Little change to Erika; Jimena makes landfall as a Category 2 hurricane

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:30 PM GMT en Septiembre 02, 2009

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Tropical Storm Erika remains weak and disorganized, and the future track and intensity of the storm remain highly uncertain. The center has jumped several times over the past 12 hours, and now lies exposed to view, west of the main area of heavy thunderstorms. Radar animations out of Martinique show little organization of the echoes, and satellite imagery shows no low-level spiral bands or upper-level outflow. Wind shear analyses from the University of Wisconsin diagnose a moderate 10 - 15 knots of shear over Erika, a decrease from yesterday. SSTs are warm, 29°C. The Hurricane Hunters are in the storm now, and have found a slight increase in the surface winds, up to 45 mph. They noted that the surface center was displaced 12 miles north of the center they found at 1500 feet, which is the sign of a disorganized storm undergoing wind shear.

The forecast for Erika
Erika is embedded in a weak steering current pattern, and the storm's current state of disorganization is allowing the center to make random jumps as it reforms near the heaviest thunderstorm activity. This makes for a low-confidence forecast. The future track of the storm will depend upon how strong the storm gets over the next few days. A stronger Erika will extend higher into the atmosphere and be steered more to the northwest by upper-level winds. A weaker Erika will be steered more by the low-level winds, which will keep the storm on a more westerly track. The intensity forecast models did a poor job with Tropical Storm Danny last week, and appear to be repeating that poor performance with Erika. All of the major intensity forecast models predict substantial strengthening of Erika. This seems unlikely to occur, given the storm's current disorganization, and the predicted increase in wind shear along the path of Erika to 20 - 25 knots 3 - 5 days from now. The more southerly than expected track of the storm also brings the possibility that Erika will encounter the high mountains of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. The GFS, GFDL, and Canadian models predict Erika will pass near Puerto Rico on Friday, then move over Hispaniola on Saturday. Erika in its current weak state would probably not survive an encounter with these islands. A wide range of scenarios is still possible for Erika, from outright dissipation (as forecast by the GFS, Canadian, and ECMWF models) to intensification to a Category 3 hurricane (as forecast by the HWRF model). Erika is a long-term threat to the Bahamas and U.S. East Coast if it is still around five days from now. Potential landfall locations range from Florida on Tuesday to North Carolina on Wednesday. The NOGAPS model has Erika potentially missing the U.S. entirely, scooting northwards between North Carolina and Bermuda. My current expectation is that Erika will dissipate on Saturday when it encounters Hispaniola.


Figure 1. Afternoon image of Tropical Storm Erika. The swirl of clouds just west of Guadeloupe island is the center. This center was what I had labeled a "false center" in this morning's post, and has taken over as the main center this afternoon.

Hurricane Jimena hits Baja
Hurricane Jimena made lanndfall on Mexico's Baja Peninsula late this morning near Cabo San Lazaro as a Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph winds. Jimena is the 2nd strongest hurricane to hit Baja's west coast since record keeping began in 1949. The only stronger storm was Hurricane Norbert, which made landfall in 2008 on the central Baja coast with sustained winds of 105 mph. Jimena has now weakened to a Category 1 storm, and will continue to weaken as it hits colder waters and interacts with land. No deaths or major damage have been reported from the storm.


Figure 2. Hurricane Jimena on Tuesday, Sep. 1, 2009, as seen by NASA's MODIS instrument. Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory.

California fire webcams
As I discussed in yesterday morning's post, you can use our wundermap for Los Angeles with the fire layer turned on to see where the fire and smoke are located, and track the temperatures and winds during today's air pollution event. We also have two webcams with views of the fire: Altadena and Tujunga.

I'll have an update Thursday morning.

Jeff Masters

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Does blackout end in about 15 min? Tia
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2284. msphar
I suspect there will still be several COCs in that cloudmass.
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2283. 7544
we might get center relocated peeps dont go to bed yet
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2282. JLPR
Erika is looking much better
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Quoting iceman55:
yep slidell la

hope further inland than hwy. 11
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Quoting silverstripes:


From the new Ramsdis you can almost make out a new LLC on the NW edge of the convection near St. Kitts and Barbuda


If there is a center, that is where I would put it.... but the way the thunderstorms are building, it almost looks as if it is opening into a TROF of low pressure. Guess we will see in the coming pictures of the storm.
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Quoting kuppenskup:
Looks like the new blob has joined forces with the old one and the forward motion has rapidly increased, or am I seeing things? Will someone tell me pls!


