermuda hurricane to gets its named retired was Hurricane Fabian, which struck the island as a category 3 hurricane on September 5, 2003. According to NHC's final report on Hurricane Fabian, the hurricane's eye scraped the west side of the island, bringing the storm's worst winds in the right front quadrant over the island. Sustained winds of 115 mph and a storm surge of 10 feet caused over 300 million in damage and killed four. Battering waves 20-30 feet high affected the south shore of the island.

PBS television show tonight
Some Public television stations will be carrying the show, "Anatomy of a Hurricane", tonight at 10:30pm. Here's their description of the show:

This documentary program goes inside the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, during the 2004 hurricane season. Tune in to get a revealing look at the stressful work of the dedicated staff who deal with unique and unexpected challenges and struggle to make the most accurate predictions. (CC, Stereo)
http://www.pbs.org/stationfinder/stationfinder_relocalize.html

It should be a great look inside at what goes on at the NHC during a big storm!

I'll have an update late tonight or early Monday morning.

Jeff Masters

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1472. Gatorx
1:40 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
new blog is up
1471. RAYFROMBOSTON
1:37 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
Zaphod, I think TD7 could very well dissipate, the GFDL and SHIPS are out to lunch on their intensity forecasts. This will never be a hurricane.
1470. RAYFROMBOSTON
1:35 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
Good morning and my condlonces to anyone who lost loved ones on 9/11, THEY WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN.
1469. Zaphod
1:35 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
TD7 doesn't seem be going much anywhere yet, but it looks barely NW overnight to me. I can't see any major reason to disagree with the models, though it does seem like a nudge either N or S would settle it into two different paths, if I interpret the currents correctly (not a given!).

Is there a decent chance it will simple dissipate more or less where it is? The other convection to the S and W seems to blow up and then blow away every day or so......

Is there any chance that the little swirl over the Yucatan could develop convection?

Zap
Member Since: October 5, 2005 Posts: 15 Comments: 3239
1466. Fl30258713
1:31 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
I guess that quake must of really shaken up Tampa Bay yesterday, what was that score 27-0,lol
Member Since: July 24, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 987
1465. Tazmanian
1:30 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
11/1145 UTC 20.9N 56.3W T2.5/2.5 07L -- Atlantic Ocean
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115239
1464. Fl30258713
1:26 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
No earthquake signs in Pensacola, there must be a fault that run off Atlantic from Jacksonvill to SW/
Member Since: July 24, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 987
1463. i12BNEi
1:24 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
Morning all
Nothing fealt here in Crystal Beach.I was out with the family and got a text message about a large earthquake in the GOM,Scared me a little being 3 blocks from the gulf and not knowing at the time as to what the magnitude was though.

(911...Never forgotten)
1460. weathermanwannabe
1:16 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
This forecast is not mine (from FSU); I post it for discussions purposes and comparison to Dr. Masters and NHC.....Right now TD 7 is just lingering East of the Lesser Antilles and any future movement (as to LA) will be dependent upon the "void" left by Florence and the preveiling steering currents...Your guess is as good as mine as to future development..
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9226
1457. Rotorbeam
1:10 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
Raining fish is believed to be the result of water spout tornado(s) cathing fishs then being let go at different locations and altitudes
1455. sporteguy03
1:09 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
weathermanwannabe,
How do you know it won't be a threat the US? What about the Islands?
Member Since: July 7, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5351
1454. weathermanwannabe
1:07 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
GM All.....This morning's take on Florence and TD7 from one of the FSU people...

Colleagues,

FORECAST: Hurricane FLORENCE is now passing by just to the west of Bermuda
with Category one winds. Bremuda will experience Category 1 force winds.
FLORENCE now moving east of north and in the next few hours will be moving
NE about 11 mph into regions of higher shear and colder waters, hence, no
strengthening. FLORENCE is no threat to the US at all.

