Stan storms ashore; Florida getting pounded by a powerful tropical disturbance

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:40 PM GMT on October 04, 2005

Tropical disturbance approaching Florida
The tropical disturbance over the central Bahama Islands is poised to hit Florida Tuesday night and Wednesday with heavy rains and high winds. Although the disturbance is not a threat to develop into a tropical depression today, the impact on Florida will be similar to that of a tropical depression--sustained winds of 30 mph, with gusts to 45 mph along the coast, along with 3 - 6 inches of rain and large battering waves. The disturbance currently has a weak surface circulation center just south of Andros Island. There is no cloud cover on the west side of the circulation center, and shearing winds blowing from the west are keeping all of the convection pushed over to the east side of the disturbance. Contrary to yesterday's computer model projections of much reduced shear affecting the disturbance, the shear over the storm has almost doubled, to 20 - 30 knots. This shear is in part associated with strong upper-level outflow flowing northeastward out of Hurricane Stan. No development of any kind is possible while the shear remains this strong, and I believe that this system will not develop into a tropical depression at all. Instead, the disturbance will interact with an upper-level low pressure system forecast to develop in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday, and become a large--and very wet--ordinary low pressure system. This may also turn into hybrid system called a subtropical storm--a system that is similar to a tropical storm, but has its main winds 100 miles or so away from the center. If this happens, the system will be named Subtropical Storm Tammy. Our skill in forecasting these types of hybrid systems is low.

Once in the Gulf of Mexico, the storm is expected to meander for several days, until a cold front pushes into northern Florida Friday and pulls the storm northeastward across Florida and the Carolinas on Thursday through Saturday, dumping very heavy rains across the region. At the same time, another low pressure area may form along the front near the Carolinas and move northeastward across New England. This second low is not expected to be tropical in nature, but will still dump a lot rain and bring high winds to the East Coast.

I speculated about the possibility yesterday of a tropical storm forming near the Carolinas and moving northwards along the coast. This no longer seems likely, due to the high wind shear over the area today.


Figure 1. BAMM model forecast track of Bahamas suspect area. The intensity forecast numbers from the SHIPS model are far too high; this system will be lucky to make it to tropical storm strength (40 mph winds).

Hurricane Stan
Hurricane Stan presents a classic example of why the National Hurricane Center issues hurricane warnings for a much larger area of coast than seems reasonable. Stan made a sudden turn to the southwest last night and speeded up his forward speed from 6 mph to 10 mph, and is now making landfall on the coast of Mexico, a full 24 hours before expected. This change of course and speed were completely unanticipated my any of the forecast models. However, since the NHC was conservative, the area of the coast the eye of Stan is hitting has been under a hurricane warning for a full day, so the sudden turn should not catch the affected area completely unprepared. Why did the models miss this turn? Perhaps because of Stan's interaction with the mountainous terrain nearby, or because of interaction with the developing upper-level low pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico.

Elsewhere in the tropics
Clouds from the tropical disturbance over the Bahamas extend southeastward to Puerto Rico and the Lesser Antilles Islands. The area of disturbed weather near Puerto Rico bears watching, as wind shear values here are 5 - 10 knots, the lowest of anywhere in this disturbance.

The region between Africa and the Lesser Antilles is quiet.

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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128. TPaul
3:55 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
Well if the 2005 Hurricane season is over as soflayo says I guess we better start preparing for 2006. I mean we thought 2004 was unbelievable then came 2005, I don't even want to think about what 2006 will be like. So who's going to start building the Ark. Actually for all the money they are going to spend on NO, they could make the whole city an Ark.
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127. palmbeacher
3:56 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
Kate was a cat 1 formed in OCTOBER
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126. palmbeacher
3:55 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
Thanks GPBurdell, I thought it was something like that. You know more about it than I. It seems to work!
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125. GPBurdell
3:47 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
For anyone who cares, citrus gets damaged if it stays colder than 28 degrees for over 4 hours. Covering the citrus with water will allow it to freeze at 32 dgrees, and insulate it for a short period to prevent going down to 28. They use smug pots to insulate as well. The helicopters fly over fields to stir up ground heat a few degrees. That is what we are talking about, just a few degrees. Snow could insulate as well, if short term. The same techniques do not work with truck crops (tomatos, lettuce ect). They suffer damage at 32 degrees.
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124. TampaBay58
3:53 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
Maybe the NHC should shorten hurricane season.
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123. IKE
3:52 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
It wasn't a weak storm, it was a Cat 1 hurricane.

