30 September 2003

Kate becomes a hurricane, Gulf is getting active...

At 03Z today, Kate briefly reached hurricane strength, making her the
6th of the season.  She has since been downgraded back to a Tropical
Storm, but with a forecast of reaching hurricane strength again.  She is
still very heavily sheared, but SSTs are sufficient and shear is
forecast to lessen with time.  At 15Z, she was located at 32.0N 35.4W
and crawling N at 5kts.  Intensity is estimated to be 55kts and 992mb. 
She is forecast to reach hurricane intensity again tomorrow evening and
also make a turn toward the

The southern Gulf of Mexico is getting more interesting every day. 
Recall the area of disturbed weather that I first mentioned last
Thursday in the western Caribbean... same thing, it's just been very
slow to get organized and in weak steering flow.  It has a 1008mb Low,
and is located at about 22N 92N and drifting slowly to the WNW. 
Although still disorganized, deep convection (cold cloud tops) has been
persistent.  As is typical for this time of the season, the southern tip
of a cold front extends into the Gulf and is currently playing a
hindering role in the development of this system (they can also assist
formation at times either by baroclinic enhancement and/or by
introducing vorticity).  Should this develop, it will be TD17/Larry.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

29 September 2003

Juan hits Nova Scotia, Kate still in open waters...

Since Friday, Juan had reached a peak intensity of 90kts and 970mb,
following a northerly course.  He made landfall at 03Z today as a CAT1
hurricane on Nova Scotia and has since lost all tropical
characteristics.  He accumulated 3.75 Named Storm Days and 2.75
Hurricane Days.

At 21Z on 9/27, TD16 was upgraded to TS Kate, the 11th named storm of
the season.  She recurved at 45W and is presently heading NE toward the
Azores.  Satellite-estimated intensity has been slowly increasing, and
as of 15Z was 60kts and 991mb.  She could easily become a hurricane
later today, despite rather hefty vertical shear.  The 15Z location was
28.8N 37.6W and tracking NE at 17kts.  The forecast track is rather
interesting because the NE journey comes to an end and she heads back to
the NW.

Elsewhere, the area of disturbed weather I mentioned last Thursday and
Friday is STILL out there festering near the Gulf of Mexico and
Caribbean Sea border.  There is evidence of a broad-scale circulation,
and once over the Gulf, conditions could be favorable enough for this to
finally become a Depression.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

26 September 2003

TD15 becomes Hurricane Juan, TD16 forms...

TD15 which formed southeast of Bermuda yesterday morning has rapidly
intensified, and is now Hurricane Juan.  The central pressure fell 19mb
in the past 24 hours, and the winds increased by 35kts.  Also, he
developed a small eye which has since covered over with convective
debris.  As of 15Z today, Juan was at 32.2N 62.0W and moving slowly N at
7kts.  Maximum sustained winds are 65kts with a MSLP of 987mb.  He is
expected to strengthen a bit more, then rapidly degenerate as he nears
Nova Scotia on Sunday, being absorbed into a midlatitude trough and make
an extratropical transition.  Juan is the 5th hurricane of the season.

At 21Z yesterday, the area of disturbed weather east of the Lesser
Antilles was upgraded to TD16, and it is slowly organizing.  At 15Z
today, it was located at 15.9N 40.7W and tracking NW at 13kts. 
Intensity is a weak 30kts and 1007mb.  It's battling some shear, and
deep convection has been sparce.  It's forecast to continue gradually
intensifying, reaching TS status later today, but falling short of
hurricane strength because of the increasing shear.  The track should be
generally northwestward, recurving by 50W.

Elsewhere, the area I've been mentioning in the western Caribbean Sea
continues to fester... environmental pressures are falling and
convection is becoming more concentrated.  The focus of action is at
about 17N 84W.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

25 September 2003

TD15 forms near Bermuda...

Over the past few days, there have been three areas of interest in the
Atlantic.  One in the deep tropics east of the Cape Verdes, one in the
western Caribbean, and one south of Bermuda.  As the headline suggests,
the area south of Bermuda is the one that developed first, and became
the 15th depression of the season today.

At 15Z, TD15 formed at 29.5N 61.0W and heading NE at 6kts.  Intensity is
estimated at 30kts and 1006mb.  Given favorable conditions, it is
expected to quickly reach TS status, but probably not make it to
hurricane strength.  Its name will be Juan when it does get named.  The
track forecast is basically due north, zipping east of Bermuda then up
to Nova Scotia.

Elsewhere, the area of disturbed weather east of the Lesser Antilles is
indeed getting better organized and is a rather large circulation. 
Located at about 12N 37W, it's tracking W at 12kts.  This could become
TD16 in the next day or two... SST is 28C+ and the vertical shear is
fairly low (next name on deck is Kate, assuming TD15 becomes Juan).  The
western Caribbean disturbance is still not looking very organized, but
conditions are improving for development.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

21 September 2003

another Isabel report

Here is another very thorough report from former CSU Atmos student Zach Eitzen,
now in Hampton, VA.

Also since the last report was mailed out, I heard from my dad, Bill McNoldy, in
Reading, PA.  He reported that winds were pretty breezy, rain was moderate, but
his area still lost power for nearly a day.


