Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:46 PM GMT on October 10, 2006
It's an El Nino year in the Pacific, which means that Hawaii and the Pacific coast of Mexico are at increased risk of hurricane landfalls this month. Hawaii needs to watch an area of disturbed weather (now called 97C) near 9N, 165W, about 700 miles southwest of the Hawaiian Islands. Its thunderstorm activity is disorganized this morning, but 97C has the potential to develop into a tropical depression by Thursday. The two latest runs of the GFDL model have brought 97C to hurricane status by early next week, with a northward track towards Hawaii. The system is currently under about 10 knots of winds shear, and is underneath an upper-level anticyclone. Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) are about 29C, and there is a very deep pool of warm water underneath to fuel intensification. These are all very favorable conditions for development. SSTs stay above 26C all the way to Hawaii, and a landfalling hurricane in the islands is a possibility a week or so from now.
Figure 1. Preliminary model tracks for disturbance "97C".
Elsewhere in the tropics
A low pressure system a few hundred miles off the coast of North Carolina is non-tropical, and is not expected to become tropical as it moves northeast parallel to the coast. This system could bring heavy rain to Cape Cod and the Maritime provinces of Canada later this week. Some of the models are hinting that a low pressure system could form in the Gulf of Mexico off the Texas coast early next week. If this storm forms, it could be non-tropical. The models are also forecasting the possibility of a hurricane forming along the Mexican Pacific coast early next week, and moving parallel to the coast towards Baja. However, the two current storms approaching Baja, Tropical Depression 16E and Tropical Storm Norman, are both expected to dissipate before reaching Baja, due to high wind shear and cool waters.
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