09 November 2009

Ida still heading for US coast...

Since my last update when Ida had just crossed into Nicaragua, it continued north into the western Caribbean, then between Yucatan and Cuba as it intensified to a Category 2 hurricane.  It's now a CAT1 storm, but heading straight north toward the MS/AL/FL Panhandle area.  Landfall there is expected very early tomorrow morning as a strong TS or minimal hurricane.

The hurricane doesn't look too impressive on satellite... the convection is mostly offset to the north of the circulation due to 30kts+ of vertical wind shear.  The SST is 27C and decreasing with time.

You can see the latest Tropical Storm and Hurricane Watches/Warnings at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/storm_graphics/AT11/refresh/AL1109W_NL+gif/
Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

05 November 2009

Ida forms in southwest Caribbean...

On Wednesday afternoon, TD11 formed just off the northern coast of Panama.  It doesn't appear to have come from an easterly wave, but rather a persistent area of convection that sat and festered for a week or so.  At such a low latitude, it takes quite a while for the Coriolis effect to influence the circulation of a low pressure.  Later on Wednesday, an aircraft found that it had sustained winds high enough to warrant upgrading it to Tropical Storm Ida.  On Thursday morning, it was again upgraded to Hurricane Ida (3rd hurricane of the season), with sustained winds of 65kts and a central pressure of 987mb.  It's presently located right on the east-central Nicaraguan coast and looks well-organized for being so close to land.

The forecast is for gradual weakening as it spends a day or so over Nicaragua and Honduras, then for gradual strengthening as it heads NNW into the Gulf of Mexico and toward the central US gulf coast.  Any US landfall is still a week or more away.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.