Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hurricane Omar and TD 16: October 16 Update A

Hurricane Omar:

He's a little stronger cat 1 this morning with winds near 80mph (cat 1:
74-95mph), central pressure 984mb. The center of circulation is near
14.9N, 67.5W and he's officially heading NE at 7mph.

The forecast is not looking pretty for the US Virgin Islands at the
moment I'm afraid. The center of the cone track currently takes the eye
directly over St. Criox as a very strong cat 1/weak cat 2 storm.
However, there's a battle raging in the atmosphere regarding his track
between the front and the storm, with the front trying to push eastward
and the storm trying to move northward - hence it's northeast motion.
Who is stronger? Normally I would say that within 24 hours of landfall
the forecast track is good, but in this case given the complication of
the front, the eye could still pass west or east of St. Criox and I
would really not focus on that center of the cone track but keep an eye
(pun :)) on the entire cone which extends from the eastern tip of PR to
the British VIs at least.

The latest report I have from in St. Thomas:
"I will try to stay in touch as long as the power holds up and I do not
fold up from the preparation exhaustion. At 4am I can report that there
has been no rain during the night as the outermost bands are on us. The
NHC has not altered the track of Omar since 5 pm on the
14th...........looks like the center should hit St. Croix and head into
the Atlantic thru the Anegada passage, which is threading the needle.
Anywhere the eye or center hits will most likely be devastated as all of
the islands have height and the winds have erratic effect as they climb
the hills. We will not even discuss the tournados twirling throughout
the entire storm. The ground is so saturated that the wind with this
hurricane will take down a lot of trees. . . in 1995 hurricane Marylyn
did a direct hit on St Thomas and approached with winds barely above
Tropical storm status and we were devasted to the point of the island
looking like a nuclear bomb had gone off, not a leaf on a tree. From a
seasoned (not brave, I am here because I cannot run and believe me, I
would) storm participant my motto is HOPE FOR THE BEST ....PREPARE FOR
THE WORST........(time and weather permitting)."

I think you all know that the higher you are in a storm, the stronger
the winds. As our reporter said, all the islands are mountainous, so
although the winds at the surface are 80mph, making it a cat 1, even if
this storm doesn't intensify further that could still translate to cat 2
winds at altitude. Hurricane force winds extend out 15 miles from the
center still, but the strong convection continues over a much larger
area, as do the tropical storm force winds.

I'll send out another update later on Hurricane Omar.

This is still a struggling system, although it continues to dump lots of
rain over central America. It's moving west at 3mph, winds are near
30mph, central presure 1005mb, and the center is somewhere around 16N,
84.2W - just just on the northern edge of Honduras. Actually, the center
could be over land, it's difficult to tell because it is such a
disorganized system. No convection near the center, so they are keeping
it as a TD. It will continue to skirt the northern edge of Honduras as
it moves westward. The rain may cause mudslides. The wind is not too
much, so that won't be the damaging factor here.

Unless this develops, I won't send out another update on this system.

Later then,

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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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