16 October 2002

TD14 losing the battle.

If you recall Monday's update, things looked favorable for TD14 to
quickly become a TS.  However, the strong vertical shear (presently on
the order of 35kts westerly) has been relentless due to the deep trough
scooping though the Gulf of Mexico, and the storm continues to look more
and more DISorganized.  Recent satellite imagery reveals what seems to
be a frontal structure rather than spiral bands, indicating the
Depression is already becoming extratropical.

At 15Z today, TD14 was located at 22.3N 80.2W (inland over central Cuba;
their third landfall of the season) and tracking NE at 15kts.  A
Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for central Cuba and the Bahamas. 
It is expected to continue to the NE, picking up forward speed and
losing what tropical characteristics it still has as it's absorbed into
the mid-latitude trough.  It looks like the storm will not get named...
although the winds may reach TS intensity, it might not be tropical in
nature by that time.

The tropical wave SW of the Cape Verdes referenced yesterday is
encountering much higher shear now, and attention can shift away from it
for the next couple days, at which point we'll see if there's anything
left of it.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

15 October 2002

TD14 fighting strong shear.

TD14 has been struggling against strong (20kts) westerly shear since
yesterday, which is why it still has not reached TS intensity.  The
low-level center is removed from the convection, although the convection
has been deep and persistent.  The future intensity will be a delicate
battle between shear, land, SSTs, and baroclinicity, but in general, I
don't see it becoming much more than a weak TS.  The IR satellite
imagery reveals no real banding features, no classic CDO, just
convection scattered around a mid-level center.

At 15Z, TD14 was located at 17.9N 82.7W (130 miles southwest of Grand
Cayman) and tracking NE at 4kts.  Maxiumum sustained winds are 30kts and
the MSLP is 1004mb.  Some slight strengthening is likely (to perhaps
50kts according to the latest NHC forecast) due to the latter two
factors I mentioned above [or major strengthening according to the GFDL
model, which makes it a minimal hurricane before hitting Cuba, then a
strong CAT2 as it passes over the Bahamas].  Note the motion... it's
already NE, so that will remove FL from the primary threat zone.  A
Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the Cayman Islands, Isle of
Youth, and central Cuba, and a Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the
Bahamas.  The advancing trough will continue forcing the track to
accelerate to the NE, crossing over Cuba on Wednesday morning, the
Bahamas Wednesday night, and be up by Newfoundland by midday Friday. 
Again, if/when this gets named, it will be Marco.

The tropical wave I had mentioned a few days ago near the Cape Verde
Islands is re-organizing somewhat.  It's located at approximately 7N 31W
(1100km SW of the Cape Verdes) and heading W at 15kts.  It is also in a
region of high shear, but that MAY relax over the next couple days.  

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

14 October 2002

TD14 forms in northwest Caribbean.

The area of disturbed weather that was in the southwest Caribbean late
last week and during the weekend has drifted north and become much
better organized, exactly how the models had predicted five days ago
(they're on a roll this season).  As I watched the system over the
weekend, it was remarkable to watch in real-time a tropical cyclone
develop out of nothing more than a broad area of convection.  Hour by
hour, the convection became more centralized, a mid-level circulation
developed, deeper convection, and finally a low-level circulation was
obvious on visible imagery this morning (I'm sure I'm not the ONLY one
who woke up excitedly to check the first available VIS images for a
low-level circulation...).

At 15Z today, TD14 was at 17.8N 83.0W and tracking N at 10kts. 
Intensity is 25kts and 1009mb, but is expected to quickly reach TS
status today (and would become the thirteenth named storm of the season,
Marco).  A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the Cayman Islands,
Isle of Youth, and central Cuba, and a Tropical Storm Watch is in effect
for southern FL from Golden Beach to Key West.

