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Puerto Rico braces for a December surprise: 94L

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 3:49 PM GMT on December 10, 2007

The hurricane season of 2007 over may not be quite over. An area of disturbed weather about 200 miles east of Puerto Rico, designated Invest 94 by NHC, may develop into a subtropical or tropical storm. The system developed a surface circulation near 18N 63W this morning, as seen on visible satellite loops. The heavy thunderstorm activity is displaced 100-300 miles to the north of the center, making 94L a subtropical system. Long range radar out of Puerto Rico shows some disorganized bands of rain affecting the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and surrounding waters, but these bands are not well-organized. Water temperatures in the region are about 26-27° C, which is barely warm enough to support formation of a tropical storm. Last evening's 8:12 pm EST QuikSCAT pass showed top winds of 30-35 mph. Unfortunately, this morning's QuikSCAT and ASCAT passes both missed 94L. Wind shear is 20-25 knots over the disturbance, which is too high to allow anything but slow development. However, 94L is very close to being a subtropical depression, and only a slight increase in organization would be needed to call it a subtropical depression.


Figure 1. Latest satellite image of Invest 94.

Here's what NHC had to say about the disturbance:

Special tropical disturbance statement
1100 am EST Mon Dec 10 2007

Satellite images and surface reports indicate that a closed surface circulation has developed in association with the broad area of low pressure now centered about 200 miles east of Puerto Rico. Shower activity with the low remains disorganized...however...with the strongest thunderstorms located a couple hundred miles north and northeast of the center. While a tropical or subtropical cyclone could still form during the next 24 hours...upper-level winds are expected to become gradually less favorable for development over the next couple of days. Regardless of whether the low develops further...it could produce heavy squalls and gusty winds of near gale force across the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico later today and tonight as it moves westward or west-southwestward at about 20 mph. Heavy rains over Puerto Rico and Hispaniola could cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides...and interests in these areas should continue to monitor the progress of this system.

Wind shear is expected to remain in the 20-25 knot range Monday, which may be low enough to allow 94L to organize into a subtropical depression or subtropical storm today. Regardless, 94L will affect Puerto Rico today and tonight similar to how a tropical depression would, with sustained winds of 30 mph gusting to 45 mph, and heavy rains up to 5 inches. On Tuesday, these conditions will spread to the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The high terrain of Hispaniola should disrupt 94L, and wind shear is also expected to increase. By Wednesday, 94L will probably bring heavy rain to Jamaica. The GFDL model indicates that wind shear will drop and 94L will organize into a tropical storm on Wednesday. The model forecasts that the storm will intensify and move west-southwest to threaten the northern coast of Honduras on Friday. None of the other models develop 94L, though. Wind shear is expected to be low enough to support tropical storm formation in the Western Caribbean on Wednesday-Thursday, if there is anything left of 94L after its encounter Tuesday with Hispaniola. The Hurricane Hunters are not on call to fly 94L at all, and I don't expect this storm will survive intact enough to become a tropical storm in the Western Caribbean later this week.

I'll have a update later today.

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

499. 0741 2:18 AM GMT on December 11, 2007
Drakoen were you getting PR REPORT?


search Puerto Rico on wunderground...
502. 0741
StormW is bam good model?
Evening StormW!!! And Everyone!!! Does Santa have something nasty in his bag this year??? LOL
here in Carolina we have light rain and light wind.
505. 0741
search Puerto Rico on wunderground... ok
Can someone please link me to whre it was Olga is a STS, THANKS A LOT!! not that i dont trust you, i wanna see.
498. IKE 8:17 PM CST on December 10, 2007
This is only the second time that a storm developed in the Caribbean in December (2003's Odette also did so). Unless the NHC's best track has Olga developing into a storm earlier, though I doubt it.

STL...isn't she in the Atlantic, not the Caribbean?


I think it is in the Caribbean; this map also has the Caribbean as south of 20N and west of 60W.
508. IKE
NHC special statement on STS OLGA...

Link
It seems like Olga is right on top of us but that is impossible. Here in our dry season (winter) we've had a full day of heavy rain preceeded by a wickely windy day yesterday. East Yucatan peninsula, Mexico. Our thoughts are with Puerto Rico.
510. IKE

I think it is in the Caribbean; this map also has the Caribbean as south of 20N and west of 60W.


