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90L Likely a Tropical Depression; Category 4 Hudhud Blasts India; Fay Lashes Bermuda

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 4:52 PM GMT on October 12, 2014

An area of disturbed weather associated with a tropical wave located about 200 miles east of the northern Lesser Antilles Islands on Sunday morning (Invest 90L) was headed west at about 10 - 15 mph, and is probably already a tropical depression. Satellite loops and Martinique radar showed 90L was well-organized with plenty of spin, spiral bands, and a modest amount of heavy thunderstorm activity. Water vapor satellite loops show a good degree of dry air surrounding 90L, and this dry air is retarding development. Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) were warm, near 28.5°C (83°F), and wind shear was light, 5 - 10 knots. These conditions are favorable for steady development. The 8 am Sunday run of the SHIPS model predicted that conditions would remain favorable for development for the next five days, with light to moderate wind shear and SSTs near 29°C (84°F). In a special 10:30 am EDT Sunday Tropical Weather Outlook, NHC gave 90L 2-day and 5-day development odds of 90%. 90L's west to west-northwest trajectory over the next few days will bring heavy rains over the northern Lesser Antilles Islands on Sunday evening, and these rains will spread westwards to the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by Monday morning, and to the eastern Dominican Republic on Monday evening. Interaction with the high terrain of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola may slow down development on Monday and Tuesday. The storm's center will be near Puerto Rico on Monday, and near the Southeast Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands by Wednesday. After that time, the models are unified in showing that 90L will get caught up in a trough of low pressure and turn to the north and then northeast, possibly passing close to Bermuda next Saturday or Sunday. An Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft is in the air, and will be investigating 90L on Sunday afternoon.

Figure 1. Latest satellite image of Invest 90L near the Lesser Antilles.

Fay brings winds near hurricane force to Bermuda
Tropical Storm Fay is accelerating to the northeast, out to sea, after battering Bermuda with winds close to hurricane force. Sustained winds at the Bermuda Airport reached 61 mph, with a gust to 82 mph, at 7:34 am local time Sunday morning. The airport recorded 1.85" of rain from the storm as of noon on Sunday. Fay will be absorbed by a cold front on Monday and die, without affecting any other land areas. The construction on Bermuda is the best of any island in the Atlantic to handle hurricane-force winds, and I expect damage on the island will be minor.

Category 4 Hudhud blasts India
Tropical Cyclone Hudhud powered ashore near Visakhapatnam, India at 05 UTC (3 am EDT) Sunday as a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 135 mph. Preliminary media reports indicate that damage was heavy in Visakhapatnam, a port city of 2 million, with thousands of homes damaged or destroyed and five people killed by falling trees and masonry. One-minute resolution wind observations from Visakhapatnam showed a peak sustained wind of 73 mph at 9:44 am local time, with a peak gust of 119 mph at 10:30 am. The station stopped reporting data at that time. Communications are out to much of the most severely affected regions, and I expect Hudhud's eventual toll will be similar to that of Category 4 Tropical Cyclone Phailin, which killed 45 people and did $700 million in damage in October 2013 to an area of India's coast just north of where Hudhud hit. Satellite loops show that Hudhud is pushing inland and weakening rapidly, with the storm's heavy thunderstorms steadily shrinking in areal coverage and intensity.

Figure 2. MODIS satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Hudhud taken at approximately 1 am EDT October 12, 2014, as the storm was making landfall near Visakhapatnam, India. At the time, Hudhud was a Category 4 storm with 135 mph winds. Image credit: NASA.

Figure 3. Final image of Tropical Cyclone Hudhud as seen by radar out of Visakhapatnam, India before it failed at 4:51 UTC (12:51 am EDT) October 12, 2014. At the time, Hudhud was a Category 4 storm with 135 mph winds.

Video 1. Footage of high winds and heavy rain affecting Visakhapatnam, India as Tropical Cyclone Hudhud approaches the city on October 11, 2014.

Vongfong drenching Japan
Heavy rains from Tropical Storm Vongfong are drenching southern Japan as the once-mighty typhoon steams slowly north-northeastwards at 10 mph. Okinawa Island took a tremendous beating from Vongfong on Friday and Saturday, with sustained winds reaching 64 mph, with gusts as high as 89 mph. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) AMeDAS site at Kunigami on the northern end of Okinawa reported 20.83" (529.0 mm) of rain in 48 hours. Vongfong injured at least 31 people and knocked out power to much of the island. Satellite loops and Japanese radar show that Vongfong's eyewall has collapsed, and the storm continues to weaken due to high wind shear and cooling waters. Vongfong will likely dump 1 - 2 feet of rain over portions of Japan Sunday and Monday.

Figure 4. Heavy rains from Vongfong as seen on Japanese radar at 01:25 local time Monday (12:25 pm EDT Sunday.) Image credit: Japan Meteorological Agency.

Hurricane expert Steve Gregory has his take on the tropics in a Sunday afternoon post.

Jeff Masters


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