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Fred rapidly intensifies; new wunderground storm surge section launched

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:51 PM GMT on September 09, 2009

Hurricane Fred put on an impressive burst of intensification overnight, and is now a major Category 3 hurricane with 120 mph winds. However, Fred is not a threat to any land areas for at least the next week. Satellite imagery of Fred shows the spectacular signature of a classic Cape-Verdes type major hurricane, with a prominent eye, well-developed low-level spiral bands, and high cirrus clouds denoting excellent upper-level outflow on three sides. It is quite unusual to have such a powerful system so far east in the Atlantic, and Fred is only the third major hurricane to exist east of 35W. Fred is also the strongest hurricane so far south and east in our data record. However, this type of system would have been difficult to document before satellite pictures began in the 1960s.


Figure 1. Visible satellite image of Hurricane Fred at 10:30am EDT 9/9/09. Fred was a Category 3 (120 mph winds) at this time.

The forecast for Fred
Wind shear through Thursday morning is expected to stay in the low range, 5 - 10 knots, and ocean temperatures will be about 1 - 2°C above the threshold needed for tropical cyclone formation. Given these conditions, plus such factors as the temperature at 200 mb and the amount of moisture between 700 mb and 500 mb, this morning's run of the SHIPS model computes that the Maximum Potential Intensity (MPI) Fred can reach tonight is 140 mph (121 knots), which would make it a Category 4 hurricane. This is the strongest a hurricane can get in this region of the atmosphere. Very few hurricanes ever reach their MPI, and it will be interesting to see how close Fred gets to this mark.

Shear will rise to the moderate range, 15 - 20 knots, Thursday through Friday, then increase to the high range, 20 - 40 knots, Saturday through Sunday, thanks to a strong trough of low pressure traversing the North Atlantic. This should weaken Fred to a tropical storm five days from now. The trough will also pull Fred to the northwest and then north. Most of the models foresee that this trough will not be strong enough to fully recurve Fred to the northeast and out to sea. However, another strong trough of low pressure is forecast to traverse the central Atlantic about eight days from now, and this trough should be strong enough to recurve the storm northeastward out to sea. The odds of Fred making it all the way across the Atlantic to threaten land areas appear low at this time.

Elsewhere in the tropics
A weak front is expected to move off the Texas coast Friday and linger along the coast for several days. Beginning on Friday, we will need to watch the Western Gulf of Mexico for possible development of a tropical cyclone along this front. Any storm that develops would likely move northeast or north-northeast and impact Louisiana and northern Texas coast. The models are less enthusiastic this morning about developing such a storm than they were in previous runs, and there will be some high wind shear to the west for a potential tropical system to contend with.

New wunderground storm surge section launched
The Weather Underground is pleased to announce the release of the Internet's most comprehensive hurricane storm surge web pages. The new storm surge section provides more than 500 detailed, zoomed-in storm surge maps from the official storm surge model used by the National Hurricane Center--the Sea, Lake, and Overland Surge from Hurricanes (SLOSH) model. I've created SLOSH model worst-case flood maps for Category 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 hurricanes for the entire U.S. Atlantic coast, plus Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Bahamas. Zoom-in maps of fifteen important cities such as Miami, New York City, Boston, Tampa, and Corpus Christi are included. To help coastal residents see how past storms have affected their region, the wunderground storm surge pages also include SLOSH model animations of the surge for more than 40 historic storms--from the Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635 to Hurricane Ike of 2008. You can access the new storm surge web pages.from our Tropical/Hurricane page, on the right side of the page under my blog box. I encourage all coastal residents along the U.S. coast to take the time to familiarize themselves with the storm surge risk where they live.


Figure 2. Sample water depth inundation image (left) and storm tide image (right), created using NOAA's SLOSH model. These Maximum of the "Maximum Envelope of Waters" (MOM) plots are for Tampa Bay, Florida, for a mid-strength Category 4 hurricane (sustained winds of 143 mph) hitting at high tide.

