Isaac reorganizing as it blows through the Lesser Antilles

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8:34 PM GMT on August 22, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac continues to maintain top winds of just 45 mph as its center prepares to move through the Lesser Antilles islands late this afternoon and early this evening. The entire Lesser Antilles chain of islands is receiving heavy rains from Isaac, with Martinique picking up 1.46" of rain as of 2 pm EDT, and St. Lucia receiving 1.49". However, Isaac is not yet generating much in the way of tropical storm-force winds, and none of the islands had received winds in excess of 30 mph as of 4 pm EDT. During their storm penetration to obtain their 2 pm EDT center fix, an Air Force Reserve aircraft measured top surface winds of just 40 mph, and a central pressure of 1004 mb. Top winds at their 5000 foot flight altitude were 49 mph. Isaac is undergoing significant changes to its structure. The plane found the center had become a broad, elongated oval that extended 40 miles from NW to SE. The old center, fixed at 2 pm near 16.1°N, and closer to the dry air to Isaac's north, is being challenged for dominance by a new center that is attempting to form near a burst of heavy thunderstorms at 15.5°N. The Hurricane Hunters' latest fix at 3:50 pm EDT put the center near 15.9°N, a southwards shift of about 17 miles. The resulting battle between centers is giving Isaac a rather odd spiral rectangular shape, as seen on visible satellite loops. The Hurricane Hunters did not observe an eyewall trying to form, and recent microwave satellite images also show no signs of an eyewall forming. A large area of dry air to the north of the storm, as seen on water vapor satellite loops, continues to interfere with development, and Isaac will not be able to begin strengthening until it resolves the battle between it two competing centers, and casts out the dry air infiltrating it. This is going to take at least a day, since Isaac is a very large storm, and it takes more time to spin up a big chunk of the atmosphere. Radar imagery from Barbados and Martinique show plenty of heavy rain showers, mostly on the south side of Isaac where it is moister. There has been a modest increase in spiral banding since this morning.


Figure 1. Afternoon satellite image of Isaac, showing its odd spiral rectangle shape.

Latest model runs for Isaac
The latest set of 12Z (8 am EDT) model runs are very similar to the previous set of runs, which I discussed in detail in this morning's post. The models show a westward track to a point on the south coast of Hispaniola. Isaac's center shift to the south may require some modest adjustments to the south and west for the models. This would result in the storm spending a few hours less time over Hispaniola, and more time over or just south of Cuba. This would slightly decrease the risk to the Dominican Republic, the east coast of Florida, and the Bahamas, but increase the risk to the west coast of Florida. The ECMWF--our best performing model over the past two years--continues to be an outlier among the models. It predicts that Isaac will track just south of Cuba, cross the western tip of Cuba on Monday, then head north towards an eventual landfall in Louisiana. However, this model is keeping Isaac weaker than the other models, and thus predicts the storm will have a weaker response to the trough of low pressure over the Southeast U.S. If the official NHC intensity forecast is right and Isaac becomes a hurricane on Thursday, the more southerly track of the ECMWF is not going to verify, and Isaac will spend considerable time over Cuba on Saturday and Sunday. Where Isaac pops off the coast of Cuba will be critical in determining its future path and intensity, and at this point, we don't know it its more likely that Isaac will go up the east coast of Florida, the west coast, or straight up the peninsula over land. At this point, I'd put the odds at:

40% chance of a track through the Gulf of Mexico, west of Florida
25% chance of a landfall in South Florida, and a track mostly over the Florida Peninsula
35% chance of a track along the east coast of Florida

Which model should you trust?
Wunderground provides a web page with computer model forecasts for many of the best-performing models used to predict hurricane tracks. So which is the best? The best forecasts are made by combining the forecasts from three or more models into a "consensus" forecast. Over the past decade, NHC has greatly improved their forecasts by relying on consensus forecast models made using various combinations of the GFS, GFDL, NOGAPS, UKMET, HWRF, and ECMWF models. If you average together the track forecasts from these models, the NHC official forecast will rarely depart much from it, and the NHC forecast has been hard to beat over the past few years. The single best-performing model over the past two years has been the ECMWF (European Center model). The GFS model has been a close second. You can view 7-day ECMWF and 16-day GFS forecasts on our wundermap with the model layer turned on. Ten-day ECMWF forecasts are available from the ECMWF web site. The European Center does not permit public display of tropical storm positions from their hurricane tracking module of their model, so we are unable to put ECMWF forecasts on our computer model forecast page that plots positions from the other major models. As seen in Figure 2, the HWRF and GFDL were well behind the ECMWF and GFS in forecast accuracy in 2011, but were still respectable. The BAMM model did very well at 4 and 5-day forecasts. The UKMET, NOGAPS, and CMC models did quite poorly compared to the ECMWF, GFS, GFDL, and HWRF. For those interested in learning more about the models, NOAA has a great training video (updated for 2011.)


