Ophelia gathering strength

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:11 PM GMT on September 07, 2005

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TD 16 gathered enough strength last night to be given a name--Ophelia. Ophelia will be a name we will hear a lot of over the coming week. She is going to cause plenty of trouble, and will be moving slowly enough that we'll still be talking about her a week from now.

Ophelia is a weak system at present, and is suffering from strong upper-level winds on her south side that are shearing away any convection that tries to develop there. Almost all the action is on the north side of the storm, as the northeast coast of Florida can attest to. Nearly three inches of rain has fallen along some coastal areas, from squalls that have rotated in from the ocean. Winds gusts at the St. Augustine pier were as high as 35 - 40 mph overnight. Sustained winds over the ocean areas off shore are 40 - 45 mph, and 12 foot seas have been observed. Large waves from Ophelia will start to pound the coast from northern Florida to North Carolina over the next five days, creating beach erosion problems. The rains will continue to fall across the north Florida coast, and minor flooding will make driving slow and hazardous by tomorrow in some areas of north Florida.


Figure 1. Total rainfall from Ophelia as estimated by the Jacksonville Doppler radar.

Long range radar out of Melbourne shows a slow increase in intensity and coverage of the rain, and a few spiral bands trying to form on the south side of the storm. Over the next two days, Ophelia should continue to slowly intensify, battling the shear from the strong winds on her southern side. Interference from Nate does not seem to be a problem; the upper-level outflow on Nate's west side has diminished and does not appear to be shearing Ophelia. The ocean has plenty of deep warm water (29 - 30C) under Ophelia, so the intensification potential is high if the shear drops.

The long term track and intensity forecast for Ophelia are highly uncertain. The computer model map has the appearance of a squashed spider, with each model taking Ophelia a different direction. The GFDL and BAMS Medium solutions take Ophelia westward across Florida and into the Gulf of Mexico almost immediately. These solutions are already incorrect, and are being discounted at this time. The Canadian model takes Ophelia out to sea behind Nate, but is the only model calling for this track. What I believe is the most likely scenario is one that is not promising for the U.S., and is favored by the GFS, UKMET, and NOGAPS models. These models forecast that steering currents over Ophelia will remain weak the next two days, which will allow her to remain over the warm ocean waters and slowly gather strength. A weak trough of low pressure is forecast to move off the east coast Friday, which should act to push Ophelia away from the coast slightly. This trough could also create some shear and dump cold, dry air into the cyclone, weakening it temporarily. However, the GFS, UKMET, and NOGAPS models forecast that this trough will bypass Ophelia, and a ridge of high pressure will build back in forcing Ophelia westward or south-westward back toward the U.S. coast. With so much time over warm water, and the shear likely to decrease once the trough bypasses her, Ophelia will have a good chance of attaining at least Category 1 hurricane status and making landfall somewhere on the Southeast U.S. coast. All interests along the Southeast coast from Miami to Cape Hatteras need to watch this storm.

I'll be back early this afternoon with an update, and info on Nate and Maria and the rest of the tropics.

Jeff Masters

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171. butterflymcb
5:46 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
orion...thank you so much!! :) at work right now, but I will play with those later! :) thanks!
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 38
170. oriondarkwood
4:46 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
Butterflymcb,

Here are the links I use

http://cirrus.sprl.umich.edu/wxnet/model/model.html - UM Weather (some of the models)

http://moe.met.fsu.edu/index.html/ - More tropical weather models

http://moe.met.fsu.edu/tcgengifs/ - the models you see on most forecasts

http://www.wunderground.com/hurricane/statement.asp?product=NOUS42
- Hurricane Hunter plan for the day

http://www.wunderground.com/global/Region/g5/VisSatellite.html
- African Coast sat pics

http://www.wunderground.com/global/Region/AT/IRSatellite.html
- Atlantic Infrared

