Sunday, September 04, 2011

Hurricane Katia and Tropical Depression Lee: September 4, Update A

As soon as I saw the 11am advisory on Katia, I think the first words out of my mouth were “What a Load of Codswallop!” (said in capitals, followed by some pacing around the room and a bit more ranting).

Hurricane Katia

In the 5am advisory on Tropical Storm Katia, the NHC wrote:  “KATIA HEADING NORTHWESTWARD WITH LITTLE CHANGE IN STRENGTH” (winds of 70mph). The forecast was for winds to reach 100mph in 72 hours. 72 HOURS… that’s 3 DAYS later.

In the 11am advisory on Hurricane Katia: “KATIA RAPIDLY INTENSIFIES TO A CATEGORY 2 HURRICANE” (winds of 100mph). Umm… that’s 6 HOURS later.  Is someone trying to tell me that she intensified in 6 hours with absolutely no warning or forecast capabilities? That is just so very sloppy.

I’m sorry, I don’t buy it. She wasn’t a Tropical Storm yesterday, she was a cat 1 hurricane. I think I said two days ago that, based on what I am seeing, she was a mid-level cat 1. I don’t think she “rapidly intensified” at all. I think she made a natural progression from a cat 1 to a cat 2 storm. I’m really flummoxed on why this seems to have been a ‘surprise’ for the NHC!!

That was this morning. You’ll be happy to know that since then I’ve recovered a bit and can carry on in a more normal manner <twitch twitch>…

Officially at the 11pm advisory: Hurricane Katia is at 23.4N, 61W moving NW at 13mph. Her winds are officially at 105mph, central pressure 965mb.

I agree with the name.  I also agree with the location. I agree that she is moving in a NW direction. (I told you I had recovered ;-)).

At the moment I would place her as a strong cat 1 (range: 74-95mph) or weak cat 2 (range: 96-110mph) rather than a strong cat 2 storm at the moment for two reasons:
1.Although she has an eye, it is not very clear. This suggests that winds are around 90-100mph.
2.Convection is not as strong as it should be in a cat 2 storm. The IR satellite image only has a small area of red and none of the gray which indicates that really strong thunderstorm sort of weather:

She was stronger this morning, so I agreed with her being upgraded to a cat 2 at that time. Circulation is stronger than yesterday throughout the troposphere, so she is definitely in the upper cat 1/lower cat 2 range. I think she will get a bit stronger because wind shear is weak and water temperatures are lovely and warm with temperatures over 29 deg C. At the moment I do not have a good view of the direction she will take in a few days, but for now the forecast NW track seems very reasonable. <twitch>

Tropical Storm Lee
Officially TS Lee is at 31N, 91.4W heading ENE at 7mph. His winds are 35mph, central pressure 990mb.

I agree with the location. (Oh, ok, I agree with the name too ;-)).

Lee officially made proper landfall in the early hours of this morning in western LA. They say he is moving ENE, but it looks like he is moving NE. I’m glad to see that they have corrected his forecast track a little and moved it farther inland and have downgraded him to a Tropical Depression. I think the winds are a little weaker than the current forecast, but he’s still a TD. There is still some rain in this system, but not a lot. We had a bit of rain from Lee here today, but there was no need for an umbrella (because I’m a hardy tea-drinking lass from the British Isles ;-)). He really was a water event rather than a wind event, so there was some flooding along coastal LA. As with Irene, keep an eye on rivers and such for a few days.

This is my last entry on Lee.

Now it’s time to enjoy one more evening on this planet. Back to Earth tomorrow.

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DISCLAIMER: These remarks are just what I think/see regarding tropical storms - not the opinion of any organization I represent. If you are making an evacuation decision, please heed your local emergency management and the National Hurricane Center's official forecast and the National Weather Service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run away, run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know.

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