Felix a major threat to Central America; new disturbance could develop

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:09 PM GMT on September 01, 2007

Tropical Storm Felix lashed the islands of Grenada, Trinidad, Tobago, Barbados, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines with winds near tropical storm force and torrential rains this morning. Visible satellite loops show that Felix is a small storm, but is steadily expanding in size and growing more organized. Low level spiral bands have formed on the eastern side, and there is one respectable upper-level outflow jet that has formed to the storm's north. Dry air on the northwest side of Felix continues to hamper its intensification, but the storm is small enough that dry air drawn in from the north coast of South America has not been a problem.

Felix is a major danger to Central America
The latest GFDL model forecasts that Felix will intensify into a Category 2 hurricane by the time it makes landfall in Belize Wednesday. The SHIPS intensity model is more aggressive, making Felix a Category 3 hurricane. Given that the environment in the Caribbean is much the same as we saw for Dean, I think we can expect a steady intensification of Felix to a Category 2 or 3 storm when it approaches the Honduras/Nicaragua border Monday night. On the current projected track of Felix, it would pass just north of the coast of Honduras, which would be an extremely dangerous situation for that country. Hurricane Fifi of 1974 passed along the north coast of Honduras in 1974 as a Category 2 hurricane (Figure 1), and dumped up to 24 inches of rain on the mountainous country. The resulting landslides and floods killed an estimated 8,000 people--the fourth deadliest hurricane disaster in the Atlantic basin. There is one important difference between Fifi and Felix--Fifi was moving slower, about 11 mph, Felix is expected to move past Honduras at about 17 mph, so will not linger as long to dump heavy rains. Even so, Felix's rains could reach 10-15 inches over Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Belize. Officials in those nations need to prepare now for the possibility that Felix could bring a major flooding disaster to their nations.


Figure 1. Track of Hurricane Fifi of 1974, which killed 8000 people in Central America. Fifi was the fourth deadliest hurricane in Atlantic history.

Felix's threat to other locales
Felix should being winds of tropical storm force to Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao as it passes to the north. These islands, and the northern coast of Venezuela, will also get heavy rains, but Felix should not cause any serious wind damage or floods in those areas. The ridge of high pressure that is steering Felix to the west is strong enough that a northward deviation of the storm into Jamaica and the Cayman Islands is unlikely. If Felix is going to deviate from the projected NHC forecast the next two days, I think a southward deviation into Nicaragua is more likely.

If Felix does stay far enough north to make it into the Western Caribbean on Tuesday and Wednesday, there is a trough of low pressure forecast to swing north of the region that could turn Felix on a more northwesterly track into the Gulf of Mexico. The models are split on this, and we'll have to wait and see. Those of you planning on being in Cancun or Cozumel on Wednesday should pay close attention to Felix.

The NOAA jet's first flight will be Sunday morning.

Links to follow today:
Aruba radar
Current conditions on Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao

98L
A tropical wave in the mid-Atlantic, halfway between Africa and the Lesser Antilles, has developed a closed circulation and some heavy thunderstorm activity near the center. This disturbance has been labeled "98L" by NHC this morning. The disturbance is under about 20 knots of winds shear from strong upper-level winds from the east-southeast, but this shear is forecast to gradually slacken over the next few days, and should be below 10 knots by Monday night, and under 5 knots by Wednesday. 98L is a threat to develop into a tropical depression as early as Monday. The 12Z (8am EDT) runs of the GFDL and HWRF models both develop 98L into a tropical storm, but keep it below hurricane strength. The storm will be approaching the Lesser Antilles Islands on Wednesday or Thursday. Given 98L's more northerly starting location, it may eventually affect Puerto Rico.

My next update will be Sunday by noon EDT.

Jeff Masters

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144. Eyewall911
4:29 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
LLJ you and I both know you can not trust models that far out. Never say Goodbye!!!
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143. JLPR
4:29 PM GMT on Septiembre 01, 2007
well Georges did make a direct hit in almost all of the Greater Antilles and made it to the Gulf
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141. TheStormWillSurvive
4:29 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
Gabriel AKA Gabby
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139. stormlvr
4:05 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
Good morning all. Tropics sure are a lot more exciting than a week ago. Looks like Felix will make its run to the west fast enough to avoid any weaknesses strong enough to turn it north and threaten the US. Wouldn't be surprised by a track north of the current NHC day 4 and 5 forecast. Will watch future model trends for the Felix track west of 85 west as he intensifies and the models latch on a bit better. Have to agree with all who have mentioned the potential threat posed by 98L if it continues to develop. Might also mention that the earlier and more northerly development of 98L may foretell improving conditions in the Eastern Atlantic for earlier development as waves exit the African coast.
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138. JLPR
4:27 PM GMT on Septiembre 01, 2007
what is the G strom name?
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137. JLPR
4:25 PM GMT on Septiembre 01, 2007
i see the one inland in Africa has an exposed center
Link
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136. Eyewall911
4:24 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
Ooops....bye bye little Felix!



