TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION: MAJOR HURRICANE MATTHEW
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(T. F. “Storm” Walsh III)
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CURRENT 2016 ATLANTIC TROPICAL CYCLONE TOTALS:
TOTAL STORMS: 13
MAJOR HURRICANES: 2
StormW’s Seasonal Hurricane Forecast:
TOTAL STORMS: 13-15
INTENSE HURRICANES: 3-4
Good evening everyone!
NOTE: The 8:00 p.m. update showed no change in strength and the storm is stationary
At 11:00 p.m. yesterday evening, Matthew became a Category 5 Hurricane on the Saffir/Simpson scale, attain maximum sustained winds of 160 mph. Matthew is the first CAT 5 storm since Felix in 2007. The threshold for a Category 5 storm is 157 mph. Since then, Matthew weakened somewhat today, but has strengthened as of the 5:00 p.m. advisory. As of the 5:00 p.m. advisory, the following was available on MAJOR HURRICANE MATTHEW:
5:00 PM EDT Sat Oct 1
Location: 13.5°N 73.4°W
Moving: NW at 3 mph
Min pressure: 940 mb / 27.76 in
Max sustained: 150 mph
Latest satellite loop imagery indicates Matthews cloud pattern has improved this evening, and the small eye has re-appeared.
One thing perplexes me however…the last update to the shear map indicates the upper level anticyclone to be displaced very far SW of the center of Matthew, and wind shear being imparted over the hurricane. The upper level outflow pattern appears to be somewhat disrupted as well, however he has strengthened slightly as of 5:00 p.m. The current intensity forecast from the NHC indicates that gradual weakening may occur due to interaction of the overall circulation with the surrounding land masses. This is possible, however with such a tight core to the storm, and forecast wind shear/200 mb streamline pattern, albeit I concur at the moment with the NHC intensity forecast scheme, it is possible Matthew could maintain major hurricane status through the 72 hour period. IF the track pans out as per the forecast, Matthew should weaken as it crosses over the SE portion of Cuba…however, if Matthew maintains a tight inner core, weakening may be minimal, as the mountainous region over that portion of Cuba has mountains only extending up 2,000 – 5,000 ft above the surface, and the mountains are sparse. I do agree with the NHC forecast in that once Matthews “center” clears Cuba, he should begin a strengthening trend again. However, the GFS, which has been pretty accurate in the upper level 200 mb streamline pattern, indicates a still very favorable upper level pattern through the 5-7 day forecast period. Based on this forecast, along with forecast high TPW values, and the very high OHC, I am not willing to rule out at this time, that Matthew could attain CAT 3 strength just prior to making direct impact in the Bahamas. Hurricane Watches and Warnings have been posted, and residents within the Watch and Warning areas should complete preparations as quickly as possible. Matthew is an extremely dangerous hurricane.
NHC INTENSITY FORECAST
INIT 01/2100Z 13.5N 73.4W 130 KT 150 MPH
12H 02/0600Z 13.6N 73.8W 125 KT 145 MPH
24H 02/1800Z 14.8N 74.4W 120 KT 140 MPH
36H 03/0600Z 16.1N 74.9W 115 KT 130 MPH
48H 03/1800Z 17.6N 75.0W 110 KT 125 MPH
72H 04/1800Z 21.0N 75.0W 95 KT 110 MPH
96H 05/1800Z 24.5N 75.5W 100 KT 115 MPH
120H 06/1800Z 26.5N 76.0W 100 KT 115 MPH
GFS WIND SHEAR / 200 MB STREAMLINE FORECAST
CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY:
The government of Jamaica has issued a Hurricane Warning for Jamaica. A Hurricane Warning has been issued for Haiti from the southern border with the Dominican Republic to Le Mole St. Nicholas
A Hurricane Watch has been issued for Haiti from east of Le Mole St. Nicholas to the northern border with the Dominican Republic.
The Meteorological Service of Cuba has issued a Hurricane Watch for eastern Cuba from the province of Camaguey southeastward to the province of Guantanamo.
SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…
* Jamaica *
Haiti from the southern border with the Dominican Republic to Le Mole St. Nicholas
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for…
* Haiti* from east of Le Mole St. Nicholas to the northern border with the Dominican Republic
* Cuba* from Camaguey province to Guantanamo province.
Interests elsewhere in Hispaniola and in the Bahamas should monitor the progress of Matthew. A Hurricane Watch could be needed for portions of the Bahamas tonight or Sunday.
A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area. A warning is typically issued 36 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm- force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.
A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.
For storm information specific to your area, please monitor products issued by your national meteorological service.
