07 September 2005

Maria, Nate, and Ophelia ring in the peak of the season...

Maria had briefly weakened to a Tropical Storm overnight, but jumped 
back to CAT1 status during the day, and is decidedly in the early-mid 
stages of ET transition.  At 21Z, Hurricane Maria was located at 36.9N 
50.4W and accelerating to the NE.  Satellite-estimated intensity is 
70kts and 980mb.  Advisories should cease on this storm within 24 hours 
as it's absorbed by a mid-latitude trough.

Nate has strengthened into the 6th hurricane of the season, and has a 
beautiful eye in satellite imagery.  Though only a CAT1 now, there is a 
good chance that it will reach CAT2, and possibly even CAT3 within the 
next day.  It's located just south of Bermuda, and slowly intensifying.  
Latest intensity estimate is 75kts and 979mb, but an aircraft is 
scheduled to investigate it later tonight for a true measurement.  
Nate's fate is nearly identical to Maria's... being scooped up by the 
same mid-latitude trough and becoming an extratropical cyclone.

TD16 was upgraded to TS Ophelia at 06Z today.  This beats the date for 
the earliest 15th named storm by a whopping 9 days!  If I'm not 
mistaken, that means 11 of our 15 named storms this season have set the 
new record for earliest formation date.  If Philippe forms before Sept 
27th, we'll have another to add to the record list.  This storm is 
particularly intersting because it's literally just 80 miles off the 
Florida coast!  It is basically stationary, and being subject to 
moderate southeasterly wind shear.  However, it has the warm Gulf Stream 
directly under it, and plenty of time, as it is forecast to remain 
nearly stationary for the next few days.  This is one that people from 
FL to NC need to be watching rather closely.  Current intensity is 45kts 
and 996mb.  The primary threat now is the very heavy surf being 
generated along the southeastern coast.
Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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