Figure 2. Skill of computer model forecasts of Atlantic named storms 2011, compared to a "no skill" model called "CLIPER5" that uses just climatology and persistence to make a hurricane track forecast (persistence=a storm will tend to keep going in the direction it's current going.) OFCL=Official NHC forecast; GFS=Global Forecast System model; GFDL=Geophysical Fluid Dynamic Laboratory model; HWRF=Hurricane Weather Research Forecasting model; NOGAPS=Navy Operational Global Prediction System model; UKMET=United Kingdom Met Office model; ECMWF=European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasting model; TVCA=one of the consensus models that lends together several of the above models; CMC=Canadian Meteorological Center (GEM) model; BAMM=Beta Advection Model (Medium depth.) Image credit: National Hurricane Center 2011 verification report.

I'll have a new post in the morning.

Jeff Masters


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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This wont be a Major hurricane until it is in the GOM for a little spell.,,,
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Quoting floridaboy14:
nhc still says 16.0N... um i think the center is around 15.5N


Read the whole advisory.

"THE LOWEST PRESSURES ARE IN AN AREA
NEAR GUADELOUPE...WHICH IS USED AS THE CURRENT CENTER SINCE IT HAS
SOME CONTINUITY WITH THE CENTER PREVIOUSLY BEING TRACKED.
HOWEVER...THE MEAN CENTER IS LIKELY TO THE SOUTHEAST OF THE
ADVISORY POSITION."
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
WTNT44 KNHC 222039
TCDAT4

TROPICAL STORM ISAAC DISCUSSION NUMBER 7
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL092012
500 PM AST WED AUG 22 2012

SATELLITE...AIRCRAFT...RADAR...AND SURFACE OBSERVATIONS INDICATE
THAT ISAAC HAS A BROAD CENTRAL AREA OF LIGHT WINDS WITH MULTIPLE
VORTICITY MAXIMA EMBEDDED. THE LOWEST PRESSURES ARE IN AN AREA
NEAR GUADELOUPE...WHICH IS USED AS THE CURRENT CENTER SINCE IT HAS
SOME CONTINUITY WITH THE CENTER PREVIOUSLY BEING TRACKED.
HOWEVER...THE MEAN CENTER IS LIKELY TO THE SOUTHEAST OF THE
ADVISORY POSITION. SOME ADJUSTMENT OF THE CENTER POSITION MAY BE
NECESSARY WHEN THE CENTRAL CORE AGAIN CONSOLIDATES. THE INITIAL
INTENSITY IS HELD AT 40 KT...ALTHOUGH THE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT
DATA SUGGESTS THIS COULD BE GENEROUS.

THE INITIAL MOTION IS NOW A SOMEWHAT UNCERTAIN 280/19. OTHER THAN
THE CENTER POSITION ISSUES...THERE IS NO SIGNIFICANT CHANGE TO THE
FORECAST REASONING DURING THE FIRST 48 HR OF THE TRACK FORECAST. THE
EAST-WEST ORIENTED SUBTROPICAL RIDGE TO THE NORTH OF ISAAC ALONG
30N LATITUDE IS FORECAST BY ALL OF THE GLOBAL MODELS TO REMAIN
INTACT ACROSS FLORIDA AND THE SOUTHEASTERN U.S. DURING THAT TIME.
THIS EARLY PART OF THE FORECAST TRACK IS SHIFTED A LITTLE TO THE
SOUTH OF THE PREVIOUS FORECAST BASED ON THE OBSERVED POSITION AND
MOTION. AFTER 48 HR...THE RIDGE IS EXPECTED TO WEAKEN AS A
MID/UPPER-LEVEL TROUGH MOVES ONTO THE EASTERN UNITED STATES. THE
GLOBAL MODELS HAVE COME INTO BETTER AGREEMENT SINCE THE LAST
ADVISORY...WITH THE NOGAPS AND CANADIAN MODELS SHIFTING TO THE WEST
AND THE ECMWF TO THE NORTH. HOWEVER...THE ECMWF CONTINUES TO SHOW
A STRONGER RIDGE...AND THUS SHOWS A MORE WESTERLY MOTION THAN THE
OTHER MODELS. THE 72-120 HR PORTION OF THE FORECAST TRACK IS
SIMILAR TO THE PREVIOUS FORECAST AND LIES NEAR THE CONSENSUS
MODELS. THERE REMAINS CONSIDERABLE UNCERTAINTY AS TO WHICH PORTIONS
OF FLORIDA...IF ANY...COULD BE AFFECTED BY ISAAC.