Bye Bye where?
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135. surfmom
4:21 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
thanks for the honest post, many mainlander's are unaware of what islanders experience. We only got a clue w/Katrina. But even that is removed from the population --most people w/full bellies don't take the time to acknowledge the realities that occur after natural disasters
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133. centex
4:24 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
JM stated how it could be an issue for US. f Felix does stay far enough north to make it into the Western Caribbean on Tuesday and Wednesday, there is a trough of low pressure forecast to swing north of the region that could turn Felix on a more northwesterly track into the Gulf of Mexico. The models are split on this, and we'll have to wait and see. Those of you planning on being in Cancun or Cozumel on Wednesday should pay close attention to Felix.
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132. MissBennet
4:22 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
Posted By: Weather456 at 4:17 PM GMT on September 01, 2007.

They may make it a TS becuz it had TS sustain winds but hurricane force gusts


Oh ok, I understand. Thanks! Still amazing that it was able to stay that strong that long!
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130. Weather456
4:22 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
Live from Aruba

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129. JGreco
4:20 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
I still see a pretty dominant high pressure still steering this storm. I guess I will wait until late tonight to Sunday morning to see what the NHC finally thinks what the upper level dynamics will be by tues/wed but I just don't see much defeating this high.
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128. surfmom
4:16 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
Buenos everyone! Well it is the first of September and while we are through the worst of the summer, it clearly looks like we are looking at the peak of Hurricane season.

The gom at my home beach is a warm soup temp of 89 degress. for surfers out there on the GOM there is a ligght windchop, not really rideable yet. The weak low and sw winds may create a kneehigh surfable wave--longboard, but I have to keep checking on it. Even if there is a wave or so, I wonder if i can get a parking space?

Watching Felix we may have a possible channel swell by the end of the week -if Felix stays weak and south it's iffy, but listening to you guys/ladies it seems to be too sonn to know Felix's strength and track
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127. benirica
4:19 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
um... although it was probably just said to say something, it is possible for a system to hit PR and then the East Coast...
dont think 98L will be a case like this... doubt it would pull a Hugo like situation and hit PR then go to the Carolinas.
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126. kev22
4:19 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
I live in LA and I hate it when certain models try to turn these Carribean storms north. I hope it stays weak and stays away!
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125. boobless
4:16 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
where's your big fat high now?
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124. Labayourambler
4:17 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
Is there a chance that this possible trough could make Felix swing north and move toward the U.S.? Just asking about the possibility.
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123. spicegirl
12:14 PM AST on September 01, 2007
Thanks for kind words Surfmom. It is a lovely island but we seem to be having a run of bad luck lately!!!! We don't have the financial resources to handle numerous disasters. We received much help after IVAN but the majority of locals will tell you that they didn't personaly receive any of that help!!!! And as for foreigners like myself, forget it!!!!! Oh well, still better off than many people in the world.
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122. weathersp
12:17 PM EDT on September 01, 2007
Posted By: gnshpdude at 12:15 PM EDT on September 01, 2007.
Looks like Felix is sucking in some dry air from the South American coast into the southeast quadrant of the storm. Comments


Yeah I got one!... What Dry air!
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121. gnshpdude
4:17 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
Something is causes the southeast quadrant to fall apart. Maybe the proximety to land.
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119. stoormfury
4:17 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
SLU you have mail
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118. Weather456
4:16 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
Good morning all.
So Weather456.. if i understand this correctly, it hit the T.X. coast as a TS but in post analysis they may designate it as a Hurricane when it went over O.K.?! A hurricane that formed over land... What a crazy world we live in...


They may make it a TS becuz it had TS sustain winds but hurricane force gusts
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117. extreme236
4:17 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
i dont see any dry air being a problem for Felix
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116. NorthxCakalaky
4:15 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
BBL.Well, IF 98L went in to the Gulf, PR should watch out. Then Mexico Coast.
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114. extreme236
4:16 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
image

what dry air?
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113. littlefish
4:16 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
98L has lots of potential dry air to deal with though...
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112. gnshpdude
4:14 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
Looks like Felix is sucking in some dry air from the South American coast into the southeast quadrant of the storm. Comments
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111. JLPR
4:13 PM GMT on Septiembre 01, 2007
The storm will be approaching the Lesser Antilles Islands on Tuesday. Given 98L's more northerly starting location, it may affect Puerto Rico--as early as Wednesday.

