Saturday, September 24, 2011

Tropical Storms Ophelia and Philippe: September 24, Update A

Hello there! I have returned from New Orleans… well, to be precise, I have returned from the world-famous New Orleans ‘Airport Quarter’. My job does take me to the most glamorous of locations. ;-) Fortunately I’ve been to The Crescent City many times, and I did at least manage to get my beignets from the airport. Yummy. J Having spent some time in the ‘New Orleans Airport Quarter’, here’s a trivia question for you: New Orleans airport initials are MSY… what does that stands for and why? Answer in tomorrow’s entry! J

In my absence I see Mother Nature snuck in another storm, Philippe. And I use ‘storm’ in the lightest sense of the word. But first, wherefore art thou Ophelia?

TS Ophelia
Officially she is at 18.3N, 58.4W, moving WNW at 12 mph. Winds are 45mph, central pressure is 1007mb. She has been hovering on the edge of barely being a Tropical Storm over the past couple of days (range: 39-73mph) and is still looking very ragged. It is the wind shear that has really kept her discombobulated. The circulation is very weak, and is confined to the lowest levels of the troposphere. Because she is so disorganized I cannot identify a center at all, so I’ll just go along with the NHC on the ‘center location’ and her movement direction/speed. She has a small amount of convection, mostly on the eastern side of the ‘center’ because of the wind shear. Personally, given the very weak circulation and the weak convection, I think this is a Tropical Depression and not a Tropical Storm. There is still strong wind shear ahead of her, so I don’t know how much longer she’ll hold on to her Tropical Storm status.

TS Philippe
This far east Atlantic Blob became a Tropical Depression earlier today, and was rapidly promoted to a very weak Tropical Storm in the 5pm advisory. Officially he is at 11.6N, 28.8W, moving WNW at 13mph. Wind speeds are estimated to be 40mph, central pressure 1006mb. The forecast keeps him out in the Atlantic and has him turning into a cat 1 hurricane (range: 74-95mph) by Monday afternoon. The circulation is stronger in Philippe than in Ophelia, with decent circulation in the lower half of the troposphere. His convection is not very well organized yet, but wind shear is low so I think this will improve over the next day. However, I am not sure he will reach hurricane strength if he stay on the forecast track because the waters are a little on the cool side.

Not much more to say about either of these storms for now. There’s another blobette that the NHC are watching, just off the east coast of Florida/Bahamas region. This is more like a front than a tropical system though, and both the convection and the vorticity (circulation) are pretty weak. I’ll mention it if it looks like it’s going to become something.

It’s Autumn. Hurray! J
That’s all for today.

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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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