Otto transitioning to a tropical storm

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:35 PM GMT on October 07, 2010

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Subtropical Storm Otto, the 15th named storm of this very busy 2010 Atlantic hurricane season, is here. Otto is not a threat to bring high winds to any land areas, but will produce heavy rains over Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and northern Lesser Antilles. Radar estimated rainfall over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands (Figure 2) shows rainfall amounts in excess of eight inches have fallen in several locations over the past three days, and the St. Thomas Airport officially recorded 9.30" of rain so far from Otto. Not surprisingly, Flash Flood Warnings are posted for both the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Weather radar out of Puerto Rico shows that a large area of heavy rain will continue to affect the Virgin Islands and eastern Puerto Rico today. Martinique radar shows considerably less activity over the Lesser Antilles.


Figure 1. NASA MODIS image of Subtropical Storm Otto taken at 12:55pm EDT October 6, 2010.

Satellite loops show Otto's heaviest thunderstorms lie in two bands to the south, many hundreds of miles from the storm's center. This is characteristic of a subtropical storm, which is a hybrid between a tropical storm and an extratropical storm. An upper level low pressure system over Otto has pumped cold, dry air aloft into the storm, keeping it from being fully tropical. However, the upper low is weakening, and Otto has recently developed a burst of heavy thunderstorms near its center, and very tropical storm-like spiral bands are now developing to the east and south of Otto's center. Otto is fast becoming fully tropical, and will be called Tropical Storm Otto later today. The storm's newly developing spiral bands will mostly stay offshore, but a few heavy rain showers capable of dumping 1 - 2 inches of rain may affect the Turks and Caicos Islands today, as well as the northern Dominican Republic. The heavier rains in Otto's old rain band over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands will continue to dump flooding rains in those locations through tonight. Steering currents favor Otto being lifted northwards and then northeastwards out to sea by Friday. Given the very warm waters of 28 - 29°C and low wind shear of 5 - 10 knots today, Otto may approach hurricane strength before high wind shear in excess of 20 knots impacts the storm Friday night.


Figure 1. Radar-estimated rainfall from Tropical Storm Otto over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands shows that rains in excess of eight inches (white colors) have fallen in many regions. The strange ray-like pattern to the east of the radar location (the white "+" symbol) is due to mountains blocking the radar beam.

Elsewhere in the tropics
An area of disturbed weather has formed in the Western Caribbean, a few hundred miles west of Jamaica. The disturbance has a moderate area of intense thunderstorms that brought close to two inches of rain to Grand Cayman Island over the past day. The disturbance is under a high 15 - 25 knots of wind shear, and is not likely to develop significantly today. The disturbance is headed south at 10 - 15 mph, and will bring heavy rains to northeastern Honduras and Nicaragua over the next two days. None of the models develop the disturbance, but it does have some potential for slow development beginning on Friday when it will be off the coast of Nicaragua, in a region of lower wind shear and higher moisture. NHC is giving the disturbance a 10% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Saturday.

Monsoon flooding kills 139 in Asia
Heavy monsoon rains triggered flash flooding in a remote section of Indonesia this week that killed at least 91 people and left 100 more missing. In Vietnam, heavy rains of up to 51" (1300 mm) have fallen since Friday, resulting in river flooding that killed at least 48 people, with 23 people still missing. Over 34,000 people are homeless from the floods, which hit five provinces from Nghe An to Thua Thien-Hue, a swath of territory starting some 300 km (180 miles) south of Hanoi and stretching south. Heavy monsoon rains of up to seven inches over the past week have also hit nearby Hainen Island in China. The resulting flooding was the worst in 50 years there, and killed one person and forced the evacuation of 55 villages with 213,000 people.

Press
I've been a subscriber for several years to NewScientist magazine, a weekly science news magazine that does a great job staying abreast of all the latest breaking science happenings. This week's October 4 issue features a 4-page section on Extreme Weather that I wrote for them as part of their "Instant Expert" series. If you haven't ever seen the magazine, I enthusiastically recommend taking a look.

