From Gary Padgett:
Well, the formation of TS Gert in the Bay of Campeche very early
on 24 July sets two more new records:
(1) Earliest date for the 7th storm of the season
(2) First July on record to spawn 5 named storms
At around 11Z today, Emily slowly came ashore as a major hurricane, creeping along at just over 5kts. It hit a very unpopulated area on the northern Mexico coast, so that will be a welcome relief to Mexico, after the country experienced the previous major landfall from Emily on Sunday night. It is now weakening rapidly and drifting westward over the mountainous terrain of north central MX. As of 21Z, Emily had weakened to a tropical storm, with sustained winds of 60kts and a central pressure of 975mb. Elsewhere, there is an interesting disturbance north of Hispaniola. Although it currently doesn't look too organized, it's worth watching closely for development. It would track generally northwestward toward the Bahamas and eastern FL.Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.
Mexico is bracing for its second major hurricane landfall in three days. As you recall, the Yucatan Peninsula was hit on Sunday night by CAT4 Emily, and now, the northern coast of Mexico, just south of Texas, is about to get hit by Emily again. Of great civic concern and academic interest is the rapid intensification phase the hurricane is experience just hours prior to landfall. The central pressure fell 24mb in the past 12 hours, and 16mb in the past 6 hours. At 21Z, CAT2 Hurricane Emily was located at 24.3N 95.6W and moving WNW at 10kts... about 150 miles from the coast. This puts landfall in the early morning hours on Wednesday. Latest intensity is 85kts and 956mb, and definitely on a strengthening trend. It could possibly quickly reach CAT4 status again in the next 12 hours. Even Brownsville, TX will feel some strong effects from the storm, possibly hurricane-force winds and a respectable storm surge. Oddly, of the 5 named storms this season, all 5 have made landfall.
Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.
At about 0630Z today, Emily made landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula as a strong CAT4 storm. The resort island of Cozumel experienced the right eyewall directly, then the center passed very near Tulum on the mainland. The hurricane weakened to a CAT1 shortly after its encounter with the peninsula, and has now entered the warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico (29-30C), so it is expected to reintensify to a CAT3 storm by the time it makes its next and final landfall. As of 21Z today, the intensity was down to 65kts and 983mb: a pressure rise of 35mb in the past 24 hours. It is located at 22.3N 91.0W and tracking WNW at 14kts. This motion is forecast to continue, but the intensity is forecast to increase. Landfall will occur on the northern Mexico coast, just south of the US border, on late Tuesday night into early Wednesday morning. The intensity is a difficult problem, as it depends immensely on how rapidly the surface vortex can re-organize after its trip over the Yucatan Peninsula. Right now, it's lacking deep convection near the inner core. The NTC for the season thus far is a whopping 58.2%, smashing the old record of 42.6% set in 1966. As a side note, the entire 1997 season had an NTC of about 52%, so we've surpassed that... and by August 1!
Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.
Emily has undergone some major changes in the past 24 hours, both up and down. Since yesterday's update, it reached a peak intensity of 115kts and 952mb (CAT4), and is now down to 90kts and 969mb (CAT2). This weakening is seemingly due to a combination of two primary ingredients: encountering a region of dry mid-level air while undergoing an eyewall replacement cycle. Hurricanes are quite vulnerable while an eyewall replacement is occurring (think of a hermit crab when it moves from a small shell to a larger shell!), and as such, disruptions in atmospheric conditions can make a big impact. That said, it should recover within 12 hours or so and reintensify to a CAT3-4 for landfall on the Yucatan. At 21Z today, Hurricane Emily was located at 14.7N 72.8W and tracking W at 17kts. Intensity is 90kts and 969mb as mentioned earlier. Hurricane Warnings are posted for Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. It is forecast to hit the Yucatan Peninsula on Sunday afternoon as a major hurricane, then travel across the VERY WARM Gulf for a couple days before hitting near the US/Mexico border on Tuesday night, also most likely as a major hurricane.Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.
