New NHC revelations; Atlantic tropical update; Hawaii watches Cosme

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:47 PM GMT on July 19, 2007

There are no areas of interest to talk about in the tropical Atlantic today, but we will need to watch the waters off the Carolina coast on Saturday when a cold front is expected to push off the coast. The tail end of this front could serve as the focus for development of a tropical disturbance. The UKMET model is forecasting the development of a low pressure system here on Sunday. This low may be an ordinary extratropical storm, though, due to the presence of high wind shear.

Large amounts of dry air and African dust cover the eastern Atlantic, and this dusty air is moving westward towards the Caribbean. Tropical storm development is unlikely in this region for the coming five days. Thereafter, as a major shift in the Northern Hemisphere weather pattern puts a ridge of high pressure in place over the Eastern U.S., the Saharan dust outbreaks may decrease. Additionally, wind shear over the tropical Atlantic is expected to decrease substantially by next week, and chances of tropical storm formation are much higher next week than they were this week.

Hawaii eyes Cosme
Residents of the Hawaiian Islands need to keep an eye on Tropical Depression Cosme, which is headed towards the islands and may impact their weather by Saturday. Cosme is struggling with 10-20 knots of wind shear and ocean temperatures of about 25 degrees C. Satellite imagery of the storm shows that the amount of heavy thunderstorm activity has decreased some this morning, and it is possible that the unfavorable shear and SSTs will kill the depression before it encounters warmer waters and lower shear on Friday. If Cosme does survive the next 24 hours, it could re-intensify to a weak tropical storm and brush the Big Island of Hawaii on Saturday.

Figure 1. Sea Surface temperatures beneath Cosme were about 25 C (78 F), just below the 26 C threshold favorable for tropical cyclones. Cosme will be traversing a region of 24-25 C SSTs through Friday, then SSTs will warm to 25-26 as it approaches the Hawaiian Islands on Saturday.

More on the National Hurricane Center controversy
In an article published in the Houston Chronicle yesterday, senior hurricane specialist James Franklin said that employees of the center were not coerced by NOAA management into signing the July 5 letter of no confidence against director Bill Proenza. This view was echoed by NHC's top administrator in an Orlando Sentinel article. Franklin outlined a variety of reasons why the staff lost confidence in Proenza--Proenza lacked experience in hurricane forecasting and showed little interest in learning the science, ignored his employees to the tune of 2000 unread email from them, and lied to the press about his employees' reaction to his reprimand from NWS chief Mary Glackin.

Also in the Houston Chronicle story is the revelation that Proenza never applied for the position of director of NHC. He was demoted into it, according to Daniel Sobien, president of the National Weather Service Employees Organization. This raises the question, who put Proenza into the job? Why did they do it? Hopefully, this will get answered at today's congressional hearing. The list of people testifying include Bill Proenza; QuikSCAT expert Dr. Robert Atlas; emergency management officials who worked with Proenza; and the head of NOAA, Admiral Lautenbacher. With the exception of Lautenbacher, all these witnesses are likely to be allies of Proenza. Also testifying will be Dr. Jim Turner, deputy director of the federal agency NTIS (National Technical Information Service), who led the inspection team that showed up at NHC without notice on July 2. Dr. Turner's report was scheduled to be completed this Friday, July 20, but is now scheduled to be released to the Congressional panel today. Notably absent from the list of people called to testify is anyone from the National Hurricane Center. Also absent is a QuikSCAT science expert besides Dr. Atlas, who has thus far not addressed in his public comments, that I have seen, the very high uncertainties surrounding the impact of QuikSCAT data on track forecasts of landfalling hurricanes. In fact, in comments published in the Orlando Sentinel, Dr. Atlas claimed that Proenza's statement that loss of the loss of QuikSCAT could reduce the accuracy of hurricane-track forecasts by as much as 16 percent represents "the consensus of the scientific community." Well, that is not the case, as myself and senior hurricane specialists at the National Hurricane Center will attest to. I'll be sure to present a full analysis of the science presented--and the science left unsaid--at today's hearing.

The hearing charter for today's hearing raises these questions:

Why was Proenza chosen to be Director of the highest profiled Center at NOAA?

Beyond the items listed in the Glackin memorandum--which NOAA stresses was not a reprimand document and was not placed in Mr. Proenza's personnel file--are there any other actions that better justify the action to place Proenza on leave?

Why was there such a depth of dissatisfaction over Proenza's focus on a particular satellite?

What is needed to properly equip the Tropical Prediction Center, and are those resources available at this time?