-------- Original Message --------

I have weathered my first hurricane, and I'd have to say that I was impressed,
even though sustained winds here were generally "only" up to 50 mph, and the
gust here in Hampton was around 83 mph. Me, my cat, my car, and my apartment are
all okay, although there was considerable damage to the apartment complex that I
live in. A fair bit of vinyl siding was blown off, and three chimneys came down,
as well. We lost power for 48 hours, and phone service for about 30 hours. The
water is currently unsafe to drink, but I have plenty of bottled water for now.

Strangely, the phone service went out yesterday morning, under sunny skies with
only breezy conditions. I am thankful that services were restored so quickly -
many people will have to wait a lot longer.

My apartment is at the lofty elevation of 15 feet, so I didn't need to worry 
about storm surge, but there was considerable flooding in Poquoson and other
locales along the Chesapeake Bay, even up to Baltimore. I was very impressed
with the amount of wind damage/power outages so far inland. I've included a map
of power outages that I took from the local power company on Friday morning
(while I still had phone service but no power). As Isabel came ashore, there
appeared to be a concentric eyewall, but the max winds were in the outer
eyewall, at a fairly large radius from the center of circulation.

For some pictures of the damage, I've included a couple of local news 
channel "email your pictures to us" sites:

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

19 September 2003

another update on Isabel's aftermath

Thanks to John Snowden III for sharing his experience and observations from

-------- Original Message --------
Date: Sat, 20 Sep 2003 00:58:22 +0000


I have some photos of storm damage.  Will be getting more.

I'm on the Board of Directors for our local Red Cross chapter.

The "center" of Isabel passed about 50 miles to the west of where I rode out 
the storm (Elizabeth City, NC).  Sustained winds were 70 mph with gusts to 95 

My dad recorded a barometric pressure of 28.98 Thursday afternoon (he was 
located about 30 miles further east toward the Outer Banks).

I drove from E. City east to Currituck County this morning.  The damage was 
progressively "less" as you drove east.  Lots of trees down on roads, power 
line, phone lines and houses.

Telephone and power poles were pushed over (some broken, others simply 
displaced the ground and went over).  Road signs were snapped off.  Billboards 
that did not have panels removed were broken off. Portions of rooves were 
stripped of tarpaper and shingles.  Some metal rooves were peeled right off.
Vinyl siding was stripped off some houses.

Vehicles blown off the road.

Ground water was so high, lots of trees were uprooted.

Surprisingly light damage to single and double wide trailers (I saw one where 
the roof was peeled right off).

2-3 feet of soundside flooding due to southwest wind.

Of the 2.0 million customers of Dominion Power in NC and Va, 1.8 million were 
without power during the height of the storm.

In E. City, there was structurral damage to older buildings, toppled chimneys, 
building facades that were ripped off.  Further west in Hertford, NC & Edenton, 
NC (closer to the storms eye) 75% of residences were damaged to some extent.

Some of the Red Cross workers I spoke with said it looked like a war zone the 
closer you were to the path of the eye.

The height of the storm for us was 2 - 4 pm, Thursday.  Then by 7 pm Thursday 
things had died off significantly.  There was a lot more wind out in front of 
the storm than behind it.

I lived in Greenville, NC through Bertha, Fran and Floyd.  This was pretty 
impressive, just from the extent of the wind field, and considerable build up 
to the storm.  If it had been slower moving, it would have been really bad.

I'll send links to pictures when I can upload them to my website.


Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

Isabel's aftermath...

Isabel came ashore with notable fury yesterday, eroding beaches,
toppling trees, washing out road networks, downing power lines, and
collapsing buildings.  Geoff Mackley was at Cape Hatteras, NC for
Isabel's landfall, and reports that all services are cut and the storm
surge was major (http://www.rambocam.com/isabel03.html).  Jason and
Sarah Kline in Downingtown, PA report downed trees, limbs and leaves all
over everything, and are still without power.

So far, I'm aware of 15 deaths caused by the storm, scattered across NC,
VA, MD, NJ, PA, NY, and RI as well as about 5 million people without
power.  The U.S. government will remain closed for the second
consecutive day, and some of the affected states' governments will also
be closed today.  States of emergency have been declared in NC, VA, DE,
MD, PA, and NJ.

Isabel is presently over Lake Erie and just about to cross into Canada. 
At 15Z, she was at 42.0N 80.7W and racing N at 26kts, and becoming
absorbed into a midlatitude trough.  She is now just a Tropical
Depression with 30kt sustained winds and a MSLP of 997mb.  The name will
undoubtedly be retired after this season, just for the damage and deaths
she caused, but as far as hurricane records go, she accumulated a total
of 13.25 Named Storm Days, 11.25 Hurricane Days, and 8.0 Intense
Hurricane Days.  She was also one of the longest-lived CAT5 hurricanes
in Atlantic basin history.

One good thing to come from this storm is the preparedness.  Models and
official forecasts were very accurate in both placement and timing of
the hurricane, letting evacuations be well-placed and watches/warnings
be timely and precise.  All affected states had plenty of preparation
time and got exactly what was expected.  This was a great case for
hurricane forecasters, and the outcome is a prepared public.  People
living on or near the coast will never avoid the property damage
associated with landfalls, but success comes in reducing the death toll.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

18 September 2003

Isabel making landfall...

