The new NHC director is Bill Read

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:08 PM GMT on January 25, 2008

NOAA announced today that the new director of the National Hurricane Center will be Bill Read, 58, who has served as the center's acting deputy director since August 2007. Previously, he served as director of Houston's National Weather Service office, a post he took in 1992. Bill was called in to work at NHC three times between 1992 and 2005 to help out with hurricane emergencies. Prior to his job in Houston, Bill served in the U.S. Navy, where his duties included an assignment as an on-board meteorologist with the Hurricane Hunters. He began his career in 1977 with the National Weather Service test and evaluation division in Sterling, VA; developed his forecasting skills in Fort Worth and San Antonio, Texas; and, served as severe thunderstorm and flash flood program leader at the National Weather Service headquarters in Silver Spring, MD.

I got a chance to speak with Bill this week at the annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society in New Orleans. I asked him what his focus would be as director of NHC, and he promised to continue the main themes of Max Mayfield, emphasizing hurricane preparedness and education. I asked him what we should do with the Saffir-Simpson scale, which rates hurricanes as Category 1 through 5, based on their wind speeds. This scale has obvious limitations, as proved when a weakening Category 3 Hurricane Katrina brought a storm surge characteristic of a Category 5 storm to the shore. Bill responded that we absolutely had to keep the Saffir-Simpson scale, since it has proved its usefulness in many situations. Discarding it would cause confusion. He promised, however, to explore ways to improve public outreach efforts and educate people on the limitations of the Saffir-Simpson scale. I agree with both of these points. Finally, I asked him how he was progressing with the technical aspect of issuing hurricane forecasts. His predecessor, Bill Proenza, was criticized by his staff for not taking an interest in forecasting. Bill Read responded that he was involved in forecasting for all of the tropical storms and hurricanes that occurred in 2007, after his August arrival at the center. In particular, he emphasized how he happened to be on duty the night Hurricane Humberto blew into a hurricane just 18 hours after it formed as a tropical depression. He's definitely experienced some time on the hot seat with that storm! All in all, my impression is that the new director will fit in much better at NHC than Bill Proenza did, since Read is less of an outsider. He is a good listener, easy to talk to, and a good communicator, traits essential for a successful NHC director. In the coming months, we'll have a chance to see how the new director fits. I'm optimistic that Bill can become a top-notch NHC director, and wish him well in his mission.

Jeff Masters

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52. BtnTx
7:37 AM CST on January 27, 2008
Good Morning. Its 43F in Baytown and it is supposed to get up to 65F here today. I hope it does! Yesterday it did not rain for the first day in 6 days!
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51. JLPR
3:17 AM AST on January 27, 2008
wow its so quiet here =P
greetings to everyone =D
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50. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
6:51 AM GMT on January 27, 2008
Southwest Indian Ocean Advisories
RSMC Reunion Warnings
===============================

At 6:00 AM UTC, Tropical Depression 09R [997 hPa] located near 12.9S 62.5E or 1145 kms northeast of the coast of Reunion had 10 minute sustained winds of 30 knots with gusts up to 45 knots. The depression is reported moving south at 4 knots

Near Gale-Force Winds within 30 NM from the center extending to 60 NM in the northeastern quadrant

Dvorak Intensity: T2.5

Forecast and Intensity
-----------------------

24 HRS: 14.2S 62.1E - 40 knots (Tempête Tropical Moderée)
48 HRS: 15.8S 60.0E - 60 knots (Forte Tempête Tropicale)
72 HRS: 17.6S 58.4E - 80 knots (CYCLONE Tropicale)

Addition Information
--------------------
Position has been made with peristence. It may need to be relocalized later today. System is currently tracking towards a mid latitude trough located south of 25S and along 57E. Within the next 24 hours, the trough should slide away and the system should be steered on a more southwestward track as it will be on the northwestern side of the subtropical ridge. However, this motion should be at a lower speed as the system will be under the opposite influnece of a southwestern flow generated by a mid tropospheric ridge developing northwestward.

