October 2016 winds down and it is likely to wrap up with no more named storms. It has been an active month. While Matthew formed in late September it made landfall in Haiti, Cuba, and the Bahamas as a major hurricane in early October. Matthew also made landfall as a hurricane in South Carolina. Major hurricane Nicole lashed Bermuda in mid October. We continue to watch the western Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico and the western Atlantic in the days ahead. These areas favor tropical depression development in late October. Fortunately, the atmosphere does not favor tropical organization over the next 5+ days in these locations.
On Tuesday two frontal systems keep upper level winds hostile in the western Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and western Atlantic. A tropical wave between the Lesser Antilles and Africa is still disorganized. Wind shear is moderate overhead and will increase as this disturbance moves westward at 10-15 mph. The GFS hinted at possible tropical depression development with this feature, but it has now backed off on that possibility. This isn’t a typical region we watch for tropical cyclone development in late October, so this makes perfect sense. Wind shear is too high.
The European wind shear forecast shows the extent of unfavorable upper level winds in the Atlantic Basin. With an active upper level pattern and fronts moving off the Southeast coast every few days wind shear will remain moderate to high over the next 5-10 days.
Meanwhile in the eastern Pacific major hurricane Seymour continues the strengthen. The tiny and powerful storm will strengthen further on Wednesday over warm waters and under light wind shear. Beyond mid-week wind shear increases. Seymour will dissipate before its remnant moisture approaches the west coast of the U.S. late this weekend.
Invest 99L has not organized much Wednesday. On Wednesday afternoon it is an elongated area of convection north of Turks and Caicos and near the southeast Bahamas. The broad area of low pressure sits in a region of moderate to high wind shear. These upper level winds don’t favor significant tropical organization but do drop some Thursday and early Friday. There is a chance Invest 99L briefly becomes a subtropical/tropical depression before it combines with a frontal system Friday or Saturday. The NHC puts those odds at 80% over the next 5 days. Otto is the next named storm.
The broad area of low pressure heads northwest under the influence of the Bermuda high through Thursday. On Friday it lifts north-northeast and continues that path east of New England towards Nova Scotia and Newfoundland Saturday. Water temperatures are much cooler in the northwest Atlantic. Cooler waters and increased shear will put an end to any tropical characteristics Invest 99L may acquire.
Futurecast shows a potent frontal system moves into the Northeast U.S. Friday. This will bring heavy rain to some. It also shows Invest 99L well offshore at 5 PM. The European model shows Invest 99L gets absorbed into this complex late Friday. The GFS model is also on board with this solution late Friday and early Saturday.
On the other side of the globe Typhoon Haima made landfall in the north Philippines Wednesday. It made landfall on the island of Luzon with category 4 strength winds of 140 mph. Haima brings tremendous rainfall, major hurricane force winds and large waves to the northern Philippines. It is set to move into southeast China as a much weaker system Friday but will still bring heavy rain and hurricane force winds to the region.
The area of disturbed weather we’ve been watching east of the Bahamas and northeast of Turks and Caicos, Invest 99L, shows signs of life Tuesday. Convection is scattered and disorganized but has increased some since Monday. Further organization is likely mid to late work week as the area of low pressure lifts northward. Invest 99L may gain at least some tropical features during this time. As of Tuesday afternoon the odds of subtropical/tropical depression development sit at 80% the next 5 days. A hurricane reconnaissance aircraft may investigate the area of low pressure Wednesday, if necessary.
Invest 99L will battle hostile upper level winds in the days ahead. On Tuesday high southwesterly shear keeps the area of low pressure broad in nature. This is indicated by the red unfavorable color on the graphic below courtesy the University of Wisconsin/NOAA.The disturbance moves northwestward into a region of slightly lower wind shear late Wednesday and Thursday. Notice the yellow and green area of moderate 10-20 kt shear. This in the most likely time frame for a subtropical or tropical disturbance to form. Otto is the next named storm.
