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Looks like Gamma is here

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 5:16 PM GMT on November 14, 2005

Tropical Depression 27 has improved significantly in its appearance on visibile satellite imagery the past few hours, and it is very likely that this storm will be upgraded to Tropical Storm Gamma at 4 pm. The storm's deep convection has increased and now covers the circulation center, and an impressive spiral band has formed to the south. Satellite intensity estimates from The University of Wisconsin's CIMSS estimate that this is a 1000 mb tropical storm with 50 mph winds. Wind shear has dropped from 25 knots to about 20 knots this morning, which is still high enough to prevent anything more than slow strengthening. The remainder of this morning's discussion appears below, unchanged.

We've seen two systems in the past month, Wilma and Alpha, survive and even intensify in the face of high wind shear. TD 27 has already shown the ability to exist in a highly sheared environment, and I expect it will hold together long enough to take advantage of the lower wind shear expected to develop over the Carribean by Wednesday. The eventual intensity of TD 27 will be highly dependent on its track. If the storm stays in the northern portion of the Caribbean, where wind shear is strong, TD 27 will probably never strengthen to more than a tropical storm. However, if TD 27 can track further south through the southern Caribbean, wind shear is expected to be much lighter. Ocean temperatures are warm enough to allow a hurricane to form, and the GFDL model predicts TD 27 will intensify into a major Category 3 hurricane by the end of the week.

The computer models did not initialize TD 27 very well in their runs that we have available this morning, so our confidence in the long-term track of TD 27 is low. All the models agree on the basic idea that TD 27 will track westward over the Caribbean for the next five days, under the steering of a strong ridge of high pressure. By the end of the week, the models begin to diverge, with the GFS, NOGAPS, and GFDL models strengthening the ridge further, driving TD 27 into Nicaragua or Honduras. The UKMET and Canadian models disagree, and forecast that a trough of low pressure will turn TD 27 northwards in the vicinity of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. TD 27 would then get caught in strong westerly winds, cross Cuba, then scoot through the Bahama Islands to the northeast. No model is indicating that TD 27 will threaten the U.S. mainland, and the storm would have to walk a very narrow tightrope to make it all the way to Florida. With such strong westerly winds blowing across Cuba and the Florida Straights, TD 27 will very quickly recurve away from the U.S. once it gets as far north as Jamaica's latitude.

The Hurricane Hunters are scheduled to make their first flight into TD 27 Tuesday afternoon.

I'll be back with an update late this afternoon when the 7am EST (12Z) model runs are available.

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

Im telling you people, someone is controling the weather...


Wow, Gamma...sooner than I expected. I bet we have atleast ONE more this season after Gamma. But..

Im gonna place my bets on Gamme (I know its not Gamma yet but) to get to a Category 2 or 3, regardless of all logical weather. Lets throw the book out the window this season, because apparently mother nature wants to make us look like morons.
Gamma it is I guess. Even though this is an unusual hurricane year, there really is no way this will threaten the U.S. The wind patterns at this time of the year simply won't allow it. The only place there is even an outside risk would be south florida.
rwdobson, wasnt that also said with Wilma? =P
Dr. Masters,
Thank you for your update. Never thought we would be watching a "Gamma" storm this year. Unbelievable!
Uhh, no, forecasters will calling for Wilma to hit S Florida pretty much the whole time. And that was weeks ago, so the waters have cooled and the steering currents have evolved even more.
go away tropical storm........just go away!
Repost from last blog:
Hi cgables, yes. 6am yesterday morning they picked up the first of it. Everyone ran to pile stuff by the road right after the storm. Now they have dead grass in the front yards. I, on the other hand, knew it would be a while [pats self on back] and put it up by the road this past Saturday. My grass is NOT dead. You learn something new every hurricane! This was a lesson from Francis/Jeanne.
OK my guess is hitting Belize on the 21st as a Cat 2, when Gamma is to the north of Honduras she will peak as a Cat 3 with 120 mph winds 950 mb pressure.
jeez this year just takes the cake! Gamma-to-be is not looking at all fazed by the shear and is bubbling away, could be TS already from the looks of it. rwdobson hope you're right that there is no way this will threaten the US - alot of the historic rules have been ignored by this year's exceptional crop of hurricanes.
11. dcw
Looking a bit worse now, but we are on the diurnal downswing...I'd bet good money on Gamma at 4 & Hurricane Gamma within 48 hrs.

I've issued an advisory:http://s91794711.onlinehome.us/ncw/phpBB2/index.php
Most of the weirdness this year has been with the number and intensity of the storms, and not so much the storm tracks.

