Nate almost a hurricane; Maria remains disorganized

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 9:05 PM GMT on September 08, 2011

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An Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft is in Tropical Storm Nate, and has found winds much stronger than the storm's satellite appearance would suggest. At 2:17 pm EDT, the aircraft measured winds at their flight level of 1500 feet of 93 mph, which would ordinarily support upgrading Nate to a Category 1 hurricane. Surface winds measured by the SFMR instrument were about 70 mph, suggesting that Nate is indeed very close to hurricane strength. However, latest visible satellite loops show that if Nate is a hurricane, it's only half of a hurricane. Nate's low-level center is exposed to view, due to northeasterly upper-level winds that are creating a moderate 10 knots of wind shear. This shear is keeping all of Nate's heavy thunderstorms pushed to the south side of the center, and the northern half of the storm almost cloud-free. Sustained winds at Buoy 42055, about 140 miles to the northwest of the center of Nate, were just 28 mph at 3:50 pm EDT this afternoon. Water vapor satellite loops show that there is a large area of very dry air from Texas to the north of Nate, and this dry air is keeping the northern half of the storm dry.

Nate will meander in the Bay of Campeche for several days, and the computer models are sharply divided on what happens early next week to the storm. A ridge of high pressure is expected to build in to the north of the storm, potentially forcing it westwards to a landfall in Mexico. However, our two best-performing models last year, the GFS and ECMWF, predict that a weak trough of low pressure expected to move across the U.S. early next week will be strong enough to turn Nate northwards towards an eventual landfall along the northern Gulf Coast. We will have to wait until the NOAA jet makes its first mission to sample the steering currents in the Gulf of Mexico to get a better idea on how probable this northern path might be; their first flight will be tonight, and the data will make it into the 8 pm models runs that will be available first thing Friday morning. As far as intensity goes, the very dry air to Nate's north should begin being less of a problem for it by Friday, when the upper level winds shift more to blow from the southeast, and the shear drops to the low range, 5 - 10 knots. Since the storm is moving very slowly, it will upwell cooler waters from the depths that will slow intensification, though.


Figure 1. Afternoon satellite image of Nate.

Tropical Storm Maria
Tropical Storm Maria barely survived as a tropical storm today, but is now making a bit of a comeback. Satellite loops show that Maria has been badly ripped up by the 10 - 20 knots of wind shear affecting it. The low-level center has been exposed to view most of the day, and surface arc-shaped clouds have been racing away from the storm to the west this afternoon, indicating that dry air has been getting into Maria's thunderstorms and disrupting the storm. However, the areal coverage and intensity of Maria's thunderstorms have increased a little in the past two hours. Maria is passing close to buoy 41040, which measured sustained winds of 36 mph, gusting to 45 mph, at 2:50 pm EDT.

Wind shear is predicted to fall to the low range on Friday as Maria approaches the Lesser Antilles. In addition, as I noted in this morning's post, Maria will be encountering an atmospheric disturbance known as a Convectively-Coupled Kelvin Wave (CCKW) that is currently passing through the Lesser Antilles Islands. There is a great deal of upward-moving air in the vicinity of a CCKW, and will help strengthen the updrafts in Maria's thunderstorms, potentially intensifying the storm. None of our models are detailed enough to "see" CCKWs", so we may see more intensification of the storm than the models are calling for. I believe Maria will continue to organize and arrive in the Lesser Antilles Islands as a tropical storm with 50 - 60 mph winds. The latest run of the GFDL model predicts that Maria will be a Category 1 hurricane on Saturday afternoon when it moves through the Virgin Islands, and a Category 2 hurricane Sunday night when it moves through the Turks and Caicos Islands. This is on the high end of what is possible, and I think it more likely that Maria will be a tropical storm with 50 - 60 mph winds in the northern Lesser Antilles, 60 - 70 mph winds in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, and a Category 1 hurricane in the Turks and Caicos Islands--assuming passage over Puerto Rico and the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic does not significantly disrupt the storm. A lower intensity, as forecast by NHC, is certainly quite possible, as Maria may continue to struggle with the dry air and wind shear besetting it.

The latest computer model runs have been trending more southwards, and the Northern Lesser Antilles, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Bahama Islands are all at high risk of a direct hit by Maria. The models are split on how strong the steering influence a trough of low pressure along the U.S. East Coast will have once Maria approaches the U.S. East Coast. Most of the models foresee that Maria will turn north before arriving at Florida, and potentially threaten North Carolina, Bermuda, or Canada. The latest run of the GFDL model, though, brings Maria through the Bahamas to a point just 100 miles southeast of Miami as a hurricane on Tuesday afternoon. While this forecast is an outlier, and it is more likely that Maria will turn north before reaching Florida, it will be another two days before we will have a fair degree of confidence on when Maria will curve to the north.