If you're a fan of the geek humor xkcd webcomic, see if you can find me on the hilarious map of the "blogosphere" on comic artist Randall Munroe's latest xkcd comic. I like the disparity between my influence in September vs. March, but thought I should have been closer to the "Bay of Flame!" I also appeared in a mouse "rollover" text box in an xkcd comic during the Gulf oil disaster earlier this year.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting HurricaneDean07:
Poll Time:
Do you think Otto will be...
(A) 65 MPH Tropical Storm
(B) 70 MPH Tropical Storm
(C) 75 MPH Category 1
(D) Weaken To Below 60 MPH Tropical Storm
(E) Stronger than 75 MPH Category 1
Personally im Split even right now, either B or C.... :/
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Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9814
Quoting pilotguy1:


The trolls and the morons are usually not new. The lack of respect with which new members are treated is not limited to the trolls, it's often being rude just because they are not part of the "in crowd". Additionally some members who have some serious weather knowledge who are berated just because they don't agree with someone else. Considering that all forecasting beyond twenty four hours is mainly reading the entrails of a goat, I find it offensive that people insult one another here for missing forecasts beyond that.

Rant over.


Not bad PG.
Member Since: July 23, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 12414
Quoting cat5hurricane:

B. Gonna fall JUST shy of reaching hurricane strength.

I totally agree
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406. txjac
Post 404 ...I go with A
Member Since: April 24, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 2520
Poll Time:
Do you think Otto will be...
(A) 65 MPH Tropical Storm
(B) 70 MPH Tropical Storm
(C) 75 MPH Category 1
(D) Weaken To Below 60 MPH Tropical Storm
(E) Stronger than 75 MPH Category 1
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
OK....

Quoting pilotguy1:


The trolls and the morons are usually not new. The lack of respect with which new members are treated is not limited to the trolls, it's often being rude just because they are not part of the "in crowd". Additionally some members who have some serious weather knowledge who are berated just because they don't agree with someone else. Considering that all forecasting beyond twenty four hours is mainly reading the entrails of a goat, I find it offensive that people insult one another here for missing forecasts beyond that.

Rant over.
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9814
402. txjac
So pilotguy! ...what does it take to become a member of the "in crowd". And I agee with your post, thanks

I try and treat others as I like to be treated
Member Since: April 24, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 2520
401. JRRP
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Quoting Txwxchaser:


maybe...but I wonder if you omitted all the worthless ones here...how many there would be up till now....just saying


I guess that would depend on your definition of worthless. Just saying...
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 856
Quoting pilotguy1:
The only problem with the show all is when you are interested in the weather and not the sense of "community" you have to wade through all of the trolls and morons.


Though not necesarily true, I usually check out the "Member since" date and assume that, we the most recent and unexperienced members make comments and questions that will sound somehow "stupid" to those of you who are older bloggers.... But I really thank and appreciate those who have the ability to support and help us... (Member Since: August 2, 2010)
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9814
Quoting KerryInNOLA:
36 comments and as exciting as Pravda used to be


maybe...but I wonder if you omitted all the worthless ones here...how many there would be up till now....just saying
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Quoting KerryInNOLA:
It is a slippery slope. How would you like to one day have "Thunderstorm Otto" or "Tornado Bob" or "Blizzard Willie" or "Cold Front Betty". It could lead to insanity. "Today's forecast is for a visit from Fair Weather Freddy" and tomorrow "Rainy Roxanne" will pay us a visit.


As has been stated before, naming a storm isn't an honorary thing; it's done to make any particular storm easy to forecast for the pros, easy to follow for the public, and easy to refer to for historians. It's ever so much simpler to talk about Hurricane Katrina, for instance, than "The Great New Orleans Hurricane of 2005" or "Category Five Tropical Cyclone #12 of the 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season".
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391. JLPR2
Quoting txjac:
JLPR2 ...how much total rain has PR gotten this season?


Well, in my area(which is in northeastern PR almost in San Juan), we have gotten so far 71.74in or 1822.2mm* (Fixed, had wrong numbers.)

Impressive taking into account that in the whole year of 09 we had 50something inches.
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Quoting donna1960ruled:
Why are there gaps in the NOGAPS when they promise, by definition, no gaps?


Can't answer that, but your handle reminds me of my childhood. The eye of Donna came whizzing over my house in eastern MA. I remember my dad calling us kids outside to witness the event. Awesome. Don't recall any damage though.
Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
389. txjac
JLPR2 ...how much total rain has PR gotten this season?
Member Since: April 24, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 2520
Quoting donna1960ruled:
Why are there gaps in the NOGAPS when they promise, by definition, no gaps?


It's an ironic model.
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386. JLPR2
Well the islands are soaked so go away Otto! :|


In south PR 8 or more inches have fallen, you can see that my area (easternmost little black cross) has not even reached 3 inches. Phew! :]
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Quoting pilotguy1:
The only problem with the show all is when you are interested in the weather and not the sense of "community" you have to wade through all of the trolls and morons.


That's the chance you have to take on a free or minimal cost site.

