Another Powerful October Storm to Worry About
Over the last week, I have been watching developments in the Tropical Atlantic with interest as Matthew grew into a threat for the East Coast of the United States although I hadn’t blogged about it until now.
For the second year in a row, and for the third time in five years, we have a hurricane that is menacing the Caribbean, Bahamas, and the East Coast of the United States. Once again, a hurricane spins up amidst a fall like circulation pattern in the Western Atlantic.
Four years ago, it was Hurricane Sandy, which many in New Jersey are still trying to recover from today. Last year, it was Hurricane Joaquin, which combined with another area of low pressure to produce gusty winds and heavy rains as far north as New Jersey.
This year, it is Hurricane Matthew. At one time, Matthew was a Category Five Hurricane with winds near 160 mph. Matthew was the first Category Five Hurricane in the Atlantic in 9 years. The last one was Hurricane Dean, which made landfall in the Mayan Riviera section of Mexico in August 2007. Dean was ranked as a Top Ten Atlantic storm in terms of intensity at the time.
Matthew’s path has so far been a bit eerily similar to Hurricane Sandy. However, Matthew has been much stronger with Sandy only being a Category Three storm with 125 mph winds at peak strength. The hurricane developed much earlier in the season than Sandy did. Matthew also was the first hurricane to make landfall in Haiti since 1963. Nevertheless, both storms impacted portions of Cuba.
Ok. Enough of the history and comparisons. Matthew had been interacting with the rugged mountains of Cuba and Hispaniola, which go as high as 7,000 to 10,000 feet above sea level. The interaction tore up Matthew significantly despite the fact that it also produced torrential rains on those islands. Wind speeds dropped from 145 to 115 miles per hour in about 24 hours. Now, the storm is back over water near the Bahamas, where sea surface temperatures run about 86 degrees, and Matthew has already responded to that with some strengthening.
As of 11:00 AM on Wednesday morning, sustained winds with Matthew increased to 120 miles per hour, and it may not be done yet. Dr. Jeff Masters of Weather Underground indicated earlier that the storm is getting better organized. The NHC’s official intensity forecast indicates that Matthew could become a Category Four Hurricane again with 130 mph winds. So, the storm is likely skirt the East Coast of Florida on Friday at major hurricane strength.
The storm will then continue to hug the coast along Georgia and South Carolina, and weaken to a Category Two storm with between 100 and 110 mph winds due to a hostile upper level wind environment. Then, things get crazy. The major forecast models: GFS, European, and UKMET are all indicating that Matthew will turn to the east into the Atlantic, and then turn south and towards the Bahamas and Florida again early next week.
Why is that you ask? First, the trough that was much hyped earlier this week, didn’t pan out since it wasn’t as strong or digged as deep as expected. So, there is nothing to pick up the storm. Hence, Matthew is in a situation much like the cutoff low that affected New Jersey and the Mid-Atlantic over the past week. It has nothing to kick it out. There is also a new player in this game: Tropical Storm Nicole.
Nicole is a newly formed tropical system that became a tropical cyclone over the past 24 to 36 hours. The storm is close by in the Western Atlantic, and its circulation is also influencing Matthew’s movement. The combination with the trough that wasn’t and Nicole’s development now brings a bizarre scenario that shows Matthew possibly entering the Florida Straits next week.
This is all good news for now in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, which are now looking at great weather through this weekend. Tropical storms and hurricanes are very fickle though, and things can change so all New Jersey and Mid-Atlantic residents reading this should continue to monitor the progress of this storm.
Couple Disturbances Being Monitored
The tropics are still looking to pick up again in the wake of Hermine in the Atlantic. There are a couple disturbances that bear watching over the next few days. One we have been watching is in the Eastern Atlantic, and has a good deal of promise while another just emerged within the past 24 hours. There is also what’s left of Invest 92L, which has had a tough time getting its act together as expected as it moves through the Caribbean. Let’s take a closer look around:
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf remains the most tranquil region in the entire Atlantic Basin this morning. There are some small areas of clouds dotting the central portion of the region, but nothing organized. No development expected for the next 24 to 48 hours.
