Omar intensifies to Category 3, but mostly spares the Lesser Antilles

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:39 PM GMT on October 16, 2008

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Hurricane Omar blasted through the Lesser Antilles last night, intensifying into a Category 3 hurricane as it accelerated to the northeast. Fortunately, the eye missed all the islands, as the storm passed through the narrow Anedega Passage between the Virgin Islands and Anguilla. However, the western eyewall did pass over the eastern tip of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands (Figure 1), bringing hurricane-force winds there. A Personal Weather Station at the Buccaneer Resort on the northeast coast of St. Croix recorded sustained winds of 80 mph at a height of 110 feet. Rainfall there was 6.28" on Thursday, and 9.11" so far today, for a storm total of 15.39". Other wind measurements and total rainfall for the past two days from Omar:

St. Croix airport 39 mph, gusting to 58 mph, 4.56"
Limetree Bay, south side of St. Croix 51 mph, gusting to 71 mph
Limetree Bay CMAN station, St. Croix 53 mph
St. Maartin airport 45 mph, gusting to 67 mph, 7.02"
Anguilla West End Personal Weather Station 45 mph, gusting to 69 mph, 2.88" (elevation 45 feet)

Buoy 41140 (north side of St. Croix, water depth 85 feet) reported 15 foot waves at the time of eyewall passage. The buoy's anemometer was inoperative.


Figure 1. Radar image of Hurricane Omar as its west eyewall passed over the eastern tip of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. At the time, Omar was a Category 3 hurricane with 120 mph winds.

Omar in historical perspective
Omar is an unusual hurricane in several respects. It's one of only four hurricanes to affect the Lesser Antilles Islands so late in the season. The only hurricanes that occurred later were the Category 3 1867 hurricane that hit Puerto Rico, and two 1999 storms, Category 2 Jose and famed Category 4 "Wrong-way Lenny". Lenny was the only west-to-east moving hurricane on record to affect the Lesser Antilles. Omar's northeasterly motion is highly unusual as well, and I couldn't find any similar storms in the historical record except Lenny.

Omar is headed out to sea and should not affect any other land areas. Steady weakening is forecast, due to increasing wind shear and cooler sea surface temperatures.


Figure 2. Tracks of all October or later hurricanes to affect the northern Lesser Antilles Islands. Light red tracks indicate a minor hurricane, and dark red tracks are for a major hurricane. Image credit: NOAA Coastal Services Center.

Elsewhere in the tropics
Tropical Depression 16 moved ashore over northern Honduras yesterday and dissipated. However, moisture from the depression remains over the region, which could see additional heavy rains of 2-4 inches today. It is possible that the remains of TD 16 could move over the Eastern Pacific and regenerate into a tropical storm. Both the GFDL and UKMET models have indicated this possibility in recent runs.

No computer models are forecasting tropical cyclone development in the Atlantic over the next seven days.

Hurricane Ike relief efforts
There continues to be an urgent need for relief supplies in the wake of Hurricane Ike. I recommend contributions to the portlight.org charity fund, formed by wunderground members to serve the needs of those often bypassed by traditional relief efforts. Contributions are fully tax-deductible, and more details can be found at StormJunkie's blog.

I'll have an update Friday morning.
Jeff Masters

ts omar aruba (nibiru)
ts omar aruba

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631. HIEXPRESS
6:18 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
removed
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2155
630. surfmom
4:19 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
quick peek - it's a work-lurk day - sunny greetings to all!!!B/4 school horse morning - aghh! Horses thought we were NUTS (and we were) Incredible beauty though with the bright moon setting to the west and the sunrise breaking on the horizon out east. Weather is just beautiful here now, Mother Nature of SWFL is getting ready to welcome back her Native Son Bone Dog!!!

Can't stay on - Spouse is in the office....try to get back later.......Plans to leave this coast for the EAST coast are now confirmed...if the waves are not coming to me... Well, I am going to them!! First vacation in 2years - if I can survived the prep work -- I'll be on a beach looking for Captain Jack Sparrow and riding waves Monday afternoon.... I knew mucking those stalls would pay off LOL - Yoo HOOO
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
629. HIEXPRESS
4:09 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
APOD
(The sky is falling!)
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2155
628. HIEXPRESS
4:06 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
APOD (The sky is falling!)
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2155
627. WxLogic
3:40 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
Good afternoon... back for a while at least.
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 4881
626. ftpiercecane
3:32 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
snook bite has been good here in eastcenfl,still have a decent amount of mullet around
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 204
625. Cotillion
3:08 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
Well, I'm off out for the weekend.

Play nice. ;)
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
624. Cotillion
2:42 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
Quoting KEHCharleston:
I wonder where surfmom and pottery are

Cotillion, you, pottery and others had an interesting discussion yesterday about how to rate storms.

I thought as a civilian, I would throw in my 2 cents.

I like the idea of a rating that denotes Winds/Surge/Rain - I think that would have meaning for most people.
In addition I think coastal areas should have designations for each - my location in Charleston might be rated for a 2 Wind, 2 Surge, 1 Rain storm. If it is anticipated that a storm will have a greater number in any of those catogories, then evacuation would be put in place. I have some ideas how to get the areas rated, but more about that later.

