California fires and global warming; 90L lashes Puerto Rico

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

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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

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745. extreme236
1:11 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
I wouldnt begin to worry about 90L until it was better organized and more models agreed on a track. Still an uncertain track right now
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
744. Drakoen
1:10 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
nice Adrian. I keep forgetting about the hurricane methaz site.
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743. HIEXPRESS
1:09 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
Looks a lot like plain old climatology. CLP5 anyone?
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742. InTheCone
9:06 PM EDT on October 26, 2007
JFV -

Can you post a link to that video?? Living in WPB, I would be very curious about waht was said. Thanx
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741. zoomiami
1:07 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
JFV: have you ever been through a hurricane before?
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740. BajaALemt
1:02 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
Evenin folks...

Something interesting to watch again :)
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738. hurricane23
21:05 EDT le 26 octobre 2007
735. JFV 21:04 EDT le 26 octobre 2007
Am extremely curious to find out what you wrote and prepared on it.

Here is the full size image just click on thumbnail below to see.

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736. extreme236
1:04 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
Well IMO 90L here has been one of the bigger threats to florida this year. This is really one of the few disturbances/systems this year that actually have a chance to hit florida
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
734. stormybil
12:59 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
this looks like more and more like a wilma track . and listining to don noe this is the first time this year where he is really concerned about this going to so fla. he never hypes a storm it just tells it like it is and with that being said and what joe said deprending on how strong it will be by south of cube on monday get ready fla .
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732. HIEXPRESS
1:00 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
THIRTY YEARS AFTER HURRICANE AGNES -
THE FORGOTTEN FLORIDA TORNADO DISASTER

From 2002
Nearly 10 million more people are living in Florida today than in 1972. Agnes's 28 tornadoes missed
major metropolitan areas, hitting smaller coastal cities and rural, inland areas; yet, still brought
tremendous devastation. Perhaps many more undocumented tornadoes hit unpopulated areas. The
deadliest tornado outbreak in Florida history occurred over a small area of central Florida on 22-23
February 1998, killing 42 people. There were 7 tornadoes, 4 that caused injury or death. Of the 7
tornadoes, 3 were F3's, 2 were F2's, and 2 were F1's. What if Agnes's 11 known F2 and greater
tornadoes (10 that caused death or injury) were to strike today?
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731. extreme236
1:01 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
Im still waiting for a QS pass so I can update my blog entry lol
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
730. hurricane23
8:55 PM EDT on October 26, 2007
Just updated!Had to shrink image a bit.

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728. extreme236
12:54 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
726. ShenValleyFlyFish 12:54 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
721. extreme236 8:42 PM EDT on October 26, 2007 Nice report on Andrew! Maybe its just me or I kind of thought this was funny: (Illegal aliens in the U.S. are not included in the official count.)

Funny peculiar or funny Ha Ha?


Dont know which, but it was definatly a good report on Hurricane andrew
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
727. flaboyinga
8:53 PM EDT on October 26, 2007
Pat, you are in my prayers and I'm sure every else on this site has you in their prayers, too.
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726. ShenValleyFlyFish
8:45 PM EDT on October 26, 2007
721. extreme236 8:42 PM EDT on October 26, 2007 Nice report on Andrew! Maybe its just me or I kind of thought this was funny: (Illegal aliens in the U.S. are not included in the official count.)

Funny peculiar or funny Ha Ha?
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
725. flaboyinga
8:30 PM EDT on October 26, 2007
I made a comment a few days ago about the price of oil and the cost of fuel. Crude oil is used to make hundreds of other products besides gasoline and diesel oil. Every one of these products drive the price of crude up higher and higher. I was a plumbing contractor for 13 yrs. and every time crude went up, so did our PVC pipe prices. All of those personal plastic water bottles and a lot of other stuff places an increased demand on crude supplies and the oil exporting countries know they have a captive market. If we cut fuel consumption in half the other industries will still drive the high crude prices on and fuel won't be much cheaper. And when a storm system hit an area involved with production and refining it just gets worse. And Mexico is one of those areas, too.
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724. Patrap
7:44 PM CDT on October 26, 2007
I feel Okay for a Man with innards a troubled. Thanx StormW . Wont be having the Cajun Rice MRE,s quite yet. LOL.

Looks Like 90L to gives FAll a run
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723. hurricane23
8:41 PM EDT on October 26, 2007
Updated models!GFS in line with Nogaps.

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722. extreme236
12:42 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
Yes, Ramsdis is a nice tool. The center is between 69-70W and those banding features are better defined on imagery
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
721. extreme236
12:40 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
Nice report on Andrew! Maybe its just me or I kind of thought this was funny:

(Illegal aliens in the U.S. are not included in the official count.)

Any idea how many illegals died?
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
720. InTheCone
8:12 PM EDT on October 26, 2007
For Taz et. al. -

My brother was a petroleum engineer for BP(Alaska) in the 80's and 90's - retired in 2002. He always said that the Exxon folks were top notch and KNEW what was coming in the oil industry WAY in advance. He said to me when oil was maybe 30 that EXXON had projected oil prices well above $100 a barrel for the late 90's.

