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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94. sullivanweather
4:03 PM GMT 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
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93. Weather456
4:04 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
weathersp, can i have the link to the website where that model chart came from
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
92. BahaHurican
12:01 PM EDT on September 01, 2007
Somewhere I read that the models often have a difficult time initializing systems in this formative stage. I have a lot more faith in their accuracy, especially in terms of track, once they are focused on a tropical storm.

I wonder if part of this is because they just weren't designed to run with the more disorganized systems. e. g. BAMS is the only one (AFAIK) designed to evaluate shallow systems like closed lows and TDs.

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91. weathersp
12:02 PM EDT on September 01, 2007
I posted this before..and it is not good. notice how the NOGAPS has Felix not even hitting the yucatan and going into the GOM...

Felix
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90. DocBen
4:01 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
I know it is awfully early but ... I have a sneaky feeling the frontal system (and the 'L' on the FL panhandle right now) coming off the US coast right not might create enough weakness for 98 to curve north a bit. Florida just might get that much-needed rain but with a few other surprises to go with it.

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89. TheStormWillSurvive
4:02 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
When is the next RECON in Eastern Time
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88. ClearH2OFla
12:00 PM EDT on September 01, 2007
Ok leaving now Nash if you saw hit send me an email. I know there are a buch of us that live in PIN county on here
87. weatherboyfsu
3:59 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
Posted By: weatherboyfsu at 1:56 PM GMT on August 31, 2007.

The lower islands will have some nasty storms but nothing to terrible. Also, I dont think that South America will hurt Felix. He should stay well north..........Very rare for a storm to move below west in this area of the world.........This 94L has a chance to be a Hurricane by Sunday.......And none of the models are picking up on this.......It will be very interesting to see what happens........



Aaaaaaaaccccccccccccccckkkkkkkkkkkkhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm............
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86. littlefish
3:55 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
Wow, weird how things suddenly 'pop'. I like Dr M coming out and giving his opinion and not just going with NHC forecst or models specifically or whatever. he puts it all together to give his own well-rounded opinion. He has been quite accurate so far this year. Let's see if he nails 98L as far as developing and if he gets Felix right with intensity and potential track deviation (more likely south than north in his opinion but of course he mentions we should all be watching closely to make sure if it does something unexpected).

I'm still interested in watching the S Amer interaction, Felix is still fairly close. Not much effect so far (getting stronger!).
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85. boiredfish
3:59 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
If a weakness does form in the ridge 3 or 4 days out this could be another Beulah for Corpus.
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84. ClearH2OFla
11:58 AM EDT on September 01, 2007
Hey Nash i went to the Gym earlier did you see my post about a monthly meeting
83. ClearH2OFla
11:58 AM EDT on September 01, 2007
BBL all taking wife out for here birthday lunch.
82. TheCaneWhisperer
3:48 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
Morning All! College football has arrived.

Tis the season, with multiple threats out there and more to come next week. I really think that moisture surge off Africa is going to have big implications in the coming week or two. NHC still not ruling out the NW turn with Felix, nor am I. I do find it interesting in how poorly the models are doing with genesis the past week. Took a while for them to realize Felix and now 98L.
81. nash28
3:54 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
StormW just made an excellent point with me in email. After looking at it a little closer, he is correct that this could possibly be a scenario.

The ridge over the SE may be more zonal in nature and that trough digging down towards Texas may cause enough of a weakness to change the track quite a bit.

Again, no one is saying this is going to occur, but it was a great find from StormW!
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80. C2News
3:55 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
what happened to Felix it looks like 2 things happened

it went on steroids

and it lost some of its CDO
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79. BahaHurican
11:47 AM EDT on September 01, 2007
Posted By: benirica at 11:22 AM EDT on September 01, 2007.

wow 98L was unexpected for me, i hadnt been paying attention at anything out there besides Felix... so, whered it come from? Is it the reincarnation of that naked swirl that was an area of interest near the Cape Verdes some time ago?


Hola, beni. That wave came off Africa about 4 days ago. I've had my eye on it since then, and this is the best its looked over water. It always had a pretty strong circulation, though cloud development was pretty skimpy.
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78. stoormfury
3:47 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
good day
this has been a very exciting morning, Felix formed and 98L was christened. felix is fast becoming a big player and 98L could be a threat to the southern leewards islands and the greater antilles. at the moment 98L is looking impressive and has a southerlt compnent to it's westward movement. this is no doubt as a result of the strong high to it's north. there are interesting days ahead
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77. Tazmanian
3:52 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
this kind of looks like a TD overe land right now may be a TS i no this has not been update but its looking good

76. weatherboyfsu
3:52 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
None of the models have done well since Dean.........the GFS had Dean on its radar Two weeks before hand...........
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75. weatherboyfsu
3:49 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
98L doesnt have to go North to hit the U.S.......just WNW and a little NW..........


Hurricane23........I think that because the models have done such a poor job with Felix that there predictions should be more scrutinized.......Like i said earlier....everyone in the GOM should keep an eye on Felix
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74. keisa90
3:45 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
I hope everyone in the ABC Islands are preparing for a storm lashing. Felix isn't messing around anymore.
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73. Drakoen
3:50 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
Posted By: helove2trac at 3:50 PM GMT on September 01, 2007.

the computer models have 98 going into the carribean so maybe it may be a central gulf problem instead of the east coast


BAMM models lol. they aren't exactly reliable. Its too early to tell where this thing is going.
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72. ClearH2OFla
11:49 AM EDT on September 01, 2007
Adrian,

Thank you. So i guess its 98l that might give us a problem.
71. Tazmanian
3:50 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
un oh
70. Tazmanian
3:48 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
oh there is now a 1010mb low thats going to be comeing off the coast wish will soon be 99L
69. helove2trac
3:47 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
the computer models have 98 going into the carribean so maybe it may be a central gulf problem instead of the east coast
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68. weatherboyfsu
3:46 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
I agree Hurricane23......actually, 98L probably has more potential to affect the U.S then any other system this season...."POTENTIAL" is the key word before any of you get antsy..........
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67. Drakoen
3:47 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
98L looks pretty impressive convection-wise. Just needs to get under that convection. I expect it to develop.
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66. hurricane23
3:47 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
Posted By: ClearH2OFla at 3:47 PM GMT on September 01, 2007.