The forecast track is generally N-NNE, allowing the center to pass east
of the Florida peninsula, but admitedly, the distance at which it's
forecast to pass by at is within the forecast error (hence the TS Watch
for southern FL).  There is a very deep trough digging into the Gulf of
Mexico which will be the primary steering mechanism for this storm, so
it's movement and amplitude will play a huge role in track forecasting. 
The GFDL model is very insistent on making this a strong storm, hitting
Cuba as a 92kt CAT2 hurricane, then the Bahamas as a 103kt CAT3
hurricane.  The SSTs in its path would support a major hurricane, it
will just be a matter of how Cuba affects it and how much shear the
trough will introduce.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

12 October 2002

Kyle makes landfall, and one more intensity cycle; eyes point to SW Caribbean.

Although landfall technically occurred yesterday, it's tough to say
precisely WHERE it was.  Kyle followed the contour of the southeast US
with amazing detail, from the GA/SC border all the way north to Cape
Hatteras.  There were six damaging tornadoes in eastern NC and some
fairly serious coastal flooding associated with his passage.  Of course,
something strange or unusual had to happen... he was downdraded to a TD
at the 00Z Intermediate advisory, then once back out over the Atlantic,
re-strengthened into a TS at 09Z -the 5th time doing this.  Now at 15.5
Named Storm Days and nearly 22 total days, he is (I believe) the 3rd
longest-living tropical cyclone in Atlantic history.

At 15Z, TS Kyle was at 36.0N 75.0W (35 miles ENE of Nag's Head, NC) and
tracking ENE at 20kts.  Max winds as indicated by buoys, satellite, and
aircraft are 40kts and the MSLP is 1009mb.  He is in the process of
becoming extratropical, and the baroclinic assist he's getting is what
led to the intensification (as one would have expected).  However, in
the near future, his circulation will be indistinguishable from that of
the trough and mid-latitude Low.  And so ends the life of a storm we've
been talking about since September 20.

Meanwhile... the wave near the Cape Verde Islands is looking much less
organized and is not of great concern at this time.  However, of much
greater concern is the brewing situation in the southwest Caribbean Sea
(correction to yesterday's update: the area of interest is not the Bay
of Campeche, but rather the Caribbean down by Panama).  Although
disorganized and broad now, the area of disturbed weather down there is
still favored by virtually every model for development.  The track is
what makes it a concern:  northward over western or central Cuba, then
into the southern FL peninsula, then perhaps up along the US east
coast.  The timing and exact positions are not agreed upon, but that
general scenario is.  Although presently in very strong westerly shear,
if organization occurs fairly soon and the models therefore prove their
skill, landfall on FL could be as soon as Tuesday morning, but could
certainly be later.  Seeing that this year has been the year of U.S.
landfalls, I'd be cautious!  

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

11 October 2002

Kyle becomes a TS, for the 4th time; two other areas are becoming interesting.

Yesterday at roughly 22Z, a HUGE explosion of convection occurred
directly over Kyle's low-level center, leading to a large and cold CDO
just four hours later.  This burst allowed him to concentrate enough
vorticity to spin the storm back up to a Tropical Storm by 09Z this
morning.  Still under a more ragged -70C CDO, the storm has not gotten
convectively organized, as determined from an SSM/I microwave satellite
pass a few hours ago.  For anyone interested, the Wilmington, NC (KLTX)
radar shows the passing of the storm as he makes landfall not far from

At 15Z today, Kyle was located at 32.4N 80.1W (20 miles SW of
Charleston, SC) and tracking NE at 13kts.  Intensity is 40kts and
1008mb.  He is expected to make landfall on Charleston, SC as a 40kt TS
at about noon Eastern time and remain a minimal Tropical Storm for the
next three days, and will therefore keep adding to his total of 15 Named
Storm Days and nearly 21 days of existence.  A Tropical Storm Warning is
in effect for all of the SC and NC coasts, a Tornado Watch is in effect
for northern SC and most of eastern NC, Flash Flood Warnings are in
effect for parts of SC, NC, and VA.  

