Andrea no help for Florida's fires

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 11:26 PM GMT on May 09, 2007

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Subtropical Storm Andrea has changed little since it was named at 11am today. The amount of thunderstorm activity has decreased on the storm's west side, but become a little more concentrated on the east side. The organization of the spiral bands of rainfall visible on the Jacksonville, FL long range radar has remained about the same, and winds at some of the offshore buoys have remained fairly constant. Andrea remains a sloppy, disorganized storm. The main threat from the storm is coastal erosion due to the pounding surf it is generating--plus a possible fanning of the fires burning in Florida and Georgia (see below).

Wind shear has increased from 10 knots this morning to about 25 knots this evening. Shear is expected to increase to over 30 knots late tonight. Given the unfavorable wind shear, and the fact that the storm is over waters of 24-25 degrees C, I don't expect any significant intensification of Andrea. A slow decay as forecast by NHC seems reasonable.

Andrea and the Florida/Georgia fires
As Andrea began to form on Tuesday off the Carolina coast, the counter-clockwise circulation of air around the center of low pressure brought northerly winds over northern Florida and southern Georgia, where significant fires are burning. These north winds blew the smoke from the fires into the Tampa/St. Petersburg area, where unhealthy levels of particulate matter air pollution were recorded (Figure 1). The storm moved far enough west and south today that a more westerly flow of air has been carrying the smoke out over the Atlantic. Rainfall from Andrea has been less than 0.3 inches across the fires zones, which is not enough to douse them; in fact, the storm's high winds have served to fan the flames.

Andrea is a very dry storm; peak rainfall rates are only about 0.25 inches per hour, in the storm's southeastern rainbands. These rainbands are not expected to hit the coast in the next two days. Maximum total rainfall observed by the Jacksonville radar has been less than 1.5 inches.


Figure 1. NASA MODIS image of fires burning over Florida on May 8, 2007. Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory.

Early storms
The last time a named storm formed so early in the year was on April 18 2003, when Tropical Storm Ana formed near Bermuda. An unnamed subtropical storm also formed on April 21, 1992.

Longest period with a tropical cyclone ends
Andrea's formation brings to a close the longest period on record globally without a tropical cyclone. The last advisory issued on a tropical cyclone this year was at 06 GMT on April 6th, for Tropical Cyclone Cliff in the Southern Hemisphere. Today's 15 GMT advisory on Subtropical Storm Andrea ends the record longest period without a tropical cyclone at 33.4 days, besting the old record of 31.5 days set mid-April to mid-May in 1984. Reliable records of global tropical cyclone numbers go back to the beginning of the satellite era, about 1970.

I'll have an update in the morning. The next Quikscat pass is at about 8pm. The next Hurricane Hunter mission is not until 8am Thursday.

Jeff Masters

Smokey Florida Sunrise (Peacefulbon)
Southwest Florida is being affected by the fires burning on the Georgia/Florida border, some 300 miles away. The smoke plume reduced visability to less than half a mile yesterday, and this morning resulted in this hazy sun at 8 a.m.
Smokey Florida Sunrise
Smoke (BillyBob)
Smoke moving in to Central Florida from the fires in Georgia and Northern Florida created this interesting orange glow. I took this photo, this morning, looking east across Lake Henry near Winter Haven.
Smoke

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209. scCane
1:59 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
For a storm that is getting sheared heavily it looks like its holding together the same amount of shear ripped albertos center from the convection. the question is how long will the shear last most likely the second it stops it will start regaining power.
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208. aquak9
9:55 PM EDT on May 09, 2007
Thank you, Dr. Masters, for addressing our situation here in Florida. Although I had found it a bit alarming to have a named storm, before the Season even started, right off of my coast, I was even more saddened that this would bring no help for our seemingly "scorched earth" policy that the lack of rain has willed upon us. Even worse, we will see in the next day or two how the increased winds will affect the area.

Good evening to everyone here on Dr. Master's blog; it is comforting to see so many folks keeping up with Andrea. Fresh air and peace to all.
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207. DocBen
1:51 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
It looks like half a storm - a fair amount of convection on the right side and nothing at all on the left. Bad thing is all Florida and Georgia gets is a bunch of wind to fan the flames.
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206. TampaSteve
1:52 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
Hoping for some good rain to help put all those fires out, but Andrea is not delivering...so far...

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205. Rlennon
1:49 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
Night SJ
204. StormJunkie
1:46 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
Thanks lennon. It is the second year I have done it. It is pretty interesting to watch it progress through the season.

Sure wish t hat northern blob would make it on shore here. Don't think the Dr's shear is going to let that happen though. Dang it.

Ok, really off to hit the sack! See y'all in the am.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16874
203. HIEXPRESS
1:41 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
Modelling the end of Andrea?

High Res
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202. Rlennon
1:44 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
Nice post SJ. I like the comparison for year to year.
201. Bamatracker
1:45 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
later SJ
Member Since: May 17, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 1367
200. Baybuddy
1:45 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
What sort of trends might we expect this year?
Last year we saw system after system ripped apart by shear. What about this year?
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199. Bamatracker
1:44 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
what winds?!!! lOL j/k
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198. StormJunkie
1:43 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
No Bama, but the winds are still sloshin all that warm Gulf Stream water around, and I am sure outside the Gulf Stream some upwelling is mixing the water and likely cooling it off.