Lee's rains trigger historic flooding in New York and Pennsylvania
An extreme rainfall event unprecedented in recorded history has hit the Binghamton, New York area, where 7.49" of rain fell yesterday. This is the second year in a row Binghamton has recorded a greater than 1-in-100 year rain event; their previous all-time record was set last September, when 4.68" fell on Sep 30 - Oct. 1, 2010. Binghamton has also already broken its record for rainiest year in its history. Records go back to 1890 in the city. The rain has ended in Binghamton, with this morning's rain bringing the city's total rainfall for the 40-hour event to 9.02". The Susquehanna River at Binghamton has risen to 25.69', its highest level since records began in 1847, and is now spilling over the flood walls protecting the city, according to media reports. In Hershey, Pennsylvania, Swatara Creek is 19' over flood stage, and more than 9' above its record flood crest. Widespread flash flooding is occurring across the entire area, and over 120,000 people have been evacuated from their homes.


Figure 2. Seven-day precipitation amounts from Tropical Storm Lee and its remnants. Image credit: NOAA/AHPS.


Figure 3. The Susquehanna River at Binghamton has crested this afternoon at its highest flood height on record, 25.69'. Records at this gauge go back to 1847. Image credit: NOAA/AHPS.


Figure 4. In Hershey, Pennsylvania, Swatara Creek is 19' over flood stage, and more than 9' above its previous record flood crest. The river is forecast to crest at 27.2' (green lines are the predictions.) Records at this gage go back to 1930. Image credit: NOAA/AHPS.

The extreme rains are due the the remains of Tropical Storm Lee interacting with a stationary front draped along the Eastern U.S. Adding to the potent moisture mix last night was a stream of tropical moisture associated with Hurricane Katia that collided with the stationary front. You don't often see a major city break its all-time 24-hour precipitation record by a 60% margin, according to wunderground's weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, and he can't recall ever seeing it happen before. It's worth noting that the Susquehanna River Binghamton stream gage, which has been in operation since 1847, is due to be shut off in 3 weeks due to budget cuts. Here's the note at the USGS web site:

NOTICE (03/23/2011)--Data collection at this streamgage may be discontinued after October 1, 2011 due to funding reductions from partner agencies. Although historic data will remain accessible, no new data will be collected unless one or more new funding partners are found. Users who are willing to contribute funding to continue operation of this streamgage should contact Rob Breault or Ward Freeman of the USGS New York Water Science Center at 518-285-5658 or dc_ny@usgs.gov.

I'll have an update in the morning.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting Grothar:


Not there yet, Levi, but thanks. What is with these models? Looks like there is no consistency. Well, I guess as Emerson wrote, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds". They better get going because it is confusing looking at the changes they make every update.


Or "A foolish hobgoblin little minds consistency." Glad to see you inhabiting your own name.
Member Since: September 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 616
Quoting aquak9:

What the hell was in those brownies????!!!


Apparently some really good stuff!

Jealous that they were better than your doughnuts?
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Quoting hurricanehunter27:
All scores are possible in football except 1.


Yes but he said 34-30 in ot and that means the saints would have to get a 4 point score....
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I miss Arnold...he really impressed me...he managed to find the only woman on Earth less attractive than Maria Shriver...And she was living in his house!!!! What are the odds?!?!?!
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Quoting bappit:

Pluto is just a dog. Goofy is a character.


well that clears that up...:^/
Member Since: August 29, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5236
Quoting thesituation:


I want to have your child

What the hell was in those brownies????!!!
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Quoting presslord:


fair enough...I'm still delighted


You were lighted?
Did it hurt?
Do you feel better now?
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Quoting midnite02:
Grothar

Long time lurker. But I have enjoy your comments.

Your like a grandpa teaching us.

jf

PS I hope that doesnt make you feel to old





Oh, no. That makes me feel really good about myself. :)
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26955


Check out that large hot tower on the SE side of Nate's COC!
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Quoting Dakster:


And was so mad she caused the California black out?


That's what I figured lol.
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Quoting Dakster:
What's going on in San Diego? No power in Southern California and they are not saying why...
undoubtedly a new tunnel being dug under the border hit a powerline.. luckily it didn't affect us in Riverside County.. 107 today.. no ac would be bad...
Member Since: September 9, 2010 Posts: 5 Comments: 1034
Quoting hahaguy:


From the looks of it she got banned.


And was so mad she caused the California black out?
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Quoting FLdewey:


I'll tell you the truth. I'm a little confused by your tactics, so I'm gunna keep acting tough.


Just don't come after me dewey. I really don't like Grothar.
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Quoting Dakster:


You know, where is NRAAMY???



From the looks of it she got banned.
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Quoting hurricanehunter27:
All scores are possible in football except 1.


Not 34 to 30 in OT

Urrrrp,,
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Quoting JNCali:

just please avoid hanging out with young weathermen in hot tubs!


There are some weather WOMEN I wouldn't mind hanging out in a hot tub with...
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Quoting HCW:


Leo Leport called and says that you owe him money each time you say that


As long as I don't spell it with capital letters and a small i, I don't think he will mind.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26955
Quoting PrivateIdaho:


Beat it chickendan.