He told me a couple of years back that the only mitigating factor was how fast the demand in India and China came into play. They did not start to ramp up demand quite as quickly as was anticipated, but they are coming on strong now. Given their increased, and what will be tremendous demand, in the future, the numbers are now coming into line. Throw in some global instability and you are looking at precipitously higher prices.

The U.S. thinks it is insulated from these things, but exceptionally strong demand from these emerging markets will NOT permit us to cruise through, and that does not even take into account global instability. We should have been looking at alternative energy sources MANY years ago to alleviate these effects, the problem was, oil was then cheap. Now we have to play catch up to get there.

IMO - $5.00 a gallon is not out of the question, and everyone should be looking for ways to conserve. Europe has had expensive gas for a LONG time, and we will be there. Yelling and fussing at the Gov't ain't going to get it folks, the Gov't is not the answer. We, the people, will be the eventual answer - I hope.

Back to the tropics...... 90l is doing....what??

Off topic, I know, but I felt it should be said and I mean no offense to anyone.
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719. BahaHurican
8:38 PM EDT on October 26, 2007
Notice anything about this??

CARIBBEAN SEA...
A TROPICAL WAVE IS OVER THE WRN CARIBBEAN SEA. SEE ABOVE.
MODERATE TRADES ARE OVER THE CARIBBEAN SEA. A 1008 MB LOW IS
OVER THE NW CARIBBEAN NEAR 18N83W. SCATTERED MODERATE
CONVECTION IS W OF THE CAYMAN ISLANDS FROM 16N-20N BETWEEN
82W-85W. FURTHER W...A 1005 MB LOW IS S OF HISPANIOLA NEAR
16N69W. SCATTERED MODERATE TO ISOLATED STRONG CONVECTION IS E
OF THE CENTER FROM 12N-18N BETWEEN 60W-67W. IN THE UPPER
LEVELS...AN UPPER LEVEL LOW IS CENTERED OVER THE NW CARIBBEAN
NEAR 18N82W. CYCLONIC FLOW IS W OF 79W. A LARGER UPPER LEVEL
LOW IS CENTERED N OF PUERTO RICO NEAR 19N66W. A SMALL COL IS
BETWEEN THE TWO SYSTEMS NEAR JAMAICA. SIGNIFICANT UPPER LEVEL
MOISTURE COVERS THE ENTIRE CARIBBEAN SEA. EXPECT SHOWERS AND
ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS OVER MOST OF THE CARIBBEAN AND CENTRAL
AMERICA E OF 88W DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS.
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718. Drakoen
12:39 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
Gotta love RAMSDIS one of the best imagery to use especially at night also it updates quick.
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716. BahaHurican
8:32 PM EDT on October 26, 2007
Boy, I have a feeling this is going to be some weekend. That circulation is vigorous, and it looks like it's already shaking off the effects of the ULL, which is still in its general vicinity.

BTW, anybody seen the Quikscat for this evening?
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715. Drakoen
12:37 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
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714. extreme236
12:37 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
banding features are beginning to become more noticable on IR imagery
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
713. extreme236
12:36 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
Thanks for the mail :)
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712. Patrap
7:36 PM CDT on October 26, 2007
Give us the skinny on 90L StormW.
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711. DRYDOCK
12:35 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
RAINING CATS & DOGS ALL DAY HERE IN BOCA RATON, FLORIDA
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709. SRQBoogieMan
12:32 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
That last NOGAPS run puts it literally in my front yard. Hope that one is WAY off.
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708. Patrap
7:34 PM CDT on October 26, 2007
Not Mail call again..LOL
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707. Drakoen
12:32 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
Looks like the QuickSat will catch the system so we should get a good idea of how defined it is and how high the winds are.
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705. extreme236
12:32 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
Nice site Adrian
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
704. Drakoen
12:30 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
JFV, the track looks fair could very well be correct with the system slipping just south of Jamaica.. after that its a wait and see.
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703. BahaHurican
8:25 PM EDT on October 26, 2007
Hmmm . . . I note a couple more Twaves in the CATL . . . just an indicator that some tropical energy still is moving . . . The ITCZ is riding a lot lower across the belly of the CATL, though. Those two don't look like they are likely to do much.
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701. extreme236
12:26 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
698. hurricane23 12:26 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
Might want to link mine...You wont find a place with more useful links then my site.


thanks for the link...I will be sure to take a look at it.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
700. extreme236
12:25 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
Thats definatly a possbile scenario Baha, but this has been one of our possibly bigger threats to florida than we have had all year.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
699. Patrap
7:25 PM CDT on October 26, 2007
I was active Duty USMC from 80-86.
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698. hurricane23
8:24 PM EDT on October 26, 2007
Might want to link mine...You wont find a place with more useful links then my site.

Adrian's Weather
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697. Drakoen
12:25 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
update microwave imagery. You can make out the low pressure center and the spiral bands to the north and south. Still doing relatively well.
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696. extreme236
12:23 AM GMT on October 27, 2007
I counted 67 links however I dont use some of them or I rarely use some, and a few others were just links to go back to and read about some past seasons.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234

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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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