Computer models suggest a brief northwest track west of Bermuda and well east of the U.S. through Thursday. By Friday a strong trough/cold front will guide the disturbance away from New England. The frontal system may merge with the possible tropical low near or just east the Canadian Maritimes this weekend.
Both the European and GFS model keep Invest 99L east of the U.S.. Both models show the possible tropical/subtropical low merges with a cold front Friday or Saturday. This would put an end to any tropical characteristics. The European model shows the frontal system and area low pressure combine late Friday or early Saturday offshore of New England. Nonetheless, it is going to be a cool and damp Friday and weekend in the Northeast.
Elsewhere, Nicole became post-tropical over the north Atlantic south of Greenland early Tuesday. Nicole was a tropical cyclone for 2 weeks. This is highly unusual in the north Atlantic in October.
Across the globe Super Typhoon Haima takes aim at the Philippines mid-week. As of Tuesday afternoon the powerful highly organized system has winds comparable to a category 5 hurricane. Only slight weakening is expected before landfall. The massive super typhoon has an impressive and large wind field. Hurricane force winds extend out 60 miles northeast of its center. Heavy rain and the strongest winds will batter the central and north Philippines Wednesday (U.S. time). Waves may build up to 40 feet.
Hurricane Nicole holds its own Monday. Despite its unfavorable location to maintain tropical strength it is still a hurricane at 11 AM. Max sustained winds are at 75 mph and pressure is up to 962 mb. It moves north-northeast over the open north Atlantic at 9 mph. As it gains latitude and moves over even cooler waters Nicole is on track to lose its full-blown tropical status Monday evening or Tuesday. It will also interact with a frontal boundary during this time and become extratropical. It could bring any remaining squalls to Greenland mid-week.
Water temperatures are well below the threshold for tropical development in the north Atlantic in the 60s and 70s. Even after upwelling from Hurricane Matthew water temperatures favor tropical depression development east of the Bahamas. Sea surface temperatures in this region are still near 80 degrees.
An area of disturbed weather over the central and southeast Bahamas is worth watching in the days ahead. It is a sheared complex of showers and storms Monday due to strong westerly upper level winds. Wind shear relaxes some mid-week and a tropical depression could form during this time. The disturbance drifts east Monday and will lift north and northeast Tuesday and Wednesday east of Florida. As of 11 AM there is a medium chance of tropical or subtropical depression development over the next 5 days.
There is a window of opportunity for this area of convection to gain some tropical characteristics this week. By Friday or Saturday both the European model and GFS model show low pressure merges with a cold front. This cold front protects Florida and the Southeast from any tropical impacts. Below is the 0Z Euro for Friday afternoon. By late Friday and Saturday the low combines with the frontal boundary near the Canadian Maritimes.
The GFS is also on board with a tropical depression forming late work week northeast of the Bahamas and east of the U.S. Wind shear will be moderate to high ahead of the approaching cold front. The 12Z GFS shows low pressure combines with the front near New England (but just offshore) Saturday. Stay tuned. If this disturbance briefly gets a name it will be Otto.
NIcole won’t give up. It has been a named storm for thirteen days and still maintains tropical characteristics over the north Atlantic Sunday. Despite cool sea surface temperatures a small area of convection near its center shows Nicole still has a warm core. As of 5 AM max sustained winds are at 85 mph. Nicole moves east at 6 mph. It will transition to a post-tropical system early this work week over even cooler waters. Swells from Nicole will impact Bermuda and portions of the east coast during the next couple of days.
An area of disturbed weather near the Bahamas has a low chance of tropical depression development over the next 5 days. Convection is disorganized early Sunday due to high westerly wind shear. Upper level winds relax some by mid-week but do remain somewhat hostile. Any convection that attempts to organize may slowly meander eastward over the next few days.
Both the GFS and European model hint that low pressure may spin up east of Florida mid to late week. During this time frame a potent cold front moves into the eastern U.S.. Wind shear will be quite high during this time, which will make it difficult to obtain tropical characteristics. The European model shows low pressure merges with a cold front east of the Mid-Atlantic region late Friday and Saturday before it heads east. The GFS shows a similar, but farther northward solution near New England Saturday.
