Helene slowly intensifying; Lane threatens Mexico

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:53 PM GMT on September 15, 2006

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Tropical Storm Helene continues to be a very large and disorganized system. However, visible satellite imagery from this morning is now showing a slow improvement in the organization of the low-level spiral bands, and the amount and intensity of the thunderstorm activity near Helene's core is increasing. Given that the storm is over warm 27-28C waters and the shear is a low 5-10 knots, I expect Helene will slowly intensify into a hurricane by Sunday. The dry air to Helene's north and west is farther away and more dilute, so should not inhibit intensification significantly.

The computer track models still have a wide spread in the long-range track for Helene, but all of them take the storm north of the Lesser Antilles. Helene may be a threat to Bermuda and the U.S. East Coast late next week, but the odds of a strike on the U.S. are less than 10%. History shows that the large majority of tropical storms that form in this part of the Atlantic end up recurving. A very strong trough of low pressure is expected to push off the East Coast by Wednesday, and this trough should be able to pull Helene northwards and recurve the storm harmlessly out to sea.


Figure 1. Latest satellite image of Helene, updated every half hour.

Gordon on the decline
Hurricane Gordon, the first major hurricane of the season, is a major hurricane no longer. Strong upper-level winds from the west have eroded the northwest side of the storm, and the once prominent eye is now gone. About 20 knots of wind shear is now affecting the storm, and this shear is expected to increase and the waters underneath it cool over the next few days. Gordon is headed northward out to sea, and is not a threat to land.

Tropical Storm Lane nears hurricane strength
Tropical Storm Lane continues to intensify just off the Mexican Pacific Ocean coast near Puerto Vallarta. Animations of microwave satellite images show that Lane is moving parallel to the coast, about 60 miles offshore, remarkably close to the track of Hurricane John earlier this month. Lane is over warm waters and under light shear, and and has the potential to become a hurricane later today. The only inhibiting factor for intensification might be the storm's close proximity to land. Lane will be drawing in dry continental air from mainland Mexico that might slow down the intensification process. Hurricane John was able to intensify into a Category 4 hurricane under virtually the same conditions, but Lane is a much smaller storm, and might be more seriously impacted by interaction with land. If Lane can avoid passing too close to land areas, she may have enough time to intensify into a Category 2 hurricane before landfall. The people of Baja, who are still cleaning up the damage and repairing the roads washed out by Hurricane John, are probably not too happy to see Lane approaching on Cabo San Lucas radar.

Moisture from Lane could potentially reach southern Arizona and New Mexico by Wednesday and cause flooding concerns there.

The rest of the tropical Atlantic
Shower activity has increased over the extreme southwest Caribbean off the coast of Panama. However, the area affected is small and likely to move ashore over Nicaragua before any development can occur. A strong tropical wave with plenty of spin and heavy thunderstorm activity has emerged from the coast of Africa this morning. This wave is over warm waters, and wind shear is a modest 10-20 knots. This wave has the potential for some slow development over the next few days as it moves over or just south of the Cape Verde Islands. Tropical waves that emerge this far north usually end up recurving out to sea.

Remainder of hurricane season outlook
I'll post my outlook for the remainder of hurricane season this afternoon by 4pm EDT.

Jeff Masters

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584. groundman
10:22 PM GMT on September 15, 2006
Posted By: Randrewl at 6:10 PM GMT on September 15, 2006.
leftovers....that can't happen.

...TROPICAL STORM FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED THROUGH
SATURDAY.


You are hilarious Randrewl.

Jobu the anti cyclone thing??

Scottie the "disturbance" in the gulf??

I believe it is definitely time to go back to bed, maybe we could petition to name the blob-disturbance Scottie?? someone need to research that. Tell em cuz WE said so??!! LOL
Terry
note: ignore this, meant to post @ 1 pm. Sat decided not to work again:(
582. hurricane23
8:25 PM GMT on September 15, 2006
Good afternoon....

Helene has gotten better organized the past 24 hours and looks like a 65-70mph TS right now.I say by late tonight or more sometime tommorow morning she becomes a hurricane with 75-80mph winds.Helene will most likely stay far away from the U.S which is excellent news.


Here is an IR image of Helene Showing the improved organization.


Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13839
581. DocBen
8:25 PM GMT on September 15, 2006
1900hurricane - I speculated about looping (loopy?) based on one of the spaghetti tracks Randrewl (?) posted. Wouldn't that be a hoot!
Member Since: May 16, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 98
580. ihave27windows
8:22 PM GMT on September 15, 2006
I need a drink Rand.....
Member Since: July 19, 2005 Posts: 108 Comments: 14933
579. mahep1911
8:22 PM GMT on September 15, 2006
justcoasting i am from lee county
Member Since: July 17, 2005 Posts: 12 Comments: 793
576. JUSTCOASTING
8:20 PM GMT on September 15, 2006
ANYONE HERE FROM CHARLOTTE CO FLA
Member Since: August 15, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 666
575. ihave27windows
8:20 PM GMT on September 15, 2006
Suddenly turned very dark here....and thunder is audible.
Member Since: July 19, 2005 Posts: 108 Comments: 14933
574. ProgressivePulse
8:20 PM GMT on September 15, 2006
Not Impossible but Highly Unlikely 1900. Gordo is hanging out, waiting for the next trough coming off the east coast. NHC said the steering currents would be very weak for a little while.
Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 5452
573. ClydeFrog
8:20 PM GMT on September 15, 2006
NOGAPS 12Z run is interesting to say the least.... but what concerns me is the wiggle it has helene doing. I was taught that can sometimes mean the model has not made a solid decision on that ridge.... I wonder if the hunters go in if we still see this spread over the next day to gather more info for the models to go on....
Member Since: September 30, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 68
572. Gatorx
8:19 PM GMT on September 15, 2006
new blog
566. 1900hurricane
8:17 PM GMT on September 15, 2006
Gordon will loop?!?!?!