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122. SquirrelRJ
3:53 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
Pretty windy and rainy here in Fort Myers, given the track, it's going to get alot worse before it gets better, alteast the system didn't pick up alot of steam before it's going to hit here.
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121. stormydee
3:50 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
gbreeze, my cats were acting very strange this morning too...
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120. soflayo
3:50 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
october = tropical rain storms. bring on the Cat2 blizzards, lol, and i mean ol!
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119. palmbeacher
3:51 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
as IKE said "calm down"
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118. Destiny
7:50 AM AKDT on October 04, 2005
What were the specifics on Kate in oct of 2003?
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117. palmbeacher
3:50 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
soflayo, did anyone say anything about Bastardi??? We are talking about previous storms and the blob in the Bahamas.
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116. soflayo
3:47 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
exactly, when the weather people have nothing to follow but a weak storm hitting mexico. oh, but bastardi says it may come back to other way! note, JoeB predicted a major hurricane hitting the SC coast this year. didn't happen.
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115. palmbeacher
3:48 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
21, but its October... LOL Anyway, I am hoping for the best for you on the panhandle. I don't think it will be anything for us but a rainmaker.
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114. Pensacola21
3:48 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
IKE - lol
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113. palmbeacher
3:46 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
96 Lili came up from south Fl. through Miami and brought a bunch of rain.
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112. Pensacola21
3:47 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
Looking better and better for the storm, to me anyway
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111. GPBurdell
3:40 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
Destiny - The 2002 Lili actually started on September 16 off the coast of Africa. By now, after October 1, the jet stream has become strong enough south to recurve African hurricanes back to sea. Though Lili didn't strike LA until October 3, she formed long before, in mid September which is prime African hurricane season. It took me a minute to check, because the Lili you mentioned didn't hit Florida. The 1996 Lili I remember ran off the Atlantic coast of Florida and did some shore damage, but little else here.
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110. IKE
3:45 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
"there hasn't been anything since Rita"....

What just hit Mexico?

Calm down. It'll be okay.
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109. palmbeacher
3:43 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
and we have never ever had a storm in October! Right....
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108. soflayo
3:30 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
all hype no action. the season is over. there hasn't been anything since Rita so people have been drooling over an extended rain storm. my weather source said a tropical wave would pass over south florida, it said that early last weekend. there are no storms and any that come will be weak and erratic. it's october for god's sake.
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107. palmbeacher
3:40 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
so, 21 what do you think?
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106. Pensacola21
3:37 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
thanks guys =)
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105. TampaBay58
3:35 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
Link
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104. Destiny
7:34 AM AKDT on October 04, 2005
Link

See if this helps Pen
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103. Pensacola21
3:31 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
Does anyone have a floater link to the wave?
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102. Destiny
7:30 AM AKDT on October 04, 2005
I remember a big ice storm in Arkansas in the early 90's and for some reason I thought I remembered some really cold weather hitting Florida and doing a lot of damage to the citrus.
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101. palmbeacher
3:29 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
Destiny, it does get cold enough to damage the citrus. They try to spray them all with water to protect them from freezing. I guess it works not really sure.
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100. palmbeacher
3:28 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
Lili dumped a ton of rain on us!
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99. Destiny
7:27 AM AKDT on October 04, 2005
Did you guys in Florida have a freak ice storm or something in the 90's that about wiped out the orange crops?
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98. BlueWatch
3:13 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
orion...