Just as forecast, Hurricane Isabel is making landfall between Cape
Lookout and Cape Hatteras.  No big surprises yet; she is producing large
surf, a hefty 8' storm surge, strong winds, and torrential rain... just
like any other landfalling hurricane.  In addition, tornadoes are a very
real threat in the hurricane as she moves ashore.

Watches and warnings abound along a vast stretch of the Atlantic
seaboard.  Areas included are SC, NC, VA, WV, MD, DE, NJ, PA, NY, and
CT.  A Hurricane Warning is in effect from Cape Fear, NC to
Chincoteague, VA as well as the southern Chesapeake Bay.  Tropical Storm
Warnings are in effect from Chincoteague, VA to Moriches Inlet, NY, and
then from Cape Fear, NC to South Santee River, SC, as well as the
northern Chesepeake Bay and Delaware Bay.
A Tornado Watch is in effect for eastern NC, VA, and parts of MD and
DE.  Flood and Flash Flood Watches are issued for parts of NC, VA, WV,
MD, NY, and basically all of PA.  High Wind Warnings are issued for much
of the same areas.  The best thing you can do if you live in any of the
states I mentioned is to keep tuned to a reliable local radio station or
TV station, and/or to have a NOAA Hazard Radio in your house for the
latest information.  Avoid mudslide/rockslide-prone areas and of course,
never attempt to cross a flooded street no matter how convenient a path
home it might be.

As of this writing, the center of the eye is about 50 miles east of Cape
Lookout, NC.  At 15Z she was located at 34.4N 75.7W and tracking NW at
16kts.  Intensity is 85kts and 956mb, and this will rapidly dwindle as
she moves inland... but the danger from tornadoes and flooding will
not.  The forecast track is still unchanged, and should cross over VA
late tonight into Friday morning, then over PA from Friday morning
through Friday evening.

The links I sent in a separate mailing to the radar and surface
observations will still come in handy if you wish to monitor the storm
as she moves in.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

P.S.  Any updates that anyone has who's experiencing Isabel's wrath
first-hand would be greatly appreciated.  I'd be happy to include them
in future mailings.

17 September 2003

Isabel taking aim at NC coast...

Since yesterday at this time, the storm has remained basically the same,
perhaps organizing a bit more.  She's still a CAT2 hurricane, and a
significant change in intensity is unlikely before landfall.

As of 15Z today, Isabel was located at 30.0N 72.6W and tracking NNW at
8kts.  Maximum sustained winds are 95kts with gusts to 115kts, and the
MSLP is 957mb.  The combined effects of wind-driven water plus the dome
of water under the Low pressure is expected to result in a storm surge
of 7-11' in northern NC and much of VA, and 4-7' in the Chesapeake Bay. 
And along with the 130mph wind gusts, rainfall could be nearly 12"
during the course of her passage.  Inland flooding could be a serious
threat for NC, VA, MD, DE, WV, NJ, and PA through Friday evening. 

The wind field associated with Isabel is very large, and hurricane-force
winds extend as far out as 115 miles from the eye, and
tropical-storm-force winds extend as much as 315 miles from the eye. 
So, the exact location of where the eye crosses the coastline is not
important.  Conditions will become rough well before the eye reaches the
coast, and rather far from that location as well.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect from Cape Fear, NC to Chincoteague,
VA.  A  Hurricane Warning is also in effect for the southern Chesapeake
Bay.  Tropical Storm Warnings extend from Cape Fear, NC to South Santee
Rover, SC and then from Chincoteauge, VA to Sandy Hook, NJ.  TS Warnings
also for the northern Chesapeake Bay and tidal Potomac River.  You can
find the latest warning graphic at

Parts of NC and VA have already been declared states of emergency to
expedite disaster relief teams and Red Cross assistance (however, CNN
reports that the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund is empty).  There are
some mandatory evacuation orders in place along the NC coast, and
numerous optional evacuations.  The extent of mandatory evacuations
could grow today just to make sure threatened residents stay safe.

Landfall is expected midday Thursday near Cape Lookout, NC.  Winds and
storm surge will be worse to the north of the eyewall.  She is then
expected to pass over VA early Friday morning and over central PA midday
Friday.  Winds could still be brisk, but rainfall will most likely be
the key player by this time.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

16 September 2003

Isabel weakens in the face of shear...

During the past 24 hours, Isabel has encountered fairly significant
vertical wind shear, on the order of 20kts from the southwest.  This is
very evident in satellite imagery.  SSTs under the storm continue to be
plenty warm at about 29C, but her slow forward motion could be
responsible for some degree of upwelling.  She's also been ingesting
some drier air from the western side which has snuffed convection out a

At 15Z today, Hurricane Isabel was located at 27.4N 71.2W and tracking
NNW at 7kts.  Intensity has dropped quite a bit to 90kts and 959mb,
making her a CAT2 storm.  That is still a strong hurricane, but there's
the possibility that she COULD reintensify before landfall if the shear
lets up at all.  The hurricane-force winds extend 80 miles on the
northwest quadrant, so the exact location of where the eyewall makes
landfall is not so important; it's a large storm.

