California fires and global warming; 90L lashes Puerto Rico

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:38 PM GMT on October 26, 2007

Share this Blog
3
+

A surface low pressure system (90L) moved over Puerto Rico this morning, and is now centered just west of the island. The surface low is entangled with an upper-level low pressure system that is bringing about 30 knots of wind shear, so no development is likely today. Long range radar of of Puerto Rico shows isolated bands of heavy rain that are not well-organized. Satellite loops show most of the heavy thunderstorm activity is to the east of the low's center of circulation, and the high wind shear is keeping this thunderstorm activity disorganized. This morning's QuikSCAT pass showed a large, vigorous circulation. Top winds were about 30 mph to the north of the center, and 90L is close to tropical depression status.


Figure 1. Latest satellite rainfall estimate of 90L.

The surface low is separating from the upper level low today, and will move west-southwest at about 10 mph. This will bring heavy rains and the threat of flash flooding and mudslides to Puerto Rico. Heavy rains of 2-4 inches in just two hours hit the Virgin Islands this morning (Figure 1), prompting flash flood warnings there. Heavy rains also hit many of the islands of the northern Lesser Antilles. Rain amounts as high as 3-5 inches are expected today over eastern Puerto Rico. Several mudslides have already been reported on the island.

The action shifts to the Dominican Republic on Saturday and Haiti on Sunday, as 90L tracks just south of the island of Hispaniola. These nations can expect rains of 3-6 inches, which could trigger life-threatening flash floods and mudslides. It is possible 90L could intensify into a tropical depression on Sunday, as wind shear will slowly fall to 20 knots. The Hurricane Hunters are on call to fly Sunday afternoon, if necessary. On Sunday, 90L will be approaching Jamaica, and the ECMWF and NOGAPS models predict that wind shear will drop to 10-20 knots. These models develop 90L into at least a strong tropical storm as it moves slowly into the Western Caribbean. The GFS model keeps wind shear 20-30 knots through the period, and does not develop 90L. The HWRF model also does not develop 90L. The GFDL is not keen on developing the system either, but does suggest that a weak tropical storm may form a week from now. I believe the most reasonable solution is the NOGAPS and ECMWF solution, and 90L will intensify into hurricane in the Western Caribbean late next week. The long-term path of such a storm is very uncertain, with the NOGAPS and ECMWF suggesting a track north into the Gulf of Mexico to threaten the U.S., and the GFDL predicting 90L will get trapped in the Western Caribbean and perform a counter-clockwise loop. If you have travel plans that take you to Jamaica or the Cayman Islands Sunday through Tuesday, or Cancun/Cozumel/Western Cuba Tuesday through Saturday next week, be prepared for the possibility of disruptions.

California's smoke
The worst of the air pollution hazard from California's fires has now passed. The smoke has thinned some, as seen on satellite images (Figure 2). The smoke made it yesterday to Fresno, in California's Central Valley, and is moving northward into Nevada and northwest Arizona today. Most of this smoke is aloft at altitudes of about 15,000 feet, but some mixing down to the surface has occurred, thanks to an upper-level low pressure system. Increases in particulate matter pollution due to smoke are expected to affect Las Vegas this weekend (Figure 1). However, the smoke will be dilute enough to keep pollution levels in the Moderate range--below the federal air quality standard.


Figure 2. Visible satellite image at 11:15 am PDT Thursday October 25, showing thinning smoke over the Pacific Ocean and much of California. Low stratus clouds are visible over the ocean, and these clouds have moved ashore into Los Angeles and San Diego this morning, triggering Dense Fog Advisories. Image credit: NASA and EPA.

Were the California fires worsened by global warming?
Dr. Ricky Rood points out in his latest wunderblog that the California fires were mostly a land-use and land-management issue. In a previous blog, he had this to say about the link between climate change and Western U.S. fires:

We do know that drought and floods, heat waves and cold snaps are all part of nature. Like the problem of urban heat waves, we have an event that already exists, and there should be a change associated with global warming. I have already mentioned that some studies have attributed the pinyon pine die off in the U.S. Southwest to the fact that the temperature in the recent drought years is higher than in previous droughts. Therefore, ground water is reduced; there is more stress on the plants. (And perhaps it is really the warmer nighttime temperatures that matter?)