WATER VAPOR IMAGERY AND MICROWAVE TOTAL PRECIPITABLE WATER DATA
CONTINUE TO SHOW DRY AIR TO THE NORTHEAST OF ISAAC...AND A LACK OF
CONVECTION IN THIS AREA SUGGESTS SOME OF THIS AIR IS ENTRAINING
INTO THE CYCLONE AND DISRUPTING THE CONVECTIVE STRUCTURE. GIVEN
THE CURRENT STRUCTURE...THE NEW INTENSITY FORECAST CALLS FOR LITTLE
CHANGE IN STRENGTH FOR THE NEXT 12 HR...FOLLOWED BY INTENSIFICATION
INTO A HURRICANE BY 48 HR SIMILAR TO THE PREVIOUS ADVISORY. AFTER
48 HR...THE MAIN FACTOR CONTROLLING THE INTENSITY IS THE AMOUNT OF
LAND INTERACTION. THIS LOW-CONFIDENCE PART OF THE INTENSITY
FORECAST IS SIMILAR TO THE PREVIOUS ADVISORY BUT ABOVE THE INTENSITY
CONSENSUS.


FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INIT 22/2100Z 16.0N 61.2W 40 KT 45 MPH
12H 23/0600Z 16.3N 63.6W 40 KT 45 MPH
24H 23/1800Z 16.7N 66.7W 50 KT 60 MPH
36H 24/0600Z 17.2N 69.4W 60 KT 70 MPH
48H 24/1800Z 17.9N 71.6W 70 KT 80 MPH...INLAND
72H 25/1800Z 20.5N 75.5W 60 KT 70 MPH...INLAND
96H 26/1800Z 23.5N 79.5W 60 KT 70 MPH...OVER WATER
120H 27/1800Z 26.5N 82.5W 70 KT 80 MPH

$$
FORECASTER BEVEN
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Quoting StormJunkie:


The LLC and MLC seem to be trying to come to terms of agreement; but having a little difficulty agreeing on where they would like to do that.


It's like a new husband and wife scuffling over how to arrange the furniture in their new house.
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Quoting RitaEvac:

So based on analogs, Issac will hit somewhere between Honduras and Nova Scotia.

Well, that narrows it down.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
135
WFUS54 KLIX 222033
TORLIX
LAC051-075-222100-
/O.NEW.KLIX.TO.W.0045.120822T2033Z-120822T2100Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW ORLEANS LA
333 PM CDT WED AUG 22 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN NEW ORLEANS HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
EXTREME SOUTHEASTERN JEFFERSON PARISH IN SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA...
WEST CENTRAL PLAQUEMINES PARISH IN SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA...

* UNTIL 400 PM CDT

* AT 332 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS DETECTED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO NEAR GRAND ISLE
CMAN...OR 20 MILES SOUTHWEST OF PORT SULPHUR...MOVING SOUTH AT 10
MPH.

* THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WILL OTHERWISE REMAIN OVER MAINLY RURAL
AREAS OF THE INDICATED PARISH.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THE SAFEST PLACE TO BE DURING A TORNADO IS UNDER A WORKBENCH OR OTHER
PIECE OF STURDY FURNITURE. SEEK SHELTER ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF THE
BUILDING IN AN INTERIOR HALLWAY OR ROOM SUCH AS A CLOSET. USE
BLANKETS OR PILLOWS TO COVER YOUR BODY AND ALWAYS STAY AWAY FROM
WINDOWS.

IF IN MOBILE HOMES OR VEHICLES...EVACUATE THEM AND GET INSIDE A
SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER. IF NO SHELTER IS AVAILABLE...LIE FLAT IN THE
NEAREST DITCH OR OTHER LOW SPOT AND COVER YOUR HEAD WITH YOUR HANDS.

PLEASE FOLLOW OUR OFFICE ON BOTH FACEBOOK AND TWITTER FOR MORE
INFORMATION ON SEVERE WEATHER AND TO RELAY WEATHER REPORTS AND
PHOTOS.