What do you think?


Geography is an important factor, as well as the countries that will be hit. I'm of the opinion that an academic scale and a public scale need to be fused together to provide the best service.

(To categorise properly and address all the elements, as well as allowing people to make the best actions according to all the evidence.)
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
623. theshepherd
2:35 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
622 Storm
LMAO
Ok, this time I mean it. I'm outta here. Too nice a day....lol
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10030
621. theshepherd
2:20 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
617 KEH
Allready have one.
IKE..Intergrated Kenetic Energy 1-6. Total storm effect.
If I remember correctly Ike surpassed Katrina on this scale by a couple of tenths.
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10030
620. KEHCharleston
2:17 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
RE:619. theshepherd
Hope you sneak up on the snook
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
619. theshepherd
2:14 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
616 Bone
You're right...My bad
I'm outta here..dragging one of the boats over to Indian River Lagoon and Sebastian Inlet to terrorise the snook and trout population....lol
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10030
618. Cotillion
2:14 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
And from 613, that's just what climatology points out. An estimate, a suggestion. It doesn't say it cannot form in the places not highlighted. Case in point, our 'B' storm:


Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
617. KEHCharleston
2:14 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
I wonder where surfmom and pottery are

Cotillion, you, pottery and others had an interesting discussion yesterday about how to rate storms.

I thought as a civilian, I would throw in my 2 cents.

I like the idea of a rating that denotes Winds/Surge/Rain - I think that would have meaning for most people.
In addition I think coastal areas should have designations for each - my location in Charleston might be rated for a 2 Wind, 2 Surge, 1 Rain storm. If it is anticipated that a storm will have a greater number in any of those catogories, then evacuation would be put in place. I have some ideas how to get the areas rated, but more about that later.

What do you think?
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
616. Bonedog
2:06 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
stop feeding the troll :)~
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
615. myway
2:04 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
cmackla
You statement was it is over for the conus. Last time I checked a map, the conus was slightly more than the gom.
Member Since: May 28, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 446
614. Bonedog
2:02 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
apperently we have a pot stirer and one for that matter doesn't look at any discussion for the NHC or HPC or their local forcast office so why keep feeding it?

Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
613. KEHCharleston
2:01 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
October Storms
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
612. theshepherd
2:01 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
605. cmackla
Calm down ol' buddy
I've lived in Fla for 58 years. We have 365 seasons a year. Whatever the blue dishes out. It's over when it's over. LOL
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10030
611. cchsweatherman
1:56 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
Quoting cmackla:


Well do you live anywhere along the gulf coast...as I have said before most experts on this board do not yet they try to tell the locals who do that our season is not over when WE the ones who do live here know when our season is done.


To answer your question; I don't live on the Gulf Coast. I reside in Southeast Florida. When I create the Graphical Tropical Updates on my website, I watch the entire basin as there are other places than the Gulf Coast or even the United States for that matter that get affected by tropical systems. Just ask Haiti about that. Through your comments, it becomes quite evident to other bloggers that you seem to think that the Gulf Coast is the only place that matters and that you're not considering other places that could get impacted by tropical systems. I have friends down in the Caribbean who access my site for such information.
Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5030
610. Bonedog
1:55 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
no problem KEH

more then most likely the report will be something like

margarita
sleep
fish
margarita
sleep
fish

maybe ina diffrent order but you get the idea LOL
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
609. theshepherd
1:53 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
596 Storm
That being observed, do I see a jet streak on the back side possibly driving jet stream further south. A footrace , maybe ?
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10030
608. KEHCharleston
1:51 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
Bonedog, We expect a full report upon your return.

602. cmackla - I did not get the impression we are talking GOM/La only - you may wish to broaden your "horizons", so to speak.
However, from your keyboard to God's ear.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
607. cchsweatherman
1:49 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
Quoting cmackla:


Not going to happen with the current set up.


You must remember that environmental conditions in the atmosphere are constantly changing. Just because the environment currently would prohibit tropical development, that doesn't mean that three to five days down the road the conditions will remain the same. Computer models are portraying much more favorable conditions for tropical cyclogenesis in about four to five days. That is why I have made mention for this area so that noone will be caught off guard if something does develop in the region.
Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5030
606. Cotillion
1:49 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
Dry air is sometimes a bit overplayed to be honest.

Many forget that a storm can moisten its own environment. And the consistency of dry air changes.

Wind shear is pretty high right by the coast but doesn't seem too bad across the rest of the Caribbean right now.
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
605. cmackla
1:49 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
Quoting cchsweatherman:


You must remember that environmental conditions in the atmosphere are constantly changing. Just because the environment currently would prohibit tropical development, that doesn't mean that three to five days down the road the conditions will remain the same. Computer models are portraying much more favorable conditions for tropical cyclogenesis in about four to five days. That is why I have made mention for this area so that noone will be caught off guard if something does develop in the region.