http://www.goes.noaa.gov/HURRLOOPS/huwvloop.html
- east coast water vapor

http://www.cira.colostate.edu/ramm/rmsdsol/TROPICAL.html
- various sat images

http://www.wunderground.com/data/640x480/atlm_shear.gif
- Wind Sheer forecast

http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/phod/cyclone/data/at.html
- water temps
Member Since: July 5, 2004 Posts: 51 Comments: 42
169. hodgedog
4:40 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
im in melbourne and youd never know there was anything that close to the state
168. Raleighwood
4:34 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
Some people's posts compared the track of Jeanne to that of Ophelia (i.e. the loop). Thus reviewing the track of Jeanne was helpful. Sorry, if my previous post seemed to come out of left-field.
167. hurricane79
4:27 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
The gfs appears to be a right of track outlier now...
166. Raleighwood
4:27 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
Hello everyone,
I know many people will never forget Jeanne, but I did not remember her track. NOAA's hurricane track database was very helpful in refreshing my memory. It takes a little while to load, but you can query this database by storm name (year). Wx novices (like myself) should enjoy playing with this database. The link to this is also on the main WU tropical/hurricane page.

http://hurricane.csc.noaa.gov/hurricanes/index.html

*Wunderful* blog and posts:-)
165. leftyy420
4:26 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
new jeff masters post people. see u there
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
164. weatherguy03
4:22 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
Yeah looks like the GFS is sending it out to sea..lol..we will see..
Member Since: July 5, 2005 Posts: 592 Comments: 29708
163. aquak9
4:21 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
20 miles inland, brick house, good roof, few dancing pines---can I handle a cat3?
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 178 Comments: 26675
162. weatherdude65
4:20 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
She is looking good......

Link
161. leftyy420
4:19 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
man i don'tknow what the gfs is doing. looks like she will go furtehr east and maybe loop. still more of this run to come out. here si a link to a couple models


Link
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
160. TybeeIslandGA
4:19 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
New Masters update!
159. weatherdude65
4:16 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
Stormy....I'll stay for a cat 1, 2, or 3, house is built for that, now a cat 4...I'm gone!!
158. StormJunkie
4:15 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
I think St.Simmons noted that the bouy off GA showed a 90 degree temp for the first time ever a couple of weeks back.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16874
157. butterflymcb
4:15 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
can you guys give us that don't have access to those models some links to them? you guys get them so fast! :)
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 38
156. stormydee
4:15 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
weatherdude, this storm isn't nothing yet...just rain, trees still hardly moving and I'm about 100 miles from its center...but if you want it, u can have it!
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 39 Comments: 517
155. StormJunkie
4:14 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
Almost all models are showing a slight jog to the wnw or nw prior to the n/ne movement. I think that may be what we are seeing right now. THe GFDL is way too far south and I can not give the BAMM a whole lot of credit.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16874
154. oriondarkwood
4:13 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
Looks like Ophelia is really getting her groove on, I agree with most people about her. All bets are off the table on this one. I think everyone from Key West to the VA border should be watching this one in the short term (5 days) After that its still anyone's ball game if the models hold (ie showing Ophelia making a loop). Either way if she stays small she can grow cause its hot water out there and low to no sheer..
Member Since: July 5, 2004 Posts: 51 Comments: 42
153. weatherdude65
4:12 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
That is an interesting path that Accuweather has. It would be great for me since that would bring it close to my area.
152. leftyy420
4:12 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
sorry stormy. i could care less about nate right now. he is a fish storm and i have to much going on here at home with ophelia but in a bit i will give an update on nate
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
151. leftyy420
4:11 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
i am sure we will see the circulation is no longer detached int he next recon flight. her winds might be stronger as well, maybe 50kts
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
150. stormydee
4:11 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
Is Nate becoming Oblong cause he's finally getting pulled NE? Or is it me and his eye moved south? Can tell he's got some southerly shear on him now...not much, though...
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 39 Comments: 517
149. HurricaneZane
4:10 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
I knew that the accuweather forcast was close to someone's forcast on this board. 79' --you've been right before.. We shall see!
148. leftyy420
4:09 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
mjh u keep thinking that lol. i am keeping an open mind and waiting for all the models to run.