The tropical wave off of Africa's coast I mentioned in yesterday's
update has become better organized. Presently at about 11N 25W (just
south of the Cape Verdes), it's tracking west, and vertical shear is
decreasing as an upper-level anticyclone develops over it.  There is
healthy outflow and the low-level vorticity is becoming more
centralized.  The models that do develop this system recurve it by 40W
or so, so it's seemingly no threat to land.

Now, here's something that strict observationalists should bypass... the
models are beginning to agree on a solution of a rather impressive
tropical cyclone developing in the southwest Caribbean by Sunday, and
taking it northward into western Cuba then perhaps the FL peninsula
(poor folks in western Cuba have earned a multi-year vacation from
landfalls after this season).  There is already a large pool of
disorganized vorticity and disturbed weather in extreme southern Bay of
Campeche.  This needs to be watched very closely, as this scenario is
climatologically favored for this time of the season (recall Mitch '98
and Michelle '01?  Maybe Marco '02 will follow in their footsteps??).

FYI, the next numbers/names on deck are 14,15/Marco,Nana... just in case
we should need them in the coming days.  If the past several years are
any help in forecasting activity, the season won't shut down until the
very end.  The past 4 years we've reached the N (11/24-12/1), L
(11/13-11/21), N (10/19-10/22), and O (11/24-12/4) storms.  So far we're
at L this season and it's only 10/11!

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

10 October 2002

Kyle still out there...

Since the last update on Monday, Kyle had experienced yet another bout
with high vertical shear.  It stripped away all convection leaving just
a well-defined low-level vortex.  But alas, since we'd expect nothing
less from him, convection re-fired in Kyle on Wednesday evening.  Well,
James Franklin at NHC put it best in the 03Z duscussion today:
"OH...OH...OH...OH...STAYIN ALIVE...STAYIN ALIVE".  Julian Heming from
the UK Met Office then commented that "I suppose we should be thankful
it is not heading for Massachusetts, to save us further quotations from
the Brothers Gibb!"  Nothing wrong with a little humor in the
forecasting business.  For those keeping track, Kyle's now the 6th
longest-lasting tropical cyclone in the Atlantic basin since records
began.  He's been around for 19.75 days, 14.75 of which were Named Storm
days (35kts+).

At 15Z today, TD Kyle was at 28.5N 78.6W (about 2.5 degrees east of Cape
Canaveral) and tracking W at 10kts.  Intensity is 25kts and 1010mb...
quite weak, but convection is becoming better organized, albeit slowly. 
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the northern half of eastern FL
and parts of the southern GA coast.  He's expected to pass VERY close
the FL/GA border Friday morning as a 30kt TD, then head NE along the
coastline and over SC, NC, VA, if he's even trackable by that point.

For lack of something else to talk about, a fairly large area of
disturbed weather has exited the African coast at about 11N 15W.  Shear
is presently less than 10kts, and there's weak vorticity associated with
it, but such favorable conditions should not persist long enough to
allow cyclogenesis to occur.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

07 October 2002

You guessed it, Kyle's still out there.

Little has transpired over the weekend: TS Kyle is still at about the
same place and same intensity as he was on Friday morning.  As of 15Z
today, he has racked up 13.75 Named Storm Days, 2.5 Hurricane Days, and
0 Intense Hurricane Days, and has still traversed a mere 20 degrees
longitude in that time (with only 2 real eras of movement, the rest of
the time he's been meandering or stationary).  This morning, the center
has apparently split again, making the position and motion highly

The 15Z advisory places TS Kyle at 32.6N 70.8W and drifting SW at 3kts. 
Intensity is 35kts and 1006mb.  He did survive another episode of high
shear during the weekend, during which he weakened to a TD, again; but
has since made a comeback, again.  There is presently deep convection
near the southern main center, so shear is most decidedly weaker now. 
The forecast is for very gradual and slight strengthening over the next
day or so, then level off.  In terms of track, he is expected to start
drifting more southerly, then perhaps SSW through Thursday, but I can
say that NHC's skill with his track in the past has been minimal
(likewise with the computer models).  We'll probably still be talking
about Kyle next weekend too.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

04 October 2002

Kyle becoming a permanent fixture, Lili transitions to extratropical.