Was the Tropical Prediction Center incapable of carrying out its core task of identifying, tracking and predicting hurricanes before the evaluation team was dispatched by Admiral Lautenbacher?

Jeff Masters

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161. weatherblog
4:29 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
Just finished watching the "tropical update" on Channel 7 news Miami.

They said it appears to be looking a little more organized but has a few limiting factors.
Then stated some slow development is possible...
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160. bobw999
12:28 PM EDT on July 19, 2007
Looking at the steering currents, if any development occurs it would most likely head toward the Western Gulf of Mexico.
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158. Drakoen
4:27 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
The NHC hasn't put a floater on it, at least from looking through the site. It still has to organize some more. Ramsdis is watching it...
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157. IKE
11:27 AM CDT on July 19, 2007
That's what I was looking at. That can't be right...if so, there's TS Chantal!
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37995
156. Drakoen
4:24 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
Go here lol.
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155. IKE
11:21 AM CDT on July 19, 2007
29.53 pressure?

That's not right.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37995
154. ryang
12:21 PM AST on July 19, 2007
LOL... This is very interesting...
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153. Drakoen
4:19 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
Interesting pressure in St. Corix at 999mb. Probably experience a Severe thunderstorm.
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152. IKE
11:19 AM CDT on July 19, 2007
St. Lucia...which is near the possible spin?......

"Observed at: Hewanorra, LC
Elevation: 10 ft
[Heavy Rain Showers]
79 ░F
Heavy Showers Rain
Humidity: 94%
Dew Point: 77 ░F
Wind: 20 mph from the SSE
Wind Gust: 31 mph

Pressure: 29.95 in (Steady)
Visibility: 1.2 miles
UV: 10 out of 16
Clouds: Few 1000 ft
Scattered Clouds 1700 ft
Mostly Cloudy 2000 ft
(Above Ground Level)"
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37995
149. Drakoen
4:15 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
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148. ryang
12:16 PM AST on July 19, 2007
Hmmm South winds in St.Vincent... But it need's to be WSW
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146. ryang
12:09 PM AST on July 19, 2007
Look's like convection in two parts...
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145. guygee
4:01 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
Still watching the congressional hearing.
I believe it was Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) that gave a great speech on the need for increased funding for NOAA and especially NOAA sateliite assets: (paraphrase highlights) "If we had spent as much on NOAA as we spent on GPS or the Shuttle program"..."consider the cost of Katrina.."

Also Proenza said he never asked to be head of the NHS, but rather was appointed by Admiral Lautenbacher, and it was acknowledged that it was a "demotion" within the NOAA organization.

Committee in short recess, I believe Admiral Lautenbacher will be the next witness.

Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3472
144. homegirl
4:10 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
He ya'll checked in to see what's cooking. Looks like a poosible low forming in the carribean. Shear is favorable, ssts warm, lots of moisture, let's see is we have persistant convection through afternoon and evening.

Goes with out saying but, i love to point out the obvious, LET'S KEEP AN EYE ON IT :)
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143. IKE
11:12 AM CDT on July 19, 2007
And the winds are SE in Barbados, if that means anything...

"Observed at: Grantley Adams, BR
Elevation: 184 ft
[Scattered Clouds]
84 ░F
Scattered Clouds
Humidity: 74%
Dew Point: 75 ░F
Wind: 14 mph from the SE
Pressure: 29.95 in (Steady)
Heat Index: 92 ░F
Visibility: 6.2 miles
UV: 14 out of 16
Clouds: Scattered Clouds 1800 ft
Scattered Clouds 30000 ft
(Above Ground Level)"
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37995
142. Drakoen
4:12 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
The only thing its missing is a SFC low.. so we will see what happens. I wouldn't get too excited...
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140. IKE
11:07 AM CDT on July 19, 2007
Pressure is falling in Grenada, KMAN....

"Observed at: Point Salines, GD
Elevation: 23 ft
[Mostly Cloudy]
77 ░F
Mostly Cloudy
Humidity: 94%
Dew Point: 75 ░F
Wind: 10 mph from the SSW
Pressure: 29.95 in (Falling)
Visibility: 6.2 miles
UV: 9 out of 16
Clouds: Mostly Cloudy 1500 ft
Mostly Cloudy 25000 ft
(Above Ground Level)"
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37995
139. kmanislander
4:05 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
Posted By: leftovers at 4:04 PM GMT on July 19, 2007.

If there is SW winds there is some kind of low.

A SSW wind would also be consistent with the expected wind shift from the passage of the wave. I do not believe there is a surface low and the loops do not suggest any
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138. StormJunkie
4:03 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
Alright y'all, back to work for me. See everyone later.