1) snickers!
2) probably working
3) it snowed in Corpus Christi last year. i'm not ruling anything out.
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97. palmbeacher
3:25 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
Even though our heat index is 91 right now. It feels GREAT outside... Wish I wasn't working...
Wind: 23 mph from the East
Wind Gust: 28 mph
Pressure: 29.86 in
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96. Destiny
7:24 AM AKDT on October 04, 2005
I spelled that wrong, its Lili with an I , sorry
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95. weatherboyfsu
3:23 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
we just had a nasty squall come thru here in orlando....and its only 11:25am in the morning....go figure....the atmosphere is really starting to jump.....
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94. GPBurdell
3:18 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
When I was a kid in south Florida I always wanted it to snow, mostly at Christmas. Now I know it would kill most plants in my front yard, cause millions if not billions of dollars damage to the truck farming in Palm Beach County alone, and cause brown/black out by FPL. Anyone remeber the Christmas cold front in 1990. It was 33 degrees in WPB, and many had no power, so no heat of any kind (few fire places down here, and oil heat forget about it). Still it would be better than a hurricane.
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93. Destiny
7:21 AM AKDT on October 04, 2005
GPB
Dont forget about Lily in Oct 02
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92. WillJax
3:16 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
Oh, no wonder...can't say I am surprised it is cold in Alaska. Although, for the record, it is 32 degrees in Ely, Nevada!
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91. TampaBay58
3:21 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
The storm floater 2 is now positioned over the Bahama blob.
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90. FLGLFCST
3:20 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
Oh hell, if even snowed (It wouldnt have to stick) they would cancel everything...
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89. palmbeacher
3:18 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
FLG, The place would be gridlocked!!!
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88. oriondarkwood
11:16 AM EDT on October 04, 2005
Palmbeacher,

I have no preferance, but I liked the commerical where all the M&M's where pulsing to the beat..
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87. FLGLFCST
3:05 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
Yeah I think we are gonna get some rain, I walked out the front door this morning and into a huge fire ant hill that wasnt there yesterday, it was roughly 4 inches tall, I know I would have noticed that yesterday when I came home, they built it over night, so yeah I bet were gonna at least see some rain.

Oh and BTW, SNOW + FLORIDA = BAD (Most of these peopl cant drive in rain, imagine what snow would do to them...)
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86. palmbeacher
3:17 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
I think we should just hope for the best!!
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85. GPBurdell
3:12 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
Houstonian, I think it was a swag, but he always gets a lot of face time down here. What they know about canes in Colorado is beyond me, but I think the water is cooling down enough to prevent major canes in the northern Gulf or Atlantic. October canes are generally not from the Atlantic, but from the south (i.e like Irene), and are wet more than windy.
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84. Destiny
7:14 AM AKDT on October 04, 2005
Im in Alaska WillJax.

I can believe that Palm. my 20 degrees up here is nothing compared to 20 degrees in the south. Its moist down there, dry up here, makes a world of difference. BUT we have what we call the "uncomfort zone" 20 above to 20 below. Its miserably cold. Makes you feel like your bones are just going to crack up. Once it reaches below twenty below, your body cant feel what the temp is doing to it until its too late. Usually when you start to warm back up and you ache from head to toe.
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83. WillJax
3:13 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
Well, if you look at the 1995 hurricane seasons (the second busiest of recorded hurricane history), it had four named storms form in October. That would put us at Alpha.
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82. palmbeacher
3:15 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
willjax, she is in ALASKA
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81. palmbeacher
3:12 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
GPBurdell, I did see that. That was Dr. Gray. He predicts the # of storms we get every year. I too hope that he is wrong!
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80. WillJax
3:09 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
Sheesh destiny, where are you again?! It's fifty degrees warmer here in NFla. Wonder how much that cold front will cool Fl off.
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79. palmbeacher
3:08 PM GMT on October 04, 2005
Orion, The Red ones!

Destiny, one of the coldest winters I ever felt was believe it or not in Fl. on New Years, it was 30 degrees. I had just flown back down from Ohio, and went to a party, people would say that it is colder here than up north at those temps. It is soooo true! I couldn't believe it. The Absolute most horrible winter was in Ohio 40 below with a wind chill. Now that sucked!
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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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