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Alma nears hurricane strength, takes aim at Nicaragua; major tornado outbreak today

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:03 PM GMT on May 29, 2008

Tropical Storm Alma, in the Eastern Pacific off the coast of Nicaragua, is steadily intensifying, and appears likely to develop into a hurricane later today. The latest QUikSCAT pass from 8:03am EDT showed winds of 50 knots (58 mph) near the center, and a recent microwave image (Figure 1) showed the formation of an eye. Alma is generating very heavy rains in excess of six inches per day near its center. So far, satellite estimates of rainfall (Figure 2) indicate that 3-6 inches of rain has fallen over portions of Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and rainfall will continue to increase in these nations through Saturday. All of Central America, except for Panama, is at risk of flash flooding that will create dangerous mud slides over the next three days, and Alma has the potential to be a major disaster for Central America. Nicaragua, in particular, is at high risk of experiencing flash flooding and mud slides capable of causing heavy loss of life, due to its high mountainous terrain that will receive up to 20 inches of rain. However, the mountainous regions along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala are also at high risk of destructive flooding and mud slides.


Figure 1. Microwave image (colored, left side) and visible satellite image (gray colors, right side) of Tropical Storm Alma taken at 10:14am EDT Thursday May 29, 2008. An eye is visible in the color microwave image, surrounded by intense echoes (red colors) of an eyewall on the west side of the eye. Microwave instruments carried on polar-orbiting satellites can only "see" a swatch of Earth's surface a few hundred kilometers in diameter, and the edge of this swath happened to fall very near the eye of Alma at this time. Image credit: Navy Research Lab, Monterey.

Since Alma now dominates the circulation pattern of the region, none of the computer models are predicting that a tropical depression will form in the Western Caribbean in the coming week. It is possible that Alma could cross Central America and pop out in the Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche. However, the crossing of Central America will severely disrupt the storm, and the odds of Alma becoming a depression in the Atlantic basin are very low. I am not expecting moisture from the storm to reach the U.S. Satellite loops show that Alma has developed a large circulation that extends into the Western Caribbean, and rains from Alma will affect Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, and western Cuba through Saturday. These areas can expect heavy downpours with rainfall totals of 3-6 inches through Saturday. Rainfall may be heavier, perhaps 5-10 inches, in Belize and along the north coast of Honduras.


Figure 2. Observed precipitation for the 24 hours ending at 12Z (8am EDT) Thursday May 29, 2008. Rainfall amounts in excess of 150mm (six inches, green colors) occurred near the coast of Costa Rica. Image credit: U.S. Navy Monterey.

Major severe weather outbreak today in the Plains
The Storm Prediction Center is calling for a "High" risk of severe weather across Iowa and Nebraska this afternoon--the highest level of severe weather alert. Expect another significant tornado outbreak today in the Plains. The Weather Underground Severe Weather page and Tornado page are good places to go to follow the severe weather. Also, tune in to the chase accounts and awesome storm photos from Wunderblogger Mike Theiss. Mike is in Tornado Alley this week, performing his annual chase efforts.

I'll have an update Friday morning, or tonight if there's major tornado action to talk about.

Jeff Masters

Tornado, KS (FHRweather)
Photo by Jack Mowers
Tornado, KS

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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492. JLPR
5:55 PM AST on Mayo 29, 2008
catastropheadjuster
Well the fact that neither one of them has an avatar makes wonder the same thing
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491. presslord
5:53 PM EDT on May 29, 2008
well...you're a pretty smart cookie....
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
490. Weather456
5:51 PM AST on May 29, 2008
483. eye 5:49 PM AST on May 29, 2008
456, I have noticed in many blogs you go back a delete what you wrote....are you dishing someone and dont want to get banned? Sometimes it is like 10 in a row you do that on...skerred?


what? 10 in a row? Thats a lie.....the only one was with stormkat. Plz if u looking trouble look elsehwere...cuz I am in no mood for that right now.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
489. catastropheadjuster
9:49 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
OOPS double post sorry
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487. catastropheadjuster
9:49 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
Just asking a question not trying to start no trouble okay. Is Stormkat alias-stormyeyes & stormtop? I'm not the smartest cookie in the jar but they sound just alike.
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486. 69Viking
4:42 PM CDT on May 29, 2008
471. CaneAddict 4:41 PM CDT on May 29, 2008

Shhhhh, what African Wave? LOL! You have to read ealier comments to understand! Later all!
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485. Drakoen
9:50 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
482. stormkat 9:48 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
yes i did mention 30 degrees in my post drak i mentioned it all morning...30 degrees the shear would show up.....scroll back and you will see....stormkat


I don't feel like going back.
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484. hurricane23
5:46 PM EDT on May 29, 2008
Folks even if what is left of Alma makes it across it will have no were to go but westward into mexico/belize.

