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Delta done; Epsilon next?

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 3:48 PM GMT on November 28, 2005

Delta is now a formidable non-tropical (also called extra-tropical) low-pressure system over the far eastern Atlantic. Delta has merged with a cold front approaching the coast of Africa, and this cold front will sweep Delta's remnants through the Madeira Islands today and into the Morocco on Tuesday, battering those areas with a ferocity rarely seen. Winds should reach 50-60 mph, accompanied by rains of 3-6 inches and a storm surge of 2-4 feet. Welcome to the Hurricane Season of 2005, northern Africa!

With Delta's demise today, there is a possibility that the Hurricane Season of 2005 is finally over. However, spinning to the west of Delta over the mid-Atlantic Ocean is the next system to be concerned about, a large non-tropical low pressure system near 30N 50W. This low is over waters of about 26C (79F), which is right at the threshold where tropical storm development can occur. Already, the storm has winds of tropical storm force (40 mph) in a band to the west of the center, according to a 5am EST pass by the QuikSCAT satellite. This cyclone is expected to move slowly west towards Bermuda the rest of the week, and may gradually acquire enough tropical characteristics to be classified as Tropical Storm Epsilon. The storm has little chance of affecting any land areas except Bermuda, and I expect the storm will recurve back to the east before it reaches Bermuda.


Figure 1. Visible satellite image from 8:30am EST today showing Delta approaching the Madeira Islands and Morocco. To the west of Delta is a non-tropical low that may transform into Tropical Storm Epsilon later this week.

December storms
What are the chances of another tropical storm in December? Wind shear levels in the Caribbean are forecast to remain high this week, so development there is unlikely until next week at the earliest, but I wouldn't count out the Caribbean quite yet this year. Development in the mid-Atlantic area after Epsilon leaves is a possibility. Nothing that develops in either of these areas is likely to develop into a hurricane and affect any land areas, however. Shear levels are probably too high and the oceans too cold to allow a significant hurricane to develop.

Historically, the odds do not favor December tropical storm formation. Between 1871 and 2004, only eight tropical storms formed. Three became hurricanes. Two years had two December tropical storms each--2003 and 1887. Hurricane Alice of 1954 was remarkable in that it formed on December 30, and struck the Lesser Antilles islands of St. Kitts and Barthelemy as a Category 1 hurricane on January 2, 1955. Over $100,000 in damage was caused on the islands, and the rains ended a severe drought in Puerto Rico. The head of Puerto Rico's weather station noted:

"This storm has aroused considerable interest. People were somewhat skeptical and slow in believing that a hurricane had actually formed. Already historians have expressed their opinion as to whether this was, or not, the first of its kind in the area. In Puerto Rico a controversy centers about a storm that affected this island in the year 1816; one historian maintaining that it occurred in the moth of January while another holds that it occurred in September."

Alice was not the only winter hurricane to affect the Caribbean; an unnamed Category 2 hurricane moved through the northern Leeward islands on March 8, 1908.

Tropical Storm Odette was the only December tropical storm to kill anyone--it claimed eight lives in the Dominican Republic due to floods when it struck on December 6, 2003, with winds of 65 mph. Odette downed trees and power lines, and damaged buildings, bridges, and large areas of agricultural land. Approximately 35% of the Dominican Republic's banana crop was destroyed.

So in summary, I do expect we'll get at least one and possibly two more tropical storms this season, but they will not be a threat to cause significant damage to land areas.

Jeff Masters

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

It ain't over till it's over
Im betting on 2 more tropical storms, one from Atlantic, one from Carrib, and ATLEAST one of them hitting to a minor Cat 1...

Just going on gut feelings.
Wapaklurker, I sent you email.
If Alice formed on Dec 30, 1953, why wasn't it called Irene (next in the list for 1953).

Maybe the 31st of December is not the last possible day of the 2005 hurricane season.

Hello all.

