Not a trace of Don; What's next?

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:41 PM GMT on July 30, 2011

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Don is dead

Tropical Storm Don, the fourth named storm of the 2011 season, made landfall near Baffin Bay, Texas yesterday evening around 10pm CDT in less-than-grand fashion. The storm was looking very weak for the 24 hours before landfall, but fizzled rapidly after landfall, and by early Saturday morning, there was barely a trace of the storm to show that it even existed in the first place.

NHC Hurricane Specialist Eric Blake probably said it best in this mornings 5am EDT discussion on the storm:

THE DON IS DEAD. THE CYCLONE LITERALLY EVAPORATED OVER TEXAS ABOUT
AS FAST AS I HAVE EVER SEEN WITHOUT MOUNTAINS INVOLVED. DON HAS NO
CONVECTION...MEAGER RAINFALL...AND ONLY A SLIGHT SIGNATURE IN
SURFACE OBSERVATIONS AND RADAR DATA. THEREFORE...THIS IS THE LAST
ADVISORY ON THIS SYSTEM.


Figure 1. Total precipitation accumulation for the storm, estimated by radar.

The heaviest rainfall was falling south of the storm's center yesterday, so it wasn't surprising that Brownsville saw the most rain, 0.63 inches. KBRO also recorded 18 mph wind gusts. But to the north of the center, where many of the media were located, not a drop of rain fell. Corpus Christi saw zero inches of rain, but did record gale-force wind gusts (39 mph). Harlingen, near Baffin Bay, and close to where the center made landfall, saw 0.20 inches of rain and 18 mph wind gusts. This storm did very, very little to relieve any drought conditions in Southern Texas. And so it continues.

What's next: Invest 91L continues to impress

Invest 91L, which is located near 12°N 48°W in the central Atlantic, continues to impress today, and has shown signs of more organization over the past 24 hours. 91L will probably develop into a tropical cyclone before it reaches the Lesser Antilles, so residents of these islands should remain watchful and prepared. Satellite loops show not only organized thunderstorm activity, but also the makings of a surface circulation. Something this wave has working against it right now is dry air—there's a large mass of Saharan air on the north and east sides of the system, which could at least prevent significant intensification. Also, University of Wisconsin CIMSS analysis shows some strong wind shear (30-40 knots) to the north of the wave. However, I don't expect this to prevent development of the wave. Wind shear out ahead of the system is relatively low (5-15 knots). Moisture is plenty high within the system, and sea surface temperatures are warm and toasty (28°C+) and will only get warmer as 91L moves west into the Caribbean.


Figure 2. Infrared satellite of invest 91L taken at 1:15pm EDT today.

Forecast for 91L
Most of the reliable forecast models (GFS, CMC, FIM, and the ECMWF) have come to agree that 91L will develop, however, they differ on how long-lived that will be. Some of the models are suggesting it will be a short-lived tropical cyclone, not making it out of the Caribbean alive, and some suggest that it will hold together and intensify as it moves north of the Caribbean islands. The forecast track for the system will most likely be to the northwest through the Caribbean, at which point it will take a northeast turn near the Bahamas, never reaching the U.S. coast. HWRF agrees with this track (and also brings the system to category 2 strength by August 3rd). However, there is still some uncertainty that the system could track west, south of the Caribbean islands, and potentially into the Gulf of Mexico. However, none of the models that suggest this solution actually show that the wave will be a tropical cyclone at that point.

The National Hurricane Center is giving this wave an 80% chance of developing into at least Tropical Depression Five over the next 48 hours. Chances are we will see Emily out of this system. A Hurricane Hunter mission is scheduled for tomorrow at 2pm EDT, but I wouldn't be totally surprised to see them call this system this evening, given the threat to the Lesser Antilles.