As this lower motion is well seen by most of NWP models, there is some dispersion on how strong the system will recurve its track. UKMO and ECMWF have the most different solutions. UKMO almost tracks the system westward and ECMWF more south-southwestwards. Present forecast is closer to the ECMWF solutions and in good agreement with solutions provided by U.S. models. Easterly shear is decreasing, so gradual intensification is forecasted.

System #2

At 6:00 AM UTC, Severe Tropical Storm Fame 08R [976 hPa] located near 15.4S 44.4E or 1305 kms west-northwest of the coast of Reunion had 10 minute sustained winds of 60 knots with gusts up to 85 knots. The storm is reported moving south at 5 knots.

Dvorak Intensity: T4.0

Storm-Force Winds within 30 NM from the center

Gale-Force Winds and very rough seas within 40 NM from the center.

Near Gale-Force Winds and rough sea within 60 NM from the center extending up to 90 NM in the northeastern semi-circle.

Forecast and Intensity
-----------------------
12 HRS: 16.4S 44.4E - 70 knots (CYCLONE Tropicale)
24 HRS: 18.0S 45.0E - (Depression Overland)

Addition Information
--------------------
Convective activity has intensified near the center, due to the restart of deplacement over warmer sea surface temperatures. Intensity is now at 60 knots for this advisory and still has the potential of becoming a tropical cyclone before landfall.

Low level circulation center is tracking southward toward the northwestern Malagasy coastline where landfall is forecast this evening or in the night south to Cap Saint Andre. Severe Tropical Storm Fame is undergoing steering flow of mid-level highs in its northeast. After that, there is some dispersion in NWP solutions.. One as UKMO bring the system back over the Mozambique Channel and the other bringing the system over the eastern coast of Malagasy.. As Fame remains a small system, offical forecast calls for dissipation over the high mountain region of Malagasy by 48 hours.
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49. hahaguy
4:05 AM GMT on January 27, 2008
hadesgodWyvern that would be nice
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48. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
4:01 AM GMT on January 27, 2008
The JMA has size categories for their tropical cyclone.. maybe NHC and other RSMC will pick it up.
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47. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
4:00 AM GMT on January 27, 2008
JTWC Tropical Cyclone 14S

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46. hahaguy
3:51 AM GMT on January 27, 2008
caffinehog i really like your idea about the saffir scale. And i agree the size of a storm does play a big part with the tracking and path of a storm and the storm surge . Lets just hope we won't have to use the scale that much this year. It's good to see everyone again :)
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45. Caffinehog
12:47 AM GMT on January 27, 2008
I think it would be simple to revise the Saffir-Simpson scale. Just put an L, M, or S after the number. Cat2L would be a large category 2 storm, Cat5S would be a small, compact category 5 storm. The size has an enormous implication in the amount of storm surge and the area affected. Large, medium, or small would be easy concepts for the public to grasp.
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44. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
12:50 AM GMT on January 27, 2008
Southwest Indian Ocean Advisories
====================================

At 0:00 AM UTC, Severe Tropical Storm Fame 08R [982 hPa] located near 15.1S 44.4E or 1320 kms west-northwest of the coast of Reunion had 10 minute sustained winds of 55 knots with gusts up to 80 knots. The storm is reported moving south at 4 knots.

Dvorak Intensity: T4.0

Storm-Force Winds within 20 NM from the center

Gale-Force Winds and very rough seas within 40 NM from the center.

Near Gale-Force Winds and rough sea within 50 NM from the center extending up to 70 NM in the northeastern semi-circle.

Forecast and Intensity
-----------------------
12 HRS: 16.2S 44.5E - 65 knots (CYCLONE Tropicale)
48 HRS: 17.5S 44.9E - 50 knots (Depression Overland)

Addition Information
--------------------
Intensification has slowed down in the latest hours, due to the so long stationary position. Severe Tropical Storm Fame is now tracking globally southward and should make landfall near the area of Cap Saint Andre later today or tonight. There is however still potential for this system to reach tropical cyclone stage before landfall.