Hope everyone had a nice T-Day! :-)
First off, Dr. Jeff, I want to thank you again for what is probably the best weather site on the Internet, IMHO. I've looked at a lot of them, as the most accurate info is necessary for all of us who have to make evacuation decisions regularly, and have never been steered wrong here. And it's not just your blog, it's also Steve's blog (excellent in a different way), and all the people who post here (well, other than a few trolls now and then.. [g])

Anyway, it's a great site, and an extremely useful one for those of us in Hurricane Lane.

On a different subject:

On 25 October I made a gentleman's bet about how many storms we'd have this season. Not many people responded (it's at my blog), but we all guessed wrong. I thought Delta would be the last one, but now think we'll have two or three more, and still think at least one post-season storm.

The official break between seasons is 28 Feb/1 Mar (not the end of the calendar year, as many think), so there are still three more months before the 2005 season (including post-season months) is over. If anyone wants to place their best guess, come fo my blog and add something. We can all laugh next year at how wrong everyone was. [g] I made an error in my initial post there, which I just noticed, so am correcting that right now.

What a year! And there are supposed to be 10-20 MORE years like this one??? Maybe I should move. ;-)

Hey 21!! How ya doin? :-)
good good
Doing pretty good here! I'm just wondering where are the
t-storms we are supposed to get here? The weather guy said aftenoon..
Doing well myself...we just overcast skies right now. Did you have a good Thanksgiving?
I had a great Thanksgiving.. I baked two apple pies from scratch. Crust and all. I had never baked a pie before and they turned out perfect. :-)
How was your Thanksgiving?
Hey 21. Lucky you. My sweetpotato pie was just yucky.
awww
I had a great Thanksgiving....we had 15 people over to our house, and as usual, I ate a bit too much. :-)I bet those pies were good.
I'v lived in Florida for almost 40 years and cannot believe we are still talking abour Hurricanes.
Hate - Sorry your pie didn't turn out! I probably had beginners luck!

Weatherdude65.
I did that One Time Only! with 20 people. Nobody would help with the cleaning up so I told them there was no pie, just keebler cookies with the coffee.
going to lunch, be back later
Hate - That's what I would have done!!
There's more too it than that. I'll e-mail you as there is a "bad word" involved.
Good afternoon all,
That satellite photo is freaky looking. Hopefully all those curly-que's will obey the calendar and disappear on November 30th!
Nola -
I can't even look at those pictures anymore. Just get the creeps.
Oh Dear. I just looked.
Hey, folks...just a quick off topic request here. Would really appreciate it if any of you could find a few minutes to check out my blog. I plan to have a different topic each week between now and New Year's, and thought it would be interesting to hear from as many of the WU members as possible.
Thanks.
I will put some thought into a post for Bug's blog.

I would love to start a discussion here about global warming that doesn't get nasty. I think there is something up with warming, and I'm curious to hear other's thoughts, theories, etc. It is scary to think that the effects of warming could be accelerating. Also, for those who say this is a normal cycle, could greenhouse gasses and deforestation be contributing to a slight elevation of the normal trend?
TBA,

Alice was in Dec 1954, not 1953. It looks like they had no idea what to do with Alice 2, as its name makes no sense, whichever way you look at it. I say that because Alice was the first name for the 1954 season, so they had TWO Alices that year, in June and Dec. So, it was a 1954 named storm, but they started over after 30 Nov (or something), rather than continuing the list, as you noted. Then, they treated it as if it were the "A" storm for 1955 (not sure what the name was supposed to be, although even back then they didn't use the same name two years in a row, so it couldn't have been scheduled as the first name of the 1955 season), since they started the 1955 season with Brenda. Then, for one final oddity, they had two unnamed storms in 1954 - a hurricane in Sept, and a TS in Nov, as well as the named storms. Very confusing...

Since the naming concept was only a few years old then, they were probably still figuring out the rules.

