Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Hurricane Katia and Tropical Depression 14: September 6, Update A

In watching Hurricane Katia today and comparing her to the official updates, I am reminded of the incomparable movie, The Princess Bride:
Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

The question is, am I Vizzini or Inigo! ;-)

I think the official intensity for Katia has been a tad bit off since yesterday... Inconceivable, huh?

Hurricane Katia
Officially she is at 27.8N, 66.9W heading NW at 10mph. She is now back to being a strong cat 2 storm (range: 96-110mph) with winds of 105mph, central pressure 963mb.

I agree with her location and her NW(ish) movement. She’s been heading in that direction all day. But while I was in transit back to Earth yesterday (hence the radio silence), I read that she went up to a cat 4 overnight, and was apparently a cat 3 for most of today. Here's a visible satellite image of her from this morning (about 12 hours ago):

I’m pretty impressed that as a cat 3 storm (as she was then) she did not have an eye! She still doesn’t. It looks like she is weakening and I think she’s a cat 1 storm now. Although she is trying to get stronger, dry air has crept in from the north so her convection has decreased and you can see she’s not very ‘circular’ in the IR satellite images:

Her low level convergence and upper level divergence are also not as well defined as they were earlier this morning, another indication that she is much weaker.

<an aside: satellite image note> The time stamp on the satellite images is on the bottom. For example, the visible image has “SEP 6 11 14:45 UTC”. UTC stands for  “Universal Time, Coordinated” (and not the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga ;-)). It replaced Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) as the World standard for time in 1986. If you woke up one morning in 1986 and noticed something was different, it was probably either this or the end of shoulder-pads in women’s fashions.  It is based on an atomic time rather than the rotation of the earth. In the US, Eastern Standard Time is 5 hours behind UTC… so in the visible satellite image, 14:45 corresponds to 9:45am EST. <end of aside>

She still has very good circulation throughout the troposphere, and water temperatures are a lovely 28-29 deg C. Warm enough to keep her going. But the waters warmer than 26 deg C only cover the upper 25 m of the water column, so I don’t expect her to intensify much because of anything the ocean is providing.  That means that any changes in intensity will be because of atmospheric conditions. Wind shear is not too strong and it doesn’t look like it will get any stronger. If she can find some eye drops and overcome the dry air issue, she might intensify back to a cat 2. I don’t see any indicators that will make her much stronger than that though.

As you can see in the IR satellite image, she has a large girth. Her cloud field from one end to the other spans a few hundred miles. I do not have a good map of the pressure fields at the moment, but I would generally agree with the NHC forecast track which has her curving N and NE between Bermuda and the US. It might be a Bit Breezy on Bermuda in a couple of days.

Tropical Depression 14
I have been watching this one for a couple of days now. Until yesterday it’s bark was worse than its bite, with more rain than circulation. However, yesterday the circulation started to improve in the lower troposphere but the convection is now pretty wimpy. Once the convection picks up, I would consider this a Tropical Storm. (Next name clue: I hope you like The Sound of Music ;-)). It is officially centered at around 11.8N, 37W, moving WNW at 18mph. Winds are 35mph, central pressure estimated to be 1008mb. At the moment I see this one continuing on a more westward track towards the central Caribbean, but all the islands should be getting ready (including those to the north) because it is too soon to tell where on that chain it will end up in 3-4 days.

And now for something different. Kent from Florida asked about the etymology of ‘codswallop’. Alas, I did not come up with such a wonderful phrase but please feel free to quote me as much as you like ;-). Apparently no-one knows who did (if you know, send me a note!). The first written reference is from a 1959 UK TV show script, but they say that it was in existence before then. I grew up with it, so it’s par for course in my world. J There is some speculation about the origin, dating back to an English soft drink maker and beer in the 1870s… of course it’s related to drink! ;-) (ref: http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/codswallop.html).

Now back to my lovely cheese-drinking wine from Monks Gate, Oregon. Yum. Yum.
More fun and games tomorrow!
Toodle pip,

Blogs archived at http://jyotikastorms.blogspot.com/
Twitter @JyovianStorm

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.

No comments: