09 September 2006

Florence nearly a hurricane, heading for Bermuda...

Since Friday afternoon, environmental conditions near Florence changed noticeably, and the storm was quick to notice.  Convection became deeper and more centralized, the dry air that was plaguing it seems to be absent, the vertical shear has dropped to around 10kts, and the SSTs are 29C+.  As of 15Z, the intensity was 60kts and 992mb.  A plane is /en route/ as I write this, and could very well find that it is now a hurricane.  Motion is NW at 11kts.

The forecast is for some substantial strengthening over the next two days, then quickly becoming extratropical and recurving into the north central Atlantic.  The official intensity forecast brings the storm up to 90kts over Bermuda, but they should be prepared for even worse, as rapid intensification is certainly possible today, tonight, and/or tomorrow given such ideal conditions.  Bermuda has a Hurricane Watch and Tropical Storm Warning, and a direct landfall is expected there early Monday morning as a CAT2 hurricane.  This is especially bad because it was only three years ago that the island was devastated by Hurricane Fabian.

There's also a wave behind Florence that bears watching, located at about 21N 50W... conditions are marginally favorable for development there.  The next name on deck is Gordon.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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