Well do you live anywhere along the gulf coast...as I have said before most experts on this board do not yet they try to tell the locals who do that our season is not over when WE the ones who do live here know when our season is done.
604. stillwaiting
1:48 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
Quoting Bonedog:
LOL Storm. I didnt even justify that comment with a response I just dumped it off the screen LOL



ditto
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970
603. Bonedog
1:47 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
LOL Storm. I didnt even justify that comment with a response I just dumped it off the screen LOL
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
602. cmackla
1:46 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
Quoting StormW:
594. cmackla 9:39 AM EDT on October 17, 2008
Link

NOTHING can get going in the GOM or Caribbean with the current setup depicted in the current water vapor loop.

Just admit it EXPERTS, the season is done for the CONUSA and stop trying to find something out of nothing


Ok...go here, run the loop...look at the Yucatan Channel.

ECMWF


10 days out please...the NHC cannot even get a 5 day correct. And lets just say this model was correct, storm not coming my way..GOM is cut off with shear, troughs, and cold fronts. Admit it Gulf Coast storms are done..its after Oct 15th and for a storm to hit LA or even come close to LA the odds are 1 in a trillion
601. Bonedog
1:46 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
stillwaiting all that stuff is already in FL waiting for me LOL. I just basically pack a bag with a few items of clothing not already down there. True snowbird style LOL
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
600. cchsweatherman
1:45 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
Quoting cmackla:
Link

NOTHING can get going in the GOM or Caribbean with the current setup depicted in the current water vapor loop.

Just admit it EXPERTS, the season is done for the CONUSA and stop trying to find something out of nothing.

After Katrina the NHC is gun shy about everything so they want to make every little spin out in the tropics a named system or an invest to cover themselves.



You must remember that environmental conditions in the atmosphere are constantly changing. Just because the environment currently would prohibit tropical development, that doesn't mean that three to five days down the road the conditions will remain the same. Computer models are portraying much more favorable conditions for tropical cyclogenesis in about four to five days. That is why I have made mention for this area so that noone will be caught off guard if something does develop in the region.
Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5030
599. Cotillion
1:45 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
Well, I've learned that too. :)

Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
598. Bonedog
1:44 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
No problem KEH thats what we are all hear for to learn :)
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
597. stillwaiting
1:42 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
bonedog:I hope your sun tan lotion,beachwear and a good pair ...of sunglasses are ready....looks like you'll be arriving just in time for some of the best weather that SWFL has to offer SRQ weather...sunday~sunny,high 84,low66.....monday~sunny(suprise,suprise,LOL)high86,low64........humidity under 50%.....oh don't forget your sandle's!!!!!!
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970
595. cmackla
1:41 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
Quoting cchsweatherman:
Good morning all! For the first time in a week, here is my Graphical Tropical Update for this morning. Enjoy!


Not going to happen with the current set up.
594. cmackla
1:39 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
Link

NOTHING can get going in the GOM or Caribbean with the current setup depicted in the current water vapor loop.

Just admit it EXPERTS, the season is done for the CONUSA and stop trying to find something out of nothing.

After Katrina the NHC is gun shy about everything so they want to make every little spin out in the tropics a named system or an invest to cover themselves.

593. KEHCharleston
1:38 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
***big grin***
Thanks Bonedog, Cotillion, stillwaiting and theshepherd

You all are the greatest
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
592. newt3d
1:37 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
Quoting NEwxguy:
First frost this weekend,all downhill from here,still waiting for the first nor'easter


Some would say you already had a nor'easter this season. It was of the warmer variety, but ... same storm set up.
Member Since: October 6, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 90
591. lawntonlookers
1:36 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
Good morning everyone. Starting to get colder in the NE after the cold front came through last night. Looks quite in the tropics again.
Member Since: March 22, 2006 Posts: 9 Comments: 1570
590. theshepherd
1:34 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
581 Bone
I agree. Evaporation and latent heat loss.
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10030
589. Bonedog
1:33 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
correct stillwaiting
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
588. stillwaiting
1:32 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
high pressure causes the air to sink transporting drier air aloft down to the surface and will tend to evaporate the humidity thru mixing of the air eventually the stronger air mass filters to the surface after a cold front passes....I think..
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970
587. Bonedog
1:30 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
No problem KEH.

Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
586. KEHCharleston
1:28 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
Thanks Cotillion for your answer re:574
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
584. KEHCharleston
1:26 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
Thanks Bonedog for your answer re:574

It is good to know that the humid air here will not appreciably contribute to adding humidity in the much watched Caribbean
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
583. Cotillion
1:25 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
So...the Low is the weather we will have tomorrow with it's 50% chance of rain. That will be followed by the High (from Sunday on for some days we will be enjoying markedly less humid days) Am I right so far?
If so... what happens to all the humidity we have been experiencing? Does it get pushed south? is it absorbed by the high?


That isn't stupid, as I dunno either. Though, I didn't think humidity had anything to do with pressure. More of a temperature thing.
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
582. stillwaiting
1:25 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
looks to me like there's a ULL right in the center or the Bay of guat.,and it appear to be working down to the surface????...could be a new invest in less than 48hrs imo....
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970
581. Bonedog
1:23 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
to the second part the humity gets absorbed by the front and displaced then any residual evaporates under the high pressure
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.