29. dcw
Whoa, that's weird...though on an interesting note, both Alices were 80mph Cat 1s.
Oops - my bad - 1953 was the first year for names, not a few years after the system started. No wonder they didn't have it all figured out yet - it had been Able, Baker, etc for a few years before that, and earlier, just by coordinates, or where the most damage occurred.
Hi everyone. Today where I live the forcast has a mention of a few showers for Tuesday night but it doesn't give the chance so I am guessing that it is less then 30%.
Lightning - Yeah, well where I live they said 60% and "Strong T-Storms" and we have had sun all day!
Pensacola21 give it a few hours and see what happends.
34. dcw
We have 96L.Invest!
hey dcw good to see you

when (if) do you think that epsilon will form? my guess is wednesday
36. dcw
I'd say the NHC will wait till W night or Thurs morning to call it, but it'll be Epsilon within 24 hours, whether they call it or not. Could even be Hurricane Epsilon, there are 60kt vectors (though rain contaminated)
37. dcw
My outlook:

Tropical Weather Discussion
Amateur Hurricane Center
6:00AM November 28, 2005

Tropical Storm Delta has transitioned to an extratropical system, and will be absorbed over the Sahara within 48 hours.

A large extratropical low pressure system is continuing to show signs of development over the open atlantic. Convection has wrapped around the center, and a QuickScat pass showed uncontaminated vectors to 40kt. If current trends continue...advisories may need to be initiated on Tropical Storm 30AD at some time tomorrow.

There are no other locations of interest in the Atlantic.
ok thanks dcw, i did see that quickscat pass earlier. looks to me that it contains tropical storm force winds already, although it clearly does not have tropical or subtropical characteristics yet
39. dcw
...SPECIAL FEATURE...

A 997 MB LOW IS OVER THE CENTRAL ATLANTIC NEAR 31N47W. ISOBARIC
PACKING IS PRODUCING GALE FORCE WINDS N OF THE CENTER. THERE IS
POTENTIAL FOR SUBTROPICAL OR TROPICAL DEVELOPMENT WITH THIS
SYSTEM OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS AS IT MOVES SLOWLY WEST OR
SOUTHWEST.

THE LAST TROPICAL ADVISORY WAS ISSUED ON T.S. DELTA AT 28/1500
UTC. THE REMNANTS OF DELTA IS NOW A 988 MB LOW JUST N OF THE
CANARY ISLANDS NEAR 30N18W MOVING TOWARD THE EAST AT 25 KT.
GALE-TO STORM-FORCE WINDS COULD OCCUR OVER PORTIONS OF THE
CANARY AND MADEIRA ISLANDS TONIGHT...AND ALONG THE COAST OF
MOROCCO AND NORTHERN MAURITANIA ON TUESDAY. WINDS WILL BE
STRONGER OVER HIGHER TERRAIN. PRESENTLY SCATTERED MODERATE
CONVECTION IS E OF THE CENTER FROM 31N-34N BETWEEN 12W-16W.
Some pretty good cloud-ground lightning in East Central Florida today. More to come? Gulf
Cool (cold) front.

P.S. Tropics: Show is over folks! If it gets gusty near the front, maybe they will name that too... quit reaching already!
thanks for the heads up, dcw - will be interesting to see how this develops
this one more full day of the hurricane year then that is it no more hurricane in tell next hurricane year i can not wait in tell what DR M have from the hurricane year any of you?
and a note i hop we get to Zeta be for we are all done with the hurricane year and never be for that we had a Z and the Z storm would be fun and the frist time
i am giveing Zeta a %50 ch of be comeing a ts with in the next few days come on Zeta you can do it come you can make it lol
hey HIEXPRESS, just saw your p.s. - no one's "reaching", just watching for and trying to understand and make predictions about what nature dishes out
Hi KRWZ - if we get a next storm, it will be Epsilon. Hard to imagine getting to Zeta, even in this very unusual season..
Does anyone else have a nice shear diagram? The one I usually used is dead, apparently - not producing any lines on it.
Hey aysZ,

Heres one of my favorites...

Link
Hey everyone,

Heres the first and latest Dvorak satellite intensity estimate for invest 96....whioch was ST 1.5 as of 1145 UTC...equates to about 29 mph for a purely tropical system....however the ST stands for Subtropical storm which means its getting close to being a Subtropical system as we speak or I write ..lol :)

Heres the link to updated T numbers on Dvorak scale.