Based on aircraft recon data, Emily was upgraded to the second hurricane of the season at 03Z today. During the late afternoon yesterday through this morning, the storm experienced a period of rapid intensification. In the past 12 hours, the central pressure has fallen 23mb, and in the past 24 hours it has fallen 35mb. It is now the second major hurricane of the season. At 21Z today, Emily was located at 13.3N 65.9W and tracking WNW at 18kts. Maximum sustained winds are up to 100kts, and the central pressure is 968mb. Jamaica has just issued a Hurricane Watch, and Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect for the southern coast of Hispaniola and the northern coast of Venezuela. Conditions ahead of Emily are not just favorable for further development, but extraordinary. The SSTs are at least 29C and are quite deep in her forecast track, and the wind shear should remain fairly low over the next few days... the first impediment will come at landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula on Sunday evening. The second landfall is still likely for the area around Brownsville mid-week (Wednesday or so). This could very well be another major hurricane at both landfalls. 2005 has now set the all-time record in the Atlantic for the highest NTC by August 1 (and we're still adding onto it!). Recall from a previous post that NTC is an index that utilizes actual and climatological values for number of storms, intensities, and longevity. At 21Z, this season reached 44.1%, and the previous record was set in 1966 at 42.6%. A complete "average" season would be 100%. The tropical wave behind Emily is still there, now at about 17N 42W. It could still develop, but it's been very slow to do so thus far. Since yesterday at this time, it has a bit more deep convection associated with it.Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.
Emily has not gotten organized as quickly as forecast, and is still a tropical storm. However, the past few hours have seen explosive convection over the center, and that could be the trigger to intensifying into the second hurricane of the season. TS Emily is presently very near Tobago, and headed for Grenada. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the Windward Islands, Tobago, Trinidad, and parts of the eastern Venezuela coast. Intensity as measured by aircraft is 50kts and 1003mb. It's tracking W at 16kts. The long-term forecast takes the storm south of Jamaica and into the Yucatan Peninsula by early next week as a major hurricane. This means that in about one week from now, it could be making landfall somewhere in the Tampico to Houston area. People in the region should be watching the progress of Emily very closely. The strong tropical wave behind Emily that I've been mentioning remains poorly organized, and is not immediately targeted for formation. The wave is located at about 15N 35W. If it does "go", it will become TD6.Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.
At 03Z today, TD5 showed sufficient signs of organization to be upgraded to TS Emily, the fifth named storm of the season. Conditions are favorable for gradual intensification, and as time goes on, they will favor more rapid intensification. Emily is located about 500 miles east of Barbados and cruising W at 17kts. Satellite estimated intensity as of 15Z is 45kts and 1000mb. A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Barbados and the Windward Islands. (You can find a reference map of the Caribbean Sea at http://www.mcwar.org/tropics/caribbean_map.pdf) The appearance certainly suggests that Emily is on an intensification trend, with very healthy outflow aloft, robust banding features, and persistent deep convection over the center. SSTs in its immediate future are 28 - 28.5C, and vertical shear is basically non-existent. The latest forecast track takes Emily over the Windward Islands, and through the central Caribbean, south of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola (notice this is shifted south a bit from yesterday's forecast track). As far as intensity goes, this is likely to become a hurricane in the next 12-18 hours, and a major hurricane (CAT3) by Friday. Given this track through the central Caribbean, it seems inevitable that it will enter the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in yet another US or Mexico landfall in about a week from now. There is a very nice time series of Emily's evolution from the coast of Africa to the present at http://einstein.atmos.colostate.edu/~mcnoldy/tropics/hovmoller/atlantic/ As I mentioned yesterday, there's another active tropical wave just behind Emily at about 14N 30W. It's moving W at 10kts and already has a 1010mb Low embedded within it.Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.
