Felix a major threat to Central America; new disturbance could develop

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:09 PM GMT on September 01, 2007

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Tropical Storm Felix lashed the islands of Grenada, Trinidad, Tobago, Barbados, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines with winds near tropical storm force and torrential rains this morning. Visible satellite loops show that Felix is a small storm, but is steadily expanding in size and growing more organized. Low level spiral bands have formed on the eastern side, and there is one respectable upper-level outflow jet that has formed to the storm's north. Dry air on the northwest side of Felix continues to hamper its intensification, but the storm is small enough that dry air drawn in from the north coast of South America has not been a problem.

Felix is a major danger to Central America
The latest GFDL model forecasts that Felix will intensify into a Category 2 hurricane by the time it makes landfall in Belize Wednesday. The SHIPS intensity model is more aggressive, making Felix a Category 3 hurricane. Given that the environment in the Caribbean is much the same as we saw for Dean, I think we can expect a steady intensification of Felix to a Category 2 or 3 storm when it approaches the Honduras/Nicaragua border Monday night. On the current projected track of Felix, it would pass just north of the coast of Honduras, which would be an extremely dangerous situation for that country. Hurricane Fifi of 1974 passed along the north coast of Honduras in 1974 as a Category 2 hurricane (Figure 1), and dumped up to 24 inches of rain on the mountainous country. The resulting landslides and floods killed an estimated 8,000 people--the fourth deadliest hurricane disaster in the Atlantic basin. There is one important difference between Fifi and Felix--Fifi was moving slower, about 11 mph, Felix is expected to move past Honduras at about 17 mph, so will not linger as long to dump heavy rains. Even so, Felix's rains could reach 10-15 inches over Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Belize. Officials in those nations need to prepare now for the possibility that Felix could bring a major flooding disaster to their nations.


Figure 1. Track of Hurricane Fifi of 1974, which killed 8000 people in Central America. Fifi was the fourth deadliest hurricane in Atlantic history.

Felix's threat to other locales
Felix should being winds of tropical storm force to Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao as it passes to the north. These islands, and the northern coast of Venezuela, will also get heavy rains, but Felix should not cause any serious wind damage or floods in those areas. The ridge of high pressure that is steering Felix to the west is strong enough that a northward deviation of the storm into Jamaica and the Cayman Islands is unlikely. If Felix is going to deviate from the projected NHC forecast the next two days, I think a southward deviation into Nicaragua is more likely.

If Felix does stay far enough north to make it into the Western Caribbean on Tuesday and Wednesday, there is a trough of low pressure forecast to swing north of the region that could turn Felix on a more northwesterly track into the Gulf of Mexico. The models are split on this, and we'll have to wait and see. Those of you planning on being in Cancun or Cozumel on Wednesday should pay close attention to Felix.

The NOAA jet's first flight will be Sunday morning.

Links to follow today:
Aruba radar
Current conditions on Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao

98L
A tropical wave in the mid-Atlantic, halfway between Africa and the Lesser Antilles, has developed a closed circulation and some heavy thunderstorm activity near the center. This disturbance has been labeled "98L" by NHC this morning. The disturbance is under about 20 knots of winds shear from strong upper-level winds from the east-southeast, but this shear is forecast to gradually slacken over the next few days, and should be below 10 knots by Monday night, and under 5 knots by Wednesday. 98L is a threat to develop into a tropical depression as early as Monday. The 12Z (8am EDT) runs of the GFDL and HWRF models both develop 98L into a tropical storm, but keep it below hurricane strength. The storm will be approaching the Lesser Antilles Islands on Wednesday or Thursday. Given 98L's more northerly starting location, it may eventually affect Puerto Rico.

My next update will be Sunday by noon EDT.