A Hurricane Watch has been issued for a large stretch of the Atlantic
seaboard, from Little River Inlet, SC to Chincoteague, VA.  These
watches will probably be upgraded to warnings at the 21Z advisory today
or 03Z tomorrow.  Precautions are already being completed, such as
moving ships out to sea to avoid being battered at port, coastal
evacuations, inland shelters being established and manned, and
positioning of emergency managers, utility repair workers, and Red Cross
personnel.  It's likely that many more evacuations will be made
mandatory by Wednesday morning.  Although Isabel has weakened a bit
recently, she still poses a very significant threat, in terms of winds,
storm surge, high surf, and rainfall.

NHC's forecast places landfall near Cape Lookout, NC on Thursday
mid-morning, then tracking inland over central VA and PA.  The passage
over VA is expected early Friday morning, and then midday Friday for

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

P.S.  The aircraft reconaissance data that we enjoy so much is something
we shouldn't take for granted.  First of all, the Atlantic basin is the
only one in the world with routine recon flights, thanks to both NOAA
and the US Air Force.  And this past Sunday, for the first time since
1989, there was a close call which thankfully didn't result in an
accident.  As Pete Black of the NHC describes, "While climbing back to
altitude on Sunday after the second stepped descent, less than a minute
after the 200 ft run, the inboard engine on the right side flamed out
with two small exhaust explosions, and had to be shut down. Thank God
the aircraft was back to 1500 ft at the time and that it was late in the
flight, as the aircraft was able to continue climbing to safe altitude
and return to St Croix, where they were greeted by the airport fire
department lining the field after the aircraft commander declared an
emergency."  The plane and all crew returned safely, but not without a
bit of a scare.

15 September 2003

More 2003 Hurricane Season Fun Trivia

From Phil Klotzbach:

We have now had 14 IHD this season.  This ranks us 4th all-time for IHD since 1950.  2003 now trails only 1961, 1950 and 1999 for intense hurricane days.  Since we will likely get 2-3 more IHD for Isabel, that will pass us by both 1999 and 1950 leaving us behind only 1961 which had a whopping 20.75 intense hurricane days.

We have also had 12.75 IHD during September.  This ranks us 2nd all-time for IHD since 1950.  2003 now only trails 1961 which had 15.75 IHD.  We will likely be very close to passing 1961 by the time Isabel makes landfall. 
This is the first time since 1900 that we have had two intense hurricanes that have each lasted longer than 6 intense hurricane days (Fabian and Isabel). 
Our seasonal NTC is already up to 115.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

Isabel still a CAT4, bypassing the Bahamas...

Since Saturday's update, not too much has changed.  Isabel remains a
powerful CAT4 hurricane, and has been slowly tracking WNW.  For quite a
while, she achieved a large eye and broad symetric eyewall, in a
configuration known as an annular hurricane.  She's now departing from
that stable configuration, and the cloud tops are cooling as asymetries
lead to pockets of deeper convection in the eyewall.  Although this
means slight weakening in the near future, it opens the door for future
intensification.  SSTs will continue to be plenty warm (~29C), and shear
is becoming more noticable, but should decrease again over the next
couple days.

At 15Z today, Isabel was located at 25.2N 69.4W and tracking WNW at 7kts
(this is about 6 degrees due east of Eleuthera Island, Bahamas). 
Intensity has fallen a bit to 120kts and 945mb.  She has already
accumulated 7.25 Intense Hurricane Days, and several more are most
likely in her future.

U.S. landfall is not out of the question, and it appears that NC (Cape
Lookout to Cape Hatteras area) will receive the initial hit, then she is
forecast to track inland over eastern VA and central PA.  Conditions
could be favorable enough for Isabel to hit eastern NC as a major
hurricane on Thursday morning.  All coastal residents should be
monitoring this storm very closely.  Inland flooding is always a huge
concern with landfalling hurricanes, and with central PA lying right
along the forecast track, the flooding situation already in place in
eastern PA could be severely aggravated toward the end of the week. 

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

13 September 2003

Isabel drops to CAT4, but possibly reintensifying...

At 09Z today, intensity was dropped to 130kts, or just below the CAT5
threshold.  This could have been caused by Fabian's cool wake and/or by another
eyewall replacement cycle.  However, all imagery now shows a trend toward
becoming more intense and symetric.  At this strength, oscillations in intensity
are very typical, and wind fluctuations of ±15kts will continue to happen.

As of 15Z, Isabel was located at 22.2N 61.5W and tracking W at 9kts.  Maximum
sustained winds are 130kts with a MSLP of 935mb.  Another aircraft is in the
storm as I type this, and will give in-situ obs for the 21Z advisory.  She is
forecast to remain an intense hurricane at least for another 5 days as she
approaches the US east coast.  The question will be... where along the coast
will she hit, or will she recurve just shy of it?  The date of a potential
landfall looks be approx next Friday (9/19), but that's still 6 days out and
models are not all that reliable so far out.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

12 September 2003

Isabel becomes a CAT5 hurricane...

At 21Z yesterday, Isabel became the first Category 5 hurricane in the
Atlantic since Mitch 1998.  A few hours after reaching this level, she
underwent an eyewall replacement cycle and now has a larger eye, still
clear, and showing some wonderful features (mesovortices) as described
in http://einstein.atmos.colostate.edu/~mcnoldy/papers/KMS2002_MWR.pdf 
(coincidentally, Hurricane Erin '01 also had some beautiful mesovortices
in her eye on 9/11)

At 15Z today, Isabel was located at 21.6N 57.8W and tracking slowly W at
8kts.  Intensity is 140kts and 924mb.  NHC's forecast does not keep her
at CAT5 status, but rather just a bump down to 135kts (CAT4).  However,
keep in mind that a CAT5 is an extreme, and few forecasters are willing
to forecast extremes.  From this point on, aircraft will be flying the
storm to get in-situ intensity measurements; up until now, it's all been
satellite estimates.  I would not be surprised if the aircraft currently
in there finds a much lower pressure, perhaps 912mb or so.