How to interpret the storm surge images
There are two sets of images available. The first set, titled "Maximum Water Depth", shows the water depth at each grid cell of the SLOSH domain. Thus, if you are inland at an elevation of ten feet above mean sea level, and the combined storm surge and tide (the "storm tide") is fifteen feet at your location, the water depth image will show five feet of inundation. The second set of images, titled "Maximum Storm Tide", shows how high above mean sea level the sum of the storm surge plus the tide reaches. Over the ocean, the storm tide and water depth images will show the same values. The storm tide images contain no information about how deep the water will be inland, and are generally less useful than the water depth images. All of these Maximum of the "Maximum Envelope of Waters" (MOM) images were generated for high tide, and thus show worst-case inundation scenarios for mid-strength hurricanes of each Saffir-Simpson Category (Category 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5). Category 5 hurricanes have never occurred in the Mid-Atlantic or New England regions, so there are no Category 5 images shown there. No single storm will be able to cause the level of flooding depicted in the SLOSH storm surge images along the entire coast. A sample set of storm surge images for a Category 4 hurricane hitting Tampa Bay is shown in Figure 2. Black lines mark the coastline, and also delineate the grid the SLOSH model used. There may be storm surge present outside the boundaries of the grid, so pay attention to where the grid boundaries are. Also, if you see a high surge modeled for a narrow waterway that goes right up to the edge of the grid boundary, don't believe it. The model puts an artificial barrier at the grid boundary, and the surge is piling up against this non-existent barrier. Empty brownish grid cells with no coloration show where no inundation is computed to occur. St. Petersburg becomes two islands in a worst-case scenario Category 4 hurricane, as shown by the brown areas surrounded by colored areas of storm tide (this did occur during the Great Gale of 1848, a Category 4 hurricane that hit the city). The tide level is marked at the bottom of the color legend, and is 1 foot in this example. The left "maximum water depth" image shows how high above each grid cell the storm tide reaches. The storm tide--the combination of the storm surge plus the 1 foot high tide--reaches as much as 27 feet above mean sea level (pink colors) near downtown Tampa (right-hand "maximum storm tide" image). The amount of inundation inland is controlled by the elevation of the land. Some of the inland regions near downtown Tampa being inundated by the 27-foot storm tide are at an elevation of 19 feet, so as much as 8 feet of inundation will occur at those locations (dark blue colors in the left-hand "maximum water depth" image). Interstate highways are the thick grey-green lines, and smaller highways are shown as dark green and light green lines. If a road is inundated by storm surge, it will not appear. County boundaries are shown in red.

Twenty years ago on this date
On September 9, 1989, satellite imagery detected a strong tropical wave with plenty of spin and heavy thunderstorm activity moving off the coast of Africa, just south of the Cape Verdes Islands. The satellite analyst at the National Hurricane Center duly noted the tropical wave, the 35th such wave to move off Africa that year, in his tropical weather discussion. No one could suspect that the routine-looking tropical wave would eventually grow to become Hurricane Hugo--the costliest Atlantic hurricane of all time.

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.

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1670. superweatherman
12:57 PM GMT on September 11, 2009
I guess everyone is SLEEPING.....
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1669. superweatherman
12:21 PM GMT on September 11, 2009


AND HERE WE GO!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1668. hydrus
2:04 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Quoting indianrivguy:


He was my hero growing up in Dade County, but after his performance during Ike, I lost respect for him. The local officials listened to him instead of the NHC and I believe it cost folks their lives. He steadfastly argued that the NHC was over rating Ike.. had Ike come in twenty miles south hundreds more would have died on Galveston Island. Had Frank not flexed his muscle, maybe some of the folks on the Bolivar peninsula would have evacuated in time. JMHO
I would say Mr. Frank has done a lot more good than bad, and there were many officials telling people to leave. It is not all of Neil Frank,s responsibility when to fire the starting gun for the evacuations to begin. I understand what IndianRiverGuy is saying(Believe Me).
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1666. txalwaysprepared
2:02 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Indianrivguy It's sad, but people heard Cat 2 and didn't head the warnings. If they had heard Cat 4 storm surge (as an official rating) I believe they would have run for safety DAYS earlier.