Watching a northwest Caribbean disturbance

A broad area of disturbed weather is producing some heavy thunderstorms in the northwest Caribbean, southeast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Little to no low-level circulation exists with this feature, and none of the models are picking up on it. The Hurricane Center has "blobbed" this item (as I like to say) with a "near 0%" chance of developing over the next 48 hours. This disturbance could cause major flooding in the region given the amount of thunderstorm activity, and predictability for systems like this (potential Bay of Cempeche tropical cyclones) is very low. Models have a short lead time on development, and they spin up very fast once they enter the Bay of Campeche given the favorable topography of the land surrounding it. The difference between this system, though, and one like Arlene, is that there is very, very little low level circulation already present. Pre-Arlene was a bit more organized before it crossed the Yucatan, and so it's hard to imagine that this disturbance will be able to hold together, should it get that far.

If 91L develops, I'll be back tomorrow with a post.

Angela

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Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4355
Quoting hurricanehunter27:
lol the vis shows a little "eye" in 91L if you look closly.

I just said that.
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Astro, what you are seeing appears to be a midlevel vortex.
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2847. emcf30
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Well, that was very close...To close for comfort. It is likely that FL and NC would see tropical storm force winds with how close the system came according to the model.

Next one will feature an East Coast hit.

Yea and the one after that will head East of Bermuda. We do not have a classified system yet. We all know how much the models change all the time in these invest.
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Quoting wxhatt:
Could be a Cape Hatteras storm because once storms get into the bahamas they are very close to Gulf Stream and pulled up to that area.



The Gulf Stream has no affect on the path of a storm, only its intensity.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Ummm???



Lol it gets itself stuck in the high and stalls.. At first I thought the GFS might show a loop, but it does eventually find its way out to the north. That would be a real ACE go-getter, as according to this run it would still be around 372 hours from now. Probably becomes extratropical in the final hours of the run though.
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
2843. wxhatt
Could be a Cape Hatteras storm because once storms get into the bahamas they are very close to Gulf Stream and pulled up to that area.

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Quoting hurricanehunter27:
lol the vis shows a little "eye" in 91L if you look closly.



i see it has well
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If recon finds TS force winds, my bet is on Emily.
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GFS shifted about 300 miles west in last 24 hours. If the trend continues this could be a Gulf storm
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Quoting BoyntonBeachFL:
Looks like recon is headed for the left blob near Barbados first.

Well, it is on the way. ;)

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2838. jdjnola
Quoting AstroHurricane001:


The early stages of an eye are clearly developing in pre-Emily.

On the Dvorak scale, I would give this storm a T3.5.


You can see a vortex at 14W52N on the IR as well:

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2837. hotrods
Alot things are going on right now as far as the patterns go, we just have to wait for more info, maps and model runs are going to change alot from here on out. But yes the islands need to be prepared.
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I bet this will be "Emily" at 2:00. It probably has 50 mph winds already. The models will be out to lunch on this one.
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lol the vis shows a little "eye" in 91L if you look closly.
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2834. 7544
this system is going to be very unpredictable on how strong and where it will go a real nail biter coming into play
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Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4355
2832. jdjnola
Quoting AstroHurricane001:


The early stages of an eye are clearly developing in pre-Emily.

On the Dvorak scale, I would give this storm a T3.5.


Yep, Houston, we have liftoff.
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2831. Gorty
Quoting Comradez:


I'm tellin' y'all, that wave to the west IS 91L. That's where the surface circulation is--on the SE corner of that western convection around 12 N, 57 W.


Odd then how the wave to "91L's" east is much better organized and defined. Explain that one please.
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Timing for these models are often off and if the GFS checks out, it only needs to be off by 50/100 miles for Florida to be impacted or for Florida to not have a scare.

Still WAY to early to know what will happen and it is more worrisome that the models continue to move "west" with their tracks overall. Need them to go back east...
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2829. Gearsts
Quoting AstroHurricane001:


The early stages of an eye are clearly developing in pre-Emily.

On the Dvorak scale, I would give this storm a T3.5.
No eye
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


Arent troughs like that rare in the first week of august?


They're supposed to be.

Look how far south it forces the Azores high:



I don't think it will be that strong, but we'll see.

