Steering current forecast

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:25 PM GMT on July 27, 2007

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Thunderstorm activity in association with a westward-moving tropical wave has decreased over the Northwest Gulf of Mexico this morning. Wind shear is 15-20 knots over the wave, and is expected to remain at least 15 knots over the next two days. This is probably too high to allow tropical development to occur. Wind shear is also expected to be 20 knots or higher over the Caribbean for the next week, which should stifle any development there.

Two computer models, the GFS and ECMWF, develop a tropical storm off the coast of Africa by Monday. The African wave that would likely be the seed for this moved off the coast last night, but looks unimpressive this morning. Wind shear is 30 knots over the wave and the surrounding region of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), and is forecast to remain high in this region for several days. Any tropical storm development will probably have to wait until the wave gets at least 1000 miles from the coast. The Saharan Air Layer (SAL) is relatively weak and far to the north at present, so dry air and Saharan dust should not be a major impediment. The UKMET and NOPGAPS models do not develop anything over the coming week, and predict high wind shear over the region. My best guess is that the earliest we would see a tropical storm form between Africa and the Lesser Antilles would be Thursday August 2nd.

Steering current forecast
The hurricane steering pattern for the next two weeks over the North Atlantic should be near normal, with no areas at above-average risk for a hurricane strike. The tool I like to use to study steering currents is the 500 millibar (mb) upper-air forecast from the latest run of the GFS model. Plotted on these maps are lines showing how high above sea level one finds a pressure of 500 mb. Where a U-shaped bend occurs, a trough of low pressure is present. Any tropical cyclones that get far enough north to "feel" the trough's presence will recurve to the north. Conversely, an upside-down "U" in the 500 mb height lines reveals the presence of a ridge of high pressure. Ridges force tropical cyclones to move westward (in the Northern Hemisphere.) As seen in Figure 1, a ridge of high pressure was present this morning over the U.S. East Coast, with troughs of low pressure over the mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes. Under this steering pattern, any hurricanes in the mid-Atlantic north of about 25 degrees latitude would be recurved by the mid-Atlantic trough, but storms closer to the U.S. would not get recurved until they came very close to the coast and began feeling the Great Lakes trough. One can pull up a loop going out a full 16 days of the 500 mb forecast and watch the evolution of the trough/ridge pattern to see how the steering currents might change.


Figure 1. GFS model forecast of heights of the 500 mb surface above sea level (white lines) for 8am EDT today. The colors show how much counter-clockwise spin is present (vorticity). High vorticity is associated with storms.

To get an idea of the uncertainty in these steering pattern forecasts, a good tool to use is the Global Ensemble Forecast System (GEFS) charts. The GEFS charts show runs of the GFS model done using 20 slightly different initial conditions. This creates an "ensemble" of 20 possible forecasts. By examining how these 20 different forecasts diverge with time, one can get an idea of how confident one should be of major changes forecast by the GFS model.

These 20 forecast solutions are plotted as a series of colored lines that trace out the height (in decameters, or tens of meters) above sea level where a certain pressure is found. It turns out that the southern edge of the jet stream is currently found at a 500 mb height of about 582 decameters (5820 meters). Go to the NOAA experimental model graphics web site, click on the latest "Charts" link for the GEFS model, then select to plot up the "500mb 540/582 Hgt Contours". The loop takes a while to load, but gives one the best idea of how the steering currents might evolve. The 20 forecasts all lie close to each other the first few days of the forecast, then begin to diverge at later times. By the end of two weeks, you'll see why these are called "spaghetti plots" (Figure 2).



Figure 2. Forecast of the location where the 500 mb pressure surface will be at a height of 582 decameters (5280 meters) above sea level. This height marks the approximate southern boundary of the jet stream. Top image: the forecast for 8am EDT today. Bottom map: the forecast for 26 days from now. The 20 different lines correspond to 20 different runs of the GFS model with slightly different initial conditions. The runs were all initialized at 06 GMT (8am EDT) July 27. Image credit: NOAA/NCEP.

