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A rare December named storm for the Atlantic: Olga

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 3:49 AM GMT on December 11, 2007

The hurricane season of 2007 is definitely not over! Subtropical Storm Olga is the 17th December named storm to develop in the Atlantic since record keeping began in 1851. Seven of these 17 storms have occurred since 1995.

As seen on visible satellite loops, the heavy thunderstorm activity that was displaced 100-300 miles to the north of the center has now wrapped closer to the center of Olga's circulation. This is the sign of a system evolving to be a tropical storm. However, an upper level low pressure system over the Virgin Islands is dumping some cold air into the storm, and Olga is still technically a subtropical storm. The difference is not important, as the winds and rain are similar for both types of storms. Long range radar out of Puerto Rico clearly shows the circulation of Olga and some steadily organizing bands of rain. Rain is the major threat from Olga, and amounts of 3-4 inches have already fallen over northern Puerto Rico, and a Flood Watch has been posted for much of the island. Heavier rain amounts of over six inches have fallen on ocean areas to the north of Puerto Rico (Figure 1), and rainfall amounts of up to 10 inches may hit the regions of the Dominican Republic hard hit by Tropical Storm Noel just six week ago. Haiti is also at risk of heavy rains that might cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.


Figure 1. Latest precipitation estimate from the Puerto Rico radar.

Wind shear, which dropped to about 15-20 knots this evening, is low enough to allow some slow strengthening Tuesday. By Wednesday, rising wind shear, plus passage over the rough terrain of Hispaniola, should be enough to tear Olga apart. The remnants of Olga may still bring heavy rains of 2-4 inches to Jamaica and eastern Cuba Wednesday and Thursday. None of the computer models foresee that Olga will survive to become a tropical storm in the Western Caribbean. The Hurricane Hunters are not on call to fly Olga.

I'll have a update Tuesday morning by 11am EST.

Jeff Masters

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

hey guys just had a wind event here with some decent gusts, some palms trees in front of my house got their hair done lol :P
Thanks, Dr. Masters! We'll be watching!

Have a good sleep, Dr., StormW and JLPR, too!
nice update doc rare indeed iam truly impressed by the developement should be hibernating thanks g'nite storm
night moonlightcowboy
gonna be hit and miss all night for ya jlpr
From my open balcony facing west on PR's north shore, 1nm north of the San Juan airport... squalls have been passing through my position every 15-20 minutes. Between squalls, the wind is blowing northly to NEly @ 25-30 knots sustained, with moderate rain. Within the squalls, gusts to 40-45 knots roar-up and rain is heavy and thick. My position is 225 meters from the coast between Puntas Isla Verde and Cangrejos.
nice report MG thanks
:D im not really sure why im happy of finally seeing some winds maybe been since 2004 with a storm close to me had me bored
I just standed a while outside watching the wind and the rain =D
Thanks for the report ModernGeographic!
11. JLPR
wow yeah nice ModernGeographic
i think my balcony is facing towards the south i guess that explains the wind coming from the backyard :)
List of subtropical systems outside the regular hurricane season:

Link

Link

Link

Link

Link
List is not necessarily comprehensive, just ones I was able to find.
Winds are exceeding 35 kts stated in the latest advisory @ this buoy Link
Highest 1 minute average @ the buoy was 40.6 kts, and the highest gust listed is 48.6 kts. Seas are 19 feet, ugly!
16. JLPR
hey yeah by the looks of it Olga may be strengthening
San Juan buoy also Link
18. JLPR
looks like the chances of this system were underestimated
19. JLPR
well im out I have to get up early tomorrow :D
goodnight StSimonsIslandGAGuy and anyone else thats around here :D
I underestimated Olga also. Bedtime for me too.
12. StSimonsIslandGAGuy 10:08 PM CST on December 10, 2007
List of subtropical systems outside the regular hurricane season:



It should also be noted that there have been many subtropical storms that became fully tropical as well; for example, most of the late season storms in 2005 started out subtropical (although the NHC didn't name them until they became tropical). Probably the weirdest was Vince, which was analysed as purely cold-core (cold-core hurricane? LOL) by all of the models (as shown here).
22. JRRP
www.onamet.gov.do
i see a slight wsw ward movementit may be starting its turn
18. JLPR 10:18 PM CST on December 10, 2007
looks like the chances of this system were underestimated

20. StSimonsIslandGAGuy 10:21 PM CST on December 10, 2007
I underestimated Olga also. Bedtime for me too.


Storms like this are often very difficult to forecast (recall Epsilon and Zeta and the NHC's frustration when they refused to dissipate, although those storms didn't have to deal with mountainous islands).
some palms trees in front of my house got their hair done

ROFL!
Gosh, batten down those hatches and sleep all you can!
Take care, all.
Ah, so Olga may be making the transition into a fully tropical storm. Interesting.