Nicole continued to churn in the North Atlantic Friday afternoon after making a direct hit to Bermuda on Thursday as a Category 3 hurricane. The small island nation saw wind gusts measured at 120-130mph and torrential rain, but seemed to have escaped with little damage. As for Nicole’s current look, enhanced satellite imagery shows a sheared storm that may be beginning its extratropical transition. The storm lacks much convection, and almost all of the shower activity and cloud cover are on its north side. (Statement in article title H/T Phil Klotzbach)
As of 5pm, Nicole was still a hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 75mph. It was located 715 miles SSW of Cape Race Newfoundland and was moving ENE at 20mph. Minimum central pressure was 971mb. The storm is expected to become fully post-tropical by Saturday or Sunday.
Elsewhere across the Atlantic, things are pretty quiet. There are a couple tropical waves out there, but dry air and strong wind shear should prevent anything from getting going in the next 5-7 days.
While the Atlantic looks quiet, we will continue to watch the Gulf and Caribbean over the next couple of weeks. Several of the models have periodically hinted at development in these basins over the next 7-10 days. This would be a reasonable area of development climatologically-speaking, and something to look out for in the coming days. Below is the Euro model showing a broad area of low pressure in the NW Caribbean late next week.
Tropical Storm Nicole strengthens early Tuesday as wind shear relaxes. It will likely become a hurricane for the second time in its lifetime by Tuesday night. Hurricane Hunters will assess the strength and organization of Nicole Tuesday afternoon. As of 11 AM Tuesday max sustained winds top out at 65 mph. Pressure is down to 990 mb and Nicole drifts towards Bermuda as it moves north-northwest at 5 mph. A Tropical Storm Warning and a Hurricane Watch are in effect for the island. Nicole will pass very close to Bermuda Thursday morning as a strengthening hurricane. It could bring up to 3-5 inches of rainfall to Bermuda Wednesday and Thursday along with strong winds and large waves.
While no tropical cyclone development is expected over the next 5 days our eyes are on the Western Caribbean next week. Several models try to spin up low pressure in that region late next week. The location favors development in mid October.
Matthew is no longer classified as a hurricane Sunday morning. The convection is well displaced from the exposed center of circulation off of North Carolina. As of 5 AM Matthew becomes post-tropical and will transition to an extra-tropical low Sunday as it merges with a cold front. As of 8 AM Matthew is packing hurricane force winds of 75 mph. It is moves east-northeast at 14 mph away from North Carolina. While Matthew is no longer classified as a hurricane it still brings hurricane impacts to North Carolina and the Mid Atlantic. Waves batter the region and a minor storm surge was felt in eastern North Carolina early Sunday. A wind gust of 84 mph was recorded before 8 AM near Hatteras, North Carolina. Winds will gradually subside late day as Matthew heads eastward. A shield of steady rain exits the Mid Atlantic and Northeast late in the day. That same shield of rain brought over a foot of rain to parts of South Carolina and North Carolina Saturday. Sadly, two people died in a submerged vehicle in Bladen County North Carolina Saturday afternoon.
The 5 AM track on Matthew is good news for the Bahamas and U.S. The remnants of Matthew will be headed due east and out to sea. We are longer expecting a recurve south towards the Bahamas mid-week.
Tropical Storm Nicole meanders well east of the Bahamas early Sunday. It will be lifting north and east in the days ahead and could affect Bermuda late work week. Nicole could become a hurricane for the second time in its lifetime later this week. It is no threat to the U.S..