Here is what the NHC had to say about its landfall and little while ago.

THE CENTER OF ALMA MADE LANDFALL AROUND 12 PM PDT...1900Z...ON THE
NORTHERN PACIFIC COAST OF NICARAGUA NEAR THE CITY OF LEON. AT 200
PM PDT...2100Z...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM ALMA WAS LOCATED
ON THE COAST NEAR LATITUDE 12.4 NORTH...LONGITUDE 87.0 WEST OR ABOUT
50 MILES... 85 KM...WEST-NORTHWEST OF MANAGUA NICARAGUA AND ABOUT
175 MILES...280 KM...EAST-SOUTHEAST OF SAN SALVADOR EL SALVADOR.

ALMA IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTH NEAR 9 MPH...15 KM/HR. THIS TRACK
SHOULD BRING THE CYCLONE FARTHER INLAND TONIGHT. A GRADUAL TURN TO
THE NORTHWEST IS ANTICIPATED DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 65 MPH...100 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS. A GRADUAL WEAKENING SHOULD BEGIN TONIGHT AS THE CYCLONE MOVES
FARTHER INLAND.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
482. stormkat
9:45 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
yes i did mention 30 degrees in my post drak i mentioned it all morning...30 degrees the shear would show up.....scroll back and you will see....stormkat
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481. stormyeyes
9:44 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
Weather456....
All the posts on here had alma becoming
a hurricane. Why didn't stormkat have
alma becoming a hurricane, does he get
the same or different information. Does
he get more information than ya'll get.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
480. DocBen
9:46 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
The Africa waves seem to be at too low a latitude to develop just yet. ITCZ needs to move up a bit more.
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479. JLPR
5:43 PM AST on Mayo 29, 2008
C'mon folks lol may some of you please join my Contest lol I already have 27 entries but since #27 the contest kinda died lol
Link to my blog

those of you that decide to join thank you =)
and Nash is excused from the contest =)
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477. hurricaneguy87
5:44 PM EDT on May 29, 2008
I have a feeling this will be a storm that could be changed upon post-season review. Cells really firing up now in the plains.
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476. PensacolaNative
9:44 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
Thanks for the input JP.
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475. CatastrophicDL
9:37 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
Hi Gamma good to see you! Yes I have had my laugh for the day too!

HurricaneGeek - thanks for the picture! It is amazing how people see things differently.
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474. Beachfoxx
4:42 PM CDT on May 29, 2008


Remember Weather is only as predictable as the unpredictable!

LOL

TTYL
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472. Drakoen
9:42 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
The GFS 18z is placing the remnant circulation of Alama in the Gulf of Honduras
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471. CaneAddict
9:37 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
Good afternoon folks!

I notice the new African wave and that Alma has made landfall...
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470. PensacolaNative
9:39 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
JP- Any thoughts on the GFS futurecast of something forming near Cuba?
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469. Beachfoxx
4:40 PM CDT on May 29, 2008
Good answer 23!

June 1 - Nov 30th!
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468. 69Viking
4:36 PM CDT on May 29, 2008
LOL! You are all too funny! It's been a fun day everyone but I have to run and play volleyball on the beach, life is rough! Till later tonight or tomorrow everyone take care! Oh, and keep an eye on that Blob near Jamaica for me, Herb is his name I believe!
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467. Drakoen
9:39 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
Stormkat we are not clear now, you never mentioned 30W in your post.
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466. kmanislander
9:38 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
out for now
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465. presslord
5:38 PM EDT on May 29, 2008
H23...perfect....just what I was lookin for.....
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463. hurricane23
5:37 PM EDT on May 29, 2008
460. presslord 5:35 PM EDT on May 29, 2008
look...Can we just cut right through it? Someone please just give me the date and time for when I need to board up and get the heck outta Charleston...if you'll go ahead and do that now, it'll save me a lot of time and trouble....Thanks....

June1-Nov 30
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462. Weather456
5:32 PM AST on May 29, 2008
436. stormyeyes 5:26 PM EDT on May 29, 2008
To anyone besides stormkat who already
gave me an answer. Can you tell me why
tropical storm Alma did not become a hurricane
and why was the national hurricane center
wrong also.


It simply ran out of time over water. The NHC responded to the forming eye this morning, maybe thinking Alma would remain over water a little longer.