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
WIND: Hurricane conditions are expected to reach the warning area in Jamaica and Haiti on Monday. Tropical storm conditions are expected to first reach these areas by late Sunday or Sunday night, making outside preparations difficult or dangerous. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion. Hurricane conditions are possible the hurricane watch areas by Monday night or Tuesday morning, with tropical storm conditions possible by Monday.
RAINFALL: Matthew is expected to produce additional rain accumulations of 1 to 2 inches over Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire through Sunday. Matthew is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 2 to 4 inches over northern Colombia, northwest Venezuela, and western Jamaica, with possible isolated maximum amounts of 6 inches. Matthew is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 15 to 25 inches over southern Haiti, with possible isolated maximum amounts of 40 inches. Matthew is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 10 to 20 inches over eastern Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and eastern Cuba, with possible isolated maximum amounts of 25 inches. This rainfall will likely produce life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.
STORM SURGE: The combination of a dangerous storm surge and large and destructive waves could raise water levels by as much as the following amounts above normal tide levels… Southern Coast of Cuba east of Cabo Cruz…7 to 11 feet South Coast of Haiti…5 to 8 feet Northern Coast of Cuba east of Camaguey…4 to 6 feet Jamaica…3 to 5 feet Gulf of Gonave in Haiti…2 to 4 feet Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances. Large waves generated by Matthew will cause water rises to occur well in advance of and well away from the track of the center.
SURF: Swells generated by Matthew are expected to affect portions of the coasts of Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, Jamaica, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Venezuela, Colombia, eastern Cuba, and the Caribbean coastline of Central America during the next few days. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions. Please consult products from your local weather office.
I strongly recommend residents of the Bahamas monitor this hurricane very closely, and be prepared to deal with a strong category 2 to minimal category 3 hurricane after Matthew clears Cuba.
Satellite loop imagery indicates Matthew made a cyclonic loop earlier, and “general” motion was estimated to be a NW drift. However, recent satellite loop imagery, and current update steering indicates the hurricane may have become stationary. I am not certain at the moment as to whether or not this may be an indication he is getting ready to make that north turn. Based on very close analysis of water vapor loop imagery, and DVORAK loop imagery, it appears that the subtropical ridge may have placed itself a little further west. Albeit the weakness forecast is beginning to appear of the U.S east coast, and GOMEX, associated with the upper cutoff low over the Ohio valley, water vapor and DVORAK loops indicate the ridge may be nosing slightly further west, as noted by the dry air and cloud motion to the north and east of Matthew, just near the Bahamas. Based on my analysis of the most current runs of the ECMWF and GFS, and dynamic guidance, the turn is forecast to take place as per the NHC forecast. However, if this stall is an indication that he may be making the turn early, then the forecast track would most likely have to be shifted east. How far the shift would be is unknown to me at the moment, and we would have to see what the NHC would decide. I wish I could tell you more, but the pattern has become extremely complex at the moment. We have the uncertainty of how strong and when the trof will make it closer to the south, and the added problem of the hurricane being strong enough to reinforce the ridge, basically creating somewhat of its own steering current.
All I can say at this time is, I concur with the NHC official track at the moment, and I think it was wise to go with pretty much a blend of the ECMWF and GFS, as both models continue to shift either way, but not as often as they have. Having analyzed both the ECMWF 12Z run, and the GFS 18Z run, the over all track is in fair agreement however the 12Z run of the ECMWF keeps Matthew further east and away from the U.S. east coast, while the GFS pretty much targets the OBX area, on both the 12Z and 18Z run. Again, this is all going to hinge on whether or not Matthew is beginning to make the turn north, or, if he makes the turn as forecast, the actual track in either case is going to depend on how the trof, ridge pattern interact. The GFS is showing more ridging and a slower moving trof, while the ECMWF shows the ridge moving east quicker and the trof sweeping in at the same time. So, pretty much, an accurate track is still up in the air. Once Matthew enters the Bahamas region, I will have a much better idea on future track. One a side note, it is noted I saw a video from Joe Bastardi on my account, and the UKMET according to him, puts a ridge in between the trof and ridge moving east, just enough that Matthew could do a NNW track toward the east coast. The UKMET is one of the models according to him, that put Hermine in the GOMEX. Again, the pattern is extremely complex at the moment.
Have a blessed day!
T. F. “STORM” WALSH III
GMCS, USCG (ret)
METEOROLOGIST / HURRICANE SPECIALIST /SEVERE WEATHER SPECIALIST
MEMBER WEST CENTRAL FLORIDA AMS