19 September 2012

Tropical storm conditions continue in the Azores

As expected, Tropical Storm Nadine has virtually stalled near the Azores, and isn't planning on moving out any time soon.  The enhanced satellite image below shows the high clouds associated with outflow or thunderstorms in white, while low shallow clouds appear yellow, and the ocean is dark blue.  The Azores islands are the purple outlines northeast of the storm's center.

[The Azores is an archipelago comprised of nine volcanic islands.  Six hundred years ago, these islands were uninhabited, but now are home to a quarter of a million Portuguese residents.  ]

At 09Z today, Nadine had 45kt maximum sustained winds with a 993mb central pressure.  It's crawling north at 4kts, and is forecast to gradually drift eastward over the next 5 days... leaving the Azores exposed to tropical storm conditions for around a week.  Luckily, it's not very intense, and there's limited rainfall on the eastern side lately.  But the 26' waves being reported at Santa Cruz (western part of the islands) are impressive.

As far as HS3 is concerned (NASA's big field program: Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel), today is a huge media day at Wallops Island where the unmanned aircraft is based.  The Global Hawk is scheduled to depart around 2pm EDT today for a 26-hour flight over Nadine, releasing 79 dropsondes over and around the storm in a "lawnmower pattern" to survey the environment.  The proposed flight path is shown here for reference.

The Azores is no stranger to tropical cyclone encounters.  They're in a fairly common path for recurving storms, and they don't always just get the "leftovers"... some encounters have been with potent hurricanes.  This map shows the tracks of the 23 storms that have passed directly over the Azores in the past 160 years.  In order to count, the center of the storm had to pass within 230 miles of the middle of the Azores and be at least a tropical or subtropical storm (depressions and extratropical systems aren't included).  Now the map will include Nadine!

Elsewhere, the basin is quiet during this climatologically active week.

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