There have also been papers which make a compelling argument that wild fires in the western U.S. are increasing in intensity and duration. In the paper of Westerling et al. (Science, 2006), the conclusion is drawn that this is directly related to snow melt occurring earlier in the year, a hotter and drier forest, and hence, a longer burning season. Plus they isolate the impact to be at mid-elevations in the Rockies, and hence, relatively free of land-use changes. While many newspapers reported that this work showed an increase of wild fires due to climate change, I quote directly from their paper: "Whether the changes observed in western hydroclimate and wildfire are the result of greenhouse gas-induced global warming or only an unusual natural fluctuation is beyond the scope of this work".


Jeff Masters

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 296 - 246

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21Blog Index

296. TampaSpin
7:22 PM GMT on October 26, 2007
NE was you playing Golf in Tampa if so where at.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
295. Floodman
2:23 PM CDT on October 26, 2007
294. NEwxguy 2:22 PM CDT on October 26, 2007
292. Floodman 7:21 PM GMT on October 26, 2007
Did someone say snort?

could swear I just saw your eyes change color


I know dude...I got to watch that
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
294. NEwxguy
7:21 PM GMT on October 26, 2007
292. Floodman 7:21 PM GMT on October 26, 2007
Did someone say snort?

could swear I just saw your eyes change color
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
293. NEwxguy
7:21 PM GMT on October 26, 2007
289. Floodman 7:18 PM GMT on October 26, 2007
271. LakeShadow 2:10 PM CDT on October 26, 2007
Hey, I resemble that remark! Who better to rouse rabble than me?
"rabble, rabble, rabble, rabble..."


Ahhh...another country heard from...LOL

There sure are a bunch of us in here today LOL

It's friday
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
292. Floodman
2:19 PM CDT on October 26, 2007
Did someone say snort?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
291. Patrap
2:18 PM CDT on October 26, 2007
WAVCIS 120 Hour Water Surface Temperature Forecast Model,area specific
Click on Boxed areas for specific run.

Link

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128231
289. Floodman
2:15 PM CDT on October 26, 2007
271. LakeShadow 2:10 PM CDT on October 26, 2007
Hey, I resemble that remark! Who better to rouse rabble than me?
"rabble, rabble, rabble, rabble..."


Ahhh...another country heard from...LOL

There sure are a bunch of us in here today LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
288. NEwxguy
7:16 PM GMT on October 26, 2007
287. NRAamy 7:16 PM GMT on October 26, 2007
284. NEwxguy 12:15 PM PDT on October 26, 2007

actually as we're talking about Felix right now,we're probably being flagged for being off topic


I just snorted so loud!!!

lol,I don't think snorting is aloud her either
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
287. NRAamy
12:15 PM PDT on October 26, 2007
284. NEwxguy 12:15 PM PDT on October 26, 2007

actually as we're talking about Felix right now,we're probably being flagged for being off topic


I just snorted so loud!!!

:)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
285. NRAamy
12:13 PM PDT on October 26, 2007
jp...that is very astute of you....

thank you...I mean it...

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
284. NEwxguy
7:13 PM GMT on October 26, 2007
actually as we're talking about Felix right now,we're probably being flagged for being off topic
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
283. cchsweatherman
7:08 PM GMT on October 26, 2007
Looks like 90L will not be disrupted by Hispanola. The circulation is getting much better defined and no longer appears to be elongated. It is now entering an area with lower shear, so we will have to watch what happens now.

NOGAPS model, I hate to say, does seem reasonable since a cold front would have the ability to force a storm to make a turn that sharp.

For all who live in South Florida, I would keep a close eye on it since we know what climatology tells us.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
282. Patrap
2:13 PM CDT on October 26, 2007
Juan was not a hurricane in November. He was a hurricane only on October 28/29th.


