WunderBlog Archive » Category 6™

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

Blasts of warm air from Franklin and the importance of Gert

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 4:13 PM GMT on July 25, 2005

Gert is gone. A seemingly inconsequential minimal tropical storm, Gert may well turn out to be very important. The reason? The NOAA P-3 aircraft and Gulfstream IV jet did a series of intensive research missions on Gert before, during, and after its formation. They captured a unique data set that may shed light on the little-understood process of how a tropical wave becomes a tropical depression. The NOAA aircraft were also in the storm when it did one of those impossible to forecast "reorganizations", where the center jumped 60 miles in the space of a few hours to center itself under a developing area of intense convection. Forecast models now do a reasonable job predicting the track of tropical cyclones, but are lousy at predicting when they will form and when a storm will undergo a major reorganization. NOAA has been investing in more research to try to improve these models, and hopefully the missions into Gert will help.

Franklin continues to head out to sea and struggle against the strong shear trying to rip it apart. Franklin is only a threat to shipping--unless you believe this news item that went out on the news wire yesterday:

Storm to bring high heat to Florida

Miami - Tropical Storm Franklin strengthened as it spun away from the Bahamas on Saturday and moved farther east in the Atlantic, but blasts of warm air from its core were expected to bring extreme heat the Florida peninsula.

This news story was guilty of presenting some incorrect meteorology. True, Tropical Storm Franklin has a warm core, like all hurricanes and tropical storms do. If the center of Franklin moved directly overhead, one might feel a bit of extra heat (which would be the least of your concerns!) However, "blasts of warm air" certainly are not emanatng from the center of Franklin. The warm core stays pretty shielded from the surrounding environment of a tropical cyclone. Since the winds of these storms spiral into the center, there is really no opportunity for the warm air at the core to emanate out in a "warm blast". If a "warm blast" did emanate from the core, the storm would quickly fall apart! What the article should have said is that the counter-clockwise circulation around Franklin is drawing up hot, humid tropical air into Florida.

Looking out over the rest of the tropics, the only item of note is a large, well-organized wave that just moved off the coast of Africa. The GFS model has this wave turning into a tropical storm in a few days and recurving to the northeast in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. I'll talk more about this wave tomorrow if it still looks impressive. However, the sea surface temperatures in this region are about 26 - 28C, and 27C is considered the minimum needed for tropical storm formation.

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

But we get afternoon rains sometimes like Florida (tropical)
Jedkins so this confuses me -
To be or not to be will Franklin ever answer that question.
I understand Orion...I was getting a little mentally drained as well...I think if the pattern changes again, things indeed will heat back up in the tropics...

Yes, Emmy I understand...I am here in Houston as well...however, I am not sure if that cool front will make it down to our area this week...it was nice getting rain here in July after being shutout in June...A possibility August could turn out to be repeat of June, I sure hope not, though...
i Predict for the remainder of the season 2 weeks of strong activity 4-5 storms, then a week of calm and repeating this till october. So by time it is over with we will have 22-26 named storms. 2005 a year of many records
Ok,the system that rolled off of Africa that was mentioned could be next storm and recurve into Atlantic...did they expect it to be that low of latitude to begain with when they predicted it????
and i will even go out on a limb and say we will have some type of disturbance happening in december
thats a limb...but its 2005..wont doupt nothing...

I am a software engineer and my idea of exercise is having to mow the grass every couple of weeks or in the winter shoveling the snow off the porch. I know I suck and probably die early
It's 90 at noon in Tampa.
this hurricane season began very fast
it did'nt give people much time who were hit
to recover from the last
arlene,bret,and cindy
came in fairly quick

with dennis,emily,franklin and gert
right on their heels
this hurricane season seem to be spinning
on all four wheels

next waiting to emerge are harvey,irene,jose,and katrina
no one knows what the future will hold
and how strong they will be
but the way the season started off
i think we can be certain they wont be going to sea

with that being said and 3 more months to go
we need to sit back and watch the show
we need to start boarding up our windows
and cleaning out our catch basin drains
because tammy will be here before the next heavy rain