And with this weekend's anniversary of Ike a lot of us are feeling a bit anxious. It's sad.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1665. Grothar
1:49 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Quoting weathermanwannabe:


Guess I'll have to do it the old way for now; step outside and look at the sky and trees for any sign of winds and clouds...


Is that why the images on the NOAA look the same as last night? They usually give a message that they are down. OH NO OH NO!!!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1663. pearlandaggie
1:46 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
new blog.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1662. weathermanwannabe
1:45 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
Alternative site for satellite images.


Same one I noted here.....Thanks for the Site.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1660. weathermanwannabe
1:44 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
http://www.meteo.psu.edu/~gadomski/SATRAPID/anim16ir.html

This site is working nicely from Goes 12. Lots of energy pulling into the Gulf from Texas this morning.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1659. nrtiwlnvragn
1:43 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Alternative site for satellite images.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1658. cybergrump
1:43 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
looking at the gfs 06Z and it shows whats left of fred make it to florida. I know its far away but was just interesting how the gfs has the high building in.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1657. Grothar
1:43 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Anyone have SST maps, if Fred moves back towards the west more than expected. It would seem he would be moving back to warmer waters, as now being indicated even by the NHC.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1656. hurricanehanna
1:41 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Goooood Mornin' Storm!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1655. hurricanehanna
1:41 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Quoting scott1968:
It's not working I had the same problem.

Ditto
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1654. indianrivguy
1:40 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
mornin' Orca, Senior Chief, Mister Johnny!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1653. scott1968
1:38 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Quoting weathermanwannabe:
Good Morning....Anybody having problems running the NOAA Sat Loops in motion this morning?.......Or is it my Java player?...Thanks.
It's not working I had the same problem.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1652. TampaSpin
1:38 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Does anyone want to get in a Fantasy Football League....i have it set up already.....let me know ASAP so i can get you the password!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1651. MisterJohnny
1:40 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Good Morning Senior Chief
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1650. ph34683
1:38 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Quoting TampaSpin:


what factories are still left in the US .....no orders are coming in expect orders the Gov. is doing...

We're still ordering from US factories! Not that we make a big difference...but it makes me feel good every time I place an order with one of our US vendors.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1649. claimsadjuster
1:37 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Good morning StormW. How are you today?
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1648. indianrivguy
1:36 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Quoting txalwaysprepared:
In regards to Ike:

I used to work with Frank (Billingsly). When he started getting nervous about Ike I knew it was bad. (I knew anyway from following here, but I was surprised to see a met nervous.)

A lot of people died because of the surge. No one realized how much ahead of the storm the surge would cut off the evacuations routes. Many people planned on leaving that Friday morning (early)! But by 6am they were trapped in their homes. Ike didn't "hit" until about 2 am Saturday morning. When I woke up at 7 on friday, and saw waves crashing over the seawall I panicked... and I'm 20 miles north of Galveston (11 miles west of the bay)... elevation 20.


I find it interesting/sad that ALL the clues were there that the surge would arrive early. There was storm surge affecting the gulf from Tampa all the around unto Texas well before arrival. The affected area was immense and many here had expressed concern of it's affects at landfall.

Notice that afterwards there was a clamoring for a "new" rating system beyond the cat whatever we are currently using. Our own Doc Masters was a vocal proponent of this reconsideration.

I listened in abject horror to the phone calls of those from Bolivar that woke up expecting to drive to safety only to find themselves trapped with no chance of rescue before the storm arrived. I have a 101mb file on that hurricane with lots of before and afters.. scary lucky that more didn't perish.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1646. TampaSpin
1:33 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Quoting NEwxguy:


Yeah,thats like the insurance companies telling us they have good news,we are only raising your rates 10%,and not 15% like we thought.