Jesus..a Numbers fan..LOL
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128231
280. Floodman
2:11 PM CDT on October 26, 2007
265. LakeShadow 2:08 PM CDT on October 26, 2007
They're opening for Carnage on a Biblical Scale
Awesome, they'll steal the show, I'm sure! LOL



They always do, but their sets are short...the hall almost always combusts
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
279. NEwxguy
7:11 PM GMT on October 26, 2007
274. Floodman 7:11 PM GMT on October 26, 2007
269. NEwxguy 2:09 PM CDT on October 26, 2007
263. NRAamy 7:07 PM GMT on October 26, 2007
thanks jp...I agree...but others did not and flagged Felix's furry butt...so, he will stay in my blog...

wow,my statement to those people are GET A LIFE!!!!!


The officious and small minded are everywhere, brother

guess so
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
277. extreme236
7:10 PM GMT on October 26, 2007
90A

Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
275. katadman
2:10 PM CDT on October 26, 2007
NRAamy 7:07 PM GMT on October 26, 2007
thanks jp...I agree...but others did not and flagged Felix's furry butt...so, he will stay in my blog...


maybe they confused him with Fritz! LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
274. Floodman
2:09 PM CDT on October 26, 2007
269. NEwxguy 2:09 PM CDT on October 26, 2007
263. NRAamy 7:07 PM GMT on October 26, 2007
thanks jp...I agree...but others did not and flagged Felix's furry butt...so, he will stay in my blog...

wow,my statement to those people are GET A LIFE!!!!!


The officious and small minded are everywhere, brother
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
273. NRAamy
12:10 PM PDT on October 26, 2007
thanks NE....

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
271. LakeShadow
7:09 PM GMT on October 26, 2007
Hey, I resemble that remark! Who better to rouse rabble than me?
"rabble, rabble, rabble, rabble..."
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
270. extreme236
7:08 PM GMT on October 26, 2007
UKM and CMC forecast 90A in the Arabian sea to reach a pretty good strength, possibly near hurricane strength
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
269. NEwxguy
7:08 PM GMT on October 26, 2007
263. NRAamy 7:07 PM GMT on October 26, 2007
thanks jp...I agree...but others did not and flagged Felix's furry butt...so, he will stay in my blog...

wow,my statement to those people are GET A LIFE!!!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
267. ihave27windows
2:07 PM CDT on October 26, 2007
No, Hebert.....Like former NFL quarterback Bobby Hebert....like my ex-husband Hebert...like my ex-inlaws Hebert.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
266. Floodman
2:06 PM CDT on October 26, 2007
257. katadman 2:05 PM CDT on October 26, 2007
Flood, I doubt that admin would do anything, you rabble-rouser!

Isn't the coc of 90L a bit elongated?



Hey, I resemble that remark! Who better to rouse rabble than me?

The COC is a little elongated, but it seems lees so in the last couple of hours than earlier this morning; trying to tighten up, despite the vagaries of 30knt shear...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
265. LakeShadow
7:07 PM GMT on October 26, 2007
They're opening for Carnage on a Biblical Scale
Awesome, they'll steal the show, I'm sure! LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
264. Patrap
2:07 PM CDT on October 26, 2007
There were 2 Hurricanes in the GOM in 1985..Juan was a November Cat-1. Juan the wanderer, it was.