Matthew battered east and northeast Florida with flooding rains, hurricane force winds, record storm surge and coastal erosion Friday. The deadly hurricane brought another trail of destruction to coastal Georgia and North Carolina and South Carolina Saturday. A wind gust of 96 mph in Tybee Island, GA and 97 mph in Hilton Head, SC was recorded early Saturday as Matthew’s eyewall lashed the region. After paralleling the U.S. coastline for over 24 hours Matthew officially made its first U.S.landfall in coastal South Carolina near McClellanville, South Carolina at 11 AM Saturday morning. As of 11 AM the center is 55 miles south-southwest of Myrtle Beach. Hurricane Hunters discover Matthew weakens to a category 1 hurricane with 75 mph winds. It moves northeast at 12 mph. The Charleston area was hit hard early Saturday with 5-10 inches of rain and coastal flooding at low tide. Matthew brings a serious inland flooding threat to both South and North Carolina Saturday and early Sunday. Some areas east of I-95 may see up to 15 inches of rain. A spin up tornado threat also exists in the northeast quadrant. The Tornado Watch in red on the graphic below is until 4 PM Saturday.
Matthew will continue to bring fresh water flooding and coastal flooding to the Southeast U.S. this weekend. A storm surge of 5-7 feet is possible from Charleston, South Carolina to Cape Fear North Carolina during high tide. The tide gauge in Charleston Harbor peaked at 9.29 feet Saturday morning at low tide. This is the third highest on record and the highest since Hurricane Hugo in 1989. The Fort Pulaski tide gage at the mouth of the Savannah river also shattered a record overnight Friday into Saturday. With the combination of storm surge, high tide and heavy rain. The gage peaked at 12.56 feet blowing past Hurricane David’s record of 12.21 feet set in 1979.
As of 11 AM wave heights build up to 23 feet offshore of Charleston, South Carolina. Meanwhile along the coastline, waves build up to 12 feet+. Coastal flooding is imminent during an early afternoon high tide cycle in the Myrtle Beach area and Wilmington, North Carolina area.
The 11 AM official track is good news for the Bahamas mid-week. Matthew will likely weaken to a remnant low east of the U.S. Sunday night as it gets absorbed into a frontal system. Wind shear will be too high for it maintain tropical characteristics. The remnants of Matthew may make it to the Bahamas mid-week but impacts will be minimal.
Hurricane Matthew made its closest pass to Cape Canaveral at 6 AM Friday morning. While the center stayed 25 miles offshore the outer eyewall lashed Brevard and Volusia counties with hurricane force winds for several hours. A few miles made all of the difference with Matthew, and as of 8 am Friday morning, the center has stayed offshore. This was in line with the latest National Hurricane Center forecast and the 18Z, 0Z, and 06Z computer models. Heavy rain and damaging winds will lift northward into northeast Florida late Friday. Matthew went through an eye wall replacement cycle overnight and it continues early Friday. As of 8 AM Matthew is a category 3 hurricane with 120 mph winds. Major hurricane Matthew moves NNW at 14 mph and pressure has risen to 944 mb.
As of 8 AM here are peak wind gusts in east central Florida. Multiple wind gusts of 100 mph+ were recorded at the top of the Cape Canaveral tower. Keep in mind this is 50 feet above the ground. Hurricane force winds were felt in Vero Beach, Playalinda Beach and Satellite Beach with inland counties experienced tropical storm wind gusts.
Wave heights batter east Florida Friday morning. Seas build up to near 20 feet north of Cape Canaveral and up to 33 feet offshore. Beach erosion will be significant. Storm surge is a major threat for northeast Florida and southeast Georgia. A dangerous storm surge of 7-11 feet is possible during high tide in this region.
As of 5 AM Matthew will pass incredibly close to northeast Florida Friday afternoon and evening, but at this point, the center looks to stay just offshore. Landfall or not, the major hurricane will still bring hurricane force wind gusts to some as hurricane force winds extend out 60 miles from the center of Matthew. It will be a close call for landfall in southeast Georgia and South Carolina, but most models keep Matthew just offshore. With that being said, heavy rain and strong winds are still likely along the immediate coast. Matthew will gradually weaken in the days ahead as wind shear increases. A loop back towards the Bahamas and southeast Florida is still a good possibility early next week. Fortunately, Matthew will be much weaker at this point due to wind shear and upwelling from its track near Florida and the Bahamas. The official forecast brings Matthew near the Bahamas as a minimal tropical storm early Wednesday morning.