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Little change in strength for Nate and Maria

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 8:49 PM GMT on September 09, 2011

This afternoon's observations from an Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft show that Tropical Storm Nate in Mexico's Bay of Campeche has changed little this afternoon. The 4:10 pm EDT center fix found Nate's central pressure remaining near-steady at 998 mb, and winds were near 50 mph at the surface. Latest visible satellite loops show that Nate is having trouble with the dry air to its north, which is getting wrapped into the circulation and interfering with intensification, and the intensity of Nate's thunderstorms has decreased since early this morning. Since the storm is nearly stationary, it is upwelling cooler waters from the depths that are also slowing intensification.

Wind shear remains low, near 5 knots, so once Nate manages to wall off the dry air to its north, steady intensification should occur. The 5 pm EDT NHC wind probability forecast gives Nate a 42% chance of being a Category 1 hurricane on Sunday, and 6% chance of being Category 2 or stronger. Nate probably has time to intensify to a strong Category 1 hurricane before making landfall Sunday. The main hazard to Mexico will be very heavy rains that will cause flash flooding and mudslides. The computer models continue to agree that a ridge of high pressure will build in to the north of Nate over the next few days, forcing the storm westward or southwestward to a landfall in Mexico between Tuxpam de Rodriguez Cano and Veracruz. Nate is too far south to be turned northwards towards Louisiana, as some model runs were suggesting yesterday.


Figure 1. True-color MODIS image of Tropical Storm Nate taken at 12:45 pm EDT Friday, September 9, 2011. At the time, Nate was a tropical storm with 50 mph winds. Image credit: NASA.

Nate is a small storm, and is not likely to bring significant rains to Texas; only extreme South Texas near Brownsville could see an inch or so of rain over the weekend from an outer spiral band of Nate. Our latest wundermap wind forecast map from the European Center model, with the fire layer turned on, shows that Nate's wind field on Saturday and Sunday will not be large enough to fan the fires burning in Texas.


Figure 2. Water temperatures at buoy 42055 in the Bay of Campeche, about 150 miles northwest of the center of Nate, have declined steadily over the past few days due to the mixing action from Nate's winds. Image credit: National Data Buoy Center.

Tropical Storm Maria
Tropical Storm Maria is not changing much in intensity it bears down on the Lesser Antilles Islands. We haven't had a hurricane hunter aircraft in the storm since this morning, but satellite intensity estimates are unchanged from this morning, and support classifying Maria as a tropical storm with 45 - 50 mph winds. Satellite loops show that Maria's heavy thunderstorms decreased in areal coverage and intensity since this morning, but the cloud pattern is more organized now. Maria is slowly developing spiral bands in all quadrants, and the storm has an obvious spin to it that was not apparent earlier in its life. Wind shear has fallen to the low range, 5 - 10 knots, and Maria is taking advantage of the lower shear and getting more organized. Martinique radar shows heavy rains from Maria are now affecting the islands, and the pattern has more rotation to it than it did this morning. The thunderstorms are not yet well-organized into spiral bands, though.

The intensity forecast models predict steady strengthening for Maria, and I think likely that Maria will be a tropical storm with 45 - 55 mph winds in the Northern Lesser Antilles, Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, and develop into a Category 1 hurricane shortly after pulling away from Puerto Rico on Sunday morning. Assuming that the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico stay on the weaker left side of the storm, winds in those islands should be at least 15 mph less than the peak winds of the storm--so, in the 30 - 40 mph range. Islands on the right side of the storm, such as Anguilla and Barbuda, will see the full force of the storm, with winds of 45 - 55 mph. The northeastern portion of the Dominican Republic should get heavy rains from Maria, but not tropical storm-force winds. It now appears likely that the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas will miss seeing the core of Maria, but they are still in the cone of uncertainty, and cannot count on this yet. The reliable ECMWF model has now joined the other models in predicting that Maria will get caught up by a trough of low pressure early next week and turned northwards between Bermuda and U.S. East Coast. This has been the usual pattern this hurricane season, and we can now have moderate confidence that Maria will miss hitting the U.S., given the high degree of model agreement on this. A threat to southeast Newfoundland in Canada is possible for late next week, though.

I'll have an update late Saturday morning.

Jeff Masters

Hurricane

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

Quoting BahaHurican:
Looks like Katia will be giving Faith a run for the money in terms of how far north it gets as a large extratropical system...


Looks kinda silly, lol.

