12 September 2011

Nate makes landfall, Maria still a TS

Nate never made it to a hurricane, but that fits with the rest of the season.... only 2 of the 14 named storms have become hurricanes.  That's just 14% compared to the climatological 50-60%.  However, in terms of named storms, 2011 is just 1 behind the mega-season of 2005... by this date in 2005, we were on the 15th storm, and this year, we're on the 14th.  Tropical Storm Nate made landfall at about 1730Z on Sunday by Poza Rica.  The satellite image below is from the approximate time of landfall, and the full radar loop from Alvarado can be found here: http://einstein.atmos.colostate.edu/~mcnoldy/tropics/radar/index.html#nate11

Maria has been battling relentless vertical shear.  Now up to 30kts, the shear has displaced Maria's deep convection far to the east of the low-level circulation, as you can see clearly in the visible satellite image below (the surface center is near 21.7N 67.2W in this image). 
The intensity has been holding at 50kts for the past 30 hours, and the track has also been steady at WNW at around 8kts.  It is forecast to begin recurving to the north shortly, well before reaching the US, then pass just west of Bermuda on Wednesday night, then zip off into the north-central Atlantic.  It's still a possibility that Maria will reach hurricane status in 48-60 hours when it briefly could be exposed to less shear, and when it begins to experience baroclinic enhancement.

Elsewhere, a large easterly wave has just exited the African coast today, and has had a history of being very active since it formed over the Ethiopian Highlands on Sep 4.  It is not organized at all yet, but the surface pressure in coastal African stations fell to about 1011mb as it passed over, and is the next feature to keep an eye on over the coming week.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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