System #2
------

Tropical Cyclone Advisory #3
================================

At 0:00 AM UTC, Tropical Disturbance 09R [1000 hPa] located near 12.6S 62.5E or 1170 kms northeast of the coast of Reunion had 10 minute sustained winds of 25 knots with gusts up to 35 knots. The disturbance is reported moving south at 7 knots

Dvorak Intensity: T2.0

Forecast and Intensity
-----------------------

12 HRS: 13.5S 62.3E - 30 knots (Depression Tropicale)
24 HRS: 14.2S 62.1E - 35 knots (Tempête Tropical Moderée)

Addition Information
--------------------
System organizes slowly.. It should keep on tracking globally southwards today then southwestwards. On the northwestern egde of the subtropical high pressure it should move at a slower speed by that time. Gradual intensification is forecasted.
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43. BahaHurican
5:46 PM EST on January 26, 2008
I asked him what we should do with the Saffir-Simpson scale, which rates hurricanes as Category 1 through 5, based on their wind speeds. This scale has obvious limitations, as proved when a weakening Category 3 Hurricane Katrina brought a storm surge characteristic of a Category 5 storm to the shore. Bill responded that we absolutely had to keep the Saffir-Simpson scale, since it has proved its usefulness in many situations. Discarding it would cause confusion. He promised, however, to explore ways to improve public outreach efforts and educate people on the limitations of the Saffir-Simpson scale.

I don't know if I agree with this. I believe there is room for revision of the SSS, even if it is only along the lines of adding a letter after the number to indicate size of storm (or possible wave heights or movement speed). If the Fujita scale could be revised effectively, I'm sure the S-S could be too.
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42. BahaHurican
5:43 PM EST on January 26, 2008
On Bill Read's appointment:

I guess we mostly felt he'd get the job after his move last year. Perhaps a similar "trial period" should have been applied in the previous appointment . . . :o)

I'm with those who are hoping his appointment will lead to a more settled environment at NHC . . .
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41. BahaHurican
5:29 PM EST on January 26, 2008
34. clwstmchasr 4:41 PM EST on January 26, 2008
I know that we are in a La Nina pattern but with the weather (west coast and here in Florda) over the past month it sure seems like El Nino to me. I guess this tells me that there are no absolutes in weather patterns.


If la niña is supposed to result in lower than normal precipitation, your comments are correct for the Bahamas also. This is the rainiest January we have had in years. We've had at least a trace of rain here on 10 of the last 14 days, when normally the statistic would be the converse - 10 / 14 days WITHOUT rain . . .

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39. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
10:14 PM GMT on January 26, 2008
same with 99P.. tcfa

JTWC TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION ALERT
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38. Weather456
6:05 PM AST on January 26, 2008
it also looks good on Dvorak IR Intensity estimates having a well define curve band arc of 0.50 or CI 2.5, 35 knots, 997 mb. The cyclone exactly matches T 2.5 seen on Model Expected T-no or MET.

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
37. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
10:03 PM GMT on January 26, 2008
ya Tropical Cyclone Formation Alert is in effect for 09R/98S.

JTWC TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION ALERT
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36. Weather456
6:02 PM AST on January 26, 2008
98S/09R looks cool

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35. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
9:58 PM GMT on January 26, 2008
RSMC Nadi

Tropical Disturbance Summary 1800z 26Jan
========================================
At 18:00 UTC, Tropical Depression 12F [1004 hPa] located near 12.4S 179.4W. Position POOR based on infrared imagery and surface observations. A cyclonic circulation persists from the surface up to 500 hPa with an upper short wave trough to the west. TD 12F is located within a low to moderate vertical wind shear with sea surface temperatures around 30C. Convection around 12F has improved over the last 12 hours. Dvorak Intensity yields T1.5 with a wrap of 0.3 on LOG10 Spiral. Global models has picked up the system and moves it southwestwards with little intensification within the next 24 to 36 hours.