Jeff Masters

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1645. TheStormWillSurvive
11:26 AM GMT on September 02, 2007

Storm Name:
FELIX
Observation Time:
Sep 2 - 11:09 UTC
Agency & Flight:
KWBC NOAA3
Altitude of Plane:
10036 feet
Wind Direction:
360
Wind Speed:
23 knots
Temperature:
9C
Dewpoint:
3C

this is the latest reading
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1644. extreme236
11:25 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
but that is a flight wind though
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
1643. CFL
11:25 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
when is it going to reach the low shear environment? its obviously getting sheared now.
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1642. hurricanehamster
11:25 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
so by the next advsiory we may have cat 3 hurricnae felix (i almost said dean there!)
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1641. Tazmanian
4:24 AM PDT on September 02, 2007
where is the HH at this time?
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1640. Bobbyweather
7:25 AM EDT on September 02, 2007
90Kts= approx. 105 mph.
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1639. extreme236
11:23 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
Posted By: CFL at 11:22 AM GMT on September 02, 2007.

do you still think 98l is going to develop, e236


Yes, as the NHC said, the circulation is well defined and any flaring of convection around and over that center, would probably make it a tropical depression. shear is only 10kts ahead of it so it still has good potential
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
1638. hurricanehamster
11:24 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
what does 90kt means in mph?
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1637. IKE
6:23 AM CDT on September 02, 2007
Moving NW? It's moving almost due west.
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1636. Tazmanian
4:21 AM PDT on September 02, 2007
: TheStormWillSurvive yes i think we have a pinhole eye we have a eye but we this cant see it vary well and you are the the storm is now moveing NW and a little off the nhc points
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1635. IKE
6:18 AM CDT on September 02, 2007
Aruba is within 60-70 miles of the center....

Note the winds....

"Observed at: Aruba, AW
Elevation: 108 ft
[Light Rain]
79 F
Light Rain
Humidity: 94%
Dew Point: 77 F
Wind: 8 mph from the NW
Pressure: 29.80 in (Steady)
Visibility: 6.2 miles
UV: 0 out of 16
Clouds: Mostly Cloudy 1600 ft
Mostly Cloudy 10000 ft
Mostly Cloudy 30000 ft
(Above Ground Level)"
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1634. CFL
11:21 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
do you still think 98l is going to develop, e236
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1633. hurricanehamster
11:21 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
Posted By: extreme236 at 11:21 AM GMT on September 02, 2007.

wow 100mph winds 984mb pressure, and I see the vortex message shows 977mb, seems felix is rapidly strenghtening


and gfdl thinking that felix is a tropical depression by now again!
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1632. BahaHurican
7:16 AM EDT on September 02, 2007
I just did a quick search for storms that passed near (within 100 miles) Felix's location and found only about 1/2 dozen, most of which were TS at most. They all went almost due west, to Nicaragua or Costa Rica.

Having said that, Felix looks to be the strongest hurricane to have impacted this particular area for a very long time.
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1631. extreme236
11:19 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
wow 100mph winds 984mb pressure, and I see the vortex message shows 977mb, seems felix is rapidly strenghtening.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
1630. TheStormWillSurvive
11:19 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
Posted By: hurricanehamster at 11:19 AM GMT on September 02, 2007.

TSWS

i have a weird feling that felix is an annular hurricae....

do you agree?


no the eye is too small much too small


Taz-Do you think we have a pinhole eye yet
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1629. hurricanehamster
11:18 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
TSWS

i have a weird feling that felix is an annular hurricae....

do you agree?
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1628. stormybil
11:14 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
baha try this one Link
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1627. Tazmanian
4:16 AM PDT on September 02, 2007
Posted By: Bobbyweather at 4:14 AM PDT on September 02, 2007.

Good morning! I see that Felix intensified, as of the 5am advisory. I don't believe it!

100 mph
984 mb

Might be a major hurricane soon


make that 977mb not 984mb

URNT12 KWBC 021005
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE
A. 2/0954Z
B. 12 DEG 53 MIN N
68 DEG 43 MIN W
C. 700 MB 2921 M
D. NA
E. NA
F. 095 DEG 90 KT
G. 005 DEG 15 NM
H. EXTRAP 977 MB
I. 14 C/3064 M
J. 15 C/3055 M
K. 9 C/NA
L. OPEN NE
M. C25
N. 12345/7
O. 1/2 NM
P. NOAA3 0706A FELIX OB 06 AL062007
MAX FL WIND 90 KT NE QUAD 0951MAX SFMR WINDS 75 KT NE QUAD 0951Z

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1626. TheStormWillSurvive
11:17 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
First Vis

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1625. Weatherlearner
6:09 AM CDT on September 02, 2007
Hey Guys Can you explain to me why when viewing the images of Felix and others, When you check the HDW box, High mid or low, the winds do not appear to be circular around the eye (center) it just seems it would be.

Learner
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1624. Bobbyweather
7:12 AM EDT on September 02, 2007
Good morning! I see that Felix intensified, as of the 5am advisory. I don't believe it!

100 mph
984 mb

Might be a major hurricane soon.
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1623. Weather456
11:05 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
Aruba

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1622. BahaHurican
7:00 AM EDT on September 02, 2007
Felix's eye seems well-defined on that radar image. Wonder how clear it looks in visible.

I note that 98l is back to its former low-key self. The circulation still seems to be there, so I wouldn't rule it out for now. May be just biding its time . . .

That vigorous wave over W Africa we were looking at yesterday looks like it has poofed as it came off the coast. Looks like it came off pretty high, too. Dunno if we will see anything out of that.
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1621. TheStormWillSurvive
11:05 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
now I am not saying I am wishcasting or UScasting but the Eye is further north then the track and this could be a trend or a wobble
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1620. stormybil
11:00 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
morning everyone felix might be favoring the most northern part of the nhc track . what you think ?
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1619. Tazmanian
3:54 AM PDT on September 02, 2007
URNT12 KWBC 021005
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE
A. 2/0954Z
B. 12 DEG 53 MIN N
68 DEG 43 MIN W
C. 700 MB 2921 M
D. NA
E. NA
F. 095 DEG 90 KT
G. 005 DEG 15 NM
H. EXTRAP 977 MB
I. 14 C/3064 M
J. 15 C/3055 M
K. 9 C/NA
L. OPEN NE
M. C25
N. 12345/7
O. 1/2 NM
P. NOAA3 0706A FELIX OB 06 AL062007
MAX FL WIND 90 KT NE QUAD 0951
MAX SFMR WINDS 75 KT NE QUAD 0951Z

mb are down too 977mb from 987mbs
SLP EXTRAP FROM 700MB



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1618. BahaHurican
6:51 AM EDT on September 02, 2007
Morning everybody,

Looks like I missed the excitement overnight. Felix did, as we were contemplating in here, do some rapid intensification.

Only good thing for ABC Islands is that this is still a very small circulation. I wonder how much it will expand today . . .
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1617. Weather456
10:48 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
I did an anlayis of it yesterday around 6pm EDT

Southwest N Atlantic (Yesterday)

Water vapour imagery is hinting a weak cyclonic upper circulation near 24N/76W producing and enhancing scattered showers over the islands of Cuba and the Bahamas.

A pre frontal surface trough is analysed from 32N/67W to 40N/60W. Widespread showers are within 300 nm ahead of this trough over the Atlantic. Some of this activity is no doubtfully enhanced by upper diffluence between an high in the southwest Atlantic and an upper low in the central Atlantic with some of this activity spreading as for south as 20N.
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1616. Weather456
10:42 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
That ULL was always there its just been ill-define and not readily evident but it has been there for 2 days now.
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1615. Rainman32
6:42 AM EDT on September 02, 2007
cirro thanks for clearing up which "L" you were talking about! Interesting...
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1614. cirrocumulus
10:41 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
Well, for Felix, it's up to the high pressure to keep him out of the United States for awhile but it looks a little like the GFS may show remnants in the western gulf later. Also, a storm off Ga may form later and 98L and yet another wave. Active now!
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1613. cirrocumulus
10:39 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
Rainfall, thanks for input and discussion material you provided also but the ULL is closer to Cuba. Also, the latest GFS is processing and it misses 98L but there could be some explosive action, including 98L, much like in the Pacific, this week. We may feel overwhelmed in a few days. We may have one in the Bay of Campeche, another off Fla./Ga., another approaching the caribbean, and another coming from Africa. I guess peak is in a week.
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1612. Weather456
10:03 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
Good Morning

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1611. Caymanite
10:34 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
Looks like the ABC islands fared well from the passing of Felix overnight as well. Max winds recorded in Bonaire were 22 mph.
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1610. Rainman32
6:35 AM EDT on September 02, 2007
Morning Folks. There has been a frontal low S GA/N FL for a couple of days now. it is just this morning pushing off the coast, I believe that is what you are seeing.