Nice, welcome back to the blog
Go stormtop.
sorry i got to run some errands and did everyone see the 2 distubances in the atlantic one at 45 degrees west with a circulation.. and the monster emerging off the coast of africa..also the shear in the whole atlantic and caribbean its calm.. i have never seen this in july...this worries me..thanks orion be back a little later...
514. WSI
Stormtop, I have some questions for you. And I will keep posting them until they are answered. :)

I like learning from my mistakes. I try hard to. Seeing as how you are now forecasting all kinds of wild things, I would just for you to take a step back and explain to us why your track and strength for Gert were so far off base. Where did you go wrong? What did you miss? What did you learn that you will use in your future forecasts and predictions? If someone is going to forecast that the Gulf Coast is going to be slammed, then the storm hits Mexico as a tropical storm... something had to go wrong there. What do you say? As I said before in these questions before the blog got messed up, I am not trying to be a jerk (quite the opposite). But if you even remotely expect people to take you seriously, you have to own up to your errors and explain why you were so far off base. Thanks. :)
Emmy, wanted to clear something up that you posted last night. You said I was your kinda guy...well, I am a gal. LOL. When it's hot like this, I love to drink beer and sit on one of my 3 decks, listen to the water fall and play with my dogs.
Wsi, you just miss him.
517. Alec
that was very good stormtop. thanks for the poem, i enjoyed it.
Stormtop - I don't see anything at 45W outside of the ITCZ convection which is mostly south of 10N.
519. Alec
gotta go. talk later. -peace
Has anybody ever heard of the herbert/hebert box? I cant find anything on the net about it. Its a box out by the usvi and PR that if a storm tracks through it, so fla has experienced a 90% chance of getting hit.
521. iyou
cornflake826 - ijust googled it as hebert/herbert, it came up
do you have a web address on it, cause i still cant find anything on it
there's a low alright at about 11/40, but no deep conection. Like you said fredwx its all in the ITCZ. But shear is low and forecast to stay that way for a few days, before we get some strong s shear after that around 40. But any thing that forms in the ast atlantic will have a hard time coming west after the next 2/3 days.
nevermind, i found the info under hurricanecity
just got back and i received this e-mail that is pretty good:!

Hurricane Season

We're about to enter the peak of the hurricane season. Any day now,
you're going to turn on the TV and see a weather person pointing to
some radar blob out in the Gulf of Mexico and making two basic
meteorological hints:

(1) There is no need to panic
(2) We could all be killed

Yes, hurricane season is an exciting time to be in Alabama/Florida. If
you're new to the area, you're probably wondering what you need to do to
prepare for the possibility that we'll get hit by "the big one".
Based on our experiences, we recommend that you follow this simple
three-step hurricane preparedness plan:

Step 1. - Buy enough food and bottled water to last your family for
at least three days

Step 2 - Put these supplies into your car

Step 3 - Drive to Ohio and remain there until Halloween.
Unfortunately, statistics show that most people will not follow this
sensible plan. Most people will foolishly stay here in Alabama/Florida.

We'll start with one of the most important hurricane preparedness items:


If you own a home, you must have hurricane insurance. Fortunately,
this insurance is cheap and easy to get, as long as your home meets
two basic requirements:

(1) It is reasonably well-built, and

(2) It is located in Ohio

Unfortunately, if your home is located in Alabama or Florida, or any
other area that might actually be hit by a hurricane, most insurance companies
would prefer not to sell you hurricane insurance, because then they
might be required to pay YOU money, and that is certainly not why
they got into the insurance business in the first place. So you'll
have to scrounge around for an insurance company, which will charge
you an annual premium roughly equal to the replacement value of your
house. At any moment, this company can drop you like used dental


If you live in a low-lying area, you should have an evacuation route
planned out. (To determine whether you live in a low-lying area, look
at your driver's license; if it says "Alabama" or "Florida" you live in
a low-lying area).


If you don't evacuate, you will need a mess of supplies. Do not buy
them now! Alabama and Florida tradition requires that you wait until
the last possible minute, then go to the supermarket and get into vicious
fights with strangers over who gets the last can of SPAM.

In addition to food and water, you will need the following supplies:

23 flashlights. At least $167 worth of batteries that turn out, when
the power goes off, to be the wrong size for the flashlights.