LAT...LON 2921 9005 2926 8999 2931 8999 2934 9002
2938 9000 2935 8996 2928 8995 2930 8991
2932 8992 2935 8988 2938 8987 2938 8983
2935 8986 2930 8985 2929 8992 2919 9004
TIME...MOT...LOC 2034Z 017DEG 10KT 2930 8997



MJH

CLICK HERE TO GO TO PREVIOUS BULLETINS.


The Nexlab LA Page

The Nexlab MS Page

Main Text Page
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Seems as though the NHC is priming to relocate the center farther to the SE soon.
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Perhaps Issac was overhyped a bit ...but the sheer size of this storm is dangerous in that evntually
we could have a larger than normal area of Hurricane
Force winds and not necessarily a Cat 2-3 as first
thought.....
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting Brock31:
Wonder how long we have until Joyce?

Isaac is looking large and somewhat in charge. Although he seems confused.

Oh and ...35th!!!

Actually 41st. hehe
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
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Wonder how long we have until Joyce?

Isaac is looking large and somewhat in charge. Although he seems confused.

Oh and ...41st!!!
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Quoting medic2luv:
Am I correct in saying that the Euro is now coming into more agreement with GFS? Yesterday the Euro had Isaac going to the Yucatan, GFS has consistently been in the same area. Just curious why the big change in the Euro when its been said that its the top model.
The exact opposite.... the GFS is coming into line with the EURO.
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NOLA TORNADO WARNING
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Also... bear in mind it is coming up on Dmin right now. Remember what Issac did overnight with the help of Dmax.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
nhc still says 16.0N... um i think the center is around 15.5N
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Per Dr. Masters "A large area of dry air to the north of the storm, as seen on water vapor satellite loops, continues to interfere with development, and Isaac will not be able to begin strengthening until it resolves the battle between it two competing centers, and casts out the dry air infiltrating it."

This leads me to believe Isaac is going to spend a longer time moving West before he turns NW. Also leads me to believe any track out past 2-3 days is still up in the air, everyone near the cone needs to keep an eye on this one!
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THE LOWEST PRESSURES ARE IN AN AREA
NEAR GUADELOUPE...WHICH IS USED AS THE CURRENT CENTER SINCE IT HAS
SOME CONTINUITY WITH THE CENTER PREVIOUSLY BEING TRACKED.
HOWEVER...THE MEAN CENTER IS LIKELY TO THE SOUTHEAST OF THE
ADVISORY POSITION.


There you go.
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Thanks for the update Dr. M. doesn't make me feel anymore secure than this morning.
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Being a Large CV Storm in structure, TS Issac seems to be taking a deep breath as that pressure is not surprising as He has put some work into Himself this afternoon.


Dont expect pressure to Denote wind speeds as again, itsa large system and will take a while for the winds to reflect the lower pressure being found.




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Am I correct in saying that the Euro is now coming into more agreement with GFS? Yesterday the Euro had Isaac going to the Yucatan, GFS has consistently been in the same area. Just curious why the big change in the Euro when its been said that its the top model.
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...CENTER OF ISAAC MOVING THROUGH THE LEEWARD ISLANDS...NEW WARNINGS AND WATCHES ISSUED...
------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------

5:00 PM AST Wed Aug 22
Location: 16.0°N 61.2°W
Moving: W at 22 mph
Min pressure: 1004 mb
Max sustained: 45 mp


...TROPICAL DEPRESSION OVER THE EASTERN TROPICAL ATLANTIC HAS CHANGED LITTLE IN STRENGTH...
------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------

5:00 PM AST Wed Aug 22
Location: 13.1°N 37.4°W
Moving: WNW at 16 mph
Min pressure: 1007 mb
Max sustained: 35 mph

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New update



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Quoting Patrap:


It has been all day, as a mean center is forming in the Overall and tracking those embedded swirls as a new Center, or a center re-locate are futile.



The LLC and MLC seem to be trying to come to terms of agreement; but having a little difficulty agreeing on where they would like to do that.