For this morning's GEFS run, we see that 16 days from now most of the 20 ensemble members are predicting a shallow trough of low pressure over the Eastern U.S., similar to what we've seen through most of June and July this year, and during the entire 2006 hurricane season. However, the trough is forecast to be not as strong as we saw in 2006, and thus will be less likely to recurve storms approaching the U.S. This trough is also forecast to be transient--GEFS runs ever past week are pointing to a near-normal jet stream pattern over the coming two weeks, bringing an alternating series of weak ridges and troughs across North America and the Atlantic. This will bring a near normal chance of landfalling tropical cyclones to all regions of the Atlantic. This is in contrast to the steering pattern of 2006, which saw the jet stream get "stuck" in place, with a strong trough of low pressure over the Eastern U.S. most of the season.

My next update will be Sunday, unless there's some major development to talk about.
Jeff Masters

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829. guygee
6:24 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
New Blog...LOL spending the last hour talking to myself again :-)
Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3056
828. guygee
6:13 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
Posted By: RL3AO at 5:28 PM GMT on July 28, 2007.
Hello hello hello. When I heard invest I didn't think Bahamas.

Me either R3AO. I am having a hard time imagining much of a future for INVEST AL982007. With the unseasonal mid-upper level trough dropping due south over the FL peninsula and the Huge ULL to the NE, escape to the north seems practically cut off without getting heavily sheared, I am having a hard time envisaging 98L being anything more than a transient feature. Besides, whatever cyclonic circulation it has seems to be more at the mid-levels in the visible loops, and the convection has more of a comma-shape right now. Maybe I am missing something obvious...but so far this season the last few namings of the Invests have seemed to be a death knell for any tropical system.

Let's see what happens tonight.
Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3056
827. RL3AO
5:28 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
Hello hello hello. When I heard invest I didn't think Bahamas.
826. guygee
5:21 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
Posted By: Ivansvrivr at 4:10 PM GMT on July 28, 2007.
Bappit: Are you taking into account that forward motion increases winds inthe Right front Quadrant due to momentum.i.e Hurricane w/ 100 mph winds moving at 15 mph will have 115 on right front quadrant

The forward speed of the hurricane is very important in another respect as well. I once went through a derecho in the midwest with winds similar to a CAT 1 hurricane for only about a half hour, but the onset of the winds was so sudden that the blowdown of deciduous trees was tremendous, and significant fraction of all trees were blown down or severely damaged (causing further damage as they fell). I think a slow-moving Cat 1 does less damage in this respect because the slow steady onset of winds gives the leaves time to be stripped away and shredded, giving the tree a better chance of standing due to decreased wind resistance.

Charley was similar in that it was so fast-moving the winds came on suddenly, taking out a lot of trees such as live oaks and other deciduous trees, which of course caused more damage as they fell onto houses, cars, power lines, etc.
Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3056
825. guygee
5:06 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
Posted By: bappit at 3:45 PM GMT on July 28, 2007.
This web site contains maps of the wind fields of numerous Atlantic hurricanes. The Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory provides this information as part of the H*Wind Project. This site contains some cool and highly educational information.

Babbit - Very cool link. One thing though that is neglected is the effect of tornados. Some storms spawn more than others, for example Frances spawned many, with the paths of two in my small beachside town of Satellite Beach alone evident from the swaths of severely damaged and blown-off roofs


This link shows Rita at landfall. This swath map gives an even better view of where the damaging winds were. Notice how much smaller the windfield is over land than over water. I believe this is mainly due to the boundary layer being deeper over land than water.


No doubt that plays a role, as the difference from being on the beach or standing atop the backing dunes vs. being on the landside of the dunes is often very apparent. One missing piece though is in very strong hurricanes the flying debris becomes the main mode of wind destruction as you work your way inland from the beach (I.e. Hugo).

Except for these couple of factors not shown, very good information.
Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3056
824. Ivansvrivr
4:10 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
Bappit: Are you taking into account that forward motion increases winds inthe Right front Quadrant due to momentum.i.e Hurricane w/ 100 mph winds moving at 15 mph will have 115 on right front quadrant
823. bappit
3:45 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
This web site contains maps of the wind fields of numerous Atlantic hurricanes. The Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory provides this information as part of the H*Wind Project. This site contains some cool and highly educational information.

This link shows Rita at landfall. This swath map gives an even better view of where the damaging winds were. Notice how much smaller the windfield is over land than over water. I believe this is mainly due to the boundary layer being deeper over land than water. On any given day you will probably find the wind speeds higher at the coast than inland. You can look at the clouds in the sky and see that they are moving faster than the air at the ground. Tall buildings will experience much stronger winds in a hurricane than houses. Etc.

