Ophelia--a hurricane tomorrow

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:17 PM GMT on September 07, 2005

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The shear relaxed significantly over Ophelia in the past few hours, and she is now intensifying quickly. The hurricane hunters found a central pressure of 999 mb at 10:50am EDT, a 5 mb drop from seven hours ago. The peak winds of 40 kt (45 mph) on the northwest side are still not too impressive, but these will increase substantially in the next 12 hours, given what the pressure is doing and what I'm seeing on radar.

Long range radar out of Melbourne shows that convection is now starting to wrap all the way around the center, at a rate which is quite impressive. A closed center is likely later this afternoon. This will allow for more rapid intensification, and it now seems likely that Ophelia will be a Category 1 hurricane by tomorrow.

The satellite presentation of Ophelia shows a small storm, with good outflow to the north, and some improving outflow on the south side. The outflow to the north is joining and being aided by the outflow channel on the north side of Hurricane Nate. It will be interesting to see what happens to Ophelia's outflow when Nate scoots off to the northeast tomorrow; my guess is that there will be little effect.

Most of the action has been on the north side of Ophelia, 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 are already pounding northern Florida and the Carolinas. Given Ophelia's slow forecast track, this will be a major beach erosion event for these areas. As Ophelia "spins up", the outer rain bands have moved closer to the center of the storm and away from the coast, so Florida and Georgia will get a bit of a break from the rains the remainder of today. By tomorrow, the rains will probably again spread over these areas as Ophelia intensifies and expands in size.


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

The long term track and intensity forecast for Ophelia are highly uncertain. With the storm now intensifying more quickly than anticipated, the models are likely to have some quite different solutions later today. 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. This solution is the one favored by the GFS, UKMET, and NOGAPS models. These models forecast that steering currents over Ophelia will remain weak the next five days, which will allow her to remain over the warm ocean waters and 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 early next week. 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 2 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.

Nate
Nate is a Category 1 hurricane with a large eye, and should intensify into a Category 2 hurricane by tomorrow. Nate is currently drifting slowly north, but is expected to accelerate norhteastward when the trough currently moving off of the East Coast picks it up tomorrow. This may spell trouble for Bermuda, which has already hoisted a Tropical Storm Warning and a Hurricane Watch.

Maria
Maria was briefly downgraded to a tropical storm, but is now back to a Category 1 hurricane. She is expected to turn into a large and powerful extratropical storm by tomorrow and bring high winds and heavy rain to Iceland on Saturday.

The rest of the tropics
An upper-level low pressure system is over the western Gulf of Mexico and is generating some showers there. There is now some surface low pressure developing underneath, but tropical development in this type of system happens very slowly, and usually not at all.

A large tropical wave with spin just moved off the coast of Africa near 9N, and will have to be watched as it moves westward this week.

Jeff Masters

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337. Hecker
7:10 PM GMT on September 09, 2005
I have been looking at satellite loops. It looks like there is some kind of CCW rotation going on just north of Puerto Rico. I noticed the same feature yesterday, but farther east. There are not a lot of clouds associated with this right now.Would anyone hazard a guess as to what this is? Is it of any particular interest?
Member Since: June 29, 2005 Posts: 24 Comments: 311
336. naturecalls53
4:07 AM GMT on September 08, 2005
I believe Scalar energy plays a big part in this Plus the name itself Ophelia this is a strange one plus u can feel it i live here for 30yrs
335. hurricane79
2:46 AM GMT on September 08, 2005
Hi I am back from a long day of work!
334. ejstrick
1:36 AM GMT on September 08, 2005
Aquak...check mail
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 895
333. whitewabit (Mod)
1:12 AM GMT on September 08, 2005
lefty
leter n shows the cenetr recorde thur the means 134/1 the last 1 states that the cenetr is intact thru 1500ft. from 1500 ft to the surface the cenetr is detached from the rest of the storm. that means that most of the cirulaion in the upper levels above 1500ft is at with the convection. this is a sign of a storm reorginising. that cenetr 1500ft to the surface will rotate under the other cenetrs or reform. this is why the radar presentation is so poor right now. i will give you a link that describes how to read the message
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 366 Comments: 32141
332. wonderness
12:13 AM GMT on September 08, 2005
To Iceland! Looks like Maria was following the gulf stream north and east. Didn't another storm this season follow the same path. Of course, the gulf stream is a good source of warm water.
331. taco2me61
10:29 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
hey everybody I see she will be here for a while nothing to move her...
Member Since: July 7, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 3261
329. gnshpdude
9:33 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
Lefty,