The alternative is a bit pricey, but if it's what you want, it's worth the cost.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 856
Quoting KerryInNOLA:
It is a slippery slope. How would you like to one day have "Thunderstorm Otto" or "Tornado Bob" or "Blizzard Willie" or "Cold Front Betty". It could lead to insanity. "Today's forecast is for a visit from Fair Weather Freddy" and tomorrow "Rainy Roxanne" will pay us a visit.


Fail.
Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

I know there is no eyewall, however, Otto may be developing one as we speak :O)
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
For those of you who never explored this blog, and want to know if other members live near by visit this link....

Link
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9814
Quoting sammywammybamy:


I Have Been on a " Leave of Absence" from the Blog Because of the Trolls and Constant Admin Banning Regular Inncoent Blogers . I Guess Others have too.


Same here SWB. See #368, if it's shown.
Member Since: July 23, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 12414
377. txjac
Post 374 = Cold front appears to have less impact. It's 85 degrees here and it's going on eight at night. We are supposed to be 48 in the morning though.

Made me look ...81 here in Houston at the moment ..as long as the humidity stays away I'm fine with that
Member Since: April 24, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 2520
Quoting cat5hurricane:

NHC named Otto (and Nicole) during which they weren't fully tropical, yes. But in your opinion, do you think it's possible they named them right off the bat because they had the 100% expectation that these storms would eventually become fully tropical?


Well, they do name storms when they are subtropical as well, and Otto was clearly a subtropical storm when they named it.
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Cold front appears to have less impact. It's 85 degrees here and it's going on eight at night. We are supposed to be 48 in the morning though.
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Quoting txjac:
CaptainDan ...think that we can get the sense of community back?


It may eventually come back, but there is no 'getting it back'. The blog is currently being pushed toward something more like a pro site, but without the price tag that normally goes with that. I won't even comment further on that.

WU has been around a long time, and there are a lot of other pages here so it will basically even itself out as far as the page hits go.

Once the holier than thou crowd gets bored with nobody left to berate, they'll wander, and the wheel will make another revolution. That's just the way of things on the web.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 856
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
On the microwave image, the center of circulation of Otto is located just to the northwest of that red blob.


there is a different type of storm heading to Miami. A garnet and gold monsoon.
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Members in this blog

Link
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9814
Quoting sunlinepr:


The community member blog.... this link will show you how many members have posted recently and can get an idea of who's been around...

Link


True, but as SJ has pointed out, many good posts have been "minused to death". I can't even quote someone, agree with them, and be shown, because of the minus feature having been previously deployed against me. So, there is a lot going on. The "show all" illustrates things far better than any filtering.
Member Since: July 23, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 12414
367. txjac
Thanks Neopolitan ...restored my faith
Member Since: April 24, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 2520
As of December 2009, there were more than 223.8 million websites on the internet. As of yesterday, Wunderground.com was #147 in the United States. There are more than 126 million blogs on the internet; this blog here--Dr. Masters'--is #387 in the world.

The bottom line is this: while Dr. Masters is not--never has been, and never will be--cavalier about his readers or nonchalant about any problems on his blog, he knows that he has enough widespread reader interest that the blog is practically self-regulating (with the exception of those rare times when things threaten to get out of hand). People will come, and others will (sometimes sadly, sometimes not) go, and that's just how things are. Established members move on to other and different things when their own interests change; others leave when they realize this particular blog is not the best place for their own particular brand of "humor" or politics or whatever; still others go away because they were never really into the blog for what it could offer but because they thought its popularity would make it a good place to get attention by spewing their trollish idiocy until they find out otherwise.

Again, that's just how it is. Every decent community website goes through constant demographic changes, with occassional large-scale paroxysms that make lots of people fear for the survival of those sites, almost always needlessly.

And you know what? The Wunderblog will survive and thrive just fine. And that, my friends, can only be a good thing.
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Quoting CaptnDan142:


The weather info brings people here. The sense of community that used to exist is what kept them hitting the refresh button. I imagine most are still looking in, just not participating, and not hanging out on the page.


The community member blog.... this link will show you how many members have posted recently and can get an idea of who's been around...

Link
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9814
362. txjac
CaptainDan ...think that we can get the sense of community back? Its just a simple matter of respect. Ignore what you dont like ...dont post the poofs ...dont assume new names are trolls (unless it obvious) ...I have been around here for years ...used to have a differnt handle but couldnt remember the password to that account ..finally started to post some this year ...can be a bit intimidating with all the people that are knowledeable and then to see how others are disregarded and poofed
Member Since: April 24, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 2520

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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.

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