Here is Katrina well after landfall. You can easily see how much stronger the eastern side of the storm is than the left.

Here is Jeanne before landfall in 2004. The windfield is obviously assymetric. Here is Jeanne again after landfall. The strongest surface winds remain offshore even though the center is well inland. The drop in wind speed from water to land is striking.

Another cool web site is this one on Hurricane Andrew as it struck the Florida coast. Here are pictures of extreme
damage. Fortunately, only three category five hurricanes have struck the U.S. in over 100 years.



Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 5558
821. Ivansvrivr
3:01 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
D92: Balance as many models as you can. Look for persistence and then outflow,lowering s.s.pressures and don't forget climatology. If youre watching a blob that just came off africa in june-forget it. Check if it's in an area where storms tend to form in that particular period of time.
820. CaicosRetiredSailor
2:35 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
Storm blows first settlers onto Bermuda Islands
Link
The Sea Venture was bound for Virginia to relieve the starving Jamestown colonists when a hurricane crippled the ship on July 28, 1609.

Many of the 150 men, women and children aboard found safety on the Bermuda Islands, which for a time was called Somers Islands after the ship's captain, Adm. Sir George Somers.

Though the island was uninhabited, Spaniards had visited Bermuda earlier and set ashore wild pigs. The shipwrecked passengers fed on the pigs and the other plentiful game of the island.

Though most of the colonists moved on to Virginia the next year, the island still celebrates Somers Day each July 28, and Bermuda's coat of arms features the wreck of the Sea Venture.

hmmmmmmmmm.....
CRS
Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5984
819. d92
2:32 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
I have a question for the forum. What's the best way to look at a mid-level disturbance like the GOM blob in the models. I can see the high vorticity on the GFS 500mb plot; but I can't find a model plot that shows any low pressure. The SLP plots don't show anything at all. I don't see anything on the high-level plots, either. Of course, I can see it on the satellite pictures, especially the infrared. But that doesn't tell me very much about what's really going on with the system. Am I missing something? Which model plot should I be looking at, and what should I look for? Thanks a bunch for any help you can give me.
818. NorthxCakalaky
2:20 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
Posted By: CaicosRetiredSailor at 2:16 PM GMT on July 28, 2007.

NorthxCakalaky at 10:00 AM EDT on July 28, 2007.
Weather History
tracking near the Bahama Islands

You're not the first, nor the last to confuse Bahamas with BERMUDA

but it still always amazes me...lol
CRS


Wasnt confused. Just telling the history section on weatherunderground. > It is now starting to talk more tropical history, probaly since its about late July.
816. NorthxCakalaky
2:17 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
Dust shouldnt be a problem since its way west of the mid-Atlantic? Right?
815. CaicosRetiredSailor
2:16 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
NorthxCakalaky at 10:00 AM EDT on July 28, 2007.
Weather History
tracking near the Bahama Islands


You're not the first, nor the last to confuse Bahamas with BERMUDA

but it still always amazes me...lol
CRS
Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5984
814. StormJunkie
2:11 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
NC, I was just pointing out that those will be some of the most interesting parts to discuss regarding 98l.

I agree that conditions should become unfavorable 23, in a few hours, not sure about that, but over the next day or two yes. None the less there is some model support for development and there even seems to be a small area of low shear that rides along with this thing as it moves N. So it makes me question exactly how bad conditions will become.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 15472
813. msphar
2:11 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
NHC's take on the CV activity:

TROPICAL WAVE S OF 17N ALONG 18W MOVING W NEAR 10 KT. SATELLITE IMAGERY SHOWS AN AREA OF LOW TO MID LEVEL TURNING COVERING AN AREA ABOUT 4 DEG EITHER SIDE OF THE AXIS. SHOWER ACTIVITY IS ALONG THE S END OF THE WAVE FROM 6N-9N BETWEEN 17W-19W.

So 282 hours out (or 11.75 days) before PR. A lot of time for stuff to happen, shear, SAL, ITCZ containment, steering, etc. We have had a lot of false positives in the last month that have ended sheared or dusted or whatever, I am hopeful for more of the same. <--neg. wishcast
Member Since: August 20, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 289
812. NorthxCakalaky
2:07 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
Posted By: StormJunkie at 2:02 PM GMT on July 28, 2007.

