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General Discussion >> Other Storm Basins

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CoconutCandy
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Reged: Fri
Posts: 245
Loc: Beautiful Honolulu Hawaii 21.30N 157.83W
Hurricane FELICIA Powers Up, Eyes Hawaiian Islands
      #85816 - Tue Aug 04 2009 05:15 PM

Yep! El-Nino is certainly making it's presence felt. A Dynamic Duo of Tropical Cyclones: Enrique and his 'Sister', Felicia have formed quickly overnight, as clusters of thunderstorms rapidly spun up into a bona fide Hurricane and a Tropical Storm. Just what we *don't* need right now; incursions of marauding Eastern Pacific Hurricanes into our Peaceful Tropical Islands to stir things up !!

Seems that Felicia is of greater potential concern, as it's closer to the Hawaiian Islands and will have plenty of time to gather fuel for the fire, so to speak. Enrique, the smaller, weaker 'brother cyclone' seems to be headed NW, destined for coolers waters in a few days ... a concern perhaps only to oceanic shipping lanes.

Additionally, Felicia will track further south, staying longer within very warm waters with high oceanic heat content. As if that weren't enough, shear is quite light and will remain so for at least the next 2 or 3 days. So, it seems that Hurricane Felicia is now undergoing an 'Explosive Intensification' process, probably resulting in a MAJOR Catagory 3 Hurricane in a few days time or less ... all-the-while making a bee-line for the Big Island. Yikes!



You may notice a ragged, banding-type-eye feature developing through a thin veil of cirrus cloud outflow. If Felicia continues her current 'explosive intensification' phase, we're certain to have a very impressive looking, cloud-free eye by morning, local basin time, especially considering the approaching of the diurnal convective maximum cycle. The real question is: just *how* strong will Felicia get ?!?

Latest NHC Forecasts have it tracking, more or less, directly towards the Big Island, only to show up on Hawaii's doorstep as some type of borderline storm/hurricane perhaps, sometime around Monday morning of next week. Of course, all that can change in the coming days, and hopefully will, especially if some kind of binary interaction occurs with Cyclone Enrique not too far to it's East. And from there ... to where? That *is* the question ...



I'm hopeing and praying that some sort of westerly or southwesterly shear will materialize in some fashion, as has often been historically the case, much like Tropical Storm Lana this past weekend. And that Felicia will be significantly sheared and have the Tropical Punch knocked out of her and stagger in as a much weakened system, providing much welcomed drenching rains for a very parched Big Island and Maui.

El-Nino years often result in drought conditions here in the islands, as well as increased cyclone activity. '82 was Hurricane IWA, Cat 1, direct hit on Kaua'i ... and in '92 was disasterous, 'Piercing' INIKI, a MAJOR Cat 4, and again a direct landfall over Kaua'i, mere weeks *after* Hurricane Andrew demolished South Dade, (my old 'stomping grounds'!), and stole away all the media attention. Kaua'i was just as bad in some areas. Anyways ...

And it now unfortunately apprears, at least for the moment, that we're in for some kind of blow. Let's just hope it's not too severe or that, like Lana this past weekend, will be sheared apart and pass harmlessly without much commotion, well south of the Islands.

As always, please chime in if anything you'd like to add or comment about. Just 'cause you don't live in the Islands, doesn't mean you can't make a valuable contribution to the 'Other Basins' Forum. Open Season!

Obviously, I'll keep y'all appraised with on-going developments in the coming days. Let's just hope that it doesn't become THEE top story on CNN's "Hurricane Headquarters", and they have to send out Anderson Cooper and Long Time Hurricane Veteran John Zerella to be buffeted about and have to grab each other just to stand up against the rising winds !!

Please Pray for Hawaii. - Norm in Beautiful Honolulu


Edited by CoconutCandy (Thu Aug 06 2009 09:59 AM)


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Pegasus
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Re: Hurricane FELICIA Powers Up, Eyes Hawaiian Islands [Re: CoconutCandy]
      #85818 - Tue Aug 04 2009 11:02 PM

Dang man, Hope she stays to the south and quickly diminishes into a tropical storm... Don't need no cane tearing up da islands. Specially when I'll be there in 6 weeks .... so you keep her away there bro ... see ya soon !!! Peg

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CoconutCandy
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Reged: Fri
Posts: 245
Loc: Beautiful Honolulu Hawaii 21.30N 157.83W
MAJOR Cat 3 FELICIA Still Strengthening ... 125mph, 940mb [Re: Pegasus]
      #85819 - Wed Aug 05 2009 10:49 AM

Whoa! What a difference a day makes! (It is now 12:30 PM Hawaii Time as I write, we're 6 hours behind Florida)

( COMMENTS IN CAPS FROM LATEST NHC ADVISORY )

Hurricane Felicia has keyed into the huge heat reserves stored in the very warm waters it's now traversing, and the resulting ocean/atmosphere gyre we call a 'Major Hurricane' is exhibiting itself this morning in all it's awesome and frightening splendor, with sustained winds of 125 mph and gusts up to 155 mph !! (See photo below)

>> DEEP CONVECTION CONTINUES TO FIRE IN THE EASTERN AND SOUTHEASTERN SEMICIRCLES AROUND A WELL-DEFINED EYE. THEREFORE... RAISED THE INITIAL INTENSITY A LITTLE FURTHER TO 110 KTS WHILE DECREASING THE CENTRAL PRESSURE TO 940 MB.

