Atlantic Sat Image

Atlantic Sat Image
Clouds over Atlantic

Friday, September 30, 2016

Mad Matthew

Hurricane Matthew is looking very angry Friday morning as it moves west across the Caribbean Sea uncontested. No land masses to cross and no strong upper winds to weaken it. Intensity forecasting can be tricky, but as of Friday morning there is little to suggest that it will lose steam in the days ahead. It would not be surprising if it gets a little stronger before reaching the islands.

Satellite imagery shows how well organized Matthew is with plenty of feeder banding, strong thunderstorm activity around the center, and good outflow in the upper levels.

This tropical engine is running on all cylinders and there is plenty of jet fuel in its path in the form of hot water.

Parts of South America rarely get impacted by Tropical Systems, but Matthew is unique.

He is dumping 2- 4 inches of rain over Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao and northern Colombia. This could lead to flooding concerns.

Where is it headed?
The models remain consistent that Matthew will get pushed North as it slams into a wall of wind ( an Upper Low) coming out of the US.  When exactly it will make the turn is what will dictate where Matthew will end up down the road.

NHC is grappling with this problem and this is what they say:

There is a significant spread in where the turn will
occur and how fast Matthew will move afterwards.  The ECMWF and
UKMET are on the eastern side of the guidance envelope and slower
than the other models, while the GFS and Canadian models are to the
left of the center of the guidance envelope and much faster.  The
various consensus models split these differences in both track and
speed, and the new forecast track lies close to them.  Overall, the
new track is a little south of the previous track through 48 hours
and a little west of the previous track from 72-120 hours.

The official Cone:
After careful consideration, this what the cone of concern looks like.  Keep in mind tropical systems do not travel in a straight line and the system could be anywhere inside the cone.

Jamaica appears to be set to receive the brunt of Matthew as it is forecast to become a major storm with winds over 111 mph.

It will be accompanied with heavy rain and a storm surge that will lead to flooding, land and mudslides. This is a dangerous situation.

Haiti may also see some big downpours and gusty winds as it will be in the northeastern quadrant of the storm, an area that can produce isolated tornadoes as well.

Once it leaves Jamaica, it will traverse over Eastern Cuba and eventually aim for the Bahamas.

Everyone covered in the forecast cone should be getting ready for a serious impact.

South Florida?
From the latest model runs and the official forecast cone, it looks like a close shave for us. I would NOT let my guard down with such a powerful storm nearby. All it takes is for the upper low to slow down and delay the turn of Matthew, and we could be in its sights.

Regardless, if nothing changes, we may see a glancing blown the form of choppy seas, breezy conditions, and some on and off stormy weather. DO NOT let your guard down. Stay tuned just in case Matthew makes a South Florida call.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Matthew: Big Caribbean Worry

UPDATE: As of 2pm, "Matthew" has been upgraded to a Hurricane.

"Matthew" is making its way along the Eastern Caribbean Sea aiming for more land masses down the road. Satellite imagery shows heavy rain bands on the North and Eastern sectors, still impacting parts of the Lesser Antilles.

This should start tapering off by mid afternoon, but picking up by Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic later today.

Strong surf will continue to impact Puerto Rico, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Venezuela, and Colombia, through tonight.

Earlier recon found clear skies on the SW sector of the storm, due to shear or strong upper winds. This typically keeps systems in check but in "Matthew's" case, it had little impact.

The shear will not allow much growth over the next 24 hours, but it will eventually weaken letting the  hurricane grow stronger.

Where is it headed?:
"Matthew" will continue to move west due to high pressure over the Atlantic. In 48 hours, it will reach the edge of the high and slow down.

The forecast cone suggests that "Matthew" will be anywhere between Eastern Cuba, Jamaica, or Haiti by the start of next week.

With the expected weaker shear, it may be a category 2 system by then.

This could mean heavy rain, strong gusty winds, flooding, storm surge, land and mudslides.

So why the big turn North?

Eventually a big area of low pressure will move down from the Southeast acting as a wall blocking "Matthew" and deflecting it north.

Just how fast or slow this low drops, will eventually determine where "Matthew" ends up.

The graphic shows the big dip south over the Southeast, pushing the system towards the Bahamas.

In the long run they may have to pay very close attention to "Matthew".

What are the models suggesting?:
Most models are keeping the system over Jamaica, Cuba and the Bahamas, but NHC is warning that its still too early to accurately determine where it will end up. They ask everyone monitor the storm and prepare just in case.

They add, there is still a big difference between the many runs of the ECMWF model, a very reliable forecast tool. The overall confidence of the long range forecast is low which means they are unsure. All we can do is monitor.

More as we get it.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Caribbean Worry?

An area of low pressure roughly 1500 miles east of the Windward Islands, has grabbed the attention of the hurricane Center. They have designated it Invest 97.  An Invest is just an area NHC would like to investigate a little further. The number is just used for  identification. A recon plane is on stand-by for Tuesday to check it out.

The satellite imagery suggests the low is trying to get organized with more thunderstorms attempting to wrap around the center of circulation.

It may get the opportunity to do just that over the next few days as it nears the Lesser Antilles.

The path ahead isn't showing any obstacles that could prevent it from growing. There is little shear and Atlantic waters will only get warmer.

Where is it headed?

For the moment, this area of low pressure will continue moving almost due west as high pressure to the north pushes it toward the islands.

Areas from the Windward Islands south through parts of coastal Venezuela need to monitor it closely.

NHC is giving it a 90% chance if could become a depression or a storm over 5 days in the area highlighted in red.

The GFS and ECMWF models appear to develop something either Tuesday or Wednesday of next week in the Eastern Caribbean Sea. By then, it should be about 500 miles away from the Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico. Regardless, it could drop some rain across Puerto Rico and adjacent islands as it makes its way west.

Long Run:

Long range models suggest whatever develops could make a turn northwestward and threaten Hispaniola, Haiti, Jamaica, and Eastern Cuba.  After that, we have to wait and see what later model runs forecast.

There is NO THREAT at this time for South Florida, but of course as with uncertainties regarding a tropical system, we'll be monitoring.