I don't think any one disputes it is going out to sea 23. Will it develop? and how strong could it get?

Its not even a T.D, so It would have to be a educated GUESS of how strong it will become.
811. hurricane23
2:06 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
Posted By: StormJunkie at 9:59 AM EDT on July 28, 2007. (hide)
Watching the genesis process when it isn't likely that it will effect land is one of the best ways to do it 23. And actually, for what it is worth, which is not much...the cmc has a fairly organized system grazing the NE. It is an interesting feature to watch. Although I would think shear would start to take effect on it as it gets caught up in between the front and the high.

The convection right now is most likely being inhanced by an ULL near in the area but conditions in the area from what i see look to become unfavorable in the coming hours.

This area will likely go poof as Upper level winds most likely will increase.As you stated since were moving into august its always best to keep an eye on the situation in the tropics.I dont expect this one to pull a fast one.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13597
810. CJ5
2:04 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
Morning all.

Well I see an invest was named 98L. The convection look somewhat impressive but that is about it. I guess a it will be the first fish storm of the season lol

Elsewhere in the tropics is the disturbance we were watching yesterday that did have some LLC now at 18/17 but not impressive this am.

37/17 has some convection but that is it. No low or circulation that I can see. Just something to watch.

51/16 is not impressive at all. I am not convinced this will amount to anything.

81/19 is nothing.

Oh wait, the GOM Blob is back. One thing for sure on this is that the blog will quickly jump to 30 pages.

On the horizon I am still thinking the Mali distrubance will be something to watch. Just a hunch as its just another of many of the waves we have seen in the last two weeks.
Member Since: July 4, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1755
809. StormJunkie
2:02 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
I don't think any one disputes it is going out to sea 23. Will it develop? and how strong could it get?
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 15472
808. StormJunkie
2:02 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
SLU, 60kts huh? I don't trust them ships models yet, but hey what do I know. ☺ It will be real interesting to see the GFDL and some more of the HWRF.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 15472
807. hurricane23
2:01 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
All guidance takes it on a journey out to sea.

Enjoy the dry mornings across florida as the afternoon hours look quite stormy.Adrian
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13597
806. NorthxCakalaky
2:00 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
Weather History
Did you know that...
On this date in 1609, a hurricane tracking near the Bahama Islands crippled The Sea Venture, forcing the people aboard to take shelter on the islands. The captain initially named the islands Somers Islands after himself. Most of the colonists moved to Virgina the next year, but the island still celebrates Somers Day on this date.

805. StormJunkie
1:59 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
Watching the genesis process when it isn't likely that it will effect land is one of the best ways to do it 23. And actually, for what it is worth, which is not much...the cmc has a fairly organized system grazing the NE. It is an interesting feature to watch. Although I would think shear would start to take effect on it as it gets caught up in between the front and the high.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 15472
804. PBG00
1:56 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
Look..Mit..not when there is something to talk about out there..stay here and learn something..If your here for the weather.
Member Since: October 20, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 6650
803. Patrap
1:55 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
GOES WV Loop of Tropical Basin
Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125466
802. mit5000
1:55 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
can people go on the chat please

we are so boredd
801. SLU
1:53 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
203
WHXX01 KWBC 281254
CHGHUR
TROPICAL CYCLONE GUIDANCE MESSAGE
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
1254 UTC SAT JUL 28 2007

DISCLAIMER...NUMERICAL MODELS ARE SUBJECT TO LARGE ERRORS.
PLEASE REFER TO NHC OFFICIAL FORECASTS FOR TROPICAL CYCLONE
AND SUBTROPICAL CYCLONE INFORMATION.

ATLANTIC OBJECTIVE AIDS FOR

DISTURBANCE INVEST (AL982007) 20070728 1200 UTC

...00 HRS... ...12 HRS... ...24 HRS. .. ...36 HRS...
070728 1200 070729 0000 070729 1200 070730 0000

LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON
BAMS 25.3N 73.8W 26.2N 73.6W 27.8N 72.5W 29.4N 71.1W
BAMD 25.3N 73.8W 26.3N 73.0W 28.1N 71.9W 30.3N 70.4W
BAMM 25.3N 73.8W 26.2N 73.6W 28.0N 73.0W 29.8N 71.8W
LBAR 25.3N 73.8W 25.9N 73.4W 27.2N 72.8W 29.1N 72.2W
SHIP 20KTS 25KTS 33KTS 40KTS
DSHP 20KTS 25KTS 33KTS 40KTS

...48 HRS... ...72 HRS... ...96 HRS. .. ..120 HRS...
070730 1200 070731 1200 070801 1200 070802 1200

LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON
BAMS 31.0N 69.3W 34.6N 65.5W 39.4N 61.3W 41.9N 54.3W
BAMD 32.3N 68.4W 36.5N 63.5W 41.8N 58.0W 48.2N 42.8W
BAMM 31.7N 70.2W 35.8N 66.2W 40.6N 62.3W 43.4N 51.1W
LBAR 31.2N 71.3W 35.8N 68.7W 40.4N 61.7W 44.5N 48.0W
SHIP 48KTS 61KTS 65KTS 59KTS
DSHP 48KTS 61KTS 65KTS 59KTS

...INITIAL CONDITIONS...
LATCUR = 25.3N LONCUR = 73.8W DIRCUR = 180DEG SPDCUR = 1KT
LATM12 = 25.4N LONM12 = 73.9W DIRM12 = 360DEG SPDM12 = 0KT
LATM24 = 25.4N LONM24 = 73.9W
WNDCUR = 20KT RMAXWD = 30NM WNDM12 = 20KT
CENPRS = 1012MB OUTPRS = 1016MB OUTRAD = 150NM SDEPTH = D
RD34NE = 0NM RD34SE = 0NM RD34SW = 0NM RD34NW = 0NM

$$
NNNN
Member Since: July 13, 2006 Posts: 12 Comments: 4731
800. PBG00
1:52 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
So..did this just spring up overnight?
Member Since: October 20, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 6650
799. mit5000
1:51 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
every 1 go on the chat please we bored
797. Patrap
1:50 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
G morning..the GFSx takes it up and away as it elongates along the front..Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125466
796. hurricane23
1:49 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
Folks keep in mind the intensity NHC models are most likely not correct as they think there is an area of low pressure there which in my opinion there is not.Pressure's in the area range from 1010-1014mb.The track should be north and out to sea.

The real season starts in 2 weeks or so.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13597
795. Tazmanian
1:48 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
the SDD has put up 98L own Floater

Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114041
793. StormJunkie
1:48 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
I agree 23, and hope no one is arguing that point, although the whole E coast should still keep an eye on it. There is almost no way this trough misses it though. I think the more interesting question is if we see a TD or maybe even Chantel out of this?
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 15472
791. StormJunkie
1:45 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
Not even listed as a low on the latest surface map. Although I am sure it will be and that it will be discussed in the next TWO. There is some model support for it as of the latest runs though.

wpb, Quickscat may have just missed it off the right edge of that ascending pass?
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 15472
790. hurricane23
1:45 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
As i noted with the current trof of low pressure in place this mess is most likely shooting up straight north and out to sea.

fff
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13597
789. Tazmanian
1:44 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
28/1145 UTC 25.9N 74.0W T1.0/1.0 98L -- Atlantic Ocean


has for me geting up on sat at this time of day i all way doing i this doing too see whats going on
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114041
788. PBG00
1:43 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
Stay cool.mlc
Member Since: October 20, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 6650
786. moonlightcowboy
1:41 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
LMAO, 2cents!

...98L there? no hint. Nothing from Doc or the NHC yesterday? Just shows that things can change on a dime and give you nine cents change!

MLC<---------------out to daughter's house to paint! (pray for me) lol
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29594
785. PBG00
1:41 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
Taz..what are you doin up so early on a saturday?
Member Since: October 20, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 6650
784. seflagamma
1:41 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
SJ, Thanks!!!!
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 294 Comments: 40839
783. WPBHurricane05
1:40 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
I don't even see a low on the QuickScat.
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
782. Tazmanian
1:40 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
: WPBHurricane05 i no that i siad 98L has a mb of 1009 not 1012 you most have got in the 1012 when 98L 1st pop up now the mb is a little lower down to 1009 now
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114041
781. PBG00
1:40 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
I would agree...I would have thought the wave off africa catching the models eyes would be 98l.
Member Since: October 20, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 6650
780. hurricane23
1:39 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
98L should stay out to sea with the current trof of low right of the eastcoast.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13597
779. WPBHurricane05
1:38 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
This blob is a waste of invest numbers.
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112

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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.