Alma nears hurricane strength, takes aim at Nicaragua; major tornado outbreak today

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:03 PM GMT on May 29, 2008

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Tropical Storm Alma, in the Eastern Pacific off the coast of Nicaragua, is steadily intensifying, and appears likely to develop into a hurricane later today. The latest QUikSCAT pass from 8:03am EDT showed winds of 50 knots (58 mph) near the center, and a recent microwave image (Figure 1) showed the formation of an eye. Alma is generating very heavy rains in excess of six inches per day near its center. So far, satellite estimates of rainfall (Figure 2) indicate that 3-6 inches of rain has fallen over portions of Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and rainfall will continue to increase in these nations through Saturday. All of Central America, except for Panama, is at risk of flash flooding that will create dangerous mud slides over the next three days, and Alma has the potential to be a major disaster for Central America. Nicaragua, in particular, is at high risk of experiencing flash flooding and mud slides capable of causing heavy loss of life, due to its high mountainous terrain that will receive up to 20 inches of rain. However, the mountainous regions along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala are also at high risk of destructive flooding and mud slides.


Figure 1. Microwave image (colored, left side) and visible satellite image (gray colors, right side) of Tropical Storm Alma taken at 10:14am EDT Thursday May 29, 2008. An eye is visible in the color microwave image, surrounded by intense echoes (red colors) of an eyewall on the west side of the eye. Microwave instruments carried on polar-orbiting satellites can only "see" a swatch of Earth's surface a few hundred kilometers in diameter, and the edge of this swath happened to fall very near the eye of Alma at this time. Image credit: Navy Research Lab, Monterey.

Since Alma now dominates the circulation pattern of the region, none of the computer models are predicting that a tropical depression will form in the Western Caribbean in the coming week. It is possible that Alma could cross Central America and pop out in the Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche. However, the crossing of Central America will severely disrupt the storm, and the odds of Alma becoming a depression in the Atlantic basin are very low. I am not expecting moisture from the storm to reach the U.S. Satellite loops show that Alma has developed a large circulation that extends into the Western Caribbean, and rains from Alma will affect Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, and western Cuba through Saturday. These areas can expect heavy downpours with rainfall totals of 3-6 inches through Saturday. Rainfall may be heavier, perhaps 5-10 inches, in Belize and along the north coast of Honduras.


Figure 2. Observed precipitation for the 24 hours ending at 12Z (8am EDT) Thursday May 29, 2008. Rainfall amounts in excess of 150mm (six inches, green colors) occurred near the coast of Costa Rica. Image credit: U.S. Navy Monterey.

Major severe weather outbreak today in the Plains
The Storm Prediction Center is calling for a "High" risk of severe weather across Iowa and Nebraska this afternoon--the highest level of severe weather alert. Expect another significant tornado outbreak today in the Plains. The Weather Underground Severe Weather page and Tornado page are good places to go to follow the severe weather. Also, tune in to the chase accounts and awesome storm photos from Wunderblogger Mike Theiss. Mike is in Tornado Alley this week, performing his annual chase efforts.

I'll have an update Friday morning, or tonight if there's major tornado action to talk about.

Jeff Masters

Tornado, KS (FHRweather)
Photo by Jack Mowers
Tornado, KS

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1192. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
4:17 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
are you some kind of retard or what
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
1191. stormkat
3:37 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
you guys can watch the blob and ill be back in a week when things start to heat up...you guys play nice now...you have a great day and remember if anyone needs any info are needs to know something about the tropics my email box is always open to you....i will answer all questions im asked...keep the pranks out though because im really busy...i dont have time for the people who want to play....stormkat
Member Since: May 9, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 335
1190. stormkat
3:27 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
as i pointed out yesterday the shear will be picking up in the nw caribbean and if anything would try to develop it would be torn apart by the strong shear not to mention the ssp are not falling anywhere in that area...so guys its just that a blob of showers and thats all it will be...you will have to wait at least another 120 hours before the caribbean can become a suspect area..imo this does not bear watching sorry....stormkat
Member Since: May 9, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 335
1189. Cavin Rawlins
3:11 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
Accoriding to lower level winds at the CIMSS and PV analysis our tropical wave is emerging with a well-define mid-level rotation. I expect the NHC to confirm this wave later this afternoon or later 2night.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
1188. IKE
3:08 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
NEW BLOG!
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1187. earthlydragonfly
3:07 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
The wave in the Central atlantic seems to have recieved a boost of energy?? It is interesting when you watch the last few frames of the loopand it seems that energy is driving westward out of the storm activity to the east. I have frequently noticed this over the last few years and wondered if there is an explination for the phenomenon?? Anyone???
Member Since: July 1, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 1683
1185. Michfan
3:05 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
1178 Link