That map is in Meters per second m/s. Yellow equats to about 15 m/s this equals 29 Knots or 33 MPH.
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 121
326. CosmicEvents
9:28 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
Checking in. I see that nothing has changed. As expected. Watch this storm spin like a top for at least 3 more days, possibly 5...or more. I'll check in again in a few hours. Somebody e-mail me if Ophelia stops meandering and starts drifting aimlessly.
Member Since: August 3, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 5680
325. creekchub00
9:26 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
allright so we can agree to at least look at it, and if it is in line or similar with the consensus it is valid?
324. leftyy420
9:24 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
creek thats all fine and dandy but the forcasters at the nhc and any one who trys to frocast will use that as a basis. i am not saying its not showing something what i am saying is u can not use it. thats why u have a storm specific model for it. thats what i am saying.
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
323. cgableshurrycanegal
9:23 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
business thing to do, catch you all later!
Member Since: July 12, 2005 Posts: 24 Comments: 212
322. aquak9
9:23 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
new thread, ya'll.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 175 Comments: 26505
321. notwithoutmyprosac
9:22 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
Doesn't it seem like the whole convection area is getting really large. Isn't that what Katrina did right before see wrapped it all around her center and because the huge storm that she was.
320. creekchub00
9:21 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
---somewhat before it moves back west.----edit
I am not saying use it for guidence, I am showing that it has to have some validity to it. The non-specific ones, when these storms are situated so close together. To discount a non-specific model that is showing a track similar to that of the consensus and has been for 2 model runs is absurd, to say that it isn't picking something correct up.
319. creekchub00
9:21 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
---somewhat before it moves back west.----edit
I am not saying use it for guidence, I am showing that it has to have some validity to it. The non-specific ones, when these storms are situated so close together. To discount a non-specific model that is showing a track similar to that of the consensus and has been for 2 model runs is absurd, to say that it isn't picking something correct up.
318. leftyy420
9:21 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
weather wnnabe, the are in the sw gulf would have to from quickly and since there is no ciruclation at the surface and only a hint at a surface pressure drop with no formed surface low it would take alot of time for it to form. it will be over land in 48 hrs. not enough time to form. trust me its nothing to concern urself over.
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
317. cgableshurrycanegal
9:21 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
BTW, let's thank the hurricane gods that this stall is over open waters and noone is taking all this weather on the chin... hmmm???
Member Since: July 12, 2005 Posts: 24 Comments: 212
316. weatherdude65
9:21 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
ok. i'm out for the night. I am sure that Ophelia will still be in the same general area when I get up a 5 tomorrow morning. Talk later
315. cgableshurrycanegal
9:19 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
keep in mind that Bermuda has to watch Nate.
Anyone on this list in Bermuda? I know we have Bahamas...
Member Since: July 12, 2005 Posts: 24 Comments: 212
314. leftyy420
9:19 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
well there forcast would be easier if the storm wasn't going to satll for so long and the gfdl did not continue to want to move her nw. thats why we see the forcast track we do with a hint at a loop. they can afford to vague casue the system will not impact any land fo some time but they issued the warnings to cover themselve. they want to call for a loop klike i am saying but the gfdl is keeping them from doing that. they need all the mjormodels to be in a general area and the gfdl is so fara way they can't do that so they put their track in the middle but more towards the other major models than the gfdl.
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
313. cgableshurrycanegal
9:18 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
SJ, haikus next??? LOL
Member Since: July 12, 2005 Posts: 24 Comments: 212
312. creekchub00
9:18 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
I am discounting the storm specific model for Ophelia, I am saying the Nate and Maria models are and have been showing a more drawn out (stalled) track instead of a quick movement to the west like the storm specific has been consistently showing.
I agree 100% that this storm is going to move east somewhat before it moves east. I am showing that these two other GFDL models are starting to show a consensus with this, and the storm specific model hopefully won't be to far behind, so we can get a better picture of what this is really going to do.
311. weatherwannabe
9:17 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
Anyone else watching Campeche?
310. leftyy420
9:16 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
creek, i stated 2 days ago sometimes it is off soem tiems its not. if u look at what they are looking at ophelia makes a major shift when lloking at the nate vs the ophelia link. thats what i am refering to. ophelia has little impact on what nate does as nates movments are based on a building ridge to his south and the weakness left by maria so they didn't enter all the info for ophelia when they did the run. its obviuse and i was just pointing that out. but yes in some situations u will have to have 2 systems fully enetred like u do with maria and nate but u should still not use the nate link to justify a maria movement or likewise. that was my point
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
309. weatherdude65
9:15 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
that is true....i had forgotten that..been a long day
308. StormJunkie
9:14 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
I think it is for Ophelia 03.lol-poetry-Shakespere.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16874
307. cgableshurrycanegal
9:14 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
wd65, I wonder the same, except that there is the Gulf Stream
Member Since: July 12, 2005 Posts: 24 Comments: 212
306. creekchub00
9:13 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
Leftty
I have to argue with ya here, I know that the GFDL is storm specific. The thing is, with that they have to "put in" the other "major features" that are in the atmosphere. I have concured with pretty much everything you said but the Nate model correctly shows the Maria movement, and the Maria correctly shows the Nate movement.
If one storm was in the Gulf and the other off the coast of Africa, it would have no validity. The thing is these are all "right next to each other" These other GFDL models have to have some validity IMO being this close together.
Otherwise all of them are invalid for not accuratley showing the other MAJOR PLAYERS in the atmosphere correctly.
305. weatherdude65
9:12 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
I think the only negative that she may have is sitting and spinning in place for such a long time. Don't you think she will bring to much cold water to the surface?
304. cgableshurrycanegal
9:12 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
after reading NHC I sense great frustration in the discussion...
Member Since: July 12, 2005 Posts: 24 Comments: 212
303. leftyy420
9:09 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
yeah weatherdud, thats why the show a increaee in strength but nothign rapid. some people hear shear and they think about what mria has looked like for 2 days now. thats 15-20kt shear maybe higher. so relax the shear will be brief and it will not be to bad


Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
302. leftyy420
9:08 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
lol u can't use a model from yesterday to show shear in the future. doesn't work like that.


77, i have been thru why the gfdl has been discounted 100 times and i am not doing it again. the nhc, myslef and dr. masters have dicounted it for the many erros it has had in the last 72 hrs. u need to understand that run to run concistency is key to a model being consiodered a likely track.

u can't click on opne storm and try to watch another in a storm specific model.

also ofcourse the opther storms affect each other. nate will leave the weakness for ophelia to move into. it sht ebuilding ridge that will loop her back. u guys are killing me on this. if u want to belive the gfdl and not the other 10 models go ahead. i learned along time ago don't put ur money on one model no matter how well it has done this year. every model has a storm it will not handle correctly. this time its the gfdl. i belive some of you are wishcasting. if u look at the data u would have no choice but to discount the gfdl as well. and this storm may hit exactly where the gfdl says after she makwes her loop but the gfdl is still wrong
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
301. 147257
9:06 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
he increased to 50 miles hour
Member Since: August 2, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 68
300. weatherguy03
9:03 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
Why is it when stormchaser writes I feel like I am looking at poetry..lol..
Member Since: July 5, 2005 Posts: 592 Comments: 29708
299. weatherdude65
9:03 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
based on that shear forcast map leftyy, she should have no problem increasing in strength.
298. leftyy420
9:01 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
no stormj. i told you it always does something different when a storm is not set to it. themodel u needs ot watch is the one set to it. its storm specific and not all data fopr a whole area is enetred thats why u get that eratic movement of ophelia in the corner. i explained this laready


here is a shear forcast map. not a good one but a decent one. shows no shear above 15kts in the next few days. 20-30 kts would rip the system apart

Link
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
296. gnshpdude
9:00 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
lefty,

This was today at 1200 plus 24 hours.
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 121
295. weatherguy03
9:00 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
I love that one right now it looks like a train wreck....Link...lol...
Member Since: July 5, 2005 Posts: 592 Comments: 29708
294. weatherdude65
8:59 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
Leftyy, that is what I am seeing as well
293. gnshpdude
8:58 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
jerryg,

Try this link.Link
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 121
292. leftyy420
8:58 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
thas is a current map not a forcast map of shear as shear will change and move like all weather does. it won't move anywehre for 5 days so find a shear forcast map and check it out
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
291. weatherwannabe
8:58 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
Just wait - Campeche is where the actio will be.
290. StormJunkie
8:57 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
Intresting Chub, did you check that out lefty. IT goes against what you were saying about the GFDL being storm specific in this situation.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16874
289. leftyy420
8:57 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
creek thats good and all but the gfdl is storm specific so that has no basis for anything. i exoplained this to someone days ago. the gfdl is out to lunch and a new run will be out soon. i expect she will have another shift ne as she did earlier today.


here is a link to the modles

Link
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
288. gnshpdude
8:55 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
Lefty,

This link appears to show 20+ wind shear depending on where the strom actually tracks. Am I reading this wrong?Link
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 121
287. turtlehurricane
8:53 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
my blog has been updated
Member Since: July 22, 2005 Posts: 227 Comments: 469

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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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