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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1508. Ossqss 1:37 AM GMT on September 03, 2009 Hide this comment.
BTW, the McAfee virus item has been fixed in their new update. Just in case ya need it :)

You saying update McAfee then? TIA
Member Since: Agosto 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 619
Quoting fredric1979:
Iis the "new" center where the big blob seems to be east of p rico?


I prefer to say NE of Guadeloupe
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Quoting kmanislander:
This shortwave loop shows the two competing centers, one to the NE of Guadeloupe and the other to the SW.

The one to the SW has the best "spin" at this time even though it has less convection
I never look at that one, but it does show the situation pretty nicely. The NHC's latest forecast track is located in between these two competieting low level centers; so if you just average the position of the two areas you would get something in between. So the National Hurricane Center's track is looking like it is in good shape to me.
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Checking in from this earlier today. Any better notion of Erika's direction/possible intensity(or lack thereof)?
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Has any one been able to review the upper air soundings over Puerto Rico. This could give us a better idea of what to expect over the next 24 hrs. Very disorganized yes. Typical no. This seems to be the trend for the for the last two storms who enter the north eastern part of the caribbean. Is it due to the El Nino or South America? Will Jimena actually help reduce the shear over Erika or is it to far away to reduce El Nino shear. My estimate is that Erika will be reforming tonight to the north around 17 N and the old center will act to reduce the Southern shear.
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Erika getting into a fetal position, coming in for bad crash landing or what?
Member Since: Abril 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 7506
1531. Drakoen
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Drak by that image how could you tell?
Member Since: Octubre 21, 2008 Posts: 243 Comments: 3564
The buoy reports throughout the area of Erika do not correspond to anything significant. The strongest wind reported anywhere in the vicinity of Erika is a ship reporting 20kts South wind - that ship is 100 miles SSE of the reported center. IF there are even tropical storm force winds they must be in a very small area as the highest reported seas in the region are 6.5 ft. barely supportable to 20Kt wind speeds. Even Le Raizet airport on Guadeloupe has light winds. NHC is hanging on to a thread.
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Quoting surfsidesindy:
not really, Jeanne did a loop in the atlatic, maybe Francis?

My bad...absolutely Frances!!! They all run together from that year.


You bring up an interesting point.

Hurricane Frances Path -



Hurricane Jeanne Path -



Jeanne was very erratic, in both track and intensity. Erika may do something similar, but will probably be weaker, due to the current wind shear situation in the Bahamas (Link). Erika may actually be something if the shear relaxes, though.
Member Since: Agosto 19, 2008 Posts: 104 Comments: 503
Quoting midgulfmom:
Good evening. Could you tell me if it's the northern COC or the southern one? Seems most are referencing the northern one. Thanks


The Northern one has the better lower level convergence signature as well as more convection. This would lead one to assume that it has the best chance of becoming the new center.

Having said that, the center to the SW of Guadeloupe has an established "spin" but convection and convergence is not as good. Odds are that this one loses the race to be the dominant center but Erika has been an enigma from the beginning.

The moral of the story is that what should happen may not happen, but then again it just might.

That is the nature of an enigma.
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Quoting TreasureCoastFl:
But there was a strong high ridge then that wouldn't budge , this time I dont think there is...


And there wasn't a November like front off the southeast coast which is creating a ton of shear.
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Quoting Drakoen:
Center reforming?:
Is the spin at 56.2W and 18.5N an MLC or is it something else?
Member Since: Septiembre 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
1524. 7544
1508. Ossqss 1:37 AM GMT on September 03, 2009
BTW, the McAfee virus item has been fixed in their new update. Just in case ya need it :)

thanks but not here still getting it
Member Since: Mayo 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6618
1523. Patrap
Erika Rainbow Loop
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I
Quoting kmanislander:
No quikscat tonight for Erika but it looks like she entered the Caribbean, went out the back door and is now about to come in the front door again.

New center taking over.

is the "new" center where the big blob seems to be east of p rico?
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Quoting aspectre:
1317 Herbertsbox "Would someone please sum up the past 24 hours?"

It's stationary, wait, it's heading NorthWest. Whoops, make that WestSouthWest.
No...it's going West...errm...I meant SouthWest. Hmph, I guess I did mean West.
Then again, WestSouthWest looks good...though WestNorthWest looks even more tempting.
Oh good grief! SouthSouthWest? Make up your mind.