Thanks for the update Dr. Masters!

I myself personally don't see Olga intensifying past 45 mph. However, if it becomes as tenacious as Epsilon or Zeta, we could be looking at it all the way up until next week. Take this with a grain of salt though, since I highly doubt this has a chance to occur.
Gosh, batten down those hatches and sleep all you can!

Sleep? Are you kidding me? If I was him, I'd stay up all night watching it. I absolutely love windstorms!
Korithe, winds actually have been sustained at 47 mph at buoy 41043.
Pressure has also fallen to 29.70" @ San Juan, and winds are out of the WSW. So the center is passing to the north of Puerto Rico, not over it. Link
movement at 275 dregrees at 13 kt's
that wsw right
Hey all. Not sure how many people are on right now but I just want to report my situation and put in my two cents.
It has been raining very hard for the past few hours. It constantly rained today, on and off the entire day and a constant drizzle. At about 9pm, a strong band came in with very strong winds and knocked out my power. I decided to go to a friends apartment where there was power and saw that the disturbance was now SubTrop Storm Olga and that we werent under a TS Warning (even if the NHC site shows we have experienced TS winds)...
either way its been raining very hard and still is. in teh distance you can hear and see the sky light up when transformers explode. you can see the wind with the rain swirling around and the trees swaying back and forth (a few have fallen in the forest behind my apartment). Also, the small friendly creek that runs behind my apartment tonight seems to be a fierce lion, it is roaring like never.
I dont know what it is, but the world's climate is changing, be it whatever you want to call it. The last thing I imagined happening this Christmas was being hit by a tropical storm... wow what a ride.
on the bright side. seems like its about to end quickly.
almost as quickly as it popped up.
33. benirica
That does sound just like a tropical storm. But they're out of season, so you can't keep it.
lol
you know its funny, i told a friend of mine to come visit us in Puerto Rico this week for the first time. the time she decides to come see us is the first time we get hit by a tropical storm that forms out of season.
so strange but i think we better start getting used to these strange things.
i mean heck, Brazil has been hit by a Hurricane recently and this year Spain's Mediterranean coast got a type of cyclone.
strange days indeed
Tropical Disturbance Summary [0445z 11Dec]
============================================
Tropical Depression [1002 hPa] located near 12.0S 166.0W as of 0300 UTC. Position fair based on Quikscat Pass with rain contaminated winds of 30 to 35 knots close to the center. Low pressure system embedded in a convergence zone and convection though not well defined has been persistent near the area for the past 24 hours. The depression is located under an upper short wave trough with good convergence all the way to 500 HPA.

Global models have picked up the system, deepening it and quickly moving it toward the southeast. The potential of this system to form into a tropical cyclone within the next 24 hours is LOW.
Slept right through it.
Good Morning all