Dewey is replacing you with a new dan anyway.

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Quoting weatherh98:


I like that I'll go saints 38 packers 31 you do realize that that score isn't possible though
All scores are possible in football except 1.
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Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
Have any purple hippo's been sighted in San Diego?


You know, where is NRAAMY???

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Quoting presslord:


I am delighted to see you have risen!!!!
just please avoid hanging out with young weathermen in hot tubs!
Member Since: September 9, 2010 Posts: 5 Comments: 1034
Quoting PrivateIdaho:


And how come Pluto can't talk but Goofy can?

Pluto is just a dog. Goofy is a character.
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Quoting bappit:
I saw an interesting paper via a link posted on Wunderground a year or so ago that discussed how a strong tropical cyclone will set up currents that continue to mix ocean water vertically after the storm has departed. In a case study it showed surface water decreasing in temperature after a hurricane had moved on to somewhere else. Wish I had that link. Did Patrap post that?


Im off duty so you'll have to google "patrap, upwelling ,wunderground" and get lucky.


The other Visual Monitor with da Flat Screen is calling
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Just watched the President's speech.

Interesting.

Does that mean they will hire more mets and HHers?
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Have any purple hippo's been sighted in San Diego?
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Quoting jpsb:
I am enjoying this early norner too, great weather, but I would trade it for a hard rain in a NY second. I've got my fingers crossed that Nate might bring us a little rain here in se Texas. Maybe he can hang in there long enough for remnant Lee to go west and open up a path for him to come there. lol, wish casting, but hey it could happen.


Nothing wrong with wish casting I have family in Texas
from what they are telling me compared to what you see on the maps and in the reports well really you cant compare it really is just that bad in most of the state
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Quoting presslord:


great grandpa

Methuselah
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Quoting Grothar:


Well.....not yet. Let's just say I am back.


fair enough...I'm still delighted
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I saw an interesting paper via a link posted on Wunderground a year or so ago that discussed how a strong tropical cyclone will set up currents that continue to mix ocean water vertically after the storm has departed. In a case study it showed surface water decreasing in temperature after a hurricane had moved on to somewhere else. Wish I had that link. Did Patrap post that?
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P451- oh the terror! I hope they were able to get their convertible tops down before the traffic snarled.
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Quoting presslord:


I am delighted to see you have risen!!!!


Well.....not yet. Let's just say I am back.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26955
The Mayans have returned to Low Orbit.

Shucks,,and kickoffs in a Half Hour,,


I sure hope they dont have a speech planned too.
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P451 - I just read that online... Still don't have any answers though. Doesn't sound like anyone else does either. Looks like it could be a southwest power problem.

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Quoting midnite02:
Grothar

Long time lurker. But I have enjoy your comments.

Your like a grandpa teaching us.

jf

PS I hope that doesnt make you feel to old




great grandpa
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Quoting stormhank:
Good evening i see models r all over with nate?? Just wanted to ask if he will affect the northern gulf ooast or turn into mexico??


I think that Gulf turn may occur. Its pretty much 50/50 right now
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Quoting aquak9:

Lunar crabs.
Two Thumbs DOWN.


Thanks for RUINING it!!!
Member Since: August 29, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5236
L.A. NOW
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA -- THIS JUST IN
« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »
Massive power outage hits San Diego
September 8, 2011 | 4:16 pm


34 147
A large swath of San Diego County was without power Thursday afternoon as officials investigated the cause of the outage.

Residents reported power being out across the city of San Diego as well as suburbs such as Oceanside and Chula Vista.

Sheriff's officials told Fox 5 San Diego that many of its substations were without power. Utility officials are trying to determine what caused the outage.

There were also reports that parts of Orange County lost power.
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Grothar

Long time lurker. But I have enjoy your comments.

Your like a grandpa teaching us.

jf

PS I hope that doesnt make you feel to old


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Quoting kmanislander:
Good evening

Maria is closing in on the "sweet spot" near 55W and as usual for weak systems that get to this position it is firing up to put on a show LOL


agree lets see if she could dance La Bamba
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531. HCW
Quoting Grothar:


Twit! :)


Leo Leport called and says that you owe him money each time you say that
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Quoting Dakster:
What's going on in San Diego? No power in Southern California and they are not saying why...


HAARP wave
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Quoting Grothar:


Yo, Doug! Thanks for the note on the blog. P.S. Where's IKE?



I haven't seen him on lately. Someone else may have info. Welcome back! Glad your're feeling better!
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Quoting Grothar:
Boy, you guys are really in top form with the sarcasm tonight. I haven't seen that much since Mrs. Grothar told me what I nice job I did on the fence.


..must resist, re-tort.

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Quoting FrankZapper:
Saints 34 Green Bay 30 OT


I like that I'll go saints 38 packers 31 you do realize that that score isn't possible though
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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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