For those of you keeping track, this is the second full week of talking
about Kyle, and it's not over yet.  Kyle has confounded all
climatological wisdom about Atlantic storms with his longevity, mediocre
intensity, and stagnation.  As a named storm, his intensity has had a
range of 40kts, and in terms of stagnation, in two weeks his entire
track would fit within a box 20 degrees E-W by 7 degrees N-S.  At 15Z
today, TS Kyle was located at 30.2N 69.8W and is tracking NW at 5kts. 
Intensity is 35kts and 1004mb.  The forecast is for a turn to the north,
slight acceleration, and slight strengthening as the shear should lessen
by Friday night.  He's expected to be about 400km (250 miles) east of
Cape Hatteras on Monday morning.

After landfall on Thursday morning, Lili continued up through LA, then
along the AR/TN border and is still tracking NE across the lower
Mississippi Valley, but is no longer tropical in nature.  The last
advisory was written on Lili at 09Z today.  I know of 14 tornadoes that
she spawned in LA and MS yesterday after landfall, and more could occur
today across northern AL, central TN, KY, IN, OH, and southeast MI as
the vorticity associated with the remnants could still be focused into
smaller-scale features... namely tornadoes.  Other landfall effects
include half a million people without power, many structures collapsed
from wind or floods, and flooded coastal areas; but since 900,000+
people were evacuated in preparation for landfall, the human toll was
greatly minimized (several injuries, but no known deaths so far).

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

03 October 2002

Kyle STILL a TS, Lili made landfall near Pecan Island at 0900 CDT.

Kyle has now racked up 11 Named Storm Days (days during which the storm
was at TS strength or above), and has barely traversed the Atlantic. 
Only as a hurricane was he moving appreciably, the rest of the time was
spent meandering slowly or completely stationary.  At 09Z today, TS Kyle
was located at 29.0N 66.6W and stationary.  Intensity was 55kts and
994mb, so it appears that his effort to regain hurricane status
yesterday was short-lived (but he's surprised us before).  The forecast
is for persistence once again... roughly same intensity and a start of a
NW movement over the next three days.  

Hurricane Lili had intensified very rapidly late Wednesday, with the
MSLP dropping 32mb in 24 hours -ending at 21Z- or 15mb in 6 hours
-ending 21Z.  Then, in hindsight, it seems that she was undergoing an
eyewall replacement cycle, which is quite normal for intense hurricanes,
but land (among other factors including SSTs, shear, trough, etc)
perhaps disrupted the normal completion of that cycle.  The inner
eyewall collapsed, and although a new larger, outer eyewall eventually
formed (as evident on the New Orleans and Lake Charles radars), it was
incomplete and the inner core did not fully [re]mature.  As a result of
the disruption, the storm weakened almost as fast as it strengthened
just hours before.  The pressure rose 19mb in 12 hours -ending at 09Z

Lili made landfall between Pecan Island and Marsh Island, LA (in
Vermilion Parish and Iberia Parish, respectively) at about 1400Z today
as an 85kt CAT2 hurricane... this is 80 miles SE of Lake Charles and 80
miles SW of Baton Rouge.  Due to the rapid weakening, the storm surge
was not as bad as expected, perhaps 6-10' instead of 15-20'.  Although
flooding from the rain will be a concern, it won't be as bad what we saw
from Isidore last week at this time.  So far I know of one tornado in
Terrabonne Parish, but that threat will still be quite large today,
especially to the east of the path.  This scenario was very much like
Bret in 1999; he was a CAT4 just off the coast but weakened just prior
to landfall, and hit halfway between Brownsville and Corpus Christi. 
Lili had the same intensity trend, and made landfall between Houston and
New Orleans.  Even Andrew in 1992 would have been magnitudes more
devastating if he hit downtown Miami, just 15-20 miles north of
Homestead.  The U.S. has been very fortunate in the exact locations of
these impacts. 
As of 13Z today, Lili was located at 29.4N 92.2W and moving NNW at
13kts... this is directly over the LA coastline, so weakening will be
accelerated now as friction with land causes the Low to fill and the
fuel source (Gulf) is gone.  The maximum sustained winds are 85kts and
the central pressure is up to 962mb.