The Caribbean has several pockets of shower and thunderstorm activity, particularly in the western portion of the region. There is a cluster of showers and storms to the north of Panama, another one just east of Honduras, and a third that is just south of the Isle of Youth. No signs of organization or development. No development is expected for at least the next 48 hours.
There are a couple trouble spots in this portion of the basin this morning. The first one is a few hundred miles of the Lesser Antilles, and it does have quite a bit of shower and thunderstorm activity. It does have a broad area of low pressure associated with it, but development is expected to be slow. The National Hurricane Center gives this disturbance a 10 percent chance of developing over the next 48 hours, and a 20 percent chance over the next five days.
Meanwhile, we still have our tropical wave in the Eastern Atlantic now located about 500 miles to the Southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands. Low pressure associated with the wave has developed, but the possibility of development continues to be slow. Presently, the NHC is giving the disturbance a 10 percent chance of development over the next 48 hours, and a 60 percent chance over the next five days.
We still have a conga line of showers and storms heading across the Sahel region of the continent toward the Atlantic. One just departed into the Atlantic off of Senegal. Meanwhile, there are showers and storms pushing westward through Southern Mali and Burkina Faso.
Atlantic Goes Into a Brief Lull With Demise of Hermine
The Tropical Atlantic has gone into a brief lull on this Wednesday morning. The last advisory was issued by the National Hurricane Center on Tuesday afternoon for Post-Tropical Cyclone Hermine just off the coast of Long Island, and the tropical disturbance, Invest 92L is not a threat to develop at this time. However, we are still monitoring, Invest 93L in the Far Eastern Atlantic, which could become a depression by the weekend. Let’s take a closer look around.
Let’s take a closer look around the tropics this morning:
Gulf of Mexico
Checking the latest satellite imagery courtesy of NOAA, skies are mostly clear in the Gulf. There are some areas of clouds dotted around the region, but they are scattered at not organized at the moment. No threats here. No development expected for the next 24 to 48 hours.
There are a couple clusters of showers and storms in the Southwestern Caribbean near Nicaragua and Honduras and well as some south of Jamaica. There is also another cluster to the north of Panama. We also have some disorganized clouds and showers associated with Invest 92L, which is currently moving through Hispaniola and the Southeastern Bahamas. Hostile upper level winds as well as the rugged terrain of Hispaniola will make things difficult for Invest 92L to develop over the next several days. No development is expected for at least the next 48 hours.
Although the National Hurricane Center has a issued its last advisory on Post-Tropical Cyclone Hermine on Tuesday afternoon, there is still a nice swirl of clouds from the decaying system off the Mid-Atlantic coast some several hundred miles due east of say Island Beach State Park in Ocean County, New Jersey.
Some of those clouds have spread over inland portions of New Jersey including Greg’s Weather Center and as far north as Little Falls in Passaic County. Hermine’s remains are expected to meander around the Mid-Atlantic for part of the day today, and then begin to head northeast again. It is also expected to dissipate.
Meanwhile, in the Far Eastern Atlantic, we continue to monitor Invest 93L, which is located near the Cabo Verde Islands. Right now, the tropical wave has disorganized shower and thunderstorm activity associated with it, and no further development is forecast for the next couple of days.
However, low pressure is anticipated to form with this wave, and atmospheric conditions are anticipated to become more favorable for slow development later in the week. We could see a depression form by this weekend. Presently, the NHC is giving Invest 93L a 20 percent chance of development over the next 48 hours, and a 70 percent chance over the next five days.
The conga line of tropical waves heading for the Atlantic from the African continent continues. There is a cluster of showers and thunderstorms over Senegal this morning, and that appears to be the next tropical wave to enter the Eastern Atlantic. behind it, there are more clusters of showers and storms covering Southern Niger, Southeastern Burkina Faso, and much of Nigeria.