The potential for this system to form into a tropical cyclone within the next 24 hours is LOW.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 64 Comments: 54802
33. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
9:13 PM GMT on January 26, 2008
Southwest Indian Ocean Cyclone Advisories
=============================================

At 18:00 PM UTC, Severe Tropical Storm Fame 08R [982 hPa] located near 14.3S 44.8E or 1335 kms west-northwest of the coast of Reunion had 10 minute sustained winds of 55 knots with gusts up to 80 knots. The storm is reported as quasi-stationary.

Dvorak Intensity: T4.0

Storm-Force Winds within 20 NM from the center

Gale-Force Winds and very rough seas within 40 NM from the center.

Near Gale-Force Winds and rough sea within 50 NM from the center extending up to 70 NM in the northern semi-circle.

Forecast and Intensity
-----------------------
24 HRS: 16.1S 44.9E - 70 knots (CYCLONE Tropicale)
48 HRS: 19.0S 46.5E - 30 knots (Depression Overland)

Addition Information
--------------------
Intensification has slow down in the latest hours due to the so long stationary position. Severe Tropical Storm Fame could restart its intensification a sit should track globally southward within the next hours.

System #2
------

At 18:00 PM UTC, Tropical Disturbance 09R [1002 hPa] located near 12.0S 62.5E or 1225 kms northeast of the coast of Reunion had 10 minute sustained winds of 25 knots with gusts up to 35 knots. The disturbance is reported moving south at 6 knots

Dvorak Intensity: T2.0

Forecast and Intensity
-----------------------
24 HRS: 14.0S 62.0E - 30 knots (Depression Tropicale)
48 HRS: 15.2S 61.0E - 40 knots (Tempête Tropicale Moderée)
72 HRS: 16.5S 59.3E - 60 knots (Forte Tempête Tropicale)

Addition Information
--------------------
System remains ill defined as seen in SSMI Microwave imagery. In latest hours, convection has flared up just west of the low level circulation center. Moderate northeasterly wind shear is currently affecting the system. As it will continue to move on a generally south-southwest track on the north western side of the subtropical ridge, shear should lessen a little bit allowing some further intensification.
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32. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
9:11 PM GMT on January 26, 2008
RSMC Nadi

TROPICAL DEPRESSION 12F
12.0S 179.0E - 20 knots 1004 hPa
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31. Weather456
2:37 PM AST on January 26, 2008
In convnetional infrared imagery, the center of 09R can easily be misplaced.



Microwave imagery corrects this and showes the center east of most of the convective mass. In a case like this we are using still images. If you loop the infrared imagery above it can also correct the problems of still images.

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30. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
5:05 PM GMT on January 26, 2008
At 12:00 PM UTC, Tropical Disturbance 09R [1002 hPa] located near 14.1S 44.7E or 1255 kms northeast of the coast of Reunion had 10 minute sustained winds of 25 knots with gusts up to 35 knots. The disturbance is reported moving south-southwest at 7 knots

Dvorak Intensity: T2.0

Forecast and Intensity
-----------------------
24 HRS: 14.4S 61.7E - 35 knots (Tempête Tropicale Moderée)
48 HRS: 15.7S 60.6E - 40 knots (Tempête Tropicale Moderée)
72 HRS: 17.0S 58.7E - 50 knots (Forte Tempête Tropicale)

Addition Information
--------------------
Convective activity has now consolidated and organization in the west of an elongated low level circulation center. Last MeteoSat7 imagery shows several exposed little vortex but animation makes it able to locate a main low level circulation center. Despite a globally favorable environment, moderate northeasterly vertical wind shear does not permit a rapid intensification within the next 24 hours. Most NWP deepen a significant low at medium range.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 64 Comments: 54802
29. sporteguy03
4:55 PM GMT on January 26, 2008
Bill Read best of luck in 2008 we hope you too can provide consistent updates like Dr.Masters and other bloggers do. Enjoy Miami Beach while your at NHC too beuatiful place! Congrats and good luck with the hype that is Hurricane Season!
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28. Weather456
10:36 AM AST on January 26, 2008
Tropical Cyclone Fame (08R) Update 4
Southwest Indian Ocean

Issued 1430 UTC 26 Jan 2008 by W456

Tropical cyclone Fame has attained hurricane strength in the Mozambique Channel just west of the Northern Portion of the island of Madagascar. The cyclone is located near 14.1S-44.85E, churning nearly stationary. Estimated surface winds have increase to 65 knots with higher gust and minimum central pressure is 976 mb. Sea surface temperatures are 31C and wind shear is estimated to anticyclonic at 5-10 knots.