Beta went west into Nicaragua, as expected. Wilma's track to SW Florida was predicted a 7-8 days in advance. Wilma lingered over the Yucatan more than expected but the basic track forecast was sound.
As of this satellite pass, the nascent circulation center seemed far to the south. I know this is not exactly real-time data, but:

This radar image shows convection mainly to the north.

We will see if the circulation also reorganizes itself to the north.
Incidentally, the Katrina death toll is now 1,326 in the US with over 4,500 missing in Louisiana and 120 missing in Mississippi.
Unreal... That's all I have to say, lol!
I meant that about TD 27, not the Katrina death toll.. How sad..
Go away T.D 27
Wow, over 4,500 still missing? Hopefully many of these have just relocated to parts unknown...
Yep, I wonder about that--2 1/2 months seems like a long time--but it is hard to see how the bodies could have floated out of the city when the levees failed--water flowed in but not out.
I dunno.. that CIMSS ODT never seems to be very accurate.
21. dcw
"Wow, over 4,500 still missing? Hopefully many of these have just relocated to parts unknown..."

Yeah, that is an extremely high #.
Good afternoon everyone! :-)
Has the NHC done their predictions for next year yet?
I am getting married in montego bay this upcoming saturday with an outside rehersal dinner on friday...

anyone have any good guesses as to my weather at that point in time.

please gamma...head south!
To digress from hurricanes yet again, the SPC has uped my area into the hashed area for significant severe weather tomorrow in their probablistic part of their outlook:

so we will have Gamma at 4pm.........it needs to stay far away from South Florida, we can't deal with anymore, even heavy rain, right now
Hey stormy! Did you see my post to your blog? And, how have you been?
28. dcw
Tornado! If you want a spot on my site, update occasionally...you haven't done anything since Wilma's insanity.
I think I will, and I will just clear my old blog and use that dcw. I have been extraordinarily busy lately, and now I'm sick with probably strep.
wpb... how true...we can't take anything right now.. heck, even a light rain sends me into a panic at this point..
Re kat missing...the MS number is likely to become additional dead because they have really made a big effort to identify the remaining unidentified bodies and to track down all the missing, so what is left is for the most part people who are not relocated, but those who were swept out into the GOM. Quite a few of those will be from places like Waveland and Pass Christian, and also likely some from Clermont Harbor and possibly Lakeshore.

Hard to say in LA, however there will be a significant number of missing from St. Bernard and Plaquemines Parish that will ultimately go towards the total death count.
hey 65 :-) YES, I saw your post, I got almost the exact same email...I posted it on there as well...And I got a response from Sea World...so progress is happening. THANK YOU!!!!
Remember, New Orleans with its levees was not at all the hardest hit area by Katrina. How many people decided to ride it out in houses along the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts, in places without levees, that got a nearly 30 foot storm surge? The places like Pass Christian where every house anywhere near the coast was just obliterated probably saw a number of people just washed out to sea. A horrible thought, and I imagine we'll never know really. Hopefully many people were found and their relatives just never reported it...
Hey Dee =)
snowfire...no that is not the TD you are seeing.

The circ from the convection that is being sloughed off by the shear is dropping to the south and spinning down, that is what you're seeing on the quikscat (someone else posted the same thing recently on convection spinning down in the eastpac and also mistook it for a TD).

You can see the LLC continue to track east and leave the circ from this morning behind (remember...the one that was "supposed" to wrap around the center...right). And you can see this morning's circ drop down to the south as well, where it will spin out and hit S Amer.

This will repeat until the shear eases. Patience...wait until Tues evng / Wed morn.
Dee - Dr. Gray's early forecast for 2006 comes out tomorrow..
Anyway, I'll be back in a few... ;-)
hey 21, sorry, in and out myself. :-)
Stormy, you are very welcome..anything that I can do to help I will certainly do it.
hey 21
Pensacola, it says 12/6 on his website. The link to it is in the tropical section.
Tomorrow we will know what to expect next year...what does everyone think?

I think we will have another exploding year with hurricanes unless the El Nino sets up and slows the process....with a mild winter, those waters will be nice and ready come next season!

But Im not predicting anything except that we will have hurricanes again next year, otherwise I'll be trolled to death :-)
Do y'all think Dr Grey has much credability with his forecasts?
Blairkiel, I live in St. Andrew Jamaica. My advise to you at this time would be to have all functions indoors. Some of the hotels in Montego Bay have large Patios which can still give an outside feeling. Better to be safe than sorry, still time to change venues. All the best.
I think DR Grey will predict low...after the last two years, I think he'd rather go low to keep everyone's fears at ease...if he goes and says that we are gonna have even MORE next year than this year, I think property value along the gulf coast and Florida is gonna drop! Although, I find it fascinating that the property value in my town went really high after 2004 hurricanes...go figure!!!
I predict that we will have a number of named storms....that is as far as I am going lol
I am staying at Half Moon bay...they will take care of us and our functions...just wondering how bad it might get.