Good morning everyone.
Member Since: September 7, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1666
1184. smmcdavid
3:02 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
Okay, I'll cancel my vacation plans to Siberia... thanks.
Member Since: September 20, 2005 Posts: 31 Comments: 2309
1182. smmcdavid
3:00 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
Hey jp... when are we going to have out next storm and where is it going? Ha ha.
Member Since: September 20, 2005 Posts: 31 Comments: 2309
1181. smmcdavid
2:59 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
What up peeps? Alma came and went and left her mark. It's not over for those in Cen Am.
Member Since: September 20, 2005 Posts: 31 Comments: 2309
1179. cchsweatherman
2:55 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
1169. jphurricane2006 10:47 AM EDT on May 30, 2008
The center of Alma will likely just move to the west and continue to dissipate over Mexico, I dont think it will make it to the BOC

I was thinking about the whole system yesterday and changed my thoughts a bit

I look at it like this, say you create a large bubble, and you put two things inside it, they are separate entities, but each part of a larger entity, I think that is what we had here.

While Alma was intensifying, she was affecting the bubble as a whole, making it nearly impossible for the area in the Caribbean to do anything, kind of like a really bad roommate lol.


I love that explanation. Sums everything up quite well.
Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5163
1178. HardcorePunk
2:53 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
1177. groundswell
2:53 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
A TROPICAL WAVE WILL EXTEND NNE FROM THE LOW TO THE YUCATAN CHANNEL THROUGH SAT MORNING...THEN SLOWLY DRIFT W THROUGH SUN. THESE FEATURE WILL
CONTINUE TO BRING UNSETTLED CONDITIONS TO THE NW CARIBBEAN THROUGH THE WEEKEND.

From NWS...
Member Since: August 28, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 381
1176. fmbill
2:50 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
Well...back to blob-watchin'.

I think it's ironic that my church is going on a mission trip to Honduras next month. Impecable timing! I'm sure they will have lots to do.
Member Since: May 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 419
1173. TheWeatherMan504
2:48 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
Hey Look what I found on the 800AM Discusion.

IT IS INTERESTING TO NOTE THAT A LARGE AREA OF DISTURBED WEATHER...
ASSOCIATED LARGELY WITH A TROPICAL WAVE...PREVAILS OVER THE
NORTHWESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA. THIS ACTIVITY IS EXPECTED TO MOVE OVER
THE YUCATAN PENINSULA DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS AND WILL BE
MONITORED FOR SIGNS OF DEVELOPMENT.

Member Since: May 18, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 1042
1172. Tazmanian
2:48 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
the nhc said not too long a go

that if any storm from the Eastern North Pacific where to move in too the Atlantic in tac or with winds higher then 35 mph i would keep its name that it got when it was in the Eastern North Pacific so whats say Alma was going to move in to the gulf of MX and it had winds of 100mph it will stay the same name the nhc said that they would not going to be giveing out new names any more evere time a storm went from Eastern North Pacific to the Atlantic
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114717
1168. Cavin Rawlins
2:46 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
The NHC has every right...Look at the surface obs over the area...u cant find a disnct circulation anymore.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
1167. captainhunter
2:44 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
1154. DocBen 2:38 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
West of Jamaica; south of Cuba. Has Alma done an Ivan? And, if it develops - what name does it get?
Member Since: August 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 430
1166. kmanislander
2:44 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
back later
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15725
1165. franck
2:43 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
If Alma turns up the Yucutan and survives, she bad sho' nuff.
Member Since: August 30, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1150
1164. rwdobson
2:43 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
Also looks like NHC is considering the blob in the carribean as a separate thing from Alma...
Member Since: June 12, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 1588
1161. nrtiwlnvragn
2:41 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
TROPICAL DEPRESSION CENTER LOCATED NEAR 15.4N 88.2W AT 30/1500Z
POSITION ACCURATE WITHIN 45 NM

PRESENT MOVEMENT TOWARD THE NORTH-NORTHWEST OR 335 DEGREES AT 9 KT

ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE 1006 MB
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS 20 KT WITH GUSTS TO 25 KT.

THIS IS THE LAST FORECAST/ADVISORY ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE
CENTER ON THIS SYSTEM.

1152. cchsweatherman

Now that NHC has discontinued advisories on the system, if something now develops in the Atlantic basin it would be depression 1 or Arthur. Refer to the National Hurricane Operations Plan.
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 10875
1160. kmanislander
2:41 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
Here is the mid level steering

Link
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15725
1159. rwdobson
2:40 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
Hey all, long time no blog.