yeah the radar presentation is impressive to say the least
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
147. leftyy420
4:08 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
i wouldn't say accuweather is off. its just their interprtation of the data so far. just like 79's track is still in the realm. when these next runs of models come out we will have a betetr idea of whats going to happen
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
146. stormydee
4:07 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
yikes NOAA showing eyewall almost completely wrapped.....
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 39 Comments: 517
145. HurricaneZane
4:07 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
stormy.. I totally agree with you!
144. MJH
4:07 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
What are you all looking at this storm is getting pushed across florida just like the most recent models show.
143. hurricane79
4:07 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
Huh, the accuweather forecast is darn close to mine.
142. stormydee
4:06 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
Zane, these reports are insane....lol...just watch lefty, he's got the best info and the best links!!!!
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 39 Comments: 517
141. leftyy420
4:05 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
dunno yet we will see on the loop when more of the gfs comes out.
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
140. aquak9
4:05 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
that accuweather link seems out of the question..
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 178 Comments: 26675
139. leftyy420
4:04 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
cause 79 the models differ from storm to storm and the gfdl has not had a handle on this system at all. it is 500+ miles off course right now and the gfdl had this system alot weaker at this point. its lost in this sytstem. thats how the models are, thats why we have more than one
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
138. aquak9
4:04 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
how far north on the loop?
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 178 Comments: 26675
137. stormydee
4:03 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
she is feeding...gotcha...its is pouring here.....
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 39 Comments: 517
136. HurricaneZane
4:03 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
Anyone see the Accuweather forcast? It's forcasting it to just come in and make landfall near fl and go across the state. Anyone see any truth to this? It seems they are way off compared to the other forcasts..
Link
135. leftyy420
4:02 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
looks like the loop will not be as far east this time but only 3 days showing so far
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
134. hurricane79
4:02 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
I find it hard to believe that agencies are discounting the GFDL for Ophelia after it performed so well with Katrina
133. leftyy420
4:01 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
thast a inflow band. u will see that wrap up as she gets more orginised.
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
132. leftyy420
4:01 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
the gfs is comming out. 3 days out so far
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
131. stormydee
4:00 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
and whats up with all that deep convection to the east and south of Ophelia? Is that feeding her or is that a part of her tore off????
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 39 Comments: 517
130. leftyy420
4:00 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
yeah weather guy i feel ya. thats why i say a ga landfall would be more likely if she did the loop. we will see what she says in the next run
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
129. leftyy420
3:59 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
its possible. she is sitting over the gulfstreem so with a inner core like that and a dropping pressure a rapid stregthening is not out of the question
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
128. weatherguy03
3:58 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
The only thing I dont like about the GFS is that it takes it very far east before bringing it back..not too convinced of that.
Member Since: July 5, 2005 Posts: 592 Comments: 29708
127. leftyy420
3:58 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
that core is getting nice on radar. lots of banding wrapping around now. she will be a beast lol
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
126. stormydee
3:58 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
the experts seem confident about Nate's course...yet there's Maria, now a hurricane again in cool waters...this is such a strange season....and now Ophelia tightening up...do you think she'll make hurricane status today?
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 39 Comments: 517
125. aquak9
3:54 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
even a cat1, straight into the mouth of the St. Johns, (or even savanah) no not a pretty thought
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 178 Comments: 26675
124. leftyy420
3:54 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
yeah 79. thats why i am waiting to see. if it gets closer to me i will have time to get there. at this point only a northern sc or nc landfall would warrant me to chase as with the gas proces be high as hell my wife may not allow me to spend alot of money lol
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
123. weatherguy03
3:54 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
but that shortwave is not digging in thus slow movement of system..aquak.
Member Since: July 5, 2005 Posts: 592 Comments: 29708
122. weatherguy03
3:52 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
No not the dry air...That is a shortwave moving in from the north which may push system alittle NE then E..but it wont take it out..then High pressure will build back in and push it back west or sw or nw..lol....
Member Since: July 5, 2005 Posts: 592 Comments: 29708
121. leftyy420
3:52 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
that dry air is the leading edge of the trof we have been talking about. it should kick the system ne for a time in the next 3 days
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987

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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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