Alright y'all, got to get myself to bed. See everyone later ☺

Nice job pointing out the shear thel!
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16874
197. Bamatracker
1:43 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
lol bay!!
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196. Baybuddy
1:42 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
Forget Idol. They should put cctv in Paris Hilton's cell 24/7 I would pay to watch that.
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195. Bamatracker
1:42 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
how much energy is Andrea actually drawing from the ocean though? Since its a subtropical system i would think it wouldn't draw as much from the ocean as a pure tropical system
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194. StormJunkie
1:41 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
Good points all. Geuss it is just wait and see like most of the rest of tropical season...lol
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193. StormJunkie
1:39 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
I would think so lennon, but in that area the weater temps out side the Gulf Stream area good bit cooler, and I would think this would warm them a little. Between the GS and the SC, NC, and GA coasts as well as the other side of the GS out in to the Atlantic a little. Will have to see what happens once we get the cloouds out of the way. I think over the next three weeks or so this area will be interesting to watch on the AVHRR SST maps. I have this year and several years prior for the Gulf Stream and the GOM posted in my blog.
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192. thelmores
1:38 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
under ordinary circumstances I would agree Junkie, and sorta do..... but the area near the stream can push a large amount of warm water. Area's away from the stream may cool a little I would think.....
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191. Baybuddy
1:37 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
Cool. I grew up off Overlook Rd. Lived in midtown as a kid.
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190. Bamatracker
1:37 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
haha....its happens mel. As long as Idol dont team up with Walmart it will be ok. If that happens though they will take over the world.
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189. WSI
1:37 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
"I would think that initially the surface temps would cool"

Lots of upwelling there right now due to this storm just sitting there.

In the end my guess is it will all even out. Short term though, there would be a nice pool of cooler water there.
188. Baybuddy
1:36 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
Another thing about local t.v. The weather guys need to learn how to use their new toys BEFORE a hurricane so we can actually get info rather than watch them fumble with the graphics.
Member Since: June 26, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1115
187. melwerle
1:35 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
oh i dn't believe it - we lost everyone to american IDOL. I quit! I thought I was a geek....
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 12 Comments: 1837
186. thelmores
1:35 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
seems the shear is kicking in..... not allowing for intensification.......

having said that,Andrea is stationary, and still tapping energy from the Gulf Stream! ;)

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185. Rlennon
1:34 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
I think you are right SJ. The deep water will get brought up to the surface and it will be cooler but this will act like a spoon in a pot and stir it up and will warm up faster. But will the Gulf Stream carry the cooler water to the north?
184. Bamatracker
1:33 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
i live across the skret from USA
Member Since: May 17, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 1367
183. Baybuddy
1:32 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
Bama, what part of Mobile are you from? Sorry if you already told me.
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182. Bamatracker
1:32 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
Evening baybuddy...yea WKRG 5 kept showing every 15 minutes. Between that and the flashes down to Dauphin Island showin the sea breeze trying to pass it off as Dennis it made for interesting tv.
Member Since: May 17, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 1367
181. StormJunkie
1:31 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
I am curious to see what this does to the SSTs along the E coast seeing as how it is such an ealry storm and it is just sitting there. I would think that initially the surface temps would cool, but in the long run I am geussing that it will increase the depth of the heat. Any thoughts?
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180. Baybuddy
1:30 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
Bama! I remember that!LOL! I also love it when they find a board or stick floating in the water and zoom in for a close-up!
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179. Bamatracker
1:30 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
if we could just combine the storms in Texas and with Andrea....we could have a decent TS right now!!!
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178. weatherguy03
1:29 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
Oh ok..LOL Yes I am 23.
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177. Bamatracker
1:28 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
naw '03...i was talking about Dothan, Al. The town is a big circle. Its awesome!
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176. hurricane23
1:28 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
03 you listening?
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13804
175. Rlennon
1:28 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
Texas is getting hammer 2 doppler tornadoes in 1 county.
174. weatherguy03
1:27 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
You talkin to me BT??
Member Since: July 5, 2005 Posts: 592 Comments: 29705
173. Rlennon
1:25 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
Watching Grass grow is better than Idol.
172. Bamatracker
1:25 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
i thought that was Chris Thel....didn't want to say anything though because I've been wrong too much this week.
Member Since: May 17, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 1367
171. Rlennon
1:24 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
LOL yea we make big circles.
170. thelmores
1:24 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
I'd rather have Waterboarding than watch American Idol! LOL
Member Since: September 8, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3805
169. melwerle
1:24 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
hey bt - i don't watch that stuff - i am here. i would rather beat myself about the head with a fake leg...oh wait...umm...
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 12 Comments: 1837
168. Bamatracker
1:23 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
Thats cool....i just was over a couple of months ago helpin' out the PetSmart. Nice little town...like the circle road yall have!!
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167. weatherguy03
1:23 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
St. Augustine.
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166. thelmores
1:22 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
"Posted By: hurricane23
Here is a better view of Kris which had no chance due to increaseing shear."

na-na-na-na-na, my picture is better than yours! LOL

oh..... and it was CHRIS!
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165. Bamatracker
1:22 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
Sorry SJ...not you. You're still here!!
Member Since: May 17, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 1367
164. Rlennon
1:22 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
Cool Dothan here
162. Bamatracker
1:21 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
yep! Mobile
Member Since: May 17, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 1367
161. Bamatracker
1:20 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
dont know if that exist Rlennon. think we have to wait until June to see.
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160. StormJunkie
1:20 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
BT, please don't acuse me of that anymore...lol
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159. Rlennon
1:20 AM GMT on May 10, 2007
Bamatracker are you from Alabama (not trying to be funny)?

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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.