Link
hurricanechaser: Sorry, I was talking about a diagram for the potential-Epsilon in the Atlantic; the one you gave me was for Europe/Africa and Delta.
Heres one last link for satellite wind analysis ...the latest wind estimate at 0103 UTC...has 35 knots with B.P. of 995 mb....40 mph winds... both consistent with Tropical storm intensity...except its not a purely tropical system, which is why its not even categorized as a Tropical depression or subtropical depression yet.

However, the transition is underway and within the next 24 hours..it should be classified as a tropical storm as it pulls more convection in closer to its center of circulation.

I hope everyone has a good night.:)

Link
Hey AYsZ,

Sorry about that..I had it bookedmark on the NE Atlantic...I have the same link you do and its just a visible satellite image with no shear or shear tendacies as well.
wow..I need sleep...two quick errors..that should've been..."bookmarked":)
54. dcw
Epsy looking good this morning.
Sorry for the misunderstanding, Snowboy. I did not mean that any here were reaching to name anything that remotely resembles a tropical cyclone to pad the statistics - since, I presume, none here are personally responsible for assigning the names. I was just poking fun at the NHC. But, thinking about it further, and also trying to understand, I visited the NHC site at Glossary of NHC/TPC terms to see what could get named:
"Subtropical Cyclone:
A non-frontal low pressure system that has characteristics of both tropical and extratropical cyclones.

The most common type is an upper-level cold low with circulation extending to the surface layer and maximum sustained winds generally occurring at a radius of about 100 miles or more from the center. In comparison to tropical cyclones, such systems have a relatively broad zone of maximum winds that is located farther from the center, and typically have a less symmetric wind field and distribution of convection.

A second type of subtropical cyclone is a mesoscale low originating in or near a frontolyzing zone of horizontal wind shear, with radius of maximum sustained winds generally less than 30 miles. The entire circulation may initially have a diameter of less than 100 miles. These generally short-lived systems may be either cold core or warm core. "

Also:
"Extratropical:
A term used in advisories and tropical summaries to indicate that a cyclone has lost its "tropical" characteristics. The term implies both poleward displacement of the cyclone and the conversion of the cyclone's primary energy source from the release of latent heat of condensation to baroclinic (the temperature contrast between warm and cold air masses) processes. It is important to note that cyclones can become extratropical and still retain winds of hurricane or tropical storm force."

I see your point. If it spins, and has the potential to ruin someone's day, why not give it a name?

I for one, will respect the end of hurricane season, and I will not go hunting for them - don't want to get caught poaching ;)

"Not a "scientist", just stayed at a [Popular Hotel Chain]"
& so they did - Episilon!
& so they did - Epsilon!
sure enough HIEXPRESS, NHC have just issued the following:

TROPICAL STORM EPSILON ADVISORY NUMBER 1
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
11 AM AST TUE NOV 29 2005

...TROPICAL STORM EPSILON...THE 28TH NAMED STORM OF THE 2005
ATLANTIC SEASON...FORMS OVER THE CENTRAL ATLANTIC OCEAN...

AT 11 AM AST...1500Z...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM EPSILON WAS
LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 31.6 NORTH... LONGITUDE 50.4 WEST OR ABOUT
845 MILES...1360 KM...EAST OF BERMUDA AND ABOUT 1395 MILES...2245
KM... WEST OF THE AZORES ISLANDS.

EPSILON IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST NEAR 8 MPH...13 KM/HR...AND THIS
GENERAL MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE FOR THE NEXT 24 HOURS

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 45 MPH... 75 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS. SOME STRENGTHENING IS FORECAST DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS.

TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 200 MILES...325 KM
FROM THE CENTER... ESPECIALLY TO THE NORTH AND WEST OF THE CENTER.

THE ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 993 MB...29.32 INCHES.

REPEATING THE 11 AM AST POSITION...31.6 N... 50.4 W. MOVEMENT
TOWARD...WEST NEAR 8 MPH. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED
WINDS... 45 MPH. MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE... 993 MB.