The watches and warnings are almost too numerous to mention, but I'll
highlight: a Hurricane Warning is in effect for extreme eastern TX and
LA as far east as the Mississippi delta, a Tropical Storm Warning is in
effect for the rest of LA and MS and AL, Coastal Flood Watches and
Warnings extend all along the LA, MS, AL, and FL panhandle coasts, a
Tornado Watch is in effect for all of southern LA and MS (this watch
will shift northward during the day to include northern LA, MS, AR, and
perhaps AL), and Tornado Warnings and Flash Flood Warnings will
doubtlessly be posted throughout the day, so stay tuned to local TV or
radio if you live any of the states mentioned above.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

02 October 2002

Lili rapidly intensifies to CAT4 storm...

Since the primary update was mailed out earlier today, Lili has
strengthened significantly.  She is now at 120kts sustained (gusting to
145kts) and has a central pressure of 938mb.  This makes her a CAT4
hurricane.  The pressure has fallen 15mb in the past 6 hours, and the
temperature in the eye is continuously rising.

As of 21Z, Lili was at 25.9N 90.0W and tracking NW at 14kts.  Landfall
is expected to be very near Pecan Island at 18Z tomorrow (1300 CDT) as a
125kt storm (11kts shy of CAT5 status).  Besides the severe sustained
winds, gusts could reach 155kts (180mph), tornadoes will be likely in
the rainbands and eyewall, storm surge could be 18-20' and travel 25
miles inland, and up to a foot of rain could fall along her path.  Over
200,000 people have already been forced to evacuate, and more are still
in progress.

I'll take one sentence to summarize recent happenings with Kyle... he's
now at 60kts and 991mb, so is almost a hurricane again.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

Kyle making a comeback, Lili a major hurricane and heading for LA.

Kyle, who during the weekend was severely sheared, is now making a
comeback.  Convection is returning to the center of circulation and
banding features are starting to form (again).  Recall that advisories
began on Kyle on 9/20!  As of 15Z today, he was at 28.9N 67.3W and
heading ENE at 4 kts.  Intensity is 50kts and 997mb.  He is expected to
strengthen to nearly a hurricane again on Thursday, then weaken as
northeasterly shear picks up.  As one might expect for this storm known
for his longevity and permanence, the forecast track is to remain nearly
stationary for the next three days or so.

Yesterday afternoon, as expected, Hurricane Watches were issued for the
LA and eastern TX coasts.  The storm rather rapidly got much better
organized; starting at about 21Z the inner core symmetrized and a small
defined eye formed just a couple hours later.  Since then, the hurricane
has strengthened continuously (pressure has fallen 13mb in the past 12
hours, and 18mb in the past 24 hours).  According to another early
morning chat with Hucky Purpera at the LA Office of Emergency
Preparedness, mandatory evacuations were ordered for Iberia Parish
yesterday afternoon, and for Cameron and Terrabonne Parishes this
morning.  Vermilion and Calcasieu Parishes should be issuing evacuation
orders this morning as well. Lafayette Parish is very closely watching
the situation but no evacuations have been ordered as of this writing. 
Their goal is to have everyone out of the warned areas by sundown
tonight.  FEMA and Red Cross personel are already in place, along with
several university teams who will be collecting data in the eye and
eyewall (hopefully).

Presently, a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for extreme eastern TX
and then from the Mississippi Delta to the AL/FL border.  A Hurricane
Warning is in effect for nearly all of the LA coast.  Residents along or
near the path can expect 10-20" of rain, sustained winds of 125mph,
gusts to 155mph, 15-18' storm surge, and tornadoes mostly to the east of
the center.  Considering that we're talking about coastal LA, the
biggest threat will be the storm surge, a swell of water caused by the
very low central pressure (the ocean actually bulges up under the center
of the storm) and the bulldozing of the water by the storm's relentless
winds.  This is above and beyond the normal daily tides.