Her track has shifted to due west now, and will be crossing over the
"remnants" of Fabian's cool wake Saturday afternoon, which could
temporarily disrupt the intensity.  However, on the west side of the
wake, SSTs are warmer than they are now, so rapid recovery is likely.

Given the ideal conditions, it's not impossible that Isabel could
accumulate a large number of hours as a CAT5.  Since 1947, there have
been only 20 hurricanes to reach CAT5 strength, and only 6 have lasted
longer than 24 hours as a CAT5.  It's very difficult for a storm to
maintain this intensity for very long because it pushes the envelope of
what our atmosphere can provide.  Any flaw in conditions such as
decreased SST, increased vertical shear, change in direction, etc
usually causes a drop in intensity.

Again, for some stunning 1-minute imagery of Isabel, visit
http://www.cira.colostate.edu/ramm/rmsdsol/RSOMAIN.HTML and hit the GOES
East Visible Floater Loop link.  This marks the 4th consecutive day of
GOES-12 SRSO on Isabel.  (GOES-12 is the satellite, and SRSO is Super
Rapid Scan Operations, meaning 1-minute imagery over a small predefined
area, such as a hurricane)

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

11 September 2003

Isabel a very strong CAT4 hurricane...

Since this time yesterday, Isabel's MSLP has fallen and additional 18mb
and sustained winds have increased by 15kts.  After a brief period of
shear and internal reorganization, she has now taken on the most classic
of appearances, rivaling anything else in recent memory.  The outflow
channels are well-established, the eye is clear and hard-edged, and the
eyewall forms a thick symmetric band of -75C cloud tops.  As of 15Z
today, Hurricane Isabel was located at 21.4N 54.5W and tracking W at
8kts.  Intensity is 130kts and 930mb.  The CAT5 transition occurs at
140kts and about 920mb, so she's just borderline, and with SSTs of 28.3C
and increasing, it's not out of the realm of possibility over the next
couple days to see the basin's first CAT5 hurricane since Mitch '98.

Phil Klotzbach (CSU) reports the following: "As of the 15Z advisory
today, we have already had 8.75 IHD this month which puts us in a tie
for sixth place all-time with 1995.  The maximum number of IHD for
September is 15.75 set in 1961.  Isabel alone could very likely put us
at or very close to that record."

NHC's 5-day track forecast places her just northeast of the Bahamas by
Tuesday morning, and if she recurves into the US east coast, it would be
about 7-8 days from today... just something to keep a close eye on as
the days go by.

If you wish to be astounded with high resolution (1km spatial and 1min
temporal) visible satellite imagery from GOES-12, please visit
http://www.cira.colostate.edu/ramm/rmsdsol/RSOMAIN.HTML and click on the
GOES-EAST Visible Floater link.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

10 September 2003

Little change since yesterday...

Isabel is still a CAT4 hurricane and is making slow progress WNW toward
the Leeward Islands.  Intensity is still 115kts and the MSLP is 948mb. 
The interesting part will of course be her long-range track forecast. 
It appears that the Bahamas are under the gun in a week, then from there
it's even harder to predict.

TD14 has also changed little, and in fact is getting less organized. 
It's still very near the Cape Verde Islands and is losing its surface
circulation and deep convection.  Latest intensity is 25kts and 1010mb.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

09 September 2003

Isabel a CAT4 storm, TD14 struggles to organize...

Both Fabian and Henri have become extratropical and no longer have
advisories being written for them.

Isabel continues to get better organized and became a CAT 4 hurricane
today at 03Z.  She already has accumulated 1.25 Intense Hurricane Days
and isn't even to 50W yet.  As of 15Z, she was located at 19.6N 46.9W
and tracking WNW at 12kts.  Maximum sustained winds are up to 115kts and
the MSLP is down to 948mb. The outflow pattern remains very symmetric,
and the eye, although clouded over a bit this morning, is clearing and

She's expected to strengthen even further, just shy of CAT5 status, and
keep a general west track, ending up a bit north of the Leeward Islands
during the weekend.  Although way too far out to say with any certainty,
a U.S. landfall is not out of the question and people living along the
coasts should keep an eye on Isabel in the coming 7-10 days.

TD14 is still near the Cape Verde Islands, but is poorly organized. 
Intensity estimates as of 15Z were 30kts and 1007mb.  Conditions appear
favorable for development, so it could become TS Juan today or tomorrow.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

08 September 2003

fun tidbits for current Atlantic storms

From Phil Klotzbach: 
Here are some fun facts that I've been looking at this morning.  As of 
today's 15Z advisory:

Fabian was classified as a hurricane until 49.8 degrees North... this is 
the farthest north that a system has been classified as a hurricane 
since Helene, 1988 (50.2N)

Fabian had 6.75 intense hurricane days, the most since Edouard (7.5 IHD) 
in 1996

Isabel became an intense hurricane at 42.6W... this is the farthest east 
that a storm has become an intense hurricane since Isaac (2000) which 
became intense at 35.0W

TD 14 just became a tropical depression at 22.1W... this is the farthest 
east that a storm has become a tropical depression since Alberto (2000) 
which became a TD at 18.0W

September has already had 5.75 IHD... this is the most IHD in September 
since 1999 and also puts it in a tie for 9th since 1950 with 1953, 1955 
and 1967.