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128231
263. NRAamy
12:06 PM PDT on October 26, 2007
thanks jp...I agree...but others did not and flagged Felix's furry butt...so, he will stay in my blog...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
262. NEwxguy
7:04 PM GMT on October 26, 2007
253. Floodman 7:03 PM GMT on October 26, 2007
Ivan's Cat and Felix...co-mascots! What do you suppose would happen if we all posted Felix simultaneously?

the world as we know it would cease to exist
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
261. LakeShadow
7:04 PM GMT on October 26, 2007
herbert..like colbert...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
260. extreme236
7:06 PM GMT on October 26, 2007
I dont think 90L's center is elongated
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
259. extreme236
7:05 PM GMT on October 26, 2007
ALSO AT LOW LEVELS...A TROUGH EXTENDS TO THE NORTHWEST FROM PANAMA
TO A CLOSED LOW WEST OF THE CAYMAN ISLES/NORTHWEST CARIBBEAN. THE
TROUGH PATTERN IS TO PERSIST DURING THE FORECAST CYCLE...WITH SOME
OF THE MODELS STILL SUGGESTING POSSIBILITY OF A TROPICAL STORM
FORMING ALONG THIS AXIS. THEY...HOWEVER...DIVERGE ON THE BEST AREA
FOR GENESIS... WITH SOME SHOWING STORM FORMATION OVER THE SOUTHERN
CARIBBEAN (NORTH OF PANAMA/COSTA RICA) WHILE OTHERS FAVOR THE
NORTHWEST CARIBBEAN. THE 200 HPA VELOCITY POTENTIAL ANOMALIES...AS
A TOOL FOR EVALUATING MJO ACTIVITY...SHOWS AN AREA OF UPPER
CONVERGENCE MOVING INTO CENTRAL AMERICA AND THE WESTERN
CARIBBEAN...WHICH IS ADDING TO THE UNCERTAINTY.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
258. Floodman
2:05 PM CDT on October 26, 2007
254. LakeShadow 2:04 PM CDT on October 26, 2007
Now you've done it! You've even shown them!Widespread panic and carnage on a biblical scale will now ensue
I love Widespread Panic!!!



They're opening for Carnage on a Biblical Scale
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
257. katadman
2:04 PM CDT on October 26, 2007
Flood, I doubt that admin would do anything, you rabble-rouser!

Isn't the coc of 90L a bit elongated?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
256. Orcasystems
6:59 PM GMT on October 26, 2007
Stupid question from a newbie.
Invest? Area of Interest to watch/Investigate
If so and the National Huricane Centre has two area.. why is there only one here 90L
?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
254. LakeShadow
7:02 PM GMT on October 26, 2007
Now you've done it! You've even shown them!Widespread panic and carnage on a biblical scale will now ensue
I love Widespread Panic!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
253. Floodman
2:01 PM CDT on October 26, 2007
Ivan's Cat and Felix...co-mascots! What do you suppose would happen if we all posted Felix simultaneously?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
252. TheCaneWhisperer
7:01 PM GMT on October 26, 2007
90L seems to be getting better defined as it pulls away from the ULL. Trying to build some tops as shear is becoming evident.
251. ihave27windows
2:02 PM CDT on October 26, 2007
Hebert-

Pronounced; A-Bear, or A-Bare sil vous plait....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
250. Patrap
2:00 PM CDT on October 26, 2007
Its Pronounced .."A-Bear",..Cher



Many people visiting hurricanecity have asked "what is this hebert box I keep hearing about"?. The HebertBox was "discovered" in the late 1970s by Paul Hebert (pictured above). This former nws & nhc forecaster found many major Hurricanes that hit South Florida had to first pass through these boxes. The first box is located east of Puerto Rico and the second box is located over the Cayman Islands. Every Major Hurricane that passed through Box 2 late in the year, hit the Florida peninsula prior to 1950. Hebert says that a Hurricane does not have to pass through these boxes to hit, but if they do "you better pay attention". The 1935 Labor day Hurricane that devastated the Florida Keys developed west of this box and Hurricane Andrew passed NE of this box, so there are exceptions to the rule.

Link



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128231
247. NEwxguy
6:58 PM GMT on October 26, 2007
And to think I was ready to make Felix our blog mascot
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
246. OZarkfrompcola
1:56 PM CDT on October 26, 2007
no no no no boxes.....and no no no no pinholes......OOPS i said the p...word
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 296 - 246

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21Blog Index

Top of Page

About

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

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy
71 °F
Partly Cloudy