First, some more wrap-up on Dennis. Cuba and Haiti certainly suffered the most from this hurricane, with over 30 deaths between the two countries. Cuba lost much of its infrastructure, and some places observed over 25" of rain in one day. The US has just 4 indirect deaths (preliminary) associated with the storm, and just over 9" of rain as the peak. TD5 is a small system with several low-level centers. It remains to be seen which will become the dominant one. Satellite intensity estimates show 30kts and 1008mb, and a rough center at 10.6N 46.0W. Environmental conditions are favorable for gradual intensification, and this is expected to become TS Emily within the next 24 hours, and Hurricane Emily by Thursday afternoon. The forecast track takes it through the central Lesser Antilles, south of Puerto Rico, then over Hispaniola. Elsewhere, yet another potent tropical wave is tagging behind TD5 at about 7N 35W. Although this is rather far south, it has been sporting persistent deep convection and a broad mid-level circulation.Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.
At about 1930Z today, Dennis made landfall very near Pensacola, FL as a CAT3 storm, having weakened from a strong CAT4 just hours prior to landfall. So far, no US deaths are attrbuted to Dennis, but 32 have occurred in Haiti and Cuba. There have been 7 tornadoes reported in association with Dennis, and more are likely tomorrow. For the latest watches and warnings, visit http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/wwa/ As of 03Z on 7/11, TS Dennis was located inland over central Alabama at 32.3N 87.8W and tracking NNW at 14kts. The central pressure is up to 980mb and the maximum sustained winds are 55kts. Further weakening is expected as time goes on, but the threat for flash flooding and tornadoes still exists from the southeast US all the way up through the Ohio River Valley. Steering flow is forecast to become very weak in the coming days, so the moisture associated with Dennis could linger and cause significant flooding. Going back a few days to July 6, a very potent tropical wave exited the African coast (the same one I referred to in my 7/7 Tropical Update). It was just upgraded to TD5 based on satellite presentation. It's at 10.8N 42.9W... about 1300 miles east of the Lesser Antilles... and tracking W at 10kts. Estimated intensity is 25kts and 1010mb. Gradual intensification is forecast, reaching the Lesser Antilles by Thursday or so. If this becomes a Tropical Storm, its name will be Emily.Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.
At about 18Z today, Category 4 Dennis made landfall on Cuba, near Cienfuegos. At 22Z, the center was about halfway across the island, and still at 115kts, so the low terrain is having little effect on weakening the storm. Wind gusts to 130kts (150mph) have been reported on Cuba, and preliminary reports also indicate a nearly total power and communication failure on the island. I suspect that upon exiting Cuba later tonight, the winds will have dropped by about 15-20kts, but that should be regained once over the bathtub-like Gulf of Mexico. At 21Z today, the center of Hurricane Dennis was at 22.6N 81.1W and tracking NW at 15kts. The maximum sustained winds are still 115kts and the MSLP is up a little to 949mb. This is the strongest hurricane ever to form in the Atlantic so early in the season. You'll be able to track the progress and location of the storm via radar at http://www.srh.noaa.gov/radar/latest/DS.p20-r/si.kbyx.shtml. It will get VERY close to Key West early tomorrow, perhaps even hitting it with the eastern eyewall. A Hurricane Watch is now in effect for the northern Gulf coast, from MS over through AL, and all of the FL panhandle. The most likely solution for direct landfall is still near Pensacola, FL as a very powerful CAT 3 or 4 hurricane on Sunday afternoon/evening.Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.