Adrian Any chance felix pulls a Charley.

Dont think so my friend as high pressure should keep this one on a westward course throught the caribbean in the coming days.
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65. hurricane23
3:46 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
Posted By: ebzz at 3:45 PM GMT on September 01, 2007.

Posted By: littlefish at 11:42 AM EDT on September 01, 2007.
keisa- yes 98L could be a real threat to east coast but it needs to develop first. It obviously is further north so bears close watching in coming days...

I doubt it will take a north track towards the US.

Reasons for your thinking...Thanks
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64. littlefish
3:43 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
98L will look less impressive once the west blob dies off. The COC is further east and looks like it might be partially exposed so it needs time to build. Nice cirrus outflow though on the blob. Weird considering the shear IMO. And the shear is more southerly i thought but the convection is getting blown westward (not north)...
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63. helove2trac
3:44 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
98l could be a problem for the gom too not only the east coast
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62. ClearH2OFla
11:46 AM EDT on September 01, 2007
Adrian Any chance felix pulls a Charley
61. sporteguy03
3:45 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
Posted By: ebzz at 3:45 PM GMT on September 01, 2007.

Posted By: littlefish at 11:42 AM EDT on September 01, 2007.
keisa- yes 98L could be a real threat to east coast but it needs to develop first. It obviously is further north so bears close watching in coming days...

I doubt it will take a north track towards the US.


Why because of trof?
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60. hurricane23
3:43 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
Indeed folks 98L could be a significant problem for the eastcoast and puerto rico.We'll see what developes with this one in the coming days.
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59. extreme236
3:44 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. SUSPECT AREA (LESSER ANTILLES)
FLIGHT ONE
A. 02/0000Z
B. NOAA2 0306A CYCLONE
C. 01/2000Z
D. 13.0N 67.5W
E. 01/2100Z TO 02/0300Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT

FLIGHT TWO
A. 02/0600Z
B. AFXXX 0406A CYCLONE
C. 02/0400Z
D. 13.2N 69.2W
E. 02/0500Z TO 02/0830Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT

FLIGHT THREE
A. 02/1200Z
B. NOAA3 0506A CYCLONE
C. 02/0800Z
D. 13.5N 71.0W
E. 02/0930Z TO 02/1430Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
58. ebzz
11:44 AM EDT on September 01, 2007
Posted By: littlefish at 11:42 AM EDT on September 01, 2007.
keisa- yes 98L could be a real threat to east coast but it needs to develop first. It obviously is further north so bears close watching in coming days...

I doubt it will take a north track towards the US.
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57. sporteguy03
3:42 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
Needless to say then it is going to get dicey the next few days for alot of people.
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56. Drakoen
3:44 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
NHC analyzing 98L as a 1009mb low.
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55. weatherboyfsu
3:40 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
Christopher.....no one on here is an expert except the doc........

The high pressure your talking about is generally moving along with felix but its strength later on is undetermined......And its more complicated than that.....Theres high pressure at the surface, at 5000 feet and so forth......upper levels of the atmosphere......the new jet that the NHC acquired recently is schedule to fly in tomorrow so we will have a much better idea tomorrow evening........
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54. littlefish
3:39 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
keisa- yes 98L could be a real threat to east coast but it needs to develop first. It obviously is further north so bears close watching in coming days...
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53. Drakoen
3:41 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
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52. seflagamma
11:34 AM AST on September 01, 2007
Hi everyone,
Dr Master's: enjoyed reading your take on the situation.
and the comments in here.
Looks like we will be blob watching for a while now. Have a good Sat everyone. Will lurk when I can.
Gams
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51. RMM34667
3:36 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
To my untrained eye.. that neat little blob of 98l looks more 'together' than Felix.. Sitting here nervously awaiting what this wave set to come off Africa is gonna look like since they are talking about it already.
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50. weatherboyfsu
3:39 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
Keisa.....

Right now, it cant be ruled out.......
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49. ChristopherH
3:37 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
Okay, so I am not by any means an expert. The High pressure systems over, off the coast of FL. I see it continuing Felix on a Westward track, for the time being, but as Felix moves into the Carribean, what is preventing it from turning WNW to NW, around the High. Is the High expected to move West, with Felix?

There is no High over the Gulf, or over LA, MS, as there was during Dean. I was wrong with Dean, when I thought it would turn North, but I am more worried about Felix.
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48. gatagus07
3:35 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
According to Felix's coordinates...it took a jog to the South....any troughs coming off the East Coast next week?...that could move 98L either towards the East coast....or out to sea depending on the timing
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47. keisa90
3:37 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
Obviously, it is too early to tell, but does anyone have a feeling that 98L could be the first legitimate threat to the East Coast?
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46. nash28
3:39 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
StormW- You have mail.b
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45. extreme236
3:37 PM GMT on September 01, 2007
by tomorrow the shear will start to gradually decrease, and we should get some more organization
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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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