13 September 2010

Igor now a CAT4 hurricane, Julia forms in far eastern Atlantic...

Since my previous update on Saturday morning, Igor has become a very powerful Category 4 hurricane, with 130kt winds and a 933mb central pressure.  The bulk of the intensification occurred on Sunday, when the pressure fell from 970mb to 942mb in 6 hours (and a corresponding increase in wind speed from 90kts to 120kts).  Impressively, it has maintained Cat 4 status for a day now, and isn't showing signs of weakening yet.  It's located about 880 miles east of the Leeward islands and heading W at 9kts.  The forecast models have consistently been indicating a more NW turn in the track, which so far hasn't happened... in fact, it has been moving slightly south of west over the last 12-18 hours, which only one model (NOGAPS) was predicting.  All models, even that one, are now showing a WNW-NW turn beginning almost immediately.  There is quite a bit of model variance beyond 3 days, but it also isn't going to affect land any time in the near future.

The strong easterly wave that exited Africa on Saturday was promptly upgraded to TD12 then TS Julia (it was numbered at 21.4W, two degrees east of the easternmost Cape Verde islands... VERY far east!).  It is currently located south of the westernmost Cape Verde islands, and the intensity is estimated at 35kts/1004mb.  The forecast is for gradual strengthening, probably becoming the season's 5th hurricane, and for a NW turn in the track, taking it into the central Atlantic by 5 days.

The area of disturbed weather that was in the eastern Caribbean on Saturday has not gotten much better organized and is now south of Jamaica.  It still has a chance to become a tropical cyclone in the coming days, as it's in a rather favorable environment.  The track, if it forms, would be generally WNW into the Yucatan Peninsula then the mainland Mexican coast by the weekend.  The next name on the list is Karl.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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