At 00Z today, Dennis was upgraded to 115kts, making it a CAT4 hurricane. Since then, it had leveled off at 115kts as it scrapes the southern Cuba coast. It nipped Cabo Cruz, Cuba last night as a CAT4. At 15Z this morning, it was upgraded further to 130kts and 938mb based on aircraft recon data. In the past 24 hours, the central pressure has fallen 30mb and the winds have increased by 40kts. The latest position is 21.4N 79.9W and motion is NW at 13kts. It is only 6kts from being the first Atlantic July CAT5 in recorded history. Hurricane Warnings are in place for most of Cuba and the Florida Keys, and the northern Gulf coast is still very much in danger of a major landfall late Sunday into early Monday. As the time draws near and the track forecast errors are slimmed down, the strip between New Orleans and Apalachicola still looks like the target, with even higher likelihood between Mobile and Pensacola. If you're in these areas, you should certainly be moving along with plans to evacuate and protect your house (a Hurricane Watch should be issued later today for you). Likewise in the Florida Keys... although you may not experience a direct hit, the eyewall or near-eyewall could reach that area Saturday morning and cause significant damage. The forecast takes Dennis over western Cuba as a CAT4, weakening a bit as it crosses the island, then reintensifying as it makes its way across the Gulf toward the US. This has the potential to hit the same area that Ivan hit last year, but perhaps even stronger. As an aside, the NTC (Net Tropical Cyclone activity) for 2005 is already 24.1%. According to Phil Klotzbach here at CSU, this is only behind the seasons of 1996 (28.9%) and 1966 (42.6%) for June-July activity. So although this season is freakishly active so early, it is not unprecedented.Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.
The eyewall of the storm avoided Jamaica, and is passing just to the north of the island, and also just south of Cuba. It could hit the southeast Cuba coast later tonight. The intensity as of 21Z today was increased to 100kts and 957mb, making Dennis the first major hurricane of the year ("major" being defined as CAT3+). Hurricane Warnings are now in effect for almost all of Cuba, the Cayman Islands, and the Florida Keys. The forecast is for further strengthening in the northern Caribbean (perhaps reaching CAT4 intensity), then some weakening as it passes over Cuba, then strenghtening again once back over the Gulf of Mexico. US landfall is still expected late Sunday into early Monday as a CAT 2-3 hurricane, somewhere in the stretch between New Orleans to Apalachicola. Coastal locations in that stretch should be preparing now for a major hurricane landfall within 84 hours. Although seeming unlikely right now, IF the track deviates just slightly to the east of the forecast, all of the western FL peninsula will be threatened with a direct landfall. For some interesting trivia... a major hurricane making US landfall in July is not unprecedented. It happened three times since record-keeping began: in 1909, 1916, and 1936. Perhaps 2005 will be added to the short list by the end of the weekend.Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.
In the past 24 hours, Dennis' sustained winds have increased by 30kts and the central pressure has dropped 23mb. Now a CAT2 storm, it is heading toward Jamaica and as of this update is just 70 miles from it. At 15Z, Dennis was located at 18.0N 75.6W and tracking NW at 11kts. Intensity as measured by aircraft is 90kts and 968mb. A Hurricane Watch is in effect for the Florida Keys and extreme western Cuba. Hurricane Warnings are in place for southern Haiti, all of Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and the remainder of Cuba. The forecast track takes Dennis between Jamaica and eastern Cuba, then over western Cuba, into the Gulf of Mexico by late Friday night, then possibly making landfall late Sunday or early Monday on the northern Gulf coast. The computer models and the official forecast have consistently shown the area around Mobile, AL to Pensacola, FL as the most likely target for landfall, but remember that a) forecast errors do exist and b) the storm will affect a much larger area than where the exact center of the eye passes over. Intensity is of course also important, and all skilled models and forecasters expect that landfall will occur as a major hurricane... Category 3 or 4. What this means to coastal residents in eastern LA, MS, AL, and the FL panhandle is that now is the time to begin preparing your house and yourself for evacuation. Elsewhere, a very large and impressive tropical wave exited the African coast a couple days ago and continues to show signs of an organizing broad circulation. There's a 1014mb Low embedded within the wave, and it's moving west at about 12kts. Several computer models do favor development of this wave. It would be TD5, or TS Emily if named eventually.Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.