Hey my friend...i just realized i mispelled WEEK and put WEAK.....i guess it was ok tho.......ROFLMAO
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1645. weathermanwannabe
1:32 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Quoting stoormfury:
Noaa sat site is down since early morning today 10th sept 2009


Guess I'll have to do it the old way for now; step outside and look at the sky and trees for any sign of winds and clouds...
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1643. surfmom
1:32 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
SWFL Surf Report/Gulfster -( no arrows pls.) this is from a surf perspective -- we're starving for waves on the gulf coast... we know and don't wish for 'canes... just getting a bit batty --SEVERE AND PAINFUL WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS - how many times can you drive to the other coast?
-----------
Summer doldrums sticking around for the Westside as we enter into the middle of September with out any excitement. Future forecast looking grim surf wise. Today, with the wind East @ 15, should give the kiters some water time as the rest of us sit on the side lines and wait for swell. Gulf Temp 89
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1642. TampaSpin
1:30 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
NFL starts today.........yeppie!
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1641. stoormfury
1:30 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Noaa sat site is down since early morning today 10th sept 2009
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1640. NEwxguy
1:29 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Quoting TampaSpin:


Hi my friend......you gotta love this.....

New jobless claims fall more than expected to 550K

Some just don't get it.....are they not underplaying what a loss of 550,000 job in one weak means....OMG....


Yeah,thats like the insurance companies telling us they have good news,we are only raising your rates 10%,and not 15% like we thought.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1639. Autistic2
1:29 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Quoting Grothar:


Don't want to get off-topic, but this happens every year at the end of the summer. In the northern states, resorts close, hotels close, transportation areas decline, etc. The figures are much lower than expected. There are also continuing claims and people moving to different states. Students are leaving jobs and going back to school. There are many factors involved. Even in the best of times, these figures vary greatly, but no one pays attention as they do now. Now back to the weather.


Eleven years with ML. (now BOA) Sort of like storms, It only needs to be one job to be a life changing event, if it is your job. Hope I find another soon!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1638. weathermanwannabe
1:29 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Quoting southernstorm:


Since they retooled the java loops dont work for me either, but the flash option works just fine.


Thanks...I can't get the flash to work either right now...
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1637. SomeRandomTexan
1:28 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Good morning gang!

Just listened to one of the local mets, Rob Robbins, a highly respected met, and he says this low in the gulf has started to deepen and has the propensity to go further with conditions slowly improving.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1636. tropicofcancer
1:28 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Quoting southernstorm:


Amen...it bothers me to no end when the spin masters try to say the economy is on the way back because fewer people are losing their jobs(it has to slow sometime, or none of us would be working). No logic at all, they think we are idiots.

So you are saying that if less people are losing their jobs we should say that is bad? Where is your "logic"
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1635. southernstorm
1:28 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Quoting weathermanwannabe:
Good Morning....Anybody having problems running the NOAA Sat Loops in motion this morning?.......Or is it my Java player?...Thanks.


Since they retooled the java loops dont work for me either, but the flash option works just fine.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1634. TampaSpin
1:27 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Quoting surfmom:
P451 -- thanks for those pics...was curious to see what was happening in my neighborhood...gulf is at 90 degrees by me SRQ

Lots of energy flowing into the Hottub de Mexico


Hi SurfMom.....you got that right..i was off shore fishing a few days ago and the surface temp in the boat at 3pm showed 94deg where we was fishing about 50miles off shore....worse than a hottub......heck my gucuzzi i keep at 105....lol
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1633. surfmom
1:23 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
P451 -- thanks for those pics...was curious to see what was happening in my neighborhood...gulf is at 90 degrees by me SRQ

Lots of energy flowing into the Hottub de Mexico
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1632. hurricanehanna
1:22 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Morning Gang...
LOTS of moisture building off of TX....how is the shear? Still holding I hope?
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1631. weathermanwannabe
1:22 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Good Morning....Anybody having problems running the NOAA Sat Loops in motion this morning?.......Or is it my Java player?...Thanks.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1630. Grothar
1:21 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Quoting TampaSpin:


Hi my friend......you gotta love this.....