SHORT RANGE FORECAST DISCUSSION
NWS HYDROMETEOROLOGICAL PREDICTION CENTER CAMP SPRINGS MD
244 AM EDT SUN SEP 02 2007

VALID 12Z SUN SEP 02 2007 - 00Z TUE SEP 04 2007

A STALLED FRONTAL BOUNDARY ALONG THE GULF COAST TO LOW PRESSURE
ALONG THE GEORGIA COAST WILL REMAIN A STRONG FOCUS FOR PERIODIC
SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS FROM SOUTHERN TEXAS...ACROSS THE GULF
STATES INTO THE SOUTHEASTERN U.S.. HEAVY RAINFALL WILL BE
POSSIBLE...ESPECIALLY ALONG THE GEORGIA AND SOUTH CAROLINA COASTS
AND POSSIBLY TO THE SOUTHERN NORTH CAROLINA COAST AS LOW PRESSURE
LIFTS SLOWLY NORTHEAST ALONG THE U.S. SOUTHEAST COAST. GENERALLY
LIGHT TO MODERATE AMOUNTS ARE LIKELY ALONG THE GULF STATES INTO
SOUTHERN TEXAS.

Interactive Short Range Product Browser
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1609. cirrocumulus
10:32 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
That ULL looks like it has been there but is moving slightly southwest and still appears too far away to draw Felix all the way up.
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1608. stoormfury
10:17 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
morni
although 98L is devoid of convedtion it still has a robust circulation which gives the indication that as soon as it gets into the favourable area of low shear , then it ia expected ti slowly organise. it is atill moving soueh west and will find itself in a position to threatened the central windwards once again. it is expscted to move west for the next five days
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1607. cirrocumulus
10:22 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
If you have any time look at the satellite of 98L before you check the models. It looks like it will eventually be a hurricane after the shear dies off. I need to see some visible loops on that ULL near Florida even though I saw a couple already. Back to the ULL interaction for a minute.
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1606. 7544
10:22 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
cirrocumulus at 10:20 AM GMT on September 02, 2007.

Did that ULL really just form?


yes it did at arong 6 am when i first posted it and the spin is now stronger . again ill say it wasnt there at 5 am or 530 am
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1605. 7544
10:20 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
ok you call it the eye was under 13 a hour ago look at it now it starting to go over 13 n now great view on this sat

Link
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1604. cirrocumulus
10:19 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
Did that ULL really just form?
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1603. Caymanite
10:17 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
Yes guys I too was watching those last few frames on visible sat and noticed the more Northerly component. Hope it is just a wobble and not something that will continue.
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1602. cirrocumulus
10:17 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
I posted the entire NHC discussion earlier.
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1601. druseljic
5:17 AM CDT on September 02, 2007
I do appreciate the answers and help. I am learning so much from popping in here from time to time. This is so fascinating...
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1600. webbbeach
10:14 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
Hurricane Dean missed belize city but they might not be so lucky this time
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1599. hurricanehamster
10:15 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
Posted By: cirrocumulus at 8:36 AM GMT on September 02, 2007. (hide)
hurricanehamster: Do you see a more northwesterly turn on the visible than was expected?
-------------

i do!
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1598. 7544
10:13 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
druseljic at 10:12 AM GMT on September 02, 2007.

If an ULL gets close enough to a storm, it can exert a pull on it altering its course, is this correct?

yes if it cathes it in time its all timing we have to see if felix starts to drift more north soon that means the ull catches him now with the eye present you can rellay see what happens . this all kust came into play in the last 30 minutes the ull was not there at 5 am . hope this helps you
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1597. cirrocumulus
10:13 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
Druseljic: Most definitely. But I guess this one is not strong enough or close enough to stop the building high pressure that is forecasted. Does anyone have any ideas on this?
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1596. cirrocumulus
10:12 AM GMT on September 02, 2007
I mean even if they saw that low, you think they would explain how it is going to form and/or dissipate and move.
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1595. druseljic
5:11 AM CDT on September 02, 2007
If an ULL gets close enough to a storm, it can exert a pull on it altering its course, is this correct?
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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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