That looks that way to me too.
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2276. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
681
TCNA21 RJTD 030600
CCAA 03060 47644 NAMELESS 16178 11284 14294 215// 92711=

06:00 AM UTC September 3 2009
NAMELESS [System #16]
17.8N 128.4E
Dvorak Intensity: 1.5
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hey guys see later go to sleep good nights.
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Quoting Bordonaro:

Erika hasn't doesn't followed any of the forecasts at all, this storm is interesting because of all the different variables! You have warm SST, near 85F, BUT, it is an El Nino year, which means W or SW sheer, plenty of troughs, inconsistent Bermuda High. So, since each yr there are at least 2-4 CAT 3 storms, the question is WHICH ONE of these crazy, lopsided storms will blow up and threaten land?


Well, right now I'm threatened by the weirdest storm I've ever seen. As long as she doesn't go all boom on us now during DMAX and end up knocking us down here on the Island I'm fine with her behavior. ;-)
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yeahp jlpr
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icemann are you from slidell? i am in mandeville
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Looks like the new blob has joined forces with the old one and the forward motion has rapidly increased, or am I seeing things? Will someone tell me pls!
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Quoting THUNDERPR:
ramdsis newLink
6:15utc


From the new Ramsdis you can almost make out a new LLC on the NW edge of the convection near St. Kitts and Barbuda
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16.400N 62.267W From 268° at 4 knots
(From the W at ~ 4.6 mph)1008.5 mb
(~ 29.78 inHg)
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2264. JLPR
Quoting THUNDERPR:
in the radar you see the swirl west of guadalopue coast Link


that would explain the south winds from Guadeloupe
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Quoting iceman55:
I HAVE BEEN TRACK FROM DAY 1

i agree you have been right on target pretty much. better than the nhc. i have a question. do you think it may be possible that both convection's could get circulation and become storms riding together. i know its far fetched, but wouldn't that be interesting?
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Quoting 7544:
any wind speed by the hh yet


Yeah about 5 knots flight level :-)
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2261. 7544
any wind speed by the hh yet
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How goes it neighbor? I'm right across your border in SE TX.
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ramdsis newLink
6:15utc
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Dang quote button. Where you at Ice?
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Quoting alpha992000:


*sigh* Yeah, I know. Just a bit frustrated probably 'cause I'm tired & that's making me a bit grouchy. :-P Normally I enjoy all the uncertainty and weirdness. Hey, anything that keeps me guessing and making me use my brain is fine with me and Erika has certainly provided that. First time I've seen anything like this. Can't wait to see what she finally brings to PR. :-s

Erika hasn't doesn't followed any of the forecasts at all, this storm is interesting because of all the different variables! You have warm SST, near 85F, BUT, it is an El Nino year, which means W or SW sheer, plenty of troughs, inconsistent Bermuda High. So, since each yr there are at least 2-4 CAT 3 storms, the question is WHICH ONE of these crazy, lopsided storms will blow up and threaten land?
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in the radar you see the swirl west of guadalopue coast Link
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The HH are flying weird patterns again. Looks like the COC is not where the NHC just put it. There are now west winds to the NNE of the supposed 2am NHC center fix, which could possibly mean that a new center is well north and possibly east of the former one. This has been a crazy storm. Going to be awhile before we really know whats going on out there while the HH check her out.
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Quoting btwntx08:
2240: that shows erika right off my coast oh my


Yep
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2249. JLPR
Quoting THUNDERPR:
06:15:00Z 16.650N 62.467W From 279° at 7 knots
(From the W at ~ 8.0 mph)1008.7 mb
(~ 29.79 inHg)


So the old center is gone?
straight west winds were the old center was located
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Just because it's blown up in recent pictures doesnt mean it's getting more organized. The NHC knows what they are talking about-Erika is history folks!
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2242. JLPR
Quoting THUNDERPR:
jlpr the gfdl and the hwrf turn erika to hurricane very near of puerto rico very warm waters


yep I saw that
I wonder how Erika will look like tomorrow morning when I wake up =S
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06:15:00Z 16.650N 62.467W From 279° at 7 knots
(From the W at ~ 8.0 mph)1008.7 mb
(~ 29.79 inHg)
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Ummmmmmm....

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Quoting 7544:



whoaaaaaaaaaa is that a joke or for real ekkkk


I have found that although grainy the ADDS site provides a very good idea of the storm size and location through blackout. When the GOES satellite comes out of blackout you will see that Erika has blown up again just like the pics show. Here is a link to the ADDS site again for those that missed it.

Link
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2237. 7544
looks like the pres is now droping also this is getting good now
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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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