My next update will be Sunday by noon EDT, or possibly later today.

Wathching Jeff said it could get close to us here in PR
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109. extreme236
4:14 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
that cold front will be gone by the time 98L actually turns into something
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108. weathersp
12:12 PM EDT on September 01, 2007
weathersp,

What's so not good about it? the NOGAPS is the northernmost soultion, basically an outlier.

All other model guidance takes it into Central America


NOGAPS wasn't the point. The point is that the models are spilt on track and intenity. NOGAPS was just an example.
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107. MissBennet
4:06 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
Posted By: Weather456 at 3:18 PM GMT on September 01, 2007.

000
ABNT30 KNHC 011149
TWSAT
MONTHLY TROPICAL WEATHER SUMMARY
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
800 AM EDT SAT SEP 1 2007...

...WHILE MOVING
NORTHEASTWARD OVER OKLAHOMA THAT MORNING...ERIN PRODUCED SUSTAINED
WINDS OF TROPICAL STORM FORCE AND GUSTS TO HURRICANE FORCE IN
ISOLATED LOCATIONS. POST-STORM ANALYSIS OF THIS UNUSUAL EVENT IS
ONGOING TO DETERMINE THE STRENGTH AND STATUS OF ERIN OVER OKLAHOMA.


Good morning all.
So Weather456.. if i understand this correctly, it hit the T.X. coast as a TS but in post analysis they may designate it as a Hurricane when it went over O.K.?! A hurricane that formed over land... What a crazy world we live in...
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106. JLPR
4:10 PM GMT on Septiembre 01, 2007
i see that 98l formed that one i need to wath is moving t the west and looks decent on satellite and it is at 13N much more up that the latest one
watching 98L for the moment and TS Felix 65mph wow when did that happen
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105. NorthxCakalaky
4:12 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
Just telling you what I think.Sorry.

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104. surfmom
4:09 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
so sorry spicegirl, my son an avid cook, spearfisherman,diver has dreams of one day visiting your lovely island. We have a serious food garden and I know how much it hurts to come out and see your crops flattened.
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103. Drakoen
4:11 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
Posted By: NorthxCakalaky at 4:10 PM GMT on September 01, 2007.

Posted By: Drakoen at 4:09 PM GMT on September 01, 2007.

Posted By: NorthxCakalaky at 4:08 PM GMT on September 01, 2007.

Last night, I saw a T.D in the Atlantic.Now it got to 65mph? wow...

Dont worry about 98L it will go west than north-west, than north, than north-east.Fish storm! Though Bermuda should watch it.

That statement is not supported by anything.


Cold Front.


You don't know what this system is going to. 98L is not even near the trough. Have you even looked at the steering flow?
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102. NorthxCakalaky
4:09 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
Posted By: Drakoen at 4:09 PM GMT on September 01, 2007.

Posted By: NorthxCakalaky at 4:08 PM GMT on September 01, 2007.

Last night, I saw a T.D in the Atlantic.Now it got to 65mph? wow...

Dont worry about 98L it will go west than north-west, than north, than north-east.Fish storm! Though Bermuda should watch it.

That statement is not supported by anything.


Cold Front.
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101. TheStormWillSurvive
4:09 PM GMT on September 01, 2007


how come this one has a different NOGAPS
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100. Drakoen
4:08 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
Posted By: NorthxCakalaky at 4:08 PM GMT on September 01, 2007.

Last night, I saw a T.D in the Atlantic.Now it got to 65mph? wow...

Dont worry about 98L it will go west than north-west, than north, than north-east.Fish storm! Though Bermuda should watch it.


That statement is not supported by anything.
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98. weathersp
12:07 PM EDT on September 01, 2007
weathersp, can i have the link to the website where that model chart came from

Sure thing!

Link

and model tracks..
Link
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97. NorthxCakalaky
4:02 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
Last night, I saw a T.D in the Atlantic.Now it got to 65mph? wow...

Dont worry about 98L it will go west than north-west, than north, than north-east.Fish storm! Though Bermuda should watch it.

Be back later.I had a hail storm last Friday.High winds too, and flooding rain.Some residents reported a "Low Black Cloud".Dont think there was any report of a tornado.
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96. spicegirl
12:04 PM AST on September 01, 2007
Good Morning from Grenada
Just ventured out from my hurricane shelter. It was a particularly nasty night as my house ( which I lost to IVAN) sits high atop a hill with no trees to act as a windbreak ( IVAN took all the trees I had). No dammage to house this time but lost 80% of banana trees and numerous other small trees. Lots of rain!!!! Winds are still blowing hard and rain continues to fall.
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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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