Lane spares Mexico the worst; Helene strengthens

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:05 PM GMT on September 17, 2006

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Hurricane Lane made landfall at 12:15pm PDT Saturday as a destructive Category 3 hurricane with 125 mph winds. Lane struck a sparsely populated region of the Mexican coast about 50 miles northwest of Mazatlan. The storm surge of approximately six feet affected only an uninhabited barrier island and some adjacent farmland, and did very little damage. The extreme Category 3 winds of the eyewall affected an area of coast about 20 miles wide and stretching 20 miles inland. Only a few hundred people lived in this region, and wind damage from Lane was mostly felt in the city of Culiacan about 30 miles inland. Lane had weakened to a Category 1 hurricane when it passed 30 miles east of that city of 750,000, and brought sustained winds of approximately 65 mph to the city.

Lane has been downgraded to a tropical storm, and is rapidly breaking up over the high mountains of Mainland Mexico. Flooding remains a concern today, and Lane could trigger flash floods in the mountains thanks to its expected 5-10 inches of rain. Lane has been responsible for two deaths so far--a man killed in the village of Pueblos Unidos when he was knocked over by fierce winds, and a 7-year-old boy in a rockfall in Acapulco. Overall, Mexico was very lucky with Lane. Had the storm made a direct hit on Mazatlan, it would have been one of the most destructive Pacific hurricanes of all time for Mexico, and Lane would have become just the 4th Pacific Mexican hurricane to have its name retired.


Figure 1. Hurricane Lane at landfall. Image credit: Servicio Meteorologico Nacional of Mexico.

Helene strengthens
Hurricane Helene is now a large and impressive hurricane, with a huge 50 mile diameter eye. Helene continues to strengthen, but it appears that the storm will be no threat to land, with the possible exception of Bermuda. The computer models are in two camps this morning--the GFS and BAMM models, which take the storm on a westerly track starting Monday, and the rest of the models, which show recurvature to the north. The models differ in how they handle a weak trough of low pressure that is expected to pass to the north of Helene early this week. If the GFS and BAMM are right, the trough will be too weak to pick up Helene, and high pressure will build in, forcing the storm to the west for several more days. The rest of the models think that the trough will be deep enough to turn Helene to the north. These model solutions are more likely to be correct the stronger and larger Helene grows, since a larger storm will extend further north and higher in the atmosphere, making it more likely to feel the effects of the trough of low pressure.

If this trough does miss picking up Helene, the storm has to avoid being pulled north by one or two more troughs in order to make it all the way to the U.S. East Coast. This is a pretty tall order this time of year, as the troughs coming off the East Coast are expected to get stronger and dive further south. The GFS model is predicting a trough late this week will turn Helene northwards, bringing the hurricane very close to Bermuda on Sunday or Monday of next week.

The rest of the tropical Atlantic
Hurricane Gordon is still out there, but is no threat to land. There are no other threat areas to discuss.

Remainder of hurricane season outlook
I posted my outlook for the remainder of hurricane season Friday, in case you missed it.

I'll have an update Monday morning.
Jeff Masters

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1942. NJNorEaster
2:37 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
Mel - was in town for a week to do an audit of the EC laboratory.
Member Since: September 12, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 55
1938. Melagoo
2:23 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
HELENE.110kts-954mb-229N-499W
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 19 Comments: 1607
1936. PensacolaDoug
2:15 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
We had the big freezes her in Dec 88 and then again on Jan 90. Hit 9 one morning here in P'cola.
Plumbers all got rich!
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 670
1935. Melagoo
2:14 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
helene
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 19 Comments: 1607
1933. PensacolaDoug
2:13 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
I feel like Charlie Brown - Montgomery comes on the air and says "we got 2.8 inches"...Dothan comes on and says "we got three inches". I just sit there with my measly .2 inches and feel like saying "I got a rock!"