OK.
Thanks IKE.
Shortwave imagery shows that she racing towards P.R. Probably want to get over you guys quick before committing suicide over Hispanola.
So it did develop...
Well Korithe, apparently so lol, im still in shock.
This system looks more tropical than subtropical but I guess looks could be decieving
StormW, where did ya go?? LOL

Ahhh, there you are!
The appearance reminds me of Zeta. Also, I am not really surprised; after all, when was the last time a storm developed in December? Just as once-rare Category 5 hurricanes are pretty "normal" now...
520. IKE
New update on Olga...

Link
522. mobal
Storm, The NHC I think is the best to go with on most forcast, except my recent trip to Minneapolis, low of 6, they said 26....LOL.
Thanks for the explination StormW ;-\
AT 1100 PM AST...0300 UTC....THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DOMINICAN
REPUBLIC HAS ISSUED A TROPICAL STORM WARNING FOR THE NORTHERN COAST
OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC FROM CABO ENGANO WESTWARD TO BAHIO DE
MANZANILLO AT THE BORDER OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC AND HAITI...AND
A TROPICAL STORM WATCH FOR THE SOUTHERN COAST OF THE DOMINICAN
REPUBLIC FROM CABO ENGANO TO PUNTA PALENQUE SOUTHWEST OF SANTO
DOMINGO.

INTERESTS IN PUERTO RICO AND THE VIRGIN ISLANDS SHOULD MONITOR THE
PROGRESS OF OLGA.
526. IKE
From the NHC...

"AT 1100 PM AST...0300Z...THE BROAD CENTER OF SUBTROPICAL STORM OLGA
WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 18.5 NORTH...LONGITUDE 65.3 WEST OR ABOUT
55 MILES... 85 KM...EAST OF SAN JUAN PUERTO RICO AND ABOUT
300 MILES...485 KM...EAST OF SANTO DOMINGO IN THE DOMINICAN
REPUBLIC.

OLGA IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST NEAR 15 MPH...AND THIS GENERAL MOTION
SHOULD CONTINUE FOR THE NEXT 24 HOURS. THIS MOTION WILL BRING THE
CENTER NEAR THE NORTHERN COAST OF PUERTO RICO LATER TONIGHT...AND
NEAR OR OVER THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC ON TUESDAY.".........


If it'll be near the northern coast of PR, why no TS warning for PR????
527. mobal
Oops, I mean the NWS, My bad.....
This begs the question, where does a storm go that forms in this area beyond 5 days. Is there any climatology to support any guesses?
529. TheCaneWhisperer 8:44 PM CST on December 10, 2007
This begs the question, where does a storm go that forms in this area beyond 5 days. Is there any climatology to support any guesses?


For now, the NHC has it dissipate over Jamaica:



The last models that I saw had it hitting Central America, more or less continuing the track the NHC has.
I don't know---but it looks like Olga is actually quite a bit north of Puerto Rico on the radar, and it looks like convection is wrapping around the south side. Link
534. Relix
Not much happening here in Levittown, PR. Maybe the show will begin in a few hours. Is there really NO possibility of T-Storm winds? The local news are saying that.
Closer focus on center Link
In fact, it looks like the NHC is using the CMC's track:

thanks for posting the cone. looks like this will be a non event for the US. good night.
hello everyone
If it'll be near the northern coast of PR, why no TS warning for PR????

maybe they think it's not so important because we already have a wind advisory and the stronger winds are going to stay to the north of us.


the NHC finally did their job
Well, Olga just goes to show everyone that "dates" mean nothing to mother nature.

Off to bed. Will engage tomorrow:-)
its subtropical, no suprise
its a storm, for the past 12 hrs, no suprise
Olga may turn WSW, but she is well to the north of the latitude of Puerto Rico on the radar now.
ok this season donot want to end!!!!!!


End? When did it even start? lol

Anyway, hope we get some rain from it in FL eventually but that is a long shot this far out.
Add one more name, storm to the total! OLGA, let's hope she diminishes and there's no death and injury! But, if we could get some rain out if in the seCONUS, that'd be nice! But, not likely I know!
I wonder if it followed the BAMM's track would it give moisture to the Nor'Easter that's going to form this weekend?
I think that the reason for no storm watches or warnings, is because conditions will continue nearly the same. If the maximum winds are at 40, which are almost definately on the north side, and the storm is moving west at 15mph, then winds on the south side would be at around 10mph gusting to 20mph. I think that for those in puerto rico, even though it seems like a tropical storm is just to your north, conditions will only get slightly worse.
548. mobal
Yea Storm, But no worry I was in Mexico last week, Ha Choo, sorry, got a cold now!