At 15Z today, Lili was located at 24.8N 88.9W and tracking NW at 13kts. 
The intensity has increased to 105kts and 953mb, making her a Category 3
hurricane and the second major hurricane of the season.  Her eye is very
tiny at only 27km in diameter.  The forecast is for only slight
strengthening before landfall near Pecan Island, LA (about 62 miles
southeast of Lake Charles, or 85 miles east of the TX/LA border) midday
Thursday.  The exact landfall position is uncertain though, and with an
eyewall this intense and small, it DOES matter exactly where she hits...
unlike with Isidore who didn't have an eyewall to speak of when he made
U.S. landfall on eastern LA last Thursday.  Residents in these parts may
recall Hurricane Audrey (1957) who made landfall as a CAT4 storm,
killing nearly 400 people... stories of that event should be enough to
scare people to evacuate!

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

01 October 2002

Kyle still a TS and meandering, Lili nearly a CAT2 hurricane over Cuba.

At 21Z yesterday, Kyle was downgraded to a TD, experiencing fairly
strong vertical shear and undergoing what appears to have been
circulation splitting.  However, as of 15Z today, he was re-upgraded to
a TS based on satellite estimates.  The location at 15Z was 28.0N 67.3W
and motion was stationary.  Winds are 35kts and MSLP is 1005mb.  The
forecast is for persistence... same place and same intensity for the
next three days.  A Tropical Storm Watch is still in effect for Bermuda.

The real concern is Hurricane Lili, who continues to intensify on her
track over Cuba and toward the U.S. Gulf coast.  She has passed directly
over the Isle of Youth and is over extreme western Cuba now.  Aircraft
flying into the storm have reported that the eyewall has been damaged by
the passage over land, and IR satellite imagery confirms that the
central convection is slightly weaker.  However, this is almost
certainly a temporary disruption in the intensification process... and
an expected one.  Lili will soon be over the open Gulf waters, which are
warm enough to support a major hurricane.  Shear is very low through the
storm and is expected to remain low.

At 15Z today, Lili was at 21.8N 83.7W and tracking WNW at 11kts (note
the increase in speed compared to during the weekend).  Maximum
sustained winds are 80kts (nearly CAT2) and the minimum central pressure
is down to 971mb.  A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the northern
Yucatan Peninsula, and a Hurricane Warning is in effect for the Isle of
Youth and western Cuba.  I strongly suspect that a Hurricane Watch will
be issued for LA and eastern TX by later today.  

Early this morning, I spoke with Hucky Purpera, the Natural and
Technological Hazards Division Chief at the Louisiana Office of
Emergency Preparedness, and although nothing has been ordered yet, he
believes their meeting this afternoon will initiate evacuations. 
Precautionary evacuations need to begin very soon, since landfall is
only about 48 hours away (volunteer evacuations are always appreciated
for those who wish to do so).  Recommended evacuations should begin
tonight or early Wednesday morning, and mandatory evacuations should
begin midday Wednesday at the latest.  The official forecast is for
landfall as a moderate CAT3 hurricane on Pecan Island, LA on late
Thursday morning.  This is about halfway between New Orleans and
Galveston, so a track deviation could put either of these major cities
at risk.  A storm such as this will force everyone south of I-10 and in
her path to leave; this could include Cameron, Lake Charles, Baton
Rouge, and/or New Orleans.  See
http://www.dotd.state.la.us/maps/lacoastlandsurf.pdf for a very good
coastal map of LA and evacuation routes.  LA has only experienced 12
major hurricane landfalls in the past 103 years, so it's not an
every-year occurence!

Elsewhere, a tropical wave and associated 1011mb Low is located at 10N
55W and moving W at 10kts.  There is a well-defined surface circulation,
but convection is sparse and the system is disorganized.
Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.