LOL!
It's raining here!
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 670
1932. ihave27windows
2:13 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
You're not stupid Doug.....It was very pretty, and my first white Christmas.....big beautiful snowflakes falling.
Member Since: July 19, 2005 Posts: 108 Comments: 14933
1931. Patrap
2:12 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
..I wouldnt bet on those Dvork press numbers..they have been showing lower than actuals..since Helene became Hurricane
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129904
1930. PensacolaDoug
2:11 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
Doug, I'm not so sure you would want to see that, a blizzard down south that is. In 1989 I lived in Kingwood, a burb of Houston and on Christmas eve we set a record of 9 degrees. We had pipes bursting all over the house. 12 to be exact and water everywhere.....building supplies businesses were charging outrageous prices for PVC pipes. it was horrible. Very pretty with the snow, but not a pleasant cleanup


Yeah I know....I'm just kinda stupid that way.
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 670
1929. Patrap
2:10 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
..Im sure this front will settle the dust and maybe give them Horses some relief...yall sound like ya need it ..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129904
1927. PensacolaDoug
2:09 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
Saddle. Freaky stuff....Scary too.

I went to Gadsden once a couple days after big F4 or F5 went thru. Must have been i'm guessing here...1996 or so. Anyway, we got to a part of the hwy where one of those big twisters had crossed, and trees were flatened for about a half mile wide stretch of hwy as far as we could see where it had crossed the road.
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 670
1925. Patrap
2:09 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
..Quik answer..will have the NOAA radio on..and the Local Networks have broadcast this morning of possible strong to severe Weather..later..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129904
1924. Melagoo
2:08 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
Brownsille must be getting soaked right now
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 19 Comments: 1607
1921. raindancer
2:06 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
Despite the 3 day inconvenience of the blizzard, I'm still gonna opt for Denver over Florida... We are STILL trying to get our condo fixed in Pt Charlotte after Charley - 2 years later. And then I'm hoping we sell it before the next storm comes along and just blows it away...
Member Since: September 14, 2001 Posts: 0 Comments: 79
1920. ihave27windows
2:06 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
Bring 'em on Patrap......Shell country here, and gas down this morning to 2.11.....maybe my electric bill will be under 600 dollars next month. YeeeeeHawwww!
Member Since: July 19, 2005 Posts: 108 Comments: 14933
1919. Melagoo
2:06 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
See what all of us are getting in one pic

North east america
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 19 Comments: 1607
1917. Patrap
2:05 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
..Where Saddlegait?
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129904
1916. Patrap
2:04 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
..Cold front now beginning to crank up..squall line .to my west..with strong Tstorms imbedded ..going to be rough afternoon..before we get frontal passage..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129904
1914. ihave27windows
2:04 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
Doug, I'm not so sure you would want to see that, a blizzard down south that is. In 1989 I lived in Kingwood, a burb of Houston and on Christmas eve we set a record of 9 degrees. We had pipes bursting all over the house. 12 to be exact and water everywhere.....building supplies businesses were charging outrageous prices for PVC pipes. it was horrible. Very pretty with the snow, but not a pleasant cleanup.

Morning everyone!
Member Since: July 19, 2005 Posts: 108 Comments: 14933
1913. FLKEYSRADIO
2:04 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
Posted By: ricderr at 10:00 AM EDT on September 18, 2006.
yes...and if you play that slot..you will be ridiculed.....and will be asking for disaster to befall you


If you've seen my bank account when I leave the slots, you'd know disaster ALLWAYS falls on me afterwards.

Posted By: raindancer at 9:59 AM EDT on September 18, 2006.

Denver blizzard - yes, March - but in 2003


Sorry, was off by a year... had a feeling I was guessing wrong when I typed that... all I know is that I was trapped at work for almost 3 days down in the Tech Center. Got to know my fellow employees WAY too well.
1912. G35Wayne
2:03 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
Well I think its safe to say that Helene will miss land. Its moving north sooner than expected
1911. Melagoo
2:03 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
Mel - I was at Environment Canada last November... right near you...

