Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:39 PM GMT on November 01, 2007
Tropical Storm Noel is headed out to sea, and will clear the Bahama Islands early this evening. The latest report from the Hurricane Hunters at 1:17pm EDT found Noel at about the same strength--a pressure of 993 mb, and winds of 65 mph. Satellite imagery shows an impressive burst of thunderstorms on Noel's east side, and these thunderstorms dumped 5.5 inches of rain since midnight on Spanish Wells on Eleuthera Island, just northeast of Nassau. Wind gusts up to 50 mph have been observed at Foots Cay and 59 mph at Elbow Cay on Abaco Island this afternoon.
Big winds for Nova Scotia, Maine, and Massachusetts
The latest 12Z model runs have zeroed in on western or central Nova Scotia as the next target for Noel, which will be a powerful extratropical storm with sustained winds of 60-80 mph on Saturday. The GFDL and and HWRF intensity models show sustained winds of 75 mph impacting Cape Cod and Nantucket Island Saturday afternoon. Tropical storm force winds would affect the coast along eastern Long Island, Rhode Island, the rest of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. The GFS and UKMET models take Noel farther east, and bring lower winds in the 4-50 mph range to Cape Cod and Nantucket Island. The GFS and UKMET models are better designed to forecast extratropical systems, so more weight should be given to these models. Still, residents of the Massachusetts coast should be aware of the possibility of damaging winds on Saturday.
Figure 1. Satellite estimated rainfall totals for October 26-31, as estimated by the NASA TRMM satellite.
Noel's death toll
Noel's death toll now stands at 107, with many hard-hit rural areas yet to be heard from. At least 40 people died in Haiti, and in the Dominican Republic, the death toll stands at 66, with 27 missing. According to Reuters, the worst incident appeared to have occurred in the village of Villa Altagracia, outside the Dominican capital Santo Domingo, where two rivers broke their banks and destroyed most of the community of 200 or so houses. Survivors said up to 35 bodies were seen strewn on the river banks there. As many as 52 communities remain isolated due to collapsed bridges and washed out roads, and power is off to over 3 million of the nation's 9.4 million people. The Dominican meteorological service reports that 21.65" (550 mm) of rain fell at Padre Las Casas as of 8am EDT Wednesday. Thankfully, no rain has fallen on the Dominican Republic since dawn today, and Noel's rains may be over. The extreme southwestern tip of Haiti is the only portion of that country to receive more rain from Noel today, and those rains were only about an inch. Noel is the deadliest tropical cyclone to affect the Dominican Republic since Hurricane Georges hit Hispaniola in 1998, killing 380 Dominicans and causing over $1 billion in damage to the county. The death toll for Noel makes it the second deadliest storm this hurricane season, behind Hurricane Felix, which killed 133 people in Nicaragua and Honduras.
Links to follow for Noel
Long range radar out of Miami, FL
Nassau, Bahamas current weather
Google Maps interface, zoomed in on Nassau, Bahamas
I'll have an update Friday morning.
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