New jobless claims fall more than expected to 550K

Some just don't get it.....are they not underplaying what a loss of 550,000 job in one weak means....OMG....


Don't want to get off-topic, but this happens every year at the end of the summer. In the northern states, resorts close, hotels close, transportation areas decline, etc. The figures are much lower than expected. There are also continuing claims and people moving to different states. Students are leaving jobs and going back to school. There are many factors involved. Even in the best of times, these figures vary greatly, but no one pays attention as they do now. Now back to the weather.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1629. TampaSpin
1:21 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Quoting serialteg:


i got a friend who would be rejoicing if he had major disasters, has a side job with FEMA makes a lot of money with canes


Unforunately.....the woes of others are often prospered by others.....did i spell that right....lol
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1628. southernstorm
1:20 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Quoting TampaSpin:


Hi my friend......you gotta love this.....

New jobless claims fall more than expected to 550K

Some just don't get it.....are they not underplaying what a loss of 550,000 job in one weak means....OMG....


Amen...it bothers me to no end when the spin masters try to say the economy is on the way back because fewer people are losing their jobs(it has to slow sometime, or none of us would be working). No logic at all, they think we are idiots.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1627. serialteg
1:19 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Quoting TampaSpin:


So a college student is not allowed to work.....WOW..sorry to hear that!


not that, the government in puerto rico has an insurance that you get taxed for in most jobs its unemployment insurance. you get it for six months, i currently get 170$ biweekly, in comparison to a friend of mine who got it from new jersey's unemployment insurance, she got $300+ weekly, you can note the difference... you'd never get that amount from PR state unemployment insurance

its a good thing im living with grandma, if not id be really ... i guess living in a project
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1626. txalwaysprepared
1:18 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
In regards to Ike:

I used to work with Frank (Billingsly). When he started getting nervous about Ike I knew it was bad. (I knew anyway from following here, but I was surprised to see a met nervous.)

A lot of people died because of the surge. No one realized how much ahead of the storm the surge would cut off the evacuations routes. Many people planned on leaving that Friday morning (early)! But by 6am they were trapped in their homes. Ike didn't "hit" until about 2 am Saturday morning. When I woke up at 7 on friday, and saw waves crashing over the seawall I panicked... and I'm 20 miles north of Galveston (11 miles west of the bay)... elevation 20.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1625. TampaSpin
1:18 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
1624. caneswatch
1:17 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Quoting serialteg:


I'm thinking after Fred bends to the west, and after he gets to TD status in 5 days, i'm thinking he will redevelop a bit because from what i'm looking at, the wind shear is pretty low, around 5-10 knots. Anyone else think this?
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1623. serialteg
1:16 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Quoting TampaSpin:
Its been a good thing we have have a null season so far in this season.....Don't know what kind of economic woes we would have if a Major would hit a major city....


i got a friend who would be rejoicing if he had major disasters, has a side job with FEMA makes a lot of money with canes
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1622. TampaSpin
1:15 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Quoting serialteg:


its been such along time for me without one that i really stopped caring for a while... cashing on state unemployment insurance, which they cut off for me saying i was attending college (wtf)


So a college student is not allowed to work.....WOW..sorry to hear that!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1621. TampaSpin
1:14 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Its been a good thing we have have a null season so far in this season.....Don't know what kind of economic woes we would have if a Major would hit a major city....
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1620. serialteg
1:13 PM GMT on September 10, 2009
Quoting leftovers:
long term recession our kids need jobs


its been such along time for me without one that i really stopped caring for a while... cashing on state unemployment insurance, which they cut off for me saying i was attending college (wtf)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:

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Cat 6 lead authors: WU cofounder Dr. Jeff Masters (right), who flew w/NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990, & WU meteorologist Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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