1002. jpsb
Quoting 996tt:


Have been saying northern GOM shut down since last Monday,
yeah, very early for the northers this year, and yeah once the northers start coming cane season is over for us in the northern gulf. FYI, Houston tied an all time cold record the other night with 59F, tied a record cold set in 1895. Wild temps swings here in se Texas, but sadly no rain.
Quoting BahaHurican:
Looks like Katia will be giving Faith a run for the money in terms of how far north it gets as a large extratropical system...


Well, Faith (supposedly) went all that way remaining tropical.. a much more impressive feat, if true.
Bye Katia, glad you didn't make any landfalls in your life.

Still Katia remains potent, we'll see over this side of the pond if she causes any damage.
1006. juniort
You Guys is it possible for another LLC to form under the cloud mass near Barbados?
Still has that fluffy look to it that one doesn't associate with extratropicals.... lol

I liked Katia... beautiful storm at its best... didn't hit anyone and destroy stuff.

Does fish storm count if the system doesn't hit anything until after it's post-tropical???

:o)
MY TROPICAL STORM MARIA FORECAST WINDS:

INIT 10/1500Z 35 KT 40 MPH
12H 11/0000Z...DISSIPATED
24H 11/1200Z 30 KT 35 MPH
36H 12/0000Z 30 KT 35 MPH
48H 12/1200Z 35 KT 40 MPH
72H 13/1200Z 45 KT 50 MPH
96H 14/1200Z 55 KT 65 MPH
120H 15/1200Z 60 KT 70 MPH
Quoting juniort:
You Guys is it possible for another LLC to form under the cloud mass near Barbados?


Anything is possible, though the NHC currently fixed a center at 17.3N 61.5W... so they're sticking with what they got.

Lots of discussion this morning as to whether the southern blob breaks off and walks west.

Just looking at it, if you think of the storm as just north and south halves, the south half is the stronger of the two.

NHC has the center kind of west of the convection and in the middle of it looking N/S.
Quoting jpsb:
yeah, very early for the northers this year, and yeah once the northers start coming cane season is over for us in the northern gulf. FYI, Houston tied an all time cold record the other night with 59F, tied a record cold set in 1895. Wild temps swings here in se Texas, but sadly no rain.

Face it, bro, our days of dreamily wishing for a gentle TS are over. Only way out of this now is a major(s). And I think I see one just left Venezuela.
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
MY TROPICAL STORM MARIA FORECAST WINDS:

INIT 10/1500Z 35 KT 40 MPH
12H 11/0000Z...DISSIPATED
24H 11/1200Z 30 KT 35 MPH
36H 12/0000Z 30 KT 35 MPH
48H 12/1200Z 35 KT 40 MPH
72H 13/1200Z 45 KT 50 MPH
96H 14/1200Z 55 KT 65 MPH
120H 15/1200Z 60 KT 70 MPH

Quick! Kill it with fire!!
To educate ourselves:

Chemtrails: another Psycotic conspiracy theory or factible True?
You analyse the facts.... You decide...

The Chemtrail Conspiracy Theory holds that some trails left by aircraft are actually chemical or biological agents deliberately sprayed at high altitudes for a purpose undisclosed to the general public in clandestine programs directed by government officials.[1]

1013. jpsb
Quoting Cotillion:
Still Katia remains potent, we'll see over this side of the pond if she causes any damage.
I agree, she still looks pretty good to me. No longer tropical but still packing a punch. Didn't a ex hurricane visit UK/France a few years back and due quite a bit of damage? I seem to recall reading something about that. Katia definitely has the potential to do something similar.
Really, really, really odd hurricane season.

I don't think I've seen a more pathetic collection of tropical systems ever before.

Fourteen storms and only two hurricanes is rather unprecedented.
Katia is not dead just post-tropical still expected to impact the Northern UK near Scotland. when we call Tropical systems dead, that means that they have disipated. Katia did not do that yet.


Quoting juniort:
You Guys is it possible for another LLC to form under the cloud mass near Barbados?


it could happen
1016. jpsb
Quoting redwagon:

Face it, bro, our days of dreamily wishing for a gentle TS are over. Only way out of this now is a major(s). And I think I see one just left Venezuela.
Hard to imagine a cane pushing into a norther. But I almost take a major to get some rain.
Ok, I deliberately stayed away yesterday under the guise of "a wTched storm never comes" and come back to find that Nate is still just hanging out in the southern gulf.