The season has had 7 IHD which is also the most since 1999... this puts 
2003 in a tie with 1966 for the 15th most IHD since 1950

With Isabel likely accumulating 3 to 4 more IHD , we will likely be in 
the top 10 for seasonal IHD by September 10... not bad for halfway 
through the season!

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

Fabian becomes extratropical, Henri still barely hanging on, Isabel becomes major hurricane, TD14 forms in far east Atlantic...

Although still packing hurricane-force winds, Fabian has enough
extratropical characteristics to officially drop him as a tropical
cyclone.  These include a lack of centralized deep convection, cold-core
aloft, and a front extending southward from the Low.  He will remain a
very powerful extratropical cyclone in the north central Atlantic, and
influencing Greenland, Iceland, and major shipping lanes.  The last
advisory placed him at 49.8N 39.2W and zipping off to the NE at 34kts. 
Intensity was estimated at 65kts and 980mb.  Fabian accumulated 11 Named
Storm Days, 10 Hurricane Days, and 6.5 Intense Hurricane Days.

TD Henri is very disorganized, yet refuses to dissipate.  Shear from an
advancing frontal boundary will soon destroy the system and it will
merge with the front.  At 15Z, TD Henri was located at 32.7N 75.6W and
moving NE at 7kts.  Winds are 30kts and the MSLP is 1006mb.  I suspect
any mention of him tomorrow will be in the form of an obituary.

Hurricane Isabel continues to rapidly intensify, and is now the second
major hurricane of the season.  She reached CAT3 status at 15Z today at
17.2N 42.6W.  This is VERY far east to reach major hurricane status, and
she is forecast to reach CAT4 status by this evening.  The MSLP fell
25mb in the previous 24 hour period, and 43mb in the past 48 hours. 
Intensity as of 15Z was 100kts and 962mb.  The track forecast will take
her just north of the Lesser Antilles by the weekend.  Considering the
location, motion, and intensity, the number of Intense Hurricane Days
this season could easily be doubled by Isabel. (as an aside, the average
number of IHD is 4.7; in 2002 there were 2.5, this year we could hit

At 15Z today, the tropical wave I first mentioned on Saturday has been
upgraded to TD14... the amazing part is how far EAST it made this step! 
It was located at 11.8N 22.1W and drifting W at 3kts.  22.1W is still
east of the Cape Verde Islands!!  Notice however, that both Isabel and
TD14 were nearly stalled as they exited Africa, giving them time to
fester before heading west; this gives them the edge on developing
abnormally far east.  It is expected to become TS Juan later today, but
the track will most likely not follow Fabian and Isabel, but rather
recurve early, perhaps by 40W.  He could become a hurricane by mid-week,
not affecting any land.

Remember, September 10 is the climatological peak of the entire season,
with a sharp increase in activity as we approach that date, so this
queue of 3 named storms we've been maintaining is helping to reinforce
the climatological records!

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

07 September 2003

Fabian STILL a hurricane, Henri nearly a TS again, Isabel now a hurricane, tropical wave nearing Depression status...

Fabian is now at 11 Named Storm Days (as well as 10 Hurricane Days and 6.5
Intense Hurricane Days) and is still a tropical cyclone, but the extratropical
transition is beginning as evident by a frontal structure forming on the
southeast end of the Low.  This will almost certainly be the last update with
Fabian as a hurricane, and the last with him as a purely tropical system.  At
21Z, Hurricane Fabian was at 43.4N 49.3W and tracking NE at 27kts (the forward
speed is due to the impeding trough).  Winds are still 75kts and the central
pressure is up to 972mb.  Toward the middle part of this week, Fabian could make
a powerful impact on southern Greenland.

TD Henri has made very little progess over the past 24 hours, and is still very
disorganized.  The official forecast calls for him reach TS status again, but
shear could hinder that from ever happening.  The 21Z position and intensity are
31.6N 77.6W and 30kts.  He should keep heading NE away from the US mainland.

Isabel has very rapidly organized and is now a hurricane.  The MSLP fell 18mb in
the 24 hours ending at 15Z today.  As of 21Z she was at 15.2N 39.1W and tracking
WNW at 13kts.  Maximum sustained winds have increased to 70kts and the MSLP has
fallen to 984mb.  The forecast is for continued strengthening, becoming a major
hurricane by Tuesday afternoon, and the track should closely follow in Fabian's
footsteps when he was near the Lesser Antilles.  She does have an eye and
sustained cloud tops colder than -70C, along with symmetric outflow.

The easterly wave in the east Atlantic I've been mentioning is getting better
organized every day and appears to be very close to becoming a Depression.  The
1010mb Low is located at approx 12N 22W and drifting slowly W at 5kts, much like
Isabel did (notice how far east this is though!!).  There is an elongated
surface circulation as seen by SeaWinds, and persistent deep convection, and a
more symmetric mid-level circulation.  This could become TD14 today or tomorrow,
then TS Juan either tomorrow or Tuesday.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

06 September 2003

Fabian hit Bermuda, Henri hit Florida, TS Isabel forms in the deep tropics...