NHC Issues Final Advisory for Troublesome Storm
The long odyssey is over for New Jersey residents as well as others living in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. As of 2:00 PM EDT this afternoon, the last advisory on Post-Tropical Cyclone Hermine was issued by the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida. All Tropical Storm and Coastal Warnings were discontinued.
Hermine still has some remnants stirring up some clouds, breezy conditions, and a little rain. I had just stepped outside about a half an hour ago to go for a walk around the neighborhood. I would say it was breezier tonight than it even was on Saturday when Hermine’s outer fringes were moving into New Jersey.
The barometric pressure dropped to 29.91 inches of Hg earlier today. So, over the last 36 hours or so, the barometer had dropped 0.30 inches, or about 10 millibars. The humidity has also continued to rise with it climbing to 68 percent for a dew point of 67 degrees. Winds actually gusted to 35 miles per hour today.
There are some bands of rain around the region. Rain is currently falling at Yankee Stadium as the Yanks are playing the Blue Jays. There is another band of showers developing over Central and Southern New Jersey from about New Brunswick to Ocean County. There is a 20 percent chance of rain on Wednesday morning.
As of this afternoon, Hermine was located some 120 miles south of the Eastern tip of Long Island, and moving to the West at 7 miles per hour. Maximum sustained winds were at 50 miles per hour with gusts up to 65 miles per hour. Barometer was back up to 999 millibars, or 29.50 inches of Hg. Tropical storm force winds extended some 115 miles from the center.
What is left of Hermine is expected to turn to the Northeast on Wednesday, and gradually weaken. The storm is expected to drop below tropical storm strength over the next couple days. Hermine will be remembered though as the first hurricane to make landfall in Florida in 11 years.
Odds for Formation in Five Days Now Up to 60 Percent
As Hermine begins to wind down, and Invest 92L shows no signs of development for the rest of this week, focus turns to our tropical wave in the Eastern Atlantic. Invest 93L, or a tropical wave located near the West Coast of Africa presently has an area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms.
However, according to the latest Tropical Weather Outlook from the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, low pressure is expected to form in association with this wave over the next 48 hours as it moves to the West-Northwest some several hundred miles to the West-Southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands.
Currently, sea surface temperatures and upper level winds appear favorable for development in the area of Invest 93L. Although the NHC is giving only 10 percent odds for tropical development with this disturbance over the next 48 hours, the chances for formation get better over the next five days. Odds for development are up to 60 percent by five days.
Conditions Will Be Unfavorable for Development This Week
Greg’s Weather Center and Hurricaneville are still watching the progress of Invest 92L as it treks westward through the Caribbean. Clouds, showers, and thunderstorms associated with the disturbance remain disorganized. Upper level winds are also unfavorable for development.
These conditions along with dry air will make it difficult for the disturbance to develop during the course of this week. Nevertheless, the disturbance has the potential to produce periods of heavy rainfall and gusty winds as it passes by Hispaniola and Jamaica on Tuesday and Eastern Cuba on Wednesday.
Currently, the chances of formation and development with Invest 92L is near nil over the next 48 hours, and only 10 percent over the next five days. Chances will improve when the disturbance moves into the Western Caribbean near the Yucatan later in the week.
Storm Heading West-Northwest
During the course of the past 24 hours, especially the last 6 to 12 hours, the barometer at GWC has been falling. Humidity has also been on the rise, and there has been some breezy conditions at times here in South Plainfield, NJ. Believe it or not, all of this is due to Hermine, which has been finally making that anticipated westward move during the day on Monday.
Prior to taking a trip out to Waterfront Park in South Amboy this morning, the barometric pressure at GWC was at 30.21 inches (8:21 AM EDT). Since then, the barometer has dropped 0.23 inches to 29.98 inches of Hg. Pressure is still quite high. Weak Tropical Depressions usually have minimum central pressures of 29.80 or 29.83 inches of Hg.