Interesting late storm, Looks like another lower lat.
The microwave imagery is does not show much in terms of circulation but shows the heavy convection to the west and north. I can see some slight curvature over the open ocean.

It could be a tragic scenario for the Dominican Republic and Haiti again.
Yeah, those islands have been hit hard this year, WeatherFanPR. Let's hope for the best, but obviously, residents there are probably preparing for the worst.

If anyone is interested, here is my newest blog. It covers Olga. If anyone reads it, fine, if not, they don't, just thought I would post it anyway.

See you guys later, going to watch TV.
552. 0741
STORM when will sw track start? if move little more west it affect southeast bahamas
553. JLPR
wow there have been down trees and electric stuff in PR umm i didnt know that
wow down trees who would have thought
emergency agency report trees down, power lines down, a house lost the roof partially, also a tree felt down over a car and 1 person was injured.
544. StormHype 8:55 PM CST on December 10, 2007
ok this season donot want to end!!!!!!


End? When did it even start? lol


Yeah, yeah, yeah... Tell that to all of the people who lost everything this year... just because nothing really bad happened to the CONUS doesn't mean that there was no season this year... 2004 and 2005 were the exceptions; no major hurricanes hit the U.S. between 1997 and 2003...
i see that we have STS Olga


here is what i think about SUBTROPICAL storm Olga

558. JLPR
i think a Ts warning could had been issued since there is damage from the winds
560. 0741
557. Tazmanian 3:11 AM GMT on December 11, 2007
i see that we have STS Olga


here is what i think about SUBTROPICAL storm Olga


now i need go kitchen get FOOD
Ok, so I see we now have a TS. So it started early in April or May...and ends in December. They should just stretch the season in those months..hmmm
562. Relix
Well, I am going to bed, not knowing if I will have my finals tomorrow early morning. Going to bed, I know lights will go out and I) am prepared. To the fellow puertorricans here, good luck and good night =).

Quick Report: Light rain with gusts around 20MPH in Levittown, which if you don't know is in the north coast. Things will get worse as the center moves, and if it goes WSW something bugs me that we will have serious problems around here.
Yeah, yeah, yeah... Tell that to all of the people who lost everything this year... just because nothing really bad happened to the CONUS doesn't mean that there was no season this year... 2004 and 2005 were the exceptions; no major hurricanes hit the U.S. between 1997 and 2003...

I agree with you 110%
WTNT32 KNHC 110232
TCPAT2
BULLETIN
SUBTROPICAL STORM OLGA ADVISORY NUMBER 1
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL172007
1100 PM AST MON DEC 10 2007

...LOW PRESSURE AREA NEAR PUERTO RICO AND THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
DEVELOPS INTO SUBTROPICAL STORM OLGA...

AT 1100 PM AST...0300 UTC....THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DOMINICAN
REPUBLIC HAS ISSUED A TROPICAL STORM WARNING
FOR THE NORTHERN COAST
OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC FROM CABO ENGANO WESTWARD TO BAHIO DE
MANZANILLO AT THE BORDER OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC AND HAITI...AND
A TROPICAL STORM WATCH FOR THE SOUTHERN COAST OF THE DOMINICANREPUBLIC FROM CABO ENGANO TO PUNTA PALENQUE SOUTHWEST OF SANTO
DOMINGO.

INTERESTS IN PUERTO RICO AND THE VIRGIN ISLANDS SHOULD MONITOR THE
PROGRESS OF OLGA.

FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...INCLUDING POSSIBLE
INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED
BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.

AT 1100 PM AST...0300Z...THE BROAD CENTER OF SUBTROPICAL STORM OLGA
WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 18.5 NORTH...LONGITUDE 65.3 WEST OR ABOUT
55 MILES... 85 KM...EAST OF SAN JUAN PUERTO RICO AND ABOUT
300 MILES...485 KM...EAST OF SANTO DOMINGO IN THE DOMINICAN
REPUBLIC.

OLGA IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST NEAR 15 MPH...AND THIS GENERAL MOTION
SHOULD CONTINUE FOR THE NEXT 24 HOURS. THIS MOTION WILL BRING THE
CENTER NEAR THE NORTHERN COAST OF PUERTO RICO LATER TONIGHT...AND
NEAR OR OVER THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC ON TUESDAY.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 40 MPH...65 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS...MAINLY WELL TO THE NORTH OF THE CENTER. SOME SLOW
STRENGTHENING IS POSSIBLE BEFORE THE CENTER APPROACHES THE
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC.