Fabian made nearly a direct hit on Bermuda Friday afternoon at about 5pm EDT as
a strong CAT3 hurricane.  The center actually passed just west of them, giving
the tiny island the worst possible conditions for the longest possible time. 
Preliminary reports indicate widespread damage and four deaths.  As of 21Z
today, Hurricane Fabian is still very strong at 95kts and 960mb.  He was located
at 37.5N 59.3W and tracking NE at 20kts.  He is not forecast to begin the
extratropical transition until Monday morning, giving him more time to rack up
Named Storm Days and Hurricane Days.  He ended up accumulating 6.5 Intense
Hurricane Days.

TS Henri made landfall near Tampa, FL Friday afternoon (9/5) at about 7pm EDT as
a disorganized Tropical Depression, but has since exited the peninsula and is
back over open water... forecast to reintensify to a minimal TS again.  The
satellite presentation was very poor on Friday evening, but is slowly getting
better organized.  As of 21Z, he was at 29.4N 79.7W (80mi east of Daytona Beach)
and tracking ENE at 15kts.  Maximum sustained winds are 30kts and the MSLP is

At 09Z today, the tropical wave I've been mentioning since this past Tuesday was
upgraded directly to Tropical Storm Isabel, the 9th named storm of the season. 
In contrast to Henri, Isabel's satellite presentation is remarkable.  She was
located at 13.4N 35.4W as of 21Z today.  Intensity was 45kts and 1000mb.  The
NHC forecast is for continued strengthening, reaching hurricane status by Monday
morning, and tracking toward the northern Lesser Antilles later this week.

Elsewhere, a new and impressive tropical wave has just exited the African coast
and is presently at about 12N 20W and tracking W at 7kts.  Given the favorable
conditions and present appearance, it seems likely this 1010mb Low will organize
and become TD14/Juan in the near future.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

05 September 2003

Fabian nearly at Bermuda, TD12 becomes TS Henri, and Cape Verde wave getting better organized...

As of 15Z today, Hurricane Fabian is still a major hurricane, and just
95 nautical miles south of Bermuda.  At its distance and speed, landfall
will occur by 6pm EDT today as a major hurricane.  Needless to say, the
Hurricane Warning is still in effect for Bermuda.  Latest position was
30.8N 65.4W and tracking N at 15kts.  Intensity is 105kts and 951mb.  It
is expected to continue north making a direct hit on Bermuda later today
with sustained winds of 105kts and gusts to 130kts.  They are
anticipating up to 10" of rain and 10' storm surge.  Winds are already
affecting the island and taking down tree limbs.

The northeast quadrant of the storm could have hurricane-force winds
extending 100 nautical miles from the center.  Shortly after passing by
Bermuda, the mid-latitude trough will pick it up and shear it apart, and
the extra-tropical transition will commence.  Fabian has now racked up
5.75 Intense Hurricane Days, and will tie 3rd place in the record books
at 21Z today, just as he's hitting Bermuda.

At 09Z today, TD12 was upgraded to TS Henri, the 7th named storm of the
season.  At 15Z, Henri (pronounced ahn-ree, not hen-ree... it's a
spanish name) was located at 28.3N 83.9W and moving at 7kts.  Aircraft
recon indicates max winds of 40kts now, and a MSLP of 997mb. 
Southwesterly vertical shear will probably inhibit much further
intensification as he drifts toward the Florida coast today.  Landfall
is expected very late tonight into the early morning hours of Saturday
as a Tropical Storm.  A TS Warning is in effect from Englewood to the
Aucilla River.  Given that he'll be over land and in some shear, the
forecast for maintaining intensity then weakening by the end of the
weekend.  You can monitor the progress of Henri as he approaches the
coast from Tallahassee's radar
(http://www.srh.noaa.gov/radar/latest/DS.p20-r/si.ktlh.shtml) or Tampa's
radar (http://www.srh.noaa.gov/radar/latest/DS.p20-r/si.ktbw.shtml).

The tropical wave I've been mentioning for the past 4 days or so
continues to head west and get better organized.  It's now at about 13N
29W, or 400 miles WSW of the Cape Verdes and tracking W at 7kts.  The
embedded Low is now down to 1009mb and development into TD13 is likely
today.  The satellite presentation in both IR and VIS is rather
impressive, and an active microwave scatterometer (SeaWinds) did find a
closed but elongated surface circulation during a 08Z overpass. 
Although the models favor this system, the location of the subtropical
High is pretty far east, so any Cape Verde storms that do form will be
recurved like Fabian, if not sooner.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

04 September 2003

Fabian still a major hurricane, TD12 forms, eastern Atlantic very interesting...

As of 15Z today, Hurricane Fabian has accumulated 4.75 Intense Hurricane
Days.  Previous record holders are Gert '99 (6), Edouard '96 (7.5), and
Luis '95 (8).  It seems probable that Fabian will surpass Gert, but
probably not Edouard or Luis, leaving him in third place.  For
comparison, there were a TOTAL of 2.5 Intense Hurricane Days during the
entire 2002 season.