If they had a aircraft down there, Alma would of probably measured some 65 knot winds in one of those bands near the center.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
461. Beachfoxx
4:35 PM CDT on May 29, 2008
ROFLMCPO!!!

451. seflagamma 4:33 PM CDT on May 29, 2008 Hide this comment.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN FOXX? IT IS CARVED IN STONE THAT STORM WILL BE A CAT 5 AND WILL ...WHATEVER....

rofl!!!

the new ones just have to be patient or go back into the July and Aug 2005 archives and get a good read!
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460. presslord
5:33 PM EDT on May 29, 2008
look...Can we just cut right through it? Someone please just give me the date and time for when I need to board up and get the heck outta Charleston...if you'll go ahead and do that now, it'll save me a lot of time and trouble....Thanks....
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
459. Drakoen
9:34 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
451. seflagamma 9:33 PM GMT on May 29, 2008 Hide this comment.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN FOXX? IT IS CARVED IN STONE THAT STORM WILL BE A CAT 5 AND WILL ...WHATEVER....

rofl!!!

the new ones just have to be patient or go back into the July and Aug 2005 archives and get a good read!



ITS HEADED FOR NOLA!!!!
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458. Beachfoxx
4:33 PM CDT on May 29, 2008
StormW - Liquid Real Estate - LOL

In my business that used to mean something else & have some real value! LOLOLOL

O.K. back to serious Tropical Topics now....
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457. weatherboyfsu
9:30 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
Tornados are starting to pop in Nebraska.......... Lets hope that these people get warning and are prepared.......
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456. hurricane23
5:31 PM EDT on May 29, 2008
Those are some pretty significant waves rolling of africa but fortunately its late may not mid august were we have had some trouble brewing out there.
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455. seflagamma
5:33 PM EDT on May 29, 2008
but to give credit where credit is due, STORMTOP nailed the forcast of Katrina before it was even a TD. He was the only one that had a correct forcast that far out. Give him that one!
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454. kmanislander
9:28 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
436. stormyeyes 9:26 PM GMT on May 29, 2008

IMO the answer is fairly simple. Alma ran out of sea room. Another 6 hours or so over water and it would likely have been classified a hurricane.

As to the second part of the question, I am not sure why you say the NHC was wrong. The pressure, and thereby the intensity, of Alma was initially underestimated but that can happen with a rapidly intensifying system especially when the only means then being used to determine initial intensity was probably satellite imagery. There may or may not have been obs from nearby ships.
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453. Drakoen
9:32 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
W456, how are you getting those images from Africa? Did you save the link or something?
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452. stormkat
9:28 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
drak i never said any such thing about dust killing the wave it was the sst and the ssp are high in the area...its much to early and i also said if anything weould try to develop it wopuld encounter shear at 30 degrees....are we clear now...stormkat
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451. seflagamma
5:30 PM EDT on May 29, 2008
WHAT DO YOU MEAN FOXX? IT IS CARVED IN STONE THAT STORM WILL BE A CAT 5 AND WILL ...WHATEVER....

rofl!!!

the new ones just have to be patient or go back into the July and Aug 2005 archives and get a good read!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
450. taistelutipu
12:27 AM EEST on May 30, 2008
434. seflagamma 12:25 AM EEST on May 30, 2008

at least we are getting already good practice in hitting various buttons, "hide" "-" or "ignore user", during peak season the exercice will pay off *lol*

*goes back to Alma and blob watching*
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449. Beachfoxx
4:31 PM CDT on May 29, 2008
Beltane... you go back to your busy work! LOL
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448. Weather456
5:26 PM AST on May 29, 2008
Last visible of the wave from this afternoon...roughly along 7W.

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446. beltane
5:26 PM EDT on May 29, 2008
It's like watching one person put on a sock puppet show.
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445. Beachfoxx
4:27 PM CDT on May 29, 2008
Gamma, ROFLMAO w/ U! We have to remember some of those STORMTOP posts!
SKat, hope you are laughing too!

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443. myway
9:18 PM GMT on May 29, 2008
I normally just read the posts ( this is my first posting). I have have only limited real wx knowledge. I live in south florida, so the hurricane banter intrests me most of all. Most of the ppl on this blog seem to have a good understanding of and are willing to teach novices the details of tropical development and what it takes to get a system going. Most preface thing that are fact with its my "opinion".

Stormkat you on the otherhand seem even to a novice just to be a bag of wind. Some of us appreciate the learning process without your take on what fact is in your world.

To the rest of you, tahnk you and keep up the good work.
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442. HurricaneGeek
5:26 PM EDT on May 29, 2008
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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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