I hope the southerly models are correct.

65, you mean that we are gonna surpass the names and greek alphabet and go on to numbers? LOL :-)
Stormy, I work in a mortgage department and I know about the high property values, although we are now seeing a decrease in those values.
Tornadoty said it (Grey's forecast) will not be out until Tues. 12/6... Sorry guys, I thought it was tomorrow.
this will be a central america storm...latest model runns indicate so

Ditto on Florida property values dropping somewhat although I think it's a correction rather not a drop attributable to the active hurricane season. Folks from the colder climes are still relocating to Florida in droves. However, I know a number of people, myself included, who are seriously exploring moving out of Florida before next summer. And these are the same people who had no intention of leaving after last year, but reached the pain threshold this year. Be interesting to see how many Florida homes have for sale signs on their lawns as the busy selling/buying period approaches, and if this has an effect on property values.
How about the 12z gfdl ~ seems to slow down & turn north.

The 12z ukmet also shows a due n movement after 120 hrs

The canadian shows it brushing along the south side of the n caribian islands ~ 3 major models showing Cuba as the target.~ The GFS is finally starting to reconize it but insists that shear will hamper it harshly.

Where did you read about the data in your post:
"Incidentally, the Katrina death toll is now 1,326 in the US with over 4,500 missing in Louisiana and 120 missing in Mississippi."?

Can you give us a link?

Coal, at least 3 homes (if not 10) on every street by my home is for sale....and at ridiculous prices at that...a tiny 3bdrm 1 bath with no fixups and a rotten roof just sold for $142,000...ridiculous! The footage wasn't over 1000sq ft.
I too spent my years growing up in New England. An average high temperature below 40 degrees for months on end "is not NORMAL" either. :)
As far as housing prices here is mine (according to the county its worth 133,500)

Built in 1971

3 or 4 bedrooms (depends on if you classify a 1st floor bedroom as one, I use it for the computer room)

1.5 baths

1650 sq feet (not including finshed basement)

.57 acres of land

A picture of it is on here.
Of course no power for weeks is no picnic but bottom line is I love palm trees. Oh and average temps in the 70-90 range most of the year.
the house I was talking about is $62,290 market value, built in 1960 w/ 816sq feet....here's the link...Link..yes it sold for $142,000! Check it 65, do you think its worth it? NOPE!!!!
hey skye see what you mean with the models, mind you hard to put much stock in model predictions 5 days out - that having been said, my sense is that Gamma's projected course is the one that would allow best possibilities for intensification
I know a lot of developers in my town are mandating generators on their lots they are selling...just..in...case! That is smart considering how much power we will be losing to hurricanes in the future until all electricity is underground.
Even when power lines are buried, you can still have widespread outages due to damage at substations, etc. I don't think you can bury everything.
Well if homes and condos were built to with stand high winds (hurricane resistant windows), powerlines were underground and people properly prepared themselves because Florida is in a hurricane region We wouldn't have been in such a mess. South Florida is the best place to be in the winter, period. Days are warm and the nights are mild. Housing price rise as quickly but they would drop. Just another wicked winter up north will do the trick
rwd - we would still have outages, but they won't be as long for some people...when there's a wire down in a neighborhood vs a substation down, we know whats getting fixed first.
stormy....no it is not worth it, but that is how the market has been going....absolutely ridiculous!!!!!
Matilda, I agree...all of the homes in my neighborhood were built in the 60's and are all concrete, up to hurricane codes for that time....the only major damage any of my neighbors had was roof damage, and of course No power for forever....But the homes built in the 80's and 90's had lots of damage....they softened the bldg codes for a couple of decades cause there were no hurricanes in FL....now, all those who have the softer codes are suffering harder.
Gamma will be a TS for sure at 4 pm and maybe a hurricane overnight if she keeps building like this - look at the latest storm floaters!
true, the house to house outages would be shorter, and you're also less likely to get outages from routine thunderstorms when the lines are buried.

