Tropical Weather Discussion - August 7, 2012

By: Randy Bynon , 3:28 PM GMT on August 02, 2012

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Things are heating up a bit! We have recently upgraded Hurricane Ernesto about to make landfall near Belize and a new invest in the eastern Atlantic.

Let's take a look.....

In the Gulf of Mexico ......



The weather is generally good across most of the Gulf as upper level ridging extends from the outflow of Hurricane Ernesto. Showers and thunderstorms along the FL peninsula were popping up with daytime heating aided by an upper trough over the eastern US. Hurricane Ernesto is expected to cross the Yucatan and emerge into the southern Gulf, where it will most likely gain some of its energy back before making a final landfall in Mexico.

In the Caribbean .....



Most of the Caribbean is dominated by an upper level ridge of high pressure extending from near Panama. This is producing generally fair skies over the region. A tropical wave is producing some showers and thunderstorms in the eastern Caribbean and we can expect to see that spread into the central Caribbean.

The big news here, of course, is Hurricane Ernesto approaching the coast of Belize. NHC just upgraded this system this evening. The forecast for Ernesto is pretty straight forward. We can expect some weakening of the system as it crosses the Yucatan tonight and tomorrow. Once Ernesto enters the southern Gulf tomorrow night, some restrengthening is expected to occur. Whether or not Ernesto regains hurricane status will depend to a great extent on how much energy it loses over the land crossing. Even if it does regain hurricane status, it will be a minimal hurricane at landfall in Mexico.

In the Atlantic ....



Our biggest area of interest right now in the Atlantic is invest 92L approaching 35W near 12N. On their latest TWO, NHC gives invest 92L a 30% chance of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours. Given the warm SSTs and relatively low shear ahead of this system, it seems very likely to be our next tropical system. I would expect NHC to begin tasking the Hurricane Hunters on this system this weekend.


Have a great day!

Randy

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7. JPCSTORM
4:56 PM GMT on August 08, 2012
Hello Randy,

Thank you for the graveyard information.

Things are starting to get interesting for the 2012 season.

Thank you in advance for your updates. I stop in often, but don't get a chance to comment.

John
Member Since: July 12, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 67
6. BrowardJeff
1:31 PM GMT on August 08, 2012
Thanks for the information, Randy..and the question, Baha!  I was actually discussing this at work last week, and mentioned that I could ask a recently retired Hurricane Hunter about it.  And then I forgot.

-Jeff

Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 5 Comments: 926
5. BahaHurican
10:21 PM GMT on August 07, 2012
Thanks for the reply, Randy! I figured u guys would fly EPac storms out of San Diego or something....
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20734
4. Randy Bynon , Dropsonde SysOp/AVAPS PM
12:59 PM GMT on August 07, 2012
Quoting BahaHurican:
Hi Randy,

I assume u have been pretty busy w/ Ernesto lately, but I hope u will b around later to talk about it and upcoming storms.

Meanwhile, I leave 1 qtn that bloggers in Doc Masters' blog have been curious about. Aside from Biloxi and St. Croix, is there any other location from which the HHers regularly fly missions? Some were disputing even that Biloxi was a mission start point....


Hi Baha,


That's a good question. The Hurricane Hunters are based out of Keesler AFB in Biloxi MS. Whenever it is practical, they do fly out of Biloxi. For example, the mission currently in the air this morning (Tuesday morning at 8:00am CDT) took off from Biloxi and will return there. It's simply more cost effective to fly from here whenever they can. The Hurricane Hunters area of operation, as defined by the National Hurricane Operations Plan, includes storms from 55W in the mid-Atlantic to about 155W in the eastern Pacific. As a storm approaches 55W in the Atlantic, NHC will task the Hurricane Hunters to begin flying. St. Croix is considered a forward opoerating location for storms in the mid-Atlantic. If a storm threatens St. Croix while they are operating there, they often evacuate to either Barbados or Homestead, FL. For Pacific storms, believe it or not, most often they will fly out of Biloxi. A storm on the west coast of Mexico can be flown pretty easily from Biloxi. For storms threatening Hawaii, they fly out of Hickam AFB in Hawaii.

I hope that answers your question. I will be posting an update later today on the tropics.

Randy
Member Since: July 17, 2001 Posts: 190 Comments: 2012
3. BahaHurican
10:34 PM GMT on August 06, 2012
Hi Randy,

I assume u have been pretty busy w/ Ernesto lately, but I hope u will b around later to talk about it and upcoming storms.

Meanwhile, I leave 1 qtn that bloggers in Doc Masters' blog have been curious about. Aside from Biloxi and St. Croix, is there any other location from which the HHers regularly fly missions? Some were disputing even that Biloxi was a mission start point....
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20734
2. Randy Bynon , Dropsonde SysOp/AVAPS PM
1:27 PM GMT on August 03, 2012
Quoting JPCSTORM:
Thank you for the update. Does anyone refer to the eastern Caribbean as the Hurricane graveyard anymore?

I remember this being mentioned often in the past anf I haven't heard that reference for some time.

Thank you again,

John


Hi John,

Actually, now that you mention it, I haven't heard that term used in a while. But the phenomenon still exists.

In essence, the "hurricane graveyard" is caused by low level divergence in the atmosphere in the eastern Caribbean. The specific causes and variability of this divergence is still a subject of much research but what is known is that the Caribbean Low Level Jet that exists year round in the central Caribbean is strongest in the early part of the hurricane season and is strengthened further by El Nino. This low level jet produces speed divergence in the eastern Caribbean. And low level divergence produces subsidence, or descending air, in the column above the divergence. And subsidence inhibits convection. So as a result, there is a marked decrease in the genesis of tropical storms in the eastern Caribbean early in the season and tropical depressions, tropical storms, and weak hurricanes that traverse the region from the Atlantic might lose intensity in an environment that is otherwise favorable for intensification. The effect is too weak to have a major impact on stronger storms.

This phenomenon is normally limited to the eastern Caribbean and is only a significant factor in the early part of the Atlantic hurricane season (June-July).

Thanks for the question,

Randy
Member Since: July 17, 2001 Posts: 190 Comments: 2012
1. JPCSTORM
3:41 PM GMT on August 02, 2012
Thank you for the update. Does anyone refer to the eastern Caribbean as the Hurricane graveyard anymore?

I remember this being mentioned often in the past anf I haven't heard that reference for some time.

Thank you again,

John
Member Since: July 12, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 67

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About LRandyB

I was an AF aviation weather forecaster for 12 years, then 15 years as a dropsonde systems operator with the AF Reserve Hurricane Hunters.

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