I'm still thinking an eventual recurve, but I'm starting to question that with the HWRF and GFS suddenly shifting far west.
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
this is going right too a TS
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12Z GFS

Those looking at the "Re-Curve" due to 1001 MB trough are not taking into account the 1006MB low that is sitting over Georgia. It is much closer and might just swing the thing right into the Outer Banks sort of like "Hurricane Isabella 2003"
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Quoting OracleDeAtlantis:
100% sure of this?
I think there is a chance of this beacuse nobody is sure if the trough will be there to pick it up in time.
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It seems like the models keeping shifting it more to the west.(which is not good)
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The front blob appears to have some vorticity, too. Could we have TWO storms?
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Quoting OracleDeAtlantis:
100% sure of this?



if it hits land it will not be fish PR is land and in fac part of the usa i this will not be a fish
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Quoting MrstormX:


Don was weaker when it was in the CATL.
Good point, but weak can be too broad to pull your huge double arms in too.
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Quoting OracleDeAtlantis:
100% sure of this?


Yes, we are. The islands are considered land. This is going to hit them.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23014


The early stages of an eye are clearly developing in pre-Emily.

On the Dvorak scale, I would give this storm a T3.5.
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Ummm???

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Quoting OracleDeAtlantis:
People forget fast here ...

This is Don's forecast ... at this stage of the game, and he went West, then poof!




Don wasn't a borderline TD approaching the islands, this is.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23014
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Yay! Out to sea!



Yup, thought that would still play out, but not at the last possible second like that! If 91L were to move slower then forecast it could spell problems for the east coast.
However, this is ONE run of the GFS and we will have to look for consistency, as well as other models for consensus. We should also wait for the data from the Hurricane Hunters to be inputed in to the models.
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Quoting Tazmanian:
this storm will not be a fish storm it will hit land
100% sure of this?
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Quoting floridaboy14:
just curious but is 91L's convection waining and is the wave that once spawned 91L helping it or hurting it?


I'm tellin' y'all, that wave to the west IS 91L. That's where the surface circulation is--on the SE corner of that western convection around 12 N, 57 W.
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2811. ncstorm
Quoting hotrods:
Just remember HPC isn't quite sure as of earlier this morning about the trough, same thing with Melbourne NWS office.


exactly..the models are in a huge spread on the setup and timing of that trough
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 13462
2810. Gorty
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Well, that was very close...To close for comfort. It is likely that FL and NC would see tropical storm force winds with how close the system came according to the model.

Next one will feature an East Coast hit.


Both could hit the East cost or both could not. One or the other could be a hit or miss as well. You made a pretty bold statement there.
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What's taking recon so long? Last update was 21 minutes ago.
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Looks like recon is headed for the left blob near Barbados first.
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Storm or storms..? looking at WV imagery for the last 48h, its clear that the original invest with a weak sfc circulation and the wave leading are in the process of beoming separate features. Subsidence has developed between the 2 entities as they begin to draw apart. It will be interesting to see what the next suite of model runs bring. There may be a great difference between solutions depending on resolution - the global scale models may not be able to resolve the differences; the higher resolution runs may. Either way, the Carib is in for a rough ride but after that...
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Quoting OracleDeAtlantis:
People forget fast here ...

This is Don's forecast ... at this stage of the game, and he went West, then poof!




Don was weaker when it was in the CATL.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4355
I hope HH run through that first disturbance first just to check it out real quick and than do the regular 91L Mission.
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2804. hotrods
Just remember HPC isn't quite sure as of earlier this morning about the trough, same thing with Melbourne NWS office.
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


At 204 hours it's moving due NE. What's interesting is how huge the trough is that picks it up at the last second. Will be interesting to see if that materializes.


Arent troughs like that rare in the first week of august?
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this storm will not be a fish storm it will hit land
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Well, that was very close...To close for comfort. It is likely that FL and NC would see tropical storm force winds with how close the system came according to the model.

Next one will feature an East Coast hit.
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I know people have siad this before, but I see another Earl.
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About JeffMasters

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