Tropical Depression 05F

RSMC Fiji

TROPICAL DEPRESSION 05F [1000HPA] NEAR 14.8S 165.8W AT 110600UTC.
POSITION POOR BASED ON GOESIR IMAGERY WITH ANIMATION AND PERIPHERAL
SURFACE OBSERVATIONS. SST IN THE AREA IS AROUND 28-29C.
GIVEN THE AVAILABLITY OF A QUIKSCAT PASS, IT IS LIKELY THERE MAY BE
MULTIPLE CENTRES ALONG THE SURFACE TROUGH MAKING IT DIFFICULT TO
LOCATE A DOMINANT LOW-LEVEL CENTRE. CONVECTION IS DISORGANISED AND
REMAINS ACTIVE IN THE NORTHERN AND EASTERN QUADRANTS. THE SYSTEM IS
EMBEDDED IN A SURFACE TROUGH WITH AN ACTIVE CONVERGENCE ZONE AND
ASSOCIATED NORTHWESTERLY FLOW TO THE NORTH, AND AN INTENSE RIDGE OF
HIGH PRESSURE TO THE SOUTH DIRECTS A STRONG SOUTHEASTERLY WINDFLOW
ABOUT THE SOUTHERN SECTOR. 05F IS LOCATED UNDER A MID LEVEL TROUGH
AND LIES JUST NORTH OF AN UPPER 250HPA DIFLUENT FLOW. UPPER FLOW
[250HPA AND ABOVE] ACROSS THE TOP OF THE DEPRESSION INDICATE WIND
STRENGTHS OF GREATER THAN 25 KNOTS. GLOBAL MODELS [EC,GASP,UK,GFS]
HAVE PICKED UP THE SYSTEM, DEEPENING IT SLIGHTLY AND MOVE IT OFF TO
THE SOUTHEAST.
POTENTIAL FOR THIS SYSTEM TO DEVELOP INTO A TROPICAL CYCLONE WITHIN
THE NEXT 24 HOURS IS LOW TO MODERATE.

Good morning, 456
43. JRRP
NOW IN SANTO DOMINGO IS CLEAR AND BREEZE
EL SOL ESTA AFUERA
13 days till christmas

Got power back but still no water to take a shower :( and i have to go to work :( oh well it could have been worse i guess.
Hope Olga is not up to anything real bad. Seems to be following the last devestating storms path.
47. IKE
Huge east coast storm this weekend...first of next week according to the 6Z GFS...

Link
48. IKE
Extended discussion for Birmingham,AL...

"Quickly on the hills of this rapidly developing low is Arctic
air. At this time both models are indicating the Arctic air will
wrap into the area before the moisture pulls out Saturday night.
Decided to advertise snow showers for the northern half of the
area.
Not thinking any accumulation due to the record warmth we've
been experiencing so far this week and at the speed the system is
moving."
Just a question here. If Olga could miss the Dominican Republic or just barely hit it and make it back out into the Caribbean before the land has a great impact on it, could it somehow keep together and feel the effect of the cold front forecasted to move into the GOM? I noticed that the BAMM model indicates a sharp NE turn later in the week in response to the approaching front.
Been enjoying the unusually warm December weather here in Florida, haven't checked this blog since Dr. Masters blog on the Gray and Klotzbach "Zero-Skill Forecast"...kudos to Dr. Masters for exposing what was suspected but remained hidden for so long, and shame on Dr. Gray for releasing these forecasts for so many years to hungry journalists and there forth to the unsuspecting public without first verifying and validating his methods.

Just reading the local Melbourne NWS Melbourne morning AFDs lately. I was kind of curious when a couple of days ago they mentioned a wave/upper low over the Leewards being a low percentage possible factor in this weekend's forecast, as systems rarely move in the easterlies this far north in December.

So I was shocked when I logged into the Melbourne website this morning to see a red "Tropical Storm Warning" graphic in the offshore waters. Turns out they mean way, way, way offshore..."TROPICAL STORM WARNING FROM 19N TO 22N E OF 71W".

...and no GOES-12???? Right after the demise of QuickSCAT, as if an ominous warning that we are wasting our treasury on many things unimportant and neglecting keeping a watchful and caring eye on Mother Earth, what NASA likes to call the "Blue Marble", our very own little home spinning out in a vast universe. Maybe Dr. Masters would care to blog on how many missions to Earth and related missions have been canceled in the last 10 years, but such topics must be approached gently and at an obtuse angle, lest grants be threatened, reputations besmirched, and careers ended.
Glad youse guys came through Olga okay last night (lack of water notwithstanding), and that some even slept.

If I was him, I'd stay up all night watching it. I absolutely love windstorms!


I love them too; even as a little child. Staying up all night is great at the time, but can really mess up your day after! (At least at my age...Ha!) :~)
Hey, the wind shear over my house is 100!