Nate, we really do need you here in Texas, it's not a matter of want any more if it ever has been.
Once again, the ECMWF was pretty much spot-on by showing little development with Maria.
1019. jpsb
Quoting TheNewGuy:
Really, really, really odd hurricane season.

I don't think I've seen a more pathetic collection of tropical systems ever before.

Fourteen storms and only two hurricanes is rather unprecedented.
+1000
1021. oakland
New Blog is up.
1023. SXMFL
Good afternoon all! Just waiting here in sxm, was supposed to have a day off thanks to Maria, but she changed her mind! Can anyone tell me when to expect the bad weather? We've been playing the waiting game since last night! TIA
1024. 996tt
Quoting basti11:



dude i think you need to go back and read all my post i beat you to the punch and that really doesnt matter...i have not been wrong this year with any storm dude im cloudburst 11...just go back my posts are well documented..i dont need to copy information dude all the knowledge i have on the tropics....i would run you under the table when it comes to tropical weather dude so you are not holier then thou so dont act like you know more then me because thats a joke in itself..you have a lot to learn dude before you criticize me lol..
Quoting basti11:



dude i think you need to go back and read all my post i beat you to the punch and that really doesnt matter...i have not been wrong this year with any storm dude im cloudburst 11...just go back my posts are well documented..i dont need to copy information dude all the knowledge i have on the tropics....i would run you under the table when it comes to tropical weather dude so you are not holier then thou so dont act like you know more then me because thats a joke in itself..you have a lot to learn dude before you criticize me lol..


Haha, I am a surfer and a lawyer. I hope people are better than I at forecasting weather. I have been reading your stuff since I first started seeing your stuff because I find it on some level amusing. You have a way of being disagreeable with everyone while assuming a know it all attitude. Candidly, you just seem to parrot other analysis and ideas you have read which is cool, except the manner or your approach in which you use those concepts. Everyone else is wrong and you are right. Nope, I kept asking for feed back on deep diving front because I was surprised no one else discussed. NHC and TWC guys usually identify such fronts as the end of GOM activity, but have yet to do so this year. Earlier last week, you had Nate was going to Mobile or Northern GOM . . . You then decided on West two days ago. Not consistent with frontal theory I have been asking about which had Nate in Mexico since day one even when GFS and European model said, what you went along with, North Eastern GOM.
Poor Maria and Nate. More shallow weak Pathetic storms with struggling centers...like a broken record this season. It's hard to believe this is what we have out there in the Atlantic basin. It's peak time and not even 1 healthy looking TS or cane to track. It's quantity over quality this season. It goes to show you what SAL can do when it spreads over the entire Atlantic basin and stabilizes the atmosphere for a long period of time. This season could be a BIG bust as far as hurricanes go. Hopefully we get some explanations from the experts on why they didn't see this coming???
Quoting WeatherNerdPR:
Wow, I'm so pissed off with Maria. PR was preparing for Irene part 2, and we aren't even gonna get rain. That's news overhype for ya.
Agree, it was pretty obvious that Maria's future was doom do to the Strong ULL on her head, even me, a non-expert, knew that.Hard to survived that digging shear. But yet they ruin everybody's weekend. The mayor of my Town in Moca Shut down the tradional Annual "Patron saint's festival"(fiestas patronales).. now we are heading for a very boring rest of the weekend, even Maria would have me excited for a bit ;)
2 days of radar at Sabancuy, Mexico in one loop: Link
Quoting reedzone:
Sorry computer models, but with that ULL there, whatever is left of Maria will go directly west or maybe WSW of the ULL. A storm cannot just bust through a strong ULL like that. The original idea of whatever is left of Maria coming in the Western Caribbean and strengthening may be what really could happen.

Call up the NHC pronto. Those slacker forecasters probably didn't see that ULL.
Quoting sunlinepr:


Can you post the link to that map? TIA.
1030. juniort
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
Katia is not dead just post-tropical still expected to impact the Northern UK near Scotland. when we call Tropical systems dead, that means that they have disipated. Katia did not do that yet.




it could happen
Thanks
1031. juniort
Quoting whepton3:


Anything is possible, though the NHC currently fixed a center at 17.3N 61.5W... so they're sticking with what they got.

Lots of discussion this morning as to whether the southern blob breaks off and walks west.

Just looking at it, if you think of the storm as just north and south halves, the south half is the stronger of the two.

NHC has the center kind of west of the convection and in the middle of it looking N/S.
Thanks