Meanwhile, the humidity on Sunday had dropped significantly as the storm pulled further and further to the east. On Sunday afternoon, the humidity dipped to 40 percent for a dew point of 53. Since that time, the moisture has been on the rise, climbing to 58 percent for a dew point of 64. Temperature reached a high of 84 degrees late Monday afternoon.
Over the past few hours, the satellite imagery has shown Hermine making a more westward move. In addition, the more thicker band of clouds are pinwheeling westward across Long Island toward New York City and the Jersey Shore. More cirrus and cirrocumulus clouds have developed overhead of GWC during the course of the afternoon. Nevertheless, skies remained sunny at sunset.
The Coastal Flood Warning that existed along the Jersey Shore on Monday has been discontinued, but there are still areas in coastal Monmouth and Ocean counties that are dealing with heavy surf and rip currents. Tropical Storm Warnings remain in effect for the coastal waters offshore. Currently, Post-Tropical Cyclone Hermine is inching closer to the Eastern tip of Long Island.
Located some 150 miles Southeast of the Eastern tip of Long Island, Hermine has also picked up some forward speed as it moves to the West-Northwest at 9 miles per hour. Maximum sustained winds remain at 70 miles per hour with gusts up to 85 miles per hour. Barometric pressure remains steady at 997 millibars, or 29.44 inches of Hg. Tropical storm force winds continue to extend some 230 miles from the center. Weakening is forecast to begin tonight.
Although sea surface temperatures off the Jersey Shore and Long Island have been above normal this summer, they remain in the mid to upper 70s, which is still below the threshold for supporting tropical development. Water temperatures need to be at least 80 degrees or higher to support tropical storm or hurricane formation and growth. Furthermore, since Hermine has been basically sitting in the same general location for the past several days, upwelling has taken place, which brings cooler water to the surface.
The National Hurricane Center’s intensity forecast calls for Hermine to start gradually weakening over the next 12 hours, and fall below tropical storm strength between 48 and 72 hours before dissipating in four days. The NHC’s forecast track is calling for Hermine to continue its westward jog for the next 36 hours or so before turning to the Northeast and accelerating on Wednesday.
Atlantic Trying to Heat Up Again as Statistical Peak of Season Approaches
Labor Day is usually the unofficial end of the summer season in the United States. Meteorological fall already began on Thursday. The statistical peak of the Atlantic Hurricane Season is just five days away, and the Tropical Atlantic is trying to pick up again after a busy week last week with three tropical systems.
One of those systems, Hermine is still churning as a post-tropical cyclone off the Mid-Atlantic coast while two disturbances are trying to spin up. Invest 92L, which formed over the weekend, has now moved into the Eastern Caribbean, but is still struggling to develop while another tropical wave has just moved off the coast of Africa. Let’s take a closer look around.
Let’s take a closer look around the tropics this morning:
Gulf of Mexico
Conditions are mostly quiet in the Gulf this afternoon. There are some clouds and showers along the Central Gulf Coast, but almost all of it is over land. No development is expected over the next 24 hours.
Invest 92L is the only show in town in the Caribbean for the most part. The disturbance, which is a tropical wave, does have winds associated with it going up to tropical storm force, but the shower and thunderstorm activity remains disorganized, and hostile environmental conditions in the form of dry air and upper level wind shear are making things difficult for development.
More details on Invest 92L in the blog. Elsewhere, in the Caribbean, conditions are mostly tranquil with the exception of some clouds in the Southwestern portion of the region near Nicaragua. No development is expected over the next 48 hours.
Hermine is the main feature in the basin right now. Although the system is post-tropical, it possesses near hurricane force winds at 70 miles per hour with gusts over hurricane force. The storm is expected to meander off the coast of Eastern Long Island over the next couple of days before moving out toward the Canadian Maritimes later in the week.
A Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect for Long Island and Southern New England. More details in the blog. Elsewhere in the Atlantic, a new tropical wave has come off the coast of Africa some several hundred miles to the West-Southwest of Africa. Low pressure is expected to form with this wave later this week, and environmental conditions are forecast to be favorable for gradual development later this week in the Central Atlantic. Development not expected over the next 24 hours.
The latest satellite imagery of the continent shows a lot of shower and thunderstorm activity stretching across the Sahel, or Sub-Saharan Africa from Mali, Mauritania, and Sierra Leone to Nigeria to Chad and the Central African Republic. These showers and storms continue to move westward toward the Atlantic Ocean, and will be the next group of waves to watch in the coming weeks.
Disturbance Struggling to Develop As Forecast
Despite most of the focus in the Tropical Atlantic being on Hermine, there is still another disturbance in the basin that is being watched. Invest 92L, which formed over the weekend, remains disorganized, and will likely not develop for most of this week according to the National Hurricane Center.
Although the disturbance has tropical storm force winds associated with it, the shower and thunderstorm activity associated with it is still disorganized. The tropical wave continues to battle dry air and upper level winds. Nevertheless, Invest 92L, which is currently located in the Eastern Caribbean, is still expected to produce heavy rainfall and gusty winds over portions of the Lesser Antilles on Monday.
Then, the disturbance is expected to move toward Puerto Rico and Hispaniola on Tuesday. Upper level dynamics could become a bit more favorable towards development later in the week as the wave approaches the Yucatan Peninsula. Currently, the odds of tropical formation within the next 48 hours are nil while development is only 20 percent possible over the next five days.
Tropical Storm Warnings Discontinued for the Garden State
Hermine continued to move further to the east on Sunday and while the surf along New Jersey beaches remained treacherous, the more significant threat of tropical storm force winds and rain diminished. The Tropical Storm Warning for the Jersey Shore was discontinued on Sunday night, but a Coastal Flood Warning remained in effect.
On Sunday afternoon, GWC and Hurricaneville took another trip down to South Amboy’s Waterfront Park along Raritan Bay to check conditions there. We arrived there just after low tide and the easterly fetch wasn’t as significant as it was in the morning or on Saturday. Winds had also eased up somewhat. Skies were sunny with the exception of cirrus clouds overhead and cirrocumulus clouds to the south and east.
During the evening and overnight hours, Post-Tropical Cyclone Hermine strengthened somewhat with shower and thunderstorm activity increasing. The storm also moved a little bit more to the west on radar. These thunderstorms were far away from the Jersey Shore though. Nevertheless, there are more clouds over GWC in South Plainfield on this Labor Day morning.
Cirrus clouds could be seen to the north and west of GWC while altostratus clouds developed to the south and east. The radar imagery courtesy of the Weather Channel showed some clouds spreading over the Garden State while bands of showers and storms are still holding together further to the east over the open waters of the Atlantic and to the north and west to the center of circulation.
Looking at the latest with Hermine, the storm is currently located some 295 miles to the Southeast of the Eastern tip of Long Island. Maximum sustained winds remain at 70 miles per hour with gusts in upwards of 85 miles per hour. Minimum central pressure has dropped slightly to 997 millibars, or about 29.44 inches of Hg (Mercury). Tropical storm force winds extend some 230 miles from the center as Hermine grew in size over the past 24 hours.
Hermine is expected to continue to meander slowly off the Mid-Atlantic coast for the next couple days. The latest forecast track from the National Hurricane Center indicates that the storm will make its closest approach to the Jersey Shore on Tuesday before turning more northward and northeastward on Wednesday and heading out to the vicinity of the Canadian Maritimes on Thursday and Friday. Hermine will begin to gradually weaken over the next 24 hours, and is forecast to dissipate in five days.
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