Is that why the high clouds are moving along at a pretty fast clip?
I hope that anyone who lives in the Midwest is doing well this morning and that you are not suffering through this brutal cold air without electricity. It is just awestriking the effect an ice storm can have. Good luck to you all there.
Just a question here. If Olga could miss the Dominican Republic or just barely hit it and make it back out into the Caribbean before the land has a great impact on it, could it somehow keep together and feel the effect of the cold front forecasted to move into the GOM? I noticed that the BAMM model indicates a sharp NE turn later in the week in response to the approaching front.
VT, that would explain why the high clouds (most likely cirrus clouds) are moving so fast.
Morning All,
wow very windy here in the Turks and Caicos and clouding over ...I thought nothing was to be coming this way!
Why is the UCF model forecasting Olga to strengthen after its trip over Hispanola?

UCF Model
IF
OLGA...OR ITS REMNANT LOW...SURVIVES THE NEXT THREE DAYS...THE
MODELS SUGGEST THAT SOME REDEVELOPMENT COULD OCCUR OVER THE WESTERN
CARIBBEAN WHERE UPPER-LEVEL WINDS ARE FORECAST TO LESSEN.
This is where I see the current center and the motion that I have been noticing on satellite. It may miss the entire island altogether.
img src="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket" width="" height="" alt="" />
This red tide is so bad here E Central. Fl hoping for cold weather west winds or even a tropical storm to blow it once and forever onshore. It has ruined our fish harvest this fall of snook killed countless other creatures just basically sucks. Glad I dont own a hotel on the beach this fall it is unbearable to go swimming at the beach.
63. IKE
60. cchsweatherman 7:46 AM CST on December 11, 2007
This is where I see the current center and the motion that I have been noticing on satellite. It may miss the entire island altogether.


You may be right...it may go south of the islands and stay offshore.
Good morning Storm! What do you think about my observations above? Would certainly make things interesting.
The first Visible shots are coming in and it clearly shows the center and how this storm will miss the Dominican Republic.

img src="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket" width="" height="" alt="" />
Lots of dry air around.

Morning it looks like Olga is making this transition from subtropical to tropical. It now looks from the last few frames that the storm is moving WSW and will miss the land mass of the Dominican Republic should it miss the island of Hispanoila then Olga has a chance of strenghening inthe western caribbean
cchswetherman, even if it does not TOTALY miss Hispaniola, it might miss it more then the NHC said at there 7am Advisory. According to the track.
The NHC should have a new advisory in about 35-40 minutes? At 10am EST?
Thank-you cchsweatherman~!

I love the kind of data collecting one can do with one's eye!
Gm all,who would have thunk it,tropical storm watching,while we in New England are in the grips of a nor easter watch.Expect the unexpected in weather.
I wouldnna thunk it. :)
Hey Stormjunkie!
Welcome back!
Im still in complete shock. We were having great days here last week and then they say it might rain a bit on monday and all of the sudden its a storm.
Its been a heck of a ride the past 24 hours. Amazing is all I have to say.
Climate change, global warming or just a weather cycle... this is very out of the ordinary.
Stay safe, looks like it should be over soon for the eastern half of Puerto Rico. Now its time to clear the roads, put the power back on, and get back to normal.
Whatever normal means nowadays.
Another note: Hudson Bay freezes over (quickest since 2002).
I hope BAMM is right and the rainmnants pull up into Florida and even Georgia.
Thanks Storm,interesting weather to say the least.That nor'easter expected late in the weekend,certainly doesn't need any extra energy added by Olga,will be interesting to watch.
Benirica - how much wind did you get, for how long and what wind speed ?
Winds are now 45mph, Thats up 5 from last advisory.
Here comes Hurricane Olga, here comes Hurricane Olga,
Right down hurricane alley
Howlin' and Blowin' and all her low pressure
Swirlin' in the rains
Trees are fallen', candles boughten'
All is panic and fright
Board your windows and gas up your car
'Cause Hurricane Olga comes tonight!

Here comes Hurricane Olga, here comes Hurricane Olga,
Right down hurricane alley
She's got an eye that's filled with gusts
For homeowners and renters again
Hear those transformer explosions pop n' crack,
Oh what a horrible sight
So run into the closet and grab the flashlight
'Cause Hurricane Olga comes tonight!




MP...LOL!

Points for:
Hear those transformer explosions pop n' crack,
Oh what a horrible sight
So run into the closet and grab the flashlight
'Cause Hurricane Olga comes tonight!