Looks like NHC is killing off Alma...

the depression has continued to weaken over the high terrain of
Central America and no longer has a circulation center. The remnants
of Alma are still associated with a large area of cloudiness and
thunderstorms over Central America...and there remains the
potential for significant rainfall and flooding. This will be the
last advisory on this system.
Member Since: June 12, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 1588
1158. cchsweatherman
2:39 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
000
WTPZ31 KNHC 301435
TCPEP1
BULLETIN
TROPICAL DEPRESSION ALMA ADVISORY NUMBER 8
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL EP012008
800 AM PDT FRI MAY 30 2008

...ALMA DISSIPATING OVER THE HIGH TERRAIN OF CENTRAL AMERICA...

AT 800 AM PDT...1500Z...THE REMNANTS OF ALMA WERE LOCATED NEAR
LATITUDE 15.4 NORTH...LONGITUDE 88.2 WEST...NEAR THE BORDER OF
HONDURAS AND GUATEMALA.

THE REMNANTS ARE MOVING TOWARD THE NORTH-NORTHWEST NEAR 10 MPH.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 25 MPH...35 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS.

ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 1006 MB...29.71 INCHES.

THE REMNANTS OF ALMA ARE EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAINFALL AMOUNTS
OF 10 TO 15 INCHES OVER PORTIONS OF CENTRAL AMERICA FROM COSTA RICA
NORTHWESTWARD THROUGH PORTIONS OF NICARAGUA...HONDURAS...EL
SALVADOR...GUATEMALA AND BELIZE. ISOLATED MAXIMUM STORM TOTAL
AMOUNTS OF 20 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE IN AREAS OF HIGHER TERRAIN.
THESE RAINS COULD PRODUCE LIFE-THREATENING FLASH FLOODS AND MUD
SLIDES.

REPEATING THE 800 AM PDT POSITION...15.4 N...88.2 W. MOVEMENT
TOWARD...NORTH-NORTHWEST NEAR 10 MPH. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...25
MPH. MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1006 MB.

THIS IS THE LAST PUBLIC ADVISORY ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE
CENTER ON THIS SYSTEM.


$$
FORECASTER AVILA
Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5163
1157. fmbill
2:39 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
I was looking at the high level winds on the NOAA satellite. Those little blue arrows seem to indicate the center of the high would be east of the bay.Link
Member Since: May 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 419
1156. kmanislander
2:39 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
You are correct JP, and centered along the coast of Belize a very short distance N of the circulation center we are seeing on the sat loop.

Winds over the GOH are very light overhead in the 5 to 10 knot range which is very conducive for development. However, the proximity to land is obviously a very significant inhibiting factor and the steering does not look to be anything other than onshore.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15725
1155. guygee
2:38 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
Isolated Tropical Storm Alma Damage Report from Costa Rica
Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3141
1154. DocBen
2:38 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
West of Jamaica; south of Cuba. Has Alma done an Ivan? And, if it develops - what name does it get?
Member Since: May 16, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 98
1153. Cavin Rawlins
2:38 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
Surface observations are very useful tools in the Western Caribbean: There is wind report just coming in from the southeast. This indicates the effects of Alma are weakening...if Alma circulation was as pronounced as b4 it would of been out of the southwest.

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
1152. cchsweatherman
2:37 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
1148. nrtiwlnvragn 10:34 AM EDT on May 30, 2008
1143. HardcorePunk

Within a basin, if the remnant of a tropical cyclone redevelops into a tropical cyclone, it is
assigned its original number or name.


This does not apply for a remnant tropical cyclone transferring from the Pacific to the Atlantic.
Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5163
1149. fmbill
2:34 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
It also looks like the upper level high has moved east and is now centered over the "blob". This appears to be causing some upper level shear over Alma's coc.
Member Since: May 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 419
1148. nrtiwlnvragn
2:34 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
1143. HardcorePunk

Within a basin, if the remnant of a tropical cyclone redevelops into a tropical cyclone, it is
assigned its original number or name.
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 10875
1145. kmanislander
2:31 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
CCHS

The only obs I have found near convection is the info I posted from the buoy which is located at 20N 85W approx.

It would be just NW of the main blob.
Winds sustained at 19 knots, gusts to 25 knots ( almost 29 mph )
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15725
1143. HardcorePunk
2:29 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
1142. cchsweatherman
2:28 PM GMT on May 30, 2008
1138. jphurricane2006 10:24 AM EDT on May 30, 2008
ok right now the surface center is over teh GOH, but will be making landfall in Belize very soon, the other low is the mid-level one to its NE, maybe it decoupled the system, maybe its the mid-level low from yesterday I am not sure

However, I would like to see what the NHC does at 11pm, I think they will keep the name Alma, just because of the very little time over water that the storm will be.


Jp- Do you remember what Noel did last season as it was approaching the Bahamas? The low-level circulation got ejected to the west into the Florida Straits and the mid-level circulation continued northward to become the new circulation for the system as it worked its way down to the surface. This could be a similar situation occuring there right now. Its always great to remember the unique things past storms have done so that you can analyze and understand what could possibly be going on with a current system. That is my current thinking.
Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5163

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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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