Shortly before 22Z today, an aircraft recon mission into Dennis warranted upgrading it to a hurricane, the first of the season. Maximum sustained winds are 70kts and MSLP is 985mb. The satellite presentation is improving hour by hour, so further intensification is certainly to be expected. Hurricane Dennis will be affecting Jamaica tomorrow morning, then western Cuba on Friday afternoon. The trek across the Gulf will take a couple days, so the northern Gulf coast residents should still be prepared for Sunday/Monday landfall.Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.
Cindy made landfall near Grand Isle, LA as a strong tropical storm (60kt sustained winds) at about 03Z this morning. As is typically the case with tropical storm landfalls, the winds were not the problem, or the storm surge, but the very heavy rain. Up to 10" of rain has occurred or is expected in parts of LA, MS, AL, and further north along the track of the decaying tropical storm. So far only minimal damage has been reported, all due to flooding. Dennis continues to get better organized and is just shy of becoming the first hurricane of the season. As of 21Z today, intensity was measured by aircraft to be 55kts and 987mb. Motion is WNW at 12kts. It was located at 16.0N 72.5W... south of Haiti. Environmental conditions are still very favorable, so further strengthening is expected. The forecast is for further strengthening, probably reaching CAT3 status within the next 2-3 days before entering the Gulf. Reiterating what I said yesterday, people along the northern Gulf coast (LA, MS, AL, FL) should be watching Dennis very closely and be prepared for a possible major hurricane on Sunday/Monday. It's also seems reasonable that the FL Keys could begin optional evacuations soon due to Dennis' proximity in 72 hours. The latest track forecast has a direct landfall as a major hurricane on Mobile, AL, but the error on the 5-day forecast is still quite large. Currently, Hurricane Warnings are in effect for southern Haiti and all of Jamaica; Hurricane Watches are in effect for eastern Cuba and the Cayman Islands. The forecast track is remarkably similar to that of Ivan 2004. Dennis is of course the fourth named storm of the season, and set a new Atlantic record for the earliest to have four named storms (July 5). Not only is Africa generating more tropical waves than climatology would predict for this time of year, but the conditions in the deep tropics are abnormally favorable for those waves to develop due to the Bermuda High being further east and a bit weaker than normal.Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.
On the afternoon of July 3, aircraft recon investigated a broad area of disturbed weather just off the eastern Yucatan coast and located a closed low-level circulation, warranting an upgrade to TD3. It tracked right over the Yucatan peninsula, limiting any chance for immediate development. By the morning of the 4th, it had entered the southern Gulf of Mexico and by the morning of the 5th (today) was upgraded to TS Cindy. Cindy is not very well organized, and most of the deep convection and banding are on the eastern half. As of 15Z, the storm was located at 27.0N 90.4W and tracking N at 12kts. Intensity is 45kts and 1002mb. No significant changes in intensity are forecast before it makes landfall on southern Louisiana (near the Mississippi River delta) later tonight. Although it's a weak storm, southern LA is extremely flood-prone because much of it is at or below sea level. This track would actually be tragic for New Orleans if this were a major hurricane. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from Intracoastal City, LA eastward to Destin, FL. At 03Z today, a strong tropical wave in the eastern Caribbean Sea was upgraded to TD4. At 15Z it was upgraded to TS Dennis, and the satellite presentation continues to improve. This is extremely rare for three reasons: 1) this is the forth named storm and it's only July 5, 2) all four named storms have had purely tropical origins, and 3) the central Caribbean is climatologically hostile for development in July. All signs point to Dennis becoming a hurricane within about 24 hours... very warm SSTs, low shear, and a robust circulation already in place. As of 15Z, Dennis was located at 13.3N 66.6W and tracking WNW at 16kts. Yes, 16kts is very fast motion, but the easterlies are deep, so the vertical shear is still kept at a minimum. The maximum sustained winds are 35kts and the MSLP is 1006mb. The forecast track takes it between Cuba and Jamaica, then over western Cuba, then into the Gulf by early this weekend. All residents of the northern Gulf coast (LA, MS, AL, FL panhandle) should be watching this very closely... landfall as a hurricane is quite possible on Sunday/Monday.Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.