Also as of 15Z, Fabian was located at 25.2N 64.0W and tracking NNW at
10kts.  The eye is 25nm in diameter now, and intensity is 105kts and
944mb.  Some fluctuations in intensity are likely as he begins the
recurvature process, then significant weakening once he interacts with
the approaching trough.  A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Bermuda;
they are anticipating a direct hit on Friday evening with sustained
winds of 110kts and gusts to 135kts.  Very large swells from this storm
should begin reaching the US east coast later today and Friday.

After passing Bermuda, Fabian will interact with a trough and make the
extra-tropical transition, losing his tropical characteristics and
zipping off to the north central Atlantic.  Baroclinic enhancement can
sometimes temporarily intensity the storm, but at the same time, its
demise is never far behind.

At 21Z yesterday, TD12 formed in the eastern Gulf from that area of
disturbed weather I'd been talking about for a few days.  Although still
poorly organized, it's nearly stationary and in very favorable
conditions, likely leading to further development.  At 15Z today, TD12
was at 27.9N 87.1W and has 30kt sustained winds and a 1010mb MSLP.  It
is forecast to become a named storm early Friday as it drifts northeast
toward the FL panhandle.  A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from
Englewood to Indian Pass, FL and landfall is expected to hit early
Saturday morning.  Should this get named, its name will be Henri.

The tropical wave I mentioned yesterday near the Cape Verde Islands is
still there and still a candidate for development.  It's at about 12N
27W and has a 1010mb Low that's tracking very slowly westward.  The next
number/name on deck is 13/Isabel (assuming TD12 goes to Henri).

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

03 September 2003

Fabian still maintaining intensity...

As of 15Z today, Hurricane Fabian was located at 22.4N 62.7W and
tracking NW at 8kts.  Maximum sustained winds are 115kts and the MSLP is
945mb.  The forecast is for very gradual weakening and a recurve close
to Bermuda.  It is likely that Bermuda will experience the worst part of
the storm Friday afternoon into early Saturday morning.

During the night, it appears that the storm underwent an eyewall
replacement cycle.  A clear eye was distorted/missing for several hours
and now the eye that's present is noticeably larger.  It's very common
for intense hurricanes to undergo these eyewall replacement cycles; it's
merely the storm's way of reorganizing itself to maximize efficiency
(smart little critters).  The new eye is about 30 nautical miles in
diameter (55km) rather than the 20nm eye it had yesterday.

The area of disturbed weather I mentioned near the Yucatan is now in the
eastern Gulf and although not terribly well organized at the moment,
conditions are favorable so it's still an area of interest.

The easterly wave near the Cape Verde Islands continues to slowly get
better organized and is presently at about 12N 23W.  It has a 1008mb Low
embedded in it.  There's also an easterly wave to its west at about 14N
35W which is tracking W at 5kts.  These two are close enough to possibly
merge into a single vorticity center, as some computer models indicate.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

02 September 2003

Fabian still a CAT4 hurricane...

Hurricane Fabian's intensity has changed little in the past 48 hours,
and is still a Category 4 storm (with 3.0 Intense Hurricane Days racked
up so far).  The eye is very small at 20 nautical miles in diameter, and
there is some evidence of slight westerly vertical wind shear.

At 15Z today, Fabian was located at 20.3N 60.4W and tracking WNW at
9kts.  Intensity is 120kts and 945mb.  It is expected to slowly weaken
over the next few days, but still be a major hurricane.  The forecast
track has remained basically unchanged, still recurving just west of
Bermuda.  I suspect Bermuda will be in for a rough ride on Friday
especially if it ends up on the front-right quadrant of a major

The area of disturbed weather I mentioned yesterday in the western
Caribbean has lost much of its deep convection, but the broad
circulation is still present and conditions are favorable for
development... assuming convection comes back.

There is a new Low that formed within a tropical wave west of the Cape
Verde Islands at about 14N 33W.  It has made some progress today in
organization and will be watched this week for development.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

01 September 2003

Fabian becomes first major hurricane of the season, western Caribbean looking very interesting...

During the past week, three new systems formed, TD9-TD11.  TD9 was short-lived
and disorganized as it passed south of Puerto Rico and Haiti on Aug 21-22.

On Aug 27, TD10 formed way out at 32W in the deep tropics, and was in fact a
very impressive eaterly wave that had previously trekked across Africa.  A mere
72 hours later, it was a major hurricane, Fabian.  During peak intensification
on the 30th, the MSLP fell 24mb in just 12 hours and reached a low of 940mb at
03Z on Sep 1.  As of 15Z today, Hurricane Fabian was located at 18.9N 56.8W and
tracking W at 10kts.  Intensity is 120kts and 949mb and is forecast to maintain
this intensity or weaken a bit over the next few days.  The eye is very small at
only 15 nautical miles in diameter, so perhaps an eyewall cycle will occur later
today.  The forecast track takes him generally WNW to NW, and by the weekend,
should begin recurvature well east of the US mainland.

Also in my absence, TD11 formed in the Gulf and became TS Grace, who made
landfall on the central TX coast on the morning of Aug 31.

A large area of disturbed weather is also brewing in the far west Caribbean Sea,
just east of the Yucatan Peninsula.  Conditions appear favorable for slow
development and it could become TD12 within a day or two.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.