Friday, August 21, 2015

Danny now a Category 2

We have been saying that Danny would go on an intensity roller coaster ride. We mentioned it would go through moments of strengthening and then weakening,  but this is an extreme jump in strength.

At 11 pm Thursday night it had 80 mph winds, by 5 am this Friday morning, the winds increased to 85 mph, more in line to what was expected. But as of 11 am the wind speed skyrocketed to 105 mph. You can hear the click-click-click of the roller coaster going up.

Those very strong winds extend out from the center a mere 15 miles.  Right now Danny is in an area where the shear, or strong upper winds are light, and the sea surface temps are warm. Dry air has also stayed farther north. It has indeed taken advantage of the favorable surroundings.

Latest Satellite Loop:
On satellite imagery you can see its small but well defined eye. and feeder bands appear more noticeable.

Notice the deep golds, oranges, and reds surrounding the eye. That is where you will find the heaviest of the rain and the strongest winds.

Even though this image looks impressive, Danny remains a very small system. That doesn't mean it wouldn't be dangerous if it struck land as it is right now, but the forecasts call for weakening.

What next?
High pressure should build to the west, pushing Danny to the Lesser Antilles.  It could be near Puerto Rico by early next week.

Danny is at the top of the roller coaster ride and will soon come racing down.  There may be a few more loop de loops but most models say it should weaken.

The latest suite of models dissipate Danny soon after going across the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, and Hispaniola.

No one wants a hurricane or tropical storm, but this area of the Caribbean is in its worst drought since 2010. Any rain would be welcome.

NHC says:
it is about to encounter increasing upper-level southwesterly flow associated with a trough over the northeastern Caribbean, with the shear forecast to increase to over 20 kt by 96 hours.  

This, combined with the abundant dry air remaining along the forecast track, should cause Danny to weaken below hurricane strength as it approaches the Caribbean islands. 

They add:
A NOAA aircraft will be conducting a research mission in and around Danny this afternoon, and an Air Force Reserve Unit reconnaissance aircraft will investigate Danny Saturday afternoon.  

These data will provide a better assessment of the intensity and structure of
the hurricane.

This will give the models better information and thus give us a more accurate forecast track and intensity information. As you know intensity outlooks are the most difficult aspect of forecasting. These missions should help.

The local weather office also believes whatever stage Danny is in should be very weak by the time it exits the Caribbean.  As of this moment they are keeping it out of our local forecasts.

Final Note: For my friends throughout the Caribbean, remain vigilant. There is a system headed towards you. It may be weak, it may be strong, but hopefully it should deliver some rain. I am hoping for the best outcome. For us in Florida, just keep watching. It should fall apart, but Mother Nature always has the last word. Keep checking in from time to time, just in case Danny decides to go for a second ride on the coaster.

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