WINDS OF 40 MPH EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 200 MILES...325 KM TO THE NORTH
OF THE CENTER. NOAA BUOY 41043 RECENTLY REPORTED 1-MINUTE AVERAGE
WINDS OF 38 MPH...61 KM/HR...AT AN ELEVATION OF 5 METERS.

ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 1006 MB...29.71 INCHES. ST.
THOMAS IN THE VIRGIN ISLANDS RECENTLY REPORTED A PRESSURE OF
1006.4 MB...29.72 INCHES.

SUBTROPICAL STORM OLGA IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE RAIN ACCUMULATIONS OF
2 TO 4 INCHES OVER PUERTO RICO WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF
6 INCHES. RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 4 TO 6 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE OVER
HISPANIOLA WITH POSSIBLE ISOLATED MAXIMUM TOTALS OF 10 INCHES.
THESE RAINS COULD PRODUCE LIFE-THREATENING FLASH FLOODS AND
MUDSLIDES.

REPEATING THE 1100 PM AST POSITION...18.5 N...65.3 W. MOVEMENT
TOWARD...WEST NEAR 15 MPH. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...40 MPH.
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1006 MB.

AN INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE
CENTER AT 200 AM AST FOLLOWED BY THE NEXT COMPLETE ADVISORY AT 500
AM AST.
559. jphurricane2006 9:12 PM CST on December 10, 2007
um STL, Bret made landfall in S Texas in 1999 as a Category 4


Oh well; it did hit a relatively unpopulated area though and probably caused less damage than, say, Erin. Of course, 2001 is a good example of why a storm doesn't need to be major to cause a lot of damage.
I noticed that Bret had some similarities to some of the storms this year; 1999 was also a strong La Nina year (and a very dusty year - although SSTs remained very warm, unlike this year, which was the major inhibiting factor - though the Gulf and Caribbean stayed warm and had lower than normal shear, which is also where most of the storms developed or rapidly intensified):

A tropical wave moved off the coast of Africa on August 5, 1999. It moved off the shear-ridden Atlantic, barely discernible at times. On August 15 in the western Caribbean Sea, the wave interacted with an upper level low, leading to an increase in convection. It drifted northwestward into the Bay of Campeche, and developed a surface low pressure system on the morning of August 18. Later that day, the system organized into Tropical Depression Three.
she'll follow the gfdl to jamica then swing nwnne head up the eastern seaboard as a large winter storm as a primary storm tracks ne wards during the up coming weekend
Note that up until recently subtropical storms weren't counted as named storms. Does the statement (comment 494) that this is the 4th season there has been both an early & late storm include subtropical storms? (Andrea - the May storm - was also subtropical.)
That's a good point. Subtropical storms are not in the database before the late 1960s---and there were several in the 1970s and 1980s that were outside the hurricane season.
568. gippgig 9:37 PM CST on December 10, 2007
Note that up until recently subtropical storms weren't counted as named storms.


Recently? Like, how recently? Before the satellite era? Well, yeah, but it is foolish to try to compare, say, 1933 to 2005. Some seasons in the 1970s had almost half of their total storms being subtropical; for example:


1974 Atlantic hurricane season
First storm formed: June 24, 1974
Last storm dissipated: October 9, 1974
Strongest storm: Carmen - 926 mbar (27.40 inHg), 150 mph (240 km/h)
Total storms: 11
Major storms (Cat. 3+): 2
Total damage: $1.06 billion (1974 USD)
$4.4 billion (2005 USD)
Total fatalities: 6,004–10,004


1 Subtropical Storm One
2 Subtropical Storm Two
3 Subtropical Storm Three

4 Tropical Storm Alma
5 Hurricane Becky
6 Hurricane Carmen
7 Tropical Storm Dolly
8 Tropical Storm Elaine
9 Hurricane Fifi
10 Hurricane Gertrude
11 Subtropical Storm Four

Note that thye were not named, but that doesn't mean that they didn't count... I don't know why some people are still trying to minimize what was one of the most destructive years on record in the Caribbean... not often that you have as much damage as 2007 had and not have a major U.S. storm (a storm that causes a few million in damage to some Caribbean country would cause billions in the U.S. because of wealth)...
That said, many so-called tropical storms in previous years were probably subtropical, even extratropical (the hurricane reanalysis project has kicked some early storms off the lists because of this, while adding storms to other seasons at the same time).
nite storm
Several subtropical storms outside the hurricane season:


Link

Subtropical storms were named in the early 70s

Link

Link

Link

Link
new blog
heavy rain and gusty winds. also cool temp.67 degrees F.
very very windy I can say