Bleach. (No, I don't know what the bleach is for. NOBODY knows what the
bleach is for, but it's traditional, so GET some).

A 55 gallon drum of underarm deodorant.

A big knife that you can strap to your leg. (This will be useless in
a hurricane, but it looks cool).

A large quantity of raw chicken, to placate the alligators. (Ask
anybody who went through a hurricane; after the hurricane, there WILL
be irate alligators).
$35,000 in cash or diamonds so that, after the hurricane passes, you
can buy a generator from a man with no discernible teeth.

Of course these are just basic precautions. As the hurricane draws
near, it is vitally important that you keep abreast of the situation
by turning on your television and watching TV reporters in rain
slickers stand right next to the ocean and tell you over and over how
vitally important it is for everybody to stay away from the ocean.

Good luck, and remember: it's great living in Paradise.
526. iyou
cornflake826-just as well-turns out, on closer inspection, Herbert Hebert is an instructor, Dept. of Industrial Tech., at the Univ. of Louisiana, Lafayette - but his name, coincidence? Sorry, i'm new to this.
cornflake could you give a brief overview on what the herbert box is...my computer and i are not of the best of turns, he has a problem of not doing what he is told when he is told to do it
Both of those boxes are proven wrong in that report.

cornflake -- The Hebert Box theory is certainly a bit interesting...

In 2004, Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne all passed through a Herbert Box.

Of course in 2005, Emily missed the Hebert Boxes and hit Florida (though not south FL) - while Dennis went through one of the boxes and missed Florida.

The link for further insight into the Hebert Box is here...

raindancer. . you have your names backwards

Emily missed florida, dennis hit florida
Punkass the box #1 is more interesting and it has had a 90% probability of a south fla hurricane, either from the keys to n. palm beach, of course any theory is never 100% proven but 90% is awfully high especially when dealing with storms
retrack of the last 10 storms to hit s fla 9 of them has passed through this box, with the exception being andrew which was ne of the box before hitting s dade county
Thats great, BUT it also says hurricanes travelling through that box have the same chance of hitting Florida as North Carolina and a 20% chance of going out to sea. Thus, a storm that moves through that box is not guaranteed to go ANYWHERE.
No but if the storm passes through, living in s fla it would be those storms to keep a close eye on
Ok, i guess so. But I really dont see the point in the boxes. Well, for one, the second box is useless. No storm has hit florida going through that box since 1950.

As for the first box, I would think any normal person would understand that a storm heading north of that box is heading out to sea. Storms heading south of that box are destined to go through the 2nd box, thus not hitting florida. I dont know, it just doesnt seem too scientific to me, it seems logical.
is anything ever logical with hurricanes?
haha, no it doesnt seem so. But with the flows over the atlantic, storms moving through that box make the most sense for hitting the US. However, if the box shows a 20% chance of going a single place, i am sure i can draw a box somewhere else and say the same thing for a different location. I dont know, it just doesnt mean much to me.
really it doesn't mean much to me either, cause the one storm that has had the biggest impact in my life was Andrew and I never want to relive that experience again. Which didnt go through the box. But it is quite interesting and shoot the guy was the director of the nhc, he at least has some credibility
anybody seen the latest gfs forecast now look at aug 2nd - aug 03 that large disturbance its picking up is moving through the bahamas into to s. fla,
Well I hope Stormtop is right. I for one like storms. Im predicting that not only will we get 21 names storms, but we will start using Latin names. I believe that is what happens when NHC runs out of storm names, yes?
I do live in FL, and enjoy this season. Still waiting on a major hurricane...live from palm beach....
hey everyone, I can't believe that all of our posts from yesterday evening are gone but for those who don't remember, Stormtop predicted that there will be 3 more storms this month, only 4 days left. He predicted a total of 20 with the last one being real bad.
Good comment earlier WSI, I am too waiting on an answer from him.
Current temp here is 100 with a heat index of 115. Stiffling to say the least. Supposed to be the same tomorrow.
Sometimes an early start to the hurricane season is followed by a slower second half so don't count your named storms before they develop.
By the way, if still taking totals, I will say 18 total storms.
Hey everyone, stormtop loved the poem. I wrote one about you last night.