DISCUSSION: Today is the climatalogical peak of the hurricane season. This
season will, as discussed yesterday, be no more than average, even though
we are in a period of greater than average storms. Tropical Depression 7
is 900 SE of FLORENCE, but it is not strong enough and conditions are not
clear enough to tell if it will strengthen. In any event, it will not be
a threat to Florida or the US (maybe Bermuda again). The next day or two
will tell the story on this one. I will be watching this system, just in
case. For all practical purposes, FLORENCE will be of no more interest to
us after today. Florence will become an extratropical storm shortly and
move across the north Atlantic.
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9226
1452. IKE
12:55 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
I see that on a visible...the convection is staying behind.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1451. Hatchet
12:54 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
Looks like Bermuda is fine so far ,hope they stay that way,glad they are the only intelligent life forms in Flos way
1450. Fl30258713
12:53 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
mornin all, when did Burmuda's radar go down?
Member Since: July 24, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 987
1449. HurricaneMyles
12:50 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
Ike... I actually thought the llc was going NW while the convection is staying pretty much in place. Not good for development if thats the case.
Member Since: January 12, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 827
1448. Melagoo
12:47 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
Weather enthusists should never be on a dial-up modem
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 19 Comments: 1577
1447. Patrap
12:46 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
..is out to reflect on the events of 5 yrs ago this hour...and will c yall later today..Remember..Resolve...Respect..911.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128651
1446. CFLSW
12:46 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
I did
1444. IKE
12:44 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
Much better CFLSW. Thanks. And I'm not on dialup.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1443. CFLSW
12:43 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
Sorry I did not notice how heavy they where untill I downloaded one. When I saw That I had a bad feeling about it.
1442. IKE
12:43 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
TD7 looks almost stationary..Florence might pull it north.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1441. Patrap
12:41 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
..remeber tozzing webtv remote kyboard out the window..years ago...
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128651
1440. Patrap
12:40 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
..LOL..Rand..G morning...
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128651
1439. Patrap
12:40 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
..we now in the mud..pages loading..S_L_O_W_L_Y>...
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128651
1438. IKE
12:39 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
Glad I don't have dialup!
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1436. Patrap
12:39 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
..please post a link..not the pages ..too much data..not enuf Bandwidtw..Please..Thank you...
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128651
1435. IKE
12:37 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
They have sustained SSE at 55...probably hurricane force gusts are happening now.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1434. hurricaneTrak
12:37 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
hey isn't td 7 going to slow for the thing to catch her?
1432. Patrap
12:36 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
..Azores the way of the Atlantic this year,,via Bermuda
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128651
1431. IKE
12:36 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
Posted By: Patrap at 7:34 AM CDT on September 11, 2006.

..yes ..was Worst Id been in..I sometimes look @ the Local landfall radar loop ..and just shudder...


Katrina was a full-fledged beast. If I had to thumb a ride away from the area, I would have.

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1430. Patrap
12:35 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
..about the Highest now..they doing fine..dtroberts has a report from Bermuda..if ya scroll dowb
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128651
1429. IKE
12:34 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
Current gust at 72 is the highest I've seen.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1428. Patrap
12:34 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
..yes ..was Worst Id been in..I sometimes look @ the Local landfall radar loop ..and just shudder...
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128651
1426. Patrap
12:33 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
..Wilma was bad lick for many over there.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128651
1425. IKE
12:32 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
I remember seeing a radar as she was crossing SE LA..heading back in the water...then hitting SE Miss. I felt sorry for everyone...with a pressure that low...just knew the damage was severe.

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1423. Patrap
12:31 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
.sees the Scotsman up & atum..GM..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128651
1422. Patrap
12:30 PM GMT on September 11, 2006
..stopped blogging Sun the 28th and didnt get back in till Sept 16th..but was curious..I know it must have been wild watching it roll in on radar..I had my last look when power was lost 0515 the 29th.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128651

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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.