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General Discussion >> Hurricane Ask/Tell

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JoshuaK
Weather Guru


Reged: Mon
Posts: 153
Loc: Central Florida 28.12N 81.99W
Best breeding grounds for Cat 5?
      #80950 - Wed Jul 23 2008 10:50 AM

There are two areas in recent years and in years more distant past which have seen a number of category 5 storms develop within these areas. Although a lot of factors need to come into play for a storm to intensify into category 5 status, these two areas seem to have a lot more category 5 storms form in them than other areas of the Atlantic Basin.

First area is the central Gulf of Mexico region. Recently this region has seen Katrina and Rita intensify into Category 5 status, and in times past has seen Camille intensify into a strong Cat 5.

The second area is what I call the Belize Square, an area of the Western Caribbean with the Yucatan, Cuba, Cayman Islands, Honduras, and Belize defining the borders of. In recent and past times this area has seen such Cat 5 storms as Wilma, Mitch, Gilbert, and Anita among others.

The question I'm asking, is whether or not there are any known definining factors (current, noticeable lack of shear at certain times of the year, etc.) that seems to make these areas more conductive for Category 5 storms?


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LDH892
Meteorologist


Reged: Tue
Posts: 13
Loc: Carolinas
Re: Best breeding grounds for Cat 5? [Re: JoshuaK]
      #80974 - Wed Jul 23 2008 08:18 PM

Quote:

There are two areas in recent years and in years more distant past which have seen a number of category 5 storms develop within these areas. Although a lot of factors need to come into play for a storm to intensify into category 5 status, these two areas seem to have a lot more category 5 storms form in them than other areas of the Atlantic Basin.

First area is the central Gulf of Mexico region. Recently this region has seen Katrina and Rita intensify into Category 5 status, and in times past has seen Camille intensify into a strong Cat 5.

The second area is what I call the Belize Square, an area of the Western Caribbean with the Yucatan, Cuba, Cayman Islands, Honduras, and Belize defining the borders of. In recent and past times this area has seen such Cat 5 storms as Wilma, Mitch, Gilbert, and Anita among others.

The question I'm asking, is whether or not there are any known definining factors (current, noticeable lack of shear at certain times of the year, etc.) that seems to make these areas more conductive for Category 5 storms?




The regions you outlined are what I would think of as being the most conducive as well, adding also the Straits of Florida-Bahamas region (2 cat. 5s - Andrew and the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935). I'm not an oceanographer but I believe you were getting close when you mentioned the ocean currents. The water temps in these regions typically stay warm for longer periods of time and can rebound quickly after the passage of a TC. There can be several moderating factors for lack of shear in these regions, some related to larger scale oscillations (La Nina) and others to short term atmospheric windows (Andrew) of reduced shear. You've raised a good question and I'd like to hear more comments from others too.


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saluki
Weather Hobbyist


Reged: Sun
Posts: 57
Loc: Fort Lauderdale, FL 26.20N 80.12W
Re: Best breeding grounds for Cat 5? [Re: JoshuaK]
      #80978 - Thu Jul 24 2008 11:43 AM

Quote:

The question I'm asking, is whether or not there are any known definining factors (current, noticeable lack of shear at certain times of the year, etc.) that seems to make these areas more conductive for Category 5 storms?




In the case of the central Gulf, the warm Loop Current probably plays a role. My recollection is that it was a strong contributor to the rapid intensification of Katrina and Rita in 2005 and also helped Wilma strengthen on its way from the Yucatan to South Florida.


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