28 October 2005

Beta STILL a tropical storm...

Although nearly every factor one looks at for rapid intensification was 
satisfied yesterday, apparently, something was awry, as TS Beta has 
strengthened only slightly.  The latest aircraft recon flight into the 
storm provided an intensity measurement of 55kts and 990mb, suggesting 
that it is nearly a hurricane.  The hindering ingredient could have been 
a nudge of mid-level easterly wind shear, sub-par oceanic heat content, 
or a combination of the two.  Normally the heat content is not critical 
for such a weak storm, but it is moving so slowly that it becomes more 

Another element of the forecast that has not been very accurate is the 
track.  For at least a day now, computer and human forecasters have been 
expecting Beta to turn to the northwest then west in response to a 
developing ridge to the northeast.  This hasn't happened, and the storm 
is still moving north, at 4kts.  This could be a critical error because 
if it crawls just a bit more north THEN heads west, it has hundreds of 
additional miles of ocean (Gulf of Honduras) to track over and become 
strong, headed for Belize or Yucatan.  If it does indeed turn west very 
soon, it will dissipate over the mountainous areas of inland Nicaragua.  Either way, it is forecast to become at least a CAT1-2 hurricane.

Relating to yesterday's discussion of record NTC this season, I created 
a simple pie chart showing each of the 23 storms' contribution to the 
total value (Beta is current as of 21Z today).  I put the actual values 
next to the major contributors (Dennis, Emily, Katrina, Maria, Rita, and 
Wilma).  The names start at the top purple slice with Arlene, and work 
around counter-clockwise.     

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

No comments:

Post a Comment