Center position was carefully positioned using high-resolution visible imagery with some help from synoptic reports on the periphery of the storm. Visible imagery showed a tight core of fast moving (intense) cumulonimbus clouds with suggests the cyclone is intensifying. Dvorak visible analysis showed a curve band arc of about 1.05, which corresponds to CI 4.0, or 65 knots and 976 mb (see figure below). Multiplatform satellite winds indicate these winds extend outwards to about 21 nmi. The warm-core and upper level anticyclone is well established and the cross-equatorial outflow channel and banding features to the north and east has really ventilated the system. Some additional strengthening is possible in the next 12 hrs as indicated by digital Dvorak analysis. Thereafter, models are indicating a weakening trend up until landfall in 48 hrs on the Northern Coast of Madagascar.

TRMM measurements indicate rainfall amounts could be has high as 6-12 inches. Wave models show a storm surge of about 5-10 ft. The cyclone is expected to affect a sparsely populated region of Madagascar and so structural damage should be minimal to moderate.

By W456

JTWC Stats
1200 UTC - 13SFAME.65kts-974mb-141S-447E

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27. Weather456
9:51 AM AST on January 26, 2008
Fame is now equivalent to an atlnatic cat 1 hurricane with winds of 65 knots

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26. Weather456
8:16 AM AST on January 26, 2008
Tropical Disturbance 09R

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25. tmangray
2:46 AM GMT on January 26, 2008
That apparent eye is now visible on the Pacific-wide vapor image.

http://sat.wrh.noaa.gov/satellite/showsat.php?wfo=mtr&area=west&type=wv&size=28
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24. Weather456
10:04 PM AST on January 25, 2008
Moderate Tropical Storm Fame Update

Quikscat and other satellite derived winds indicate that winds have increase to 50-55 knots. Estimated surface pressure is down to 990 mb. There are signs that the system is developing faster than expected like the newly observed CDO pattern. Global models have been trending on a more northward landfall near Central Madagascar.

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23. tmangray
12:59 AM GMT on January 26, 2008
The water vapor image for the storm off the California coast shows what appears to be an eye at the center of the vortex.

http://sat.wrh.noaa.gov/satellite/4km/WR/WV4.GIF
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22. tmangray
12:15 AM GMT on January 26, 2008
The storm off the California coast which now encompasses a large area of the central eastern Pacific appears to be merging moisture from three jets-the two branches of the Polar jet, and the subtropical jet presently knifing across the Mexican coast. The northern jet continues to pump down Arctic air over the ocean, creating ocean effect-type convection. The southern branch is pulling up moist air from near Hawaii, while a kink in the subtropical jet has in the past few hours begun to bulge up along the west coast toward southern California. Rain is presently falling at the rate of 1/2 inch per hour in the SF Bay area.
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19. stormdude77
4:56 PM AST on January 25, 2008
Great update, Dr. Masters! I really hope Bill Read is successful as the new Director...
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17. TampaTom
7:55 PM GMT on January 25, 2008
Hey, we have a new director! Great news. Read sounds like a good guy for the post...
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16. NEwxguy
7:28 PM GMT on January 25, 2008
have changed the format of the site after noticing some viewing problems users of some browsers may have with it.

Atlantic Hurricanes

That storm NEwxGuy noted would seem alot more ominous if it were 100 miles further west...

I agree,but whats scary is that the runs are edging more west each day,will be able to tell better this weekend.Earlier this week it was going to have no effect.
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15. EmmyRose
7:12 PM GMT on January 25, 2008
YES! Hooray for the NHC decision!
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13. weatherboykris
6:52 PM GMT on January 25, 2008
I have changed the format of the site after noticing some viewing problems users of some browsers may have with it.

Atlantic Hurricanes

That storm NEwxGuy noted would seem alot more ominous if it were 100 miles further west...
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12. Weather456
2:37 PM AST on January 25, 2008
Tropical Cyclone 13S just designated, looks like I nailed everything but the winds and pressure. I was a little too conservative.

13SNONAME.40kts-993mb-141S-448E

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11. Weather456
2:26 PM AST on January 25, 2008
It has been upgraded from 08R to Moderate tropical Storm Fame.
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10. NEwxguy
6:26 PM GMT on January 25, 2008
Things are becoming more ominous late this weekend concerning the huge ocean storm.Southern New England's chances for a major storm are increasing with each model run.


.SYNOPSIS...
-- Changed Discussion --HIGH PRES BUILDS INTO NEW ENGLAND THROUGH SATURDAY WITH DRY SEASONABLY
COLD WEATHER. A MAJOR OCEAN STORM WILL BEGIN DEVELOPING SUNDAY S OF NEW
ENGLAND AND THREATENS TO BRING GALE FORCE WINDS...HIGH SEAS...BEACH
EROSION...SIGNIFICANT SNOW AND RAIN TO COASTAL EASTERN MASSACHUSETTS...
ESPECIALLY SUNDAY NIGHT INTO MONDAY NIGHT. THE HIGH PRES BLOCKING FACTOR
OVER SOUTHEAST CANADA MAY ULTIMATELY DECIDE WHETHER THIS IS GLANCING BLOW
OR A FULL FLEDGED STORM HERE WHICH WE WONT CONFIDENTLY AND RELIABLY KNOW
UNTIL LATER THIS WEEKEND.
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9. Weather456
2:23 PM AST on January 25, 2008
corrected location in first paragraph from "W" to "E"
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8. Weather456
2:17 PM AST on January 25, 2008
Large upper level cold low in the eastern pacific

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7. Weather456
1:50 PM AST on January 25, 2008
Tropical Depression 08R Update 3
Southwest Indian ocean

Issued 1800 UTC 25 Jan 2008 by W456

Tropical depression 08R almost at tropical storm intensity located near 14.1S-44.8E, moving towards the south-southwest. Estimated surface winds have increase to 35 knots with a corresponding pressure of 997 mb. Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are near 30C at a dept of 60 m and wind shear ranges from 5 to 20 knots.

Center fix was based on a microwave pass taken by the SSMI sensor aboard the DMPS satellites at 1603 UTC and a QuikSCAT pass around 1515 UTC. The low level close circulation (LLCC) is just north of Samboa Point on Western Madagascar . Surface winds were estimated using QuikSCAT and Dvorak analysis. QuikSCAT showed only one uncontaminated wind barb of tropical storm force but Dvorak intensity based on curve band analysis revealed CI 2.5 or 35 knots and a pressure of 997 mb. Surface synoptic reports were not much help here as they are scarce and well removed from the center. Infrared imagery revealed excellent outflow and banding mainly in the eastern quadrants. Though cloudtops have warm recently in the cold cloud cover (CCC), there are still signs of tropical development like the extension of the curve bands, upper level warm-core and the gradient winds in the troposphere. Conditions should remain favorable for development in the near term as the system continues southwestward and then southeastward into Southern Madagascar. Beyond 48 hrs it is uncertain whether the system will still be enable to hold.

by W456

JTWC Stats:
1200 UTC 97SINVEST.30kts-1000mb-141S-447E

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6. quakeman55
6:12 PM GMT on January 25, 2008
Welcome aboard, Bill Read! We're all glad to have you!
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5. cchsweatherman
1:10 PM EST on January 25, 2008
Great update Dr. Masters. I think that Bill Read will do an excellent job as NHC Director. Let's hope he restores unity in the NHC.
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4. thetimmer
5:59 PM GMT on January 25, 2008
Welcome, Bill Read.
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3. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
5:32 PM GMT on January 25, 2008
thanks doc and congrats to bill read i am sure if using maxs approach will be very successful as director
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