Quick Links-Easily find the most used forecast models, imagery, marine data, and many other pages all from one page.
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137. charley04survivor
4:05 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
If this were to develop, who would be most at risk of a landfall? West Coast of Florida, or Texas?
136. kmanislander
4:04 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
Posted By: Drakoen at 4:00 PM GMT on July 19, 2007.

winds in grenada are out of the SSW.

yes, but pressure is high and rising
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134. kmanislander
4:00 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
This is the area with vorticity at the mid levels

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133. hurricane23
11:59 AM EDT on July 19, 2007
Convection has been on the increase through the morning hours with the wave in the eastern caribbean.Lets see what happens later this afternoon and into the evening hours.
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132. Drakoen
3:58 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
winds in grenada are out of the SSW.
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131. kmanislander
3:55 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
Posted By: benirica at 3:49 PM GMT on July 19, 2007.

so if there was a low here where would it be? about where the graphic kman shows?

There is no surface low at this time.
It is hard to say where one would develop or even if it will. Having said that the strongest chance for a surface low IMO would be for a downward migration to the surface of the vorticity now seen at the 700 mb level. I wll post an image shortly of where on the surface this corresponds to, assuming the two areas are vertically stacked.
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129. CaribbeanDude
3:56 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
Nice wind, thunder and lightning down here in that system in the antilles (specificall St. Kitts)...

Late last night the wind was switching all over the place.

Might want to watch this little blob.....
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128. Drakoen
3:55 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
some lower level convergence. This was from a few hours ago, so i don't know if much has changed.
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127. StormJunkie
3:56 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
o no im sure the CMC is wrong, it has been sneaking into daddy's juice cabinet since the end of June

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126. IKE
10:54 AM CDT on July 19, 2007
Here's the New York City extended forecast....

"Long term /Saturday through Wednesday/...
both the 06z GFS and 00z European model (ecmwf) have trended toward more
progression with the upper trough over the eastern U.S to start
this weekend. This is reflected in the HPC hand forecasts. Thus...
rather than a cool...unsettled start to the weekend...conditions
will dry out on Sat. Flow will be rather light Saturday with
mostly clear skies. Will see temperatures Saturday right around
normal. Surface high pressure builds eastward from the Midwest
through the middle week period with a warming trend Monday into Wednesday as
heights build aloft.
By middle and humid conditions
will return to the tri- state area. Rain chances will be limited
to the slight chance/isolated category due to limited forcing and
weak instability.".......

No mention of any storm. The heat returns(near 90), by the middle of next week.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37995
125. StormJunkie
3:54 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
Looks around confused...Who's worked up?
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124. kmanislander
3:53 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
Posted By: Drakoen at 3:45 PM GMT on July 19, 2007.

Kman don't they do observation from 10,000ft to the surface?

Yes in order to determine whether a low is at the surface or in the upper levels of the atmosphere
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123. Drakoen
3:53 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
yes it is at the mid level hurricane23. We will have to see what the QuickSat shows tonight. What would we do with out the Quicksat lol.
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122. hurricane23
11:52 AM EDT on July 19, 2007
NHC is watching the area but currently any spin there as i stated early this morning is in the mid-levels at the present time.Basically just an area to moniter but nothing to get to worked up on.

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121. guygee
3:51 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
Proenza on QuickSCAT (paraphrase) "was told by NOAA that QuickSCAT replacement was moving up the priority list"..."Preliminary meetings were held with NASA".

"QuickSCAT is a vital tool in forecasting"..."we have found ways to mitigate while a replacement is being designed, but that is not as good as QuickSCAT" (paraphrase)
Without QuickSCAT, "the data is not as good, the models do not perform as well".."if we look at 2003 without QuickSCAT data the forecasts would have been worse" (paraphrase)

Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3472
120. benirica
3:48 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
so if there was a low here where would it be? about where the graphic kman shows?
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119. benirica
3:47 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
lol ... stormw thats life i guess. some things you cant just avoid, right? it gets the best of us
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117. StormJunkie
3:40 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
Morning all ☺

So we have the Carib wave, and a stalled front coming soon. I'll be glad when this day is over. I really need to catch up on what is going on. But thanks to y'all I am at least staying somewhat informed :~)

Had some rough storms last night. Got some great lightning footage, and hope to post some soon
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115. Drakoen
3:44 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
Kman don't they do observation from 10,000ft to the surface?
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113. benirica
3:44 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
Hey StormW!
how are you doing today?
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111. kmanislander
3:41 PM GMT on July 19, 2007
There is rotation at the 10,000 ft level in the area of the heavy convection just to the W of the islands

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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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