And throughout it all, the computer models and the NationalHurricaneCenter keep predicting that Erica will head somewhere between westnorthwestward and northwestward.


Yup somehow Erika will still go between bermuda and north carolina dont really understand how they think itll just go straight north
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1520. Drakoen
Center reforming?:
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Quoting TheDawnAwakening:

Wow, look at her. Wilma was a beautiful storm, perhaps once in a century.

Pure, concentrated evil.
Member Since: Octubre 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2155
The latest satellite image posted is old. It should be like 130UTC now.
Member Since: Octubre 21, 2008 Posts: 243 Comments: 3564
1517. amd
let's all calm down a little bit about major hurricane (or Florida is in trouble) talk with a storm, Erika, that is still struggling to survive.

1. We don't know if there is a true relocation going on with Erika, or if the NHC center will still be the dominant center.

2. The NHC will probably not change the center location until it's recon can confirm it. I now suspect that winds will be kept at 40 mph until the NHC can verify if a relocation of Erika is occurring.

3. The northern circulation will be on the edge of the anticyclone, and much closer to westerlies that will weaken any nascent LLC's.

In closing, Erika continues to surprise mets of all experiences, but unlike previous nights, I want to see concrete proof before I say that Erika is getting better organized and/or strengthening.
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1516. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)


a dying storm tryin to fight off a sudden death
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1515. hydrus
Avila could of said this.--Erika is centered somewhere over the Lesser Antilles, and has been moving W.S.W for the past few minutes,...but is expected to resume a more westward course in the next 30 seconds..$$ Avila.
Member Since: Septiembre 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19524
Quoting Patrap:
Erika RGB Loop..

..dont forget to check the TFP box
Is the spin at 56.2W and 18.5N an MLC or is it something else?
Member Since: Septiembre 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
UPDATE POSTED:
South Florida StormWatch
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Quoting TreasureCoastFl:

McAfee Avert Labs has found a false detection with JS/Exploit-Packed.c.gen and will be releasing the 5729 DAT Files to correct this issue. The false detection is being seen on websites containing certain types of javascript obfuscation
see: http://vil.mcafeesecurity.com/vil/content/v_218755.htm

No problems here, but been getting port-scanned from China like mad. If it keeps up, I'm going to Wal-Mart & complain.
Member Since: Octubre 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2155
Quoting Elena85Vet:
Is there any doubt continued research ($$) needs to be done to get a handle on these types of storms? Erika's giving the pro's fits.

Is anyone buying this WNW D,D,D,L?



Yes.
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New shear map shows a stronger anticyclone, more widespread anticyclonic flow. Erika is in 10-20 knots of wind shear which makes conditions marginal to somewhat favorable. Might be the reason why it could be reforming a center, wind shear is not bad at this time. This is subject to change by tomorrow if the NHC is right.

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1502. K-man. Thanks I think this answers my previous question before the new page break. You've got great observation skills and knowledge.
Member Since: Julio 9, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 1110
1508. Ossqss
BTW, the McAfee virus item has been fixed in their new update. Just in case ya need it :)
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Leewards are going to get soaking wet.
Found a really cute video of The Weathergirls' song on the subject...I put on my blog. Somehow seems apropos for Erika, the full-moon-contradictory-can't-make-up-her-mind-baffling-tropical-storm that confounds reason.
Member Since: Julio 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11047
Quoting aspectre:
1317 Herbertsbox "Would someone please sum up the past 24 hours?"

It's stationary, wait, it's heading NorthWest. Whoops, make that WestSouthWest.
No...it's going West...errm...I meant SouthWest. Hmph, I guess I did mean West.
Then again, WestSouthWest looks good...though WestNorthWest looks even more tempting.
Oh good grief! SouthSouthWest? Make up your mind.

And throughout it all, the computer models and the NationalHurricaneCenter keep predicting that Erica will head somewhere between westnorthwestward and northwestward.

lol
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1505. Patrap
Erika RGB Loop..

..dont forget to check the TFP box
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But there was a strong high ridge then that wouldn't budge , this time I dont think there is...

My understanding is that the High is supposed to build in once this stationary front lifts out...
Member Since: Septiembre 7, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 287
Quoting kmanislander:
No quikscat tonight for Erika but it looks like she entered the Caribbean, went out the back door and is now about to come in the front door again.

New center taking over.

Good evening. Could you tell me if it's the northern COC or the southern one? Seems most are referencing the northern one. Thanks
Member Since: Julio 9, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 1110
This shortwave loop shows the two competing centers, one to the NE of Guadeloupe and the other to the SW.

