Tropical Storm Ida Forecast Track Provides Many Questions


IdaRainbow

Tropical Storm Ida Satellite Loop (IR Color)

For latest update on Hurricane Ida affect on Nicaragua and future of Tropical Depression Ida Forecast Track possibly toward US, CLICK HERE

IDAtrack

Tropical Storm Ida Forecast Track

Without much fanfare, Tropical Storm Ida formed in the extreme wester Caribbean in the last couple of days.  It was a cluster of storms that moved just off the Central American coast.  The US Air Force Reserve 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadran (Hurricane Hunters) data and satellite data support the notion that a Tropical Storm with maximum sustained winds of 55 kts (65 mph) exists about 60 miles off the coast of Nicaragua.   In the near term, Ida will track to the NNW slowly over Nicaragua and then Honduras.  Because of its slow movement, excessive rain can be expected over the next few days over those countries.  It will be interesting to see how Ida affects the political situation in Honduras if extreme conditions develop with the heavy rains.  Already there are concerns that heavy rains could produce mudslides in the region.  Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala are very concerned as it was just 10 years ago that the late season Hurricane Mitch killed nearly 12,000 people in the region and caused great economic misery.   The official forecast then has the storm exit the northeastern coast of Honduras and then hug the Yucatan peninsula as it moves north toward the Yucatan Channel by Monday. 

IdaWV

Tropical Storm Ida Water Vapor Loop

Now, there are variables.  First off, the storm will be over land for the better part of two days at least.  It is not out of the question that the storm falls apart over that time.  If the storm moves more slowly, then it not only would  increase the probability of flooding in Honduras and Nicaragua, it would also increase the liklihood that Ida gets killed.  But, if it does follow the forecast track and does enter the Gulf of Mexico, then it certainly would become a threat to the US coast.  The models are all over the place.  I analyzed one claiming a landfall in the Florida Panhandle by Tuesday.  I’ve analyzed another that takes it north of the Yucatan Channel by Tuesday and then has it loop back toward Cuba.  The hurricane models have a variety of solutions with some keeping it over land and crossing the Yucatan into the Bay of Campeche while others have some form of the current forecast.  I would take the current forecast track with a grain of salt because the models generally have a hard time initializing a developing storm and climatology may also be coming into play as well creating a bias given the time of year.  With regard to the time of year, fronts become stronger than in the summer and are more likely to make their way into the Gulf.  By Tuesday, a cold front is expected to be moving into the Northwest Gulf and that may serve to pick up the storm and carry it up and along it toward the Northeast Gulf Coast.  Then again, there is that one model that I noted that suggested a storm meandering northwest of Cuba, which would play out the scnario of the storm getting by-passed by the early to mid week front.   Intensity forecasts are another story altogether.  There are environmental issues and water temperatures may be an issue, certainly more so than one would expect in the summer months.  There is a lot of time with Ida which means there are lots of potential scenrios.  Oh…BTW….a tropical storm or a hurricane may have a male or female name but it is gender neutral.   It drives me crazy when I hear reporters refer to a tropical cyclone as “she.”  It is an “it” and that is the only pronoun that is appropriate….but try telling that to the media.

Ida Spaghetti

Tropical Storm Ida Spaghetti Model

WTNT41 KNHC 050235
TCDAT1
TROPICAL STORM IDA DISCUSSION NUMBER   3
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL   AL112009
1000 PM EST WED NOV 04 2009

SINCE THE LAST AIRCRAFT PENETRATION OF THE STORM…THE CLOUD PATTERN
OF IDA HAS REMAINED WELL ORGANIZED WITH A PROMINENT COLD-TOPPED CDO
AND SOME BANDING FEATURES OVER THE NORTHERN SEMICIRCLE.  A RECENT
SSMIS OVERPASS REVEALED A BANDING-TYPE EYE IN MICROWAVE IMAGERY.
DVORAK INTENSITY ESTIMATES WERE 45 KT FROM TAFB AND SAB BUT THESE
ARE CONSTRAINED BY THE RULES OF THE TECHNIQUE.  BASED ON THE
EARLIER AIRCRAFT DATA AND CURRENT ORGANIZATION OF THE SYSTEM…THE
CURRENT INTENSITY IS ESTIMATED TO BE 55 KT.  THE UPPER-LEVEL
OUTFLOW IS WELL DEFINED AND THERE REMAINS A SHORT PERIOD PRIOR TO
LANDFALL FOR IDA TO STRENGTHEN A LITTLE MORE.  RAPID WEAKENING IS
LIKELY WHEN THE CYCLONE INTERACTS WITH THE MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN OF
CENTRAL AMERICA.  IDA IS PROJECTED TO MOVE BACK OVER THE WATERS OF
THE CARIBBEAN SEA IN ABOUT 3 DAYS.  THE INTENSITY FORECAST IN THE
LATTER PART OF THE PERIOD IS HIGHLY UNCERTAIN…HOWEVER…BECAUSE
IT IS NOT CLEAR WHETHER THE TROPICAL CYCLONE WILL SURVIVE ITS
TRANSIT OVER LAND.

THE ESTIMATED INITIAL MOTION IS NOW NORTHWESTWARD OR 315/6.  IDA IS
BEING STEERED BY THE FLOW BETWEEN A WEAK RIDGE OVER THE
NORTH-CENTRAL CARIBBEAN SEA AND A WEAK TROUGH OVER THE SOUTHWESTERN
GULF OF MEXICO.  AS THE RIDGE BUILDS NORTHWARD OVER THE NEXT FEW
DAYS…THE TROPICAL CYCLONE SHOULD GRADUALLY TURN TOWARD THE
NORTH-NORTHWEST.  MOST OF THE TRACK MODELS ARE IN FAIR AGREEMENT ON
A GENERAL NORTHWARD OR NORTH-NORTHWESTWARD MOTION…BUT VARY
SIGNIFICANTLY IN FORWARD SPEED.  THE OFFICIAL FORECAST IS A BLEND
OF THE MODEL CONSENSUS AND THE PREVIOUS NHC TRACK.

THE BIGGEST IMPACT OF THIS SLOW-MOVING SYSTEM WILL LIKELY BE
LIFE-THREATENING FLASH FLOODS AND MUD SLIDES CAUSED BY EXTREMELY
HEAVY RAINS.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INITIAL      05/0300Z 12.5N  83.1W    55 KT
12HR VT     05/1200Z 12.9N  83.6W    60 KT…INLAND
24HR VT     06/0000Z 13.5N  84.0W    40 KT…INLAND
36HR VT     06/1200Z 14.3N  84.4W    30 KT…INLAND
48HR VT     07/0000Z 15.1N  84.6W    25 KT…INLAND
72HR VT     08/0000Z 17.0N  85.0W    35 KT…OVER WATER
96HR VT     09/0000Z 19.5N  85.5W    40 KT
120HR VT     10/0000Z 21.5N  86.5W    45 KT

$$
FORECASTER PASCH/ROBERTS

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