WunderBlog Archive » Category 6™

Category 6 has moved! See the latest from Dr. Jeff Masters and Bob Henson here.

Baja braces for Patricia; California getting soaked; contact your Senator

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 12:58 PM GMT on October 12, 2009

In the Eastern Pacific, Tropical Storm Patricia is gathering strength, and should bring at least tropical storm force winds to Mexico's Baja Peninsula Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. Latest satellite loops of Patricia show that the storm has developed an impressive burst of heavy thunderstorms with very cold cloud tops. Patricia is in an environment of low wind shear (5 - 10 knots) and warm sea surface temperatures (29°C), and these conditions are expected to change little over the next 48 hours. This may give Patricia enough time to strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane, as predicted by the latest 2am EDT runs of the GFDL and HWRF models. While most of the computer models indicate that Patricia will turn to the west out to sea Wednesday as the storm makes its closest approach to Baja, the HWRF model predicts the storm will grow large and strong enough to be influenced by a trough of low pressure to the north, and track into the Gulf of California and make landfall in mainland Mexico.

Figure 1. Latest satellite image of Patricia.

Typhoon Melor's remains poised to soak California
The remains of Super Typhoon Melor, which hit Japan last week, are just off the California coast this morning, and are poised to deliver record rains to the northern portion of the state tonight through Wednesday. Meteorologist Dr. Rob Carver in our San Francisco office is predicting in his blog that he'll need a kayak to commute into work tomorrow, and the Sierras are expecting several feet of snow and 120 mph winds.

Destructive Tropical Storm Parma making its fourth landfall
Tropical Storm Parma, which traversed the northern portion of the Philippines' Luzon Island three times last week, is making a fourth landfall today over China's Hainen Island. The death toll from Parma's rains has now exceeded 300, on top of the 300 killed in the Philippines from Typhoon Ketsana two weeks prior. Most of Parma's victims were in the mountainous Cordillera region, where more than 40 landslides killed 227 people. Parma dumped over 26 inches of rain in a one-week period over the mountain town of Baguio.

Contact your Senators today on tomorrow's vote to slash NOAA funding
As I reported in Saturday's post, I urge all of you who value the services provided by the National Weather Service and their parent organization, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to contact your two Senators and ask them to vote against the Senator Hutchison (R-TX) Amendment #2666 to the Commerce State Justice Appropriations Act for 2010 H.R. 2847. This amendment will be voted on this Tuesday, October 13, by the Senate, and would cut the NOAA budget by $172 million. The funds would be diverted to the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, to increase its budget by 75%. While I'm sure the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program is a worthy program to support, Congress should find a different way to fund this program. NOAA's total budget is about $4 billion, and the National Weather Service Budget is a little less than $1 billion. The only place where NOAA has the flexibility to absorb the proposed cuts would be in the satellite program. With the QuickSCAT satellite likely to fail in the next few months, and the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) satellite also nearing its demise, the last thing we should be doing is cutting NOAA's budget in time when our capability to observe the weather from space is suffering from serious degradation.

Quiet in the Atlantic
There are no threat areas in the Atlantic to discuss, and none of the computer models are calling for tropical storm formation over the next seven days.

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.