The one to the SW has the best "spin" at this time even though it has less convection
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Is there any doubt continued research ($$) needs to be done to get a handle on these types of storms? Erika's giving the pro's fits.

Is anyone buying this WNW D,D,D,L?

Member Since: Agosto 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 619
Quoting TreasureCoastFl:
wouldn't it then just get picked up and put out to sea by that trough?
It depends how strong, if pressure dips below 989MB then yes it will curve, if it does not then no it will be a Florida hit.
Member Since: Septiembre 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
1499. sfla82
Erika is dying out....Sfla is still in the clear and nothing else outh there to worry about!!! Time to turn on the game! Go Redsox!
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1498. centex
Maybe it's like cell division and we have twins.
Member Since: Agosto 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 3217
Someone mentioned a good book about the Labor Day hurricane. What was it? I was running out the door and didn't write it down. I am always on he lookout for books about historical hurricanes. Feel free to recommend, and I appreciate it in advance.

By the way, no book would be too arcane or archaic, as long as the documentation is decent. (Many of your are Meteorologist; I'm an historian.)

Thanks
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[WU's Wind Shear Tutorial] helps explain why this storm seems to be able to keep coming back. It's the direction of the shear that matters.

This could be a dangerous game, which Erika is playing with us, as over time these starts and stops can dramatically increase the size of the circulation, from which it can finally breathe in enormous quantities of air, when it finds more favorable conditions. It's like giving yourself an extra set of lungs to run with. I think it's a big mistake to write this storm off, if for this reason alone, but also because of the direction of the current shear. If it travels over land, that's another story, but it seems to me to want to traverse the Caribbean Sea, BAD.

"Dr. Gray also discovered that the east-west or "zonal" component of the wind shear was what mattered most to hurricanes. Wind shear in the north-south or "meridional" direction did not significantly affect the storms. This is why one often sees "zonal wind shear" plotted in addition to the total wind shear. (By the way, we now know that tropical storms do occur in the central Pacific, thanks to satellite imagery--and we have also had one tropical cyclone in the SW Atlantic, Hurricane Catarina of 2004)."
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Quoting surfsidesindy:
Okay...FRANCES is the track I was thinking of...once she got North of PR, she took a track very close to what the HWRF is showing...

But there was a strong high ridge then that wouldn't budge , this time I dont think there is...
Member Since: Agosto 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 467
1317 Herbertsbox "Would someone please sum up the past 24 hours?"

It's stationary, wait, it's heading NorthWest. Whoops, make that WestSouthWest.
No...it's going West...errm...I meant SouthWest. Hmph, I guess I did mean West.
Then again, WestSouthWest looks good...though WestNorthWest looks even more tempting.
Oh good grief! SouthSouthWest? Make up your mind.

And throughout it all, the computer models and the NationalHurricaneCenter keep predicting that Erika will head somewhere between westnorthwestward and northwestward.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Must be rather hard to organize a circulation in 20-25knots of shear.



More like 10-20 knots if you go by the CIMMS, it's still under anticyclonic flow. Not yet under hostile conditions, that's subject to change.

New shear map shows a stronger anticyclone and a widspread area of favorable conditions. Erika is right in 10-20 knots. Marginally to somewhat favorable.


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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Seems to me that the northern LLC just might be the dominant one, that could put Florida in big time danger if I am correct.


wouldn't it then just get picked up and put out to sea by that trough?
Member Since: Agosto 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 467
Quoting tornadodude:
Look at this!


That is scary! The NHC will probably wait about a day before mentioning something, and a tropical depression designation looks possible by two days. Basically, they want to see persistent organization. I have seen this too many times.
Member Since: Agosto 19, 2008 Posts: 104 Comments: 503
Quoting sarahjola:

awesome link thanks
According to the 00z AVNO, wind speed while making landfall over Miami is 18 knots- 21 MPH +/- 1 knot.
Member Since: Septiembre 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
Quoting Funkadelic:
HWRF 102knot hurricane plowing into south/central florida 18Z lol



Link


Outlier...
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I actually think the new COC is slightly below 15N
Member Since: Abril 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 7506
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Seems to me that the northern LLC just might be the dominant one, that could put Florida in big time danger if I am correct.



Finally a straight answer, TY so much Miami09!!1
Member Since: Febrero 14, 2004 Posts: 2 Comments: 661

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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.

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