Mrs. Santa looks like she's trying to decide between door #1 and door #2. :~D
90. 786
000
WTNT42 KNHC 111450
TCDAT2
SUBTROPICAL STORM OLGA DISCUSSION NUMBER 3
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL172007
1000 AM EST TUE DEC 11 2007

RECENT BUOY...QUIKSCAT...AND SHIP REPORTS INDICATE THAT OLGA'S PEAK
WINDS ARE NEAR 40 KT...AND EXTEND FARTHER AWAY FROM THE CENTER THAN
EARLIER ESTIMATED. THE STRUCTURE OF OLGA...WITH ITS STRONGEST
WINDS LOCATED STILL 100-200 NMI FROM CENTER...CONTINUES TO BE
CONSISTENT WITH THAT OF A SUBTROPICAL CYCLONE.

THE INITIAL MOTION ESTIMATE IS 260/13...ALTHOUGH THE CENTER HAS
MOVED LITTLE OVER THE PAST FEW HOURS. A LOW- TO MID-LEVEL RIDGE
OVER THE WESTERN ATLANTIC IS EXPECTED TO KEEP OLGA ON A BASIC
WESTWARD PATH NEAR THE SOUTH COAST OF HISPANIOLA AND INTO THE
NORTHWESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA...AND MODEL GUIDANCE IS IN RELATIVELY
GOOD AGREEMENT ON THIS SCENARIO. THE OFFICIAL FORECAST LIES ALONG
THE SOUTHERN EDGE OF THE GUIDANCE ENVELOPE AND IS IN BEST AGREEMENT
WITH THE GFS.

ALTHOUGH THE CIRCULATION OF OLGA WILL BE INTERACTING WITH THE RUGGED
TERRAIN OF HISPANIOLA...THE PRESSURE GRADIENT AWAY FROM THE
CENTER...WHERE THE STRONGEST WINDS ARE LOCATED...WILL BE SLOW TO
DIMINISH. THE UPPER-LEVEL TROUGH CURRENTLY OVER THE CYCLONE IS
FORECAST BY ALL THE GLOBAL MODELS TO WEAKEN AND BE REPLACED BY
STRONG NORTHWESTERLY SHEAR OVER THE NEXT 24-36 HOURS OR SO...AND
WHEN THIS HAPPENS OLGA SHOULD DEGENERATE TO A REMNANT LOW.

THE PRIMARY THREAT FROM OLGA IS HEAVY RAINFALL...WHICH IS
ALREADY PRODUCING LIFE-THREATENING MUD SLIDES IN PUERTO RICO.
THESE RAINS WILL BE SPREADING ACROSS HISPANIOLA OVER THE NEXT 24
HOURS...WHERE FLASH FLOODS AND MUD SLIDES ARE ALSO LIKELY.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INITIAL 11/1500Z 18.1N 68.0W 40 KT
12HR VT 12/0000Z 18.0N 70.5W 35 KT
24HR VT 12/1200Z 18.1N 74.0W 30 KT
36HR VT 13/0000Z 18.2N 77.4W 30 KT...REMNANT LOW
48HR VT 13/1200Z 18.2N 80.5W 25 KT...REMNANT LOW
72HR VT 14/1200Z 18.0N 85.0W 25 KT...REMNANT LOW
96HR VT 15/1200Z...DISSIPATED

$$
FORECASTER FRANKLIN

Away in the Tropics
No end is in sight
For the Hurricane Season,
(Do not fly a kite).

The stars will not shine
Til the tempest has past
So we stay up all night
And prepare to leave fast.

The wind it is howling
The baby awakes
The lights have gone out
and the rain really rakes.

I love the warm Tropics
And weather is great;
But I'd rather be shopping
And baking fruit cake.
I see we're getting into the season
Let's hope it doesn't come to this:


Hurr-i-cane, Hurr-i-cane
Blasting all the day
A Tropical Storm on Tuesday
and Olga's on her way ~ Hey!

Hurr-i-cane, Hurr-i-cane
Warnings in December
A frightful event and as bad a season
As we can all remember.
new blog
NEwxguy...

Well, that's easier done from the NE where
the snow and the season allow for merriment.

Nonetheless, we've had more cold and snow this year
than I recall so early in the season.

What are your observations on this?
97. JRRP
IF THE STORM MISS RD COULD BE WORST FOR US
BECAUSE THE STRONGEST WIND IS IN THE NORTH SIDE OF THE STORM