I think the high end South Florida market may cool off. But the low to mid range housing will go up at the same rate it's been going up for the last few years. Still too much demand, not enough supply, for "affordable" housing. And the supply got even scarcer after Wilma.
Buried power lines are a good idea in most places. Our development here in VA requires them so that we don't lose power in ice storms and in the rather spectacular thunderstorms we get in the spring.
The one saving grace for many in the Katrina hit areas is that their properties are selling for several times what they are worth, even with no house left! The sad downside to it is that the Gulf Coast will never be the same, instead of lots of small towns with lots of character, it'll be one big condo development from the panhandle of Florida to the tip of Texas.
elliston, a lot of people in kc were convinced they wouldn't lose power during the last ice storm b/c of buried lines...and they ended up at home depot trying to buy generators with everyone else...
Wow! Didn't know the property values post would create such a stir. For those of us currently living full time in South Florida, I guess the decision to move or stay is really a personal one. Some folks wouldn't leave no matter what; while others have hit the wall and want out. Many factors will play into the property value game in the future--rising Florida home insurance rates, rising fuel oil and natural gas prices in the colder climes, but the biggest factor will be based on supply and demand. Be interesting to see how the values game plays out over the next six to nine months. One thing, however, is for sure--with the active 2005 season, the media has had a feeding frenzy which has affected Florida's "come on down to Paradise" image. Needless to say, any effects from 27/Gamma in Florida would not be a good thing for any of us.
rwdobson - oh I've had my power out for several days at a time...nothing can change a main line going down closer to the station where the lines are above ground. If all of them were below ground between us and the station, then it wouldn't go out in an ice storm. Still, every little bit helps and every line that is buried is one more that can't be knocked down by a tree.
I am the opposite. I wish I could leave in the winter. All the Yankees down here clog the roads and bring there rude personalities. I love the summer in Florida. It's closer to the way it used to be.
79. dcw
Worth noting on the GFDL forecast: the winds are for 950mb...if the pressure is below 950, ground level winds will be higher than shown.
just jumping in here at the tail end of the power line thread...

32 years ago (jeez, i'm giving away my age here) i worked on the underground utilities for coral springs... our foreman told us fpl had plans to gradually bury all its lines... i wonder what the power situtaion after storms would have been like had they done that...

had to quit that job because none of the guys would let me do any heavy work, and the other ladies got a bit peeved...

now, to check on the propections for this storm...
Dee - You are not headed home yet??
Elliston, thats a scary thought, condos from FL to TX...my grandma lives over by Tampa/Clearwater area...and there is no beach, well, there is but you cannot see it because of all the condos in the way....and there is nowhere to park to access the beach or if there is, its packed with cars cause its the only access for miles....sad to think the whole gulf may look like that in the future...where's are environmentalists to buy up that property and protect it?
oh 21, its Monday and my mail was late.....and then one guy just wrecked on 95 with a trailer full of steel.....and he couldn't get to his scheduled jobs so I had to reschedule and yada yada yada....soon, but not yet :-)
85. dcw
4PM - Still a TD...What in the world are they thinking?
Dee - Our beaches are starting to get like that too. I hate it. When a hurricane comes along, everyone that has a(extremely NICE and expensive) house whines because it was washed away. Well, I have one thing to say about that - STOP BUILDING ON THE GULF!!! Key word: Barrier Islands...
this thing is not all that well organized...maybe it'll be gamma by morning.
My mail man is late too. Still hasn't came and it is about 3:00.. grrr
still a TD at 4 p.m.
91. dcw
It's well enough organized to be a 45-50mph TS.
LOL 21 :-) Yes, barrier islands is the smarter way...I have to admit though that I thought buying a condo on the beach would be a perfect get-a-way for a weekend deal that I would rent to snowbirds in the winter...I am SO HAPPY that I didn't purchase one....2004 taught me a lot of things!
ya 21, its cause they (mailman)had a day off (Friday) and even though they worked Sat, they are still catching up. Its weird how it works out sometimes....
yeah wtf and i thought te storm was moving a bit more westerly but i'm wrong
goodnight everyone. :-)
Well you know that's what they are for, lol. Barrier: wall, fence, blockade, barricade, obstruction.... Those islands are natures way of protecting the inland... The beaches could re-nourish themselves, but there are too many houses, condos, etc.
Bye Dee! Have a great night!
not according to the nhc: "the satellite presentation of the depression has deteriorated since this morning. The low level center is exposed and more clearly discernible. Deep convection persists but only on the eastern side
of the circulation due to continuing westerly shear. Estimating the intensity via satellite imagery is highly sensitive to the center position... but the distance of the exposed swirl from the convection provides confidence that the cyclone remains a tropical depression. 18z Dvorak T numbers from TAFB and SAB are 2.0... and
the advisory intensity is kept at 30 kt."
How about if we all chant *DIE BLOB DIE* would THAT work? ::Sigh:: The official season ends in what, 16 days?
i hav updated my blog
I don't see that exposed center they're talking about - it looks like it has enough sheer momentum to reform a completely new center if need be.
new post
Wow, now I see it. That swirl's moving so fast away from the convection it might have to form a new center.