Who's said that? How possible is that?
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 46 Comments: 11683
565. ricderr
8:16 PM GMT on September 15, 2006
ok......gs opened a bar blog...then he said for me to open one..so we can do the pub crawl....it's open
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 675 Comments: 22023
562. sarepa
8:16 PM GMT on September 15, 2006
can someone tell me if the ridge has weaken
Member Since: January 17, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 26
561. 1900hurricane
8:15 PM GMT on September 15, 2006
Posted By: ihave27windows at 3:12 PM CDT on September 15, 2006.

I found this pic when I googled coconuts....can't figure out why.


Ya, that's random...
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 46 Comments: 11683
556. Chicklit
8:14 PM GMT on September 15, 2006
Clyde, Somebody said the NoGaps is perhaps showing a weakening in the ridge keeping the storms off the Eastern Seaboard, possibly allowing Helene wiggle room. What do you think?
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11390
555. ClydeFrog
8:14 PM GMT on September 15, 2006
Hey Folks.... just a tidbit for you all to chew on since Gordo and Helene are a larger threat to the UK and ireland than anywhere here. But The GFS, NOGAPS, FSU, and even the canadian (but not as large as the previous) all show a STRONG wave coming off Africa in the 114-136hr range. This will be interesting, the GFS has preformed pretty well with african wave origins this season IMO..... here the link:



850mb Vorticity for those who made need help.

Froggy

Any thoughts on this????
Link

Member Since: September 30, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 68
554. Gatorx
8:14 PM GMT on September 15, 2006
OK just for the record...I have been asking for four days if Gordon will loop...everyone has been sayin ---- no way loser--you wishcaster - you fishcaster---now I'm hearin
that Gordon may loop. So there is a prime example of storms doing the exact opposite of what we think.
550. obsessedwweather
8:12 PM GMT on September 15, 2006
Gordon going SW??? Interesting, very interesting!!!!

Gryhndlvr

I'm counting down the minutes with you!!
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 321
549. 1900hurricane
8:12 PM GMT on September 15, 2006
Normally, I would be celeberating, but tomarrow morning, I have to wake up at 6:00 am for a school-related orchestra concert. I get back home 6 hours later...
: (
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 46 Comments: 11683
548. swlaaggie
8:11 PM GMT on September 15, 2006
Posted By: tropicallydepressed at 2:56 PM CDT on September 15, 2006.

obsessed : no for crying out loud.


My goodness. That was kind of harsh for a Friday. Even a rainy Monday. I think you were asking all to work and play well with others earlier.

Everyone have a GREAT weekend. Gig em Ags, Go Tigers(sorry any Auburn fans). It's cocktail hour starting right.....now.
Member Since: April 26, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1032
547. nash28
8:11 PM GMT on September 15, 2006
I love it Saddle!!! Doesn't matter though. I will still have my opinions, WHICH are based on scientific reasoning and those who have a coniption fit are usually the ones who have never backed up their reasoning ONCE on here.

No sweat dear.
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
546. ClydeFrog
8:11 PM GMT on September 15, 2006
Hey Folks.... just a tidbit for you all to chew on since Gordo and Helene are a larger threat to the UK and ireland than anywhere here. But The GFS, NOGAPS, FSU, and even the canadian (but not as large as the previous) all show a STRONG wave coming off Africa in the 114-136hr range. This will be interesting, the GFS has preformed pretty well with african wave origins this season IMO..... here the link:

Link

850mb Vorticity for those who made need help.

Froggy

Any thoughts on this????
Member Since: September 30, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 68
545. Chicklit
8:10 PM GMT on September 15, 2006
55 minutes til cocktail hour
gryhndlvr: You get to start early on Fridays. Go for it. (But don't drive!)
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11390
543. saddlegait
8:09 PM GMT on September 15, 2006
1900 - How are you - the weekend is here! No school tomorrow...yeahhh....
542. Chicklit
8:09 PM GMT on September 15, 2006
Marlin, Gordon is going north east and Helene is going northwest now and then is predicted to track northeast and out to sea. There are a couple of new waves coming off of Africa they'll keep an eye on for next week. Have a nice weekend everyone!
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11390
540. saddlegait
8:08 PM GMT on September 15, 2006
I passed GO the other day and had to cry my way out of a ticket - good thing I am such a drama queen - no one's life can possibly sound worse than mine when they have that little ticket book in front of them!
539. 1900hurricane
8:07 PM GMT on September 15, 2006
Good Afternoon!
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 46 Comments: 11683
538. saddlegait
8:06 PM GMT on September 15, 2006
Well, I got that and you just keep telling them that that ole gal is going to keep heading away from here! I personally like that forecast myself.
535. stormybil
8:05 PM GMT on September 15, 2006
we have 7 people here seeing gordon moving sw . not a model thats the truth then gordon is moving sw .thanks

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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.