I find it very intriguing that Dr M put a west side of Fl at 40%, up the middle at 25% and east coast at 35%. Guess this is because up the middle of Fl require a selection of a smaller area than saying E or W of Fl. Shows that this one is a guessing game for now outside of the very general track.
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Amazing how this measly 45mph tropical storm already has a cloud field of 1,000 MILES in diameter.  When he tightens up, its going to get more interesting!
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40% chance of a track through the Gulf of Mexico, west of Florida
25% chance of a landfall in South Florida, and a track mostly over the Florida Peninsula
35% chance of a track along the east coast of Florida


Question about the percentages. Does that 40% chance mean west of the Florida peninsula or west of Florida entirely?
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The energy seen on infrared seems well distributed around a "new" center farther south.
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Kermit has taken off from Barbados.
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Quoting Levi32:


It was climbing steeply. It's not even in the storm yet.


thats what I figured
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Thanks Dr Masters, Isaac looks to be wraping up now.
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Hey what are the bugs doing at your place. In the upper keys and the sugar ants are going nuts like they just did a shot of boochie
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
NOAA recon in, don't freak out at the pressure for it was recorded while gaining altitude.
Link

998mb at 13N? that far south?
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Thanks DRM.
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:
Are those Kermit reading legit?

999.8?


No, they where recorded at 10,000 feet.

Also, as pointed out on the other blog.. the ECMWF is developing another storm at by 144 hours, here is it by 240
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PAT...Tornado warning.....................
BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW ORLEANS LA
333 PM CDT WED AUG 22 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN NEW ORLEANS HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
EXTREME SOUTHEASTERN JEFFERSON PARISH IN SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA...
WEST CENTRAL PLAQUEMINES PARISH IN SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA...

* UNTIL 400 PM CDT

* AT 332 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS DETECTED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO NEAR GRAND ISLE
CMAN...OR 20 MILES SOUTHWEST OF PORT SULPHUR...MOVING SOUTH AT 10
MPH.

* THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WILL OTHERWISE REMAIN OVER MAINLY RURAL
AREAS OF THE INDICATED PARISH.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THE SAFEST PLACE TO BE DURING A TORNADO IS UNDER A WORKBENCH OR OTHER
PIECE OF STURDY FURNITURE. SEEK SHELTER ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF THE
BUILDING IN AN INTERIOR HALLWAY OR ROOM SUCH AS A CLOSET. USE
BLANKETS OR PILLOWS TO COVER YOUR BODY AND ALWAYS STAY AWAY FROM
WINDOWS.

IF IN MOBILE HOMES OR VEHICLES...EVACUATE THEM AND GET INSIDE A
SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER. IF NO SHELTER IS AVAILABLE...LIE FLAT IN THE
NEAREST DITCH OR OTHER LOW SPOT AND COVER YOUR HEAD WITH YOUR HANDS.

PLEASE FOLLOW OUR OFFICE ON BOTH FACEBOOK AND TWITTER FOR MORE
INFORMATION ON SEVERE WEATHER AND TO RELAY WEATHER REPORTS AND
PHOTOS.
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:
Are those Kermit reading legit?

999.8?

No.
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:
Are those Kermit reading legit?

999.8?


It was climbing steeply. It's not even in the storm yet.
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Thanks Dr. Masters! Watching anxiously from Melbourne, FL...

Also, thanks to everyone else for your insight and debates ...
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Euro Ensembles sure do like the gulf. Here's the latest 12z run at 8 days. The deal here is the storm stays weak, misses the weakness, trough lifts out and ridging builds over the top in the mid levels. This transition of the mid level pattern provides weak steering, giving the storm time to intensify over the warm waters of the gulf. Personally, I still don't fully buy the ECMWF solution; I like the track forecast I put out yesterday.

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Disorganazed storm if you ask me...
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Are those Kermit reading legit?

999.8?
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NOAA recon in, don't freak out at the pressure for it was recorded while gaining altitude.
Link
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Im thinking it will end up ~15.5 north, which is only a .3-.6 degree south change, because it was at 15.8N
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Remember all these models are initializing on a particular point on the
earth where the center used to be.  As we know, the center is moving all
around and jumping.  Until we get a solid real center the 5 day
landfall location is absolutely pointless.  Focus on the next 24-48
hours.

Something else to note, that when you measure in google
earth, the distance between the bands in the NW and SE cloud bands, its
already 1000 miles in length.  This system is HUGE.
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Thanks Dr.Masters!

Quoting Losttsol:
First

Who cares!
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Thanks Dr. Masters.
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Quoting Losttsol:
First
No one cares though. ;)
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TS Issac ShortWave IR Loop

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Category 6™

About

Cat 6 lead authors: WU cofounder Dr. Jeff Masters (right), who flew w/NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990, & WU meteorologist Bob Henson, @bhensonweather