NJ were you in Toronto? did you work there?
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 19 Comments: 1607
1909. Tazmanian
2:01 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
yay it now a cat 4
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115456
1908. jake436
2:00 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
Posted By: saddlegait at 1:51 PM GMT on September 18, 2006.

Ally - You're gittin rain? I am SOOO Jealous - it's already hot here and STILL no rain. I DID see clouds this morning but just dry air all around. We were told last night that some of the rain might evaporate before hitting the ground we are so dry - how's that for a met. hedging on his forecast - "folks you will see clouds on the radar, but you MIGHT NOT get rain - it is SOOOOO dry, it might evaporate before it hits the ground at your house - so when I SAY it is raining, don't get all mad and tell me I was just hoping!"


Saddle, you're getting rain today. I just know it.
Member Since: August 31, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 271
1907. Patrap
2:00 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
..the coldest winter I ever experienced ..was a Spring NAto Xercise..in Tromso,Norway..in 84..that permafrost aint made to Mall stakes into the ground..never seen so many broken sledgehammers in me life..!
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129904
1906. ricderr
2:00 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
yes...and if you play that slot..you will be ridiculed.....and will be asking for disaster to befall you
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 676 Comments: 22382
1905. Tazmanian
2:00 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
: HobeSoundShudders ah thanks
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115456
1904. NJNorEaster
1:59 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
Mel - I was at Environment Canada last November... right near you...
Member Since: September 12, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 55
1902. PensacolaDoug
1:59 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
Oh yea...They were still repairing the canopy roof thingy at the DEN Airport.
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 670
1901. raindancer
1:59 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
Denver blizzard - yes, March - but in 2003. St Patty's Day blizzard - biggest since '97. It took down part of our roof...
Member Since: September 14, 2001 Posts: 0 Comments: 79
1900. Tazmanian
1:58 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
huh? there is no 96L there a 95L but no 96L
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115456
1899. Patrap
1:58 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
..TD Miriam lost most of her convection overnight...
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129904
1898. PensacolaDoug
1:57 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
After the Denver blizzard of '02 [between 4-5 feet depending where you were,] I'm more content to be down in the Keys hunkering down in the event of a storm.

That was in March right?
I flew into Denver about 10 days after and went skiing in Breckenridge. They had something like 11 feet of snow on the ground when I got there but high temps were in the lower to mid 50'. Weird walking around 15 to 20 feet drifts while wearing shorts and shirt-sleeves..
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 670
1897. Patrap
1:56 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
..differnet no..and the reds my favorite..but defintely early...
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129904
1895. FLKEYSRADIO
1:56 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
Posted By: ricderr at 9:53 AM EDT on September 18, 2006.....just as long as that slot is not facing west

What if the slots reels read left to right, and the RIGHT-most reel is facing WEST... does that constitute a WESTWARD movement?
1894. Patrap
1:55 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
..Helene Looks to be bearing aroung 357..and is riding right up 50 west..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129904
1893. AllyBama
1:55 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
saddlegait - suppose to rain here all day..will send some your way because all of this ain't evaporating for sure! lol
Member Since: August 3, 2006 Posts: 133 Comments: 20639
1892. jake436
1:55 PM GMT on September 18, 2006
Posted By: Patrap at 1:47 PM GMT on September 18, 2006.

..the calender may say September 18th ..but the climatological pattern ..is much more Early Octoberlike..across the CONUS..and the Atlantic basin


I don't disagree, but October fronts don't go through Miami either. I grew up where you live Patrap, and even November fronts that come through NO stall out and back up two or three days later. I know this because after all the water gets blown out of the marsh by the NW winds, I would just wait three days and hit the marsh for the reds with the rising water caused by the SE winds. I worked in Miami last fall and "winter", I use that term loosely, and the first front to make it there was right about the time our Tigers took care of the Cane's. This year is different, but it isn't crazy different.
Member Since: August 31, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 271

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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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