This 5-frame loop is for the duration 8AM to 10:30AM, Hawaii time, just a few hours ago as I write ...



You may notice a *startling evolution*, just in this 2 1/2 hour span! The structure of Felicia transforms from a compact 'Cheese Wheel' feature into the more traditional 'Spiral Galaxy' configuration, as plummeting central pressures and eyewall replacement cycles make their presence felt, and the cyclone responds by expanding and enlarging it's windfield of hurricane and tropical storm force winds, as the attendant far-flung spiral rain bands begin to manifest and make their presence obvious, due to the increasingly convergent, cyclonic flow around the perhiphery of the intensifying, expanding cyclone. And in just 2-1/2 hours!

Also, as expected, Felicia continued to undergo 'explosive intensification' overnight, considering the convective max cycles' predictable effects and especially the high-energy oceanic heat content that's available for the cyclone to draw upon.

>> THE ENVIRONMENT AROUND FELICIA REMAINS CONDUCIVE FOR THE STORM TO MAINTAIN ITS CURRENT INTENSITY OR STRENGTHEN A BIT MORE OVER THE NEXT DAY AS A MID-LEVEL CUT-OFF LOW NEAR CALIFORNIA IS INDUCING DIFFLUENCE ALOFT WHILE VERTICAL SHEAR IS EXPECTED TO REMAIN LIGHT. OCEANIC HEAT CONTENT SHOULD REMAIN SUFFICIENT FOR AT LEAST THE NEXT 36 HOURS.

It'll be interesting to see how large and powerful Major Hurricane Felicia will grow in the next day or two, while she's still over the 'pocket' of very warm water it's currently tracking over. This might turn out to be a "Monster 'Cane" of huge proportions!

The following image is from the passive-microwave imaging sensors aboard polar-orbiting satellites that occassionally happen to make a direct passage over a storm on their appointed rounds (pun intended).



You can easily notice a concentric eyewall feature, as Felicia has already undergone several eyewall replacement cycles, as evidenced from a series of microwave images from several different polar-orbiting satellites.

In this photo, deep convection (thunderstorms) shows up as bright red ... the brighter the red, the more intense the storms. You will notice the central convective core, with it's dual concentric eyewalls. Also readily apparent is the pinwheeling spirals of lines of showery cumulus cloud streets, shown as light blue against a darker blue and green background, as they gently spiral inwards into the area of lowering pressure. These are not thunderstorms, but do serve to give a larger appearance to the hurricane than the inner core alone would suggest from this particular photo. Compare with the visible photo above it.

Hurricane DONNA exhibited a dual, concentric eyewall feature as she made landfall across the Everglades & Southern Florida back in 1960, as "proudly displayed" on the then-new specialized weather radar scopes. My, how far we've come in 50 years! But I digress ...

-------------------------------------------

Hurricane Felicia is likely to dominate the news (*certainly* the local news ... Hawaii is already buzzing!) by this weekend as Felicia draws a bead on the Islands.

The BIG question is, just how near and just how strong will she be at the closest point of approach ?!?

Let's pray that significant shear kicks in and the cooler SST's really do take their toll and knock Felicia down to a more manageable tropical storm again!!

I've seen systems that were just so large and 'wound up', it takes a *good while* for the resultant wind field to spin down, even after being totally sheared apart for days and chugging for many miles over much cooler waters in the shallow tradewind flow.

While the Islands could certainly use some drenching rains, let's all hope and pray that big, bad Felicia will be but a shadow of her former self by the time she spins on by (through?) the Islands.

More later as I find the time ...



Edited by CoconutCandy (Thu Aug 06 2009 04:40 PM)


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CoconutCandy
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Reged: Fri
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Loc: Beautiful Honolulu Hawaii 21.30N 157.83W
FELICIA Now at CAT 4 ... Morphological Considerations [Re: CoconutCandy]
      #85822 - Wed Aug 05 2009 10:13 PM

Just a quick update ... Felicia just continues to strengthen, and is now at Cat 4 intensity at 120 Kts. or Sustained winds of 140 mph !!

And the structure of the hurricane has undergone MAJOR changes today, as well ...

Compare the *ABOVE* Microwave image of what is primarily inner-core convection, taken at 5AM Hawaii time, with this one ...



.. which was taken around Noon, Hawaii time and you'll notice a large difference in the amount and extent of the deep convection, as shown by the red reflectivities, which is now associated with Felicia's ever-expanding circulation.

Next advisory from NHC will be out in about an hour ... should be interesting what their discussion will reveal.

More coming soon ...


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CoconutCandy
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Reged: Fri
Posts: 245
Loc: Beautiful Honolulu Hawaii 21.30N 157.83W
Powerful 'Felicia' Holds On at CAT 4 [Re: CoconutCandy]
      #85826 - Thu Aug 06 2009 12:55 PM

As expected, Hurricane Felicia is maintaining it's intensity at 140 mph, with Gusts as high as 165 mph, and remains a Powerful Category 4 Storm.

CLOUD TOPS HAVE RECENTLY COOLED IN THE EYEWALL OF FELICIA ... WITH THE HURRICANE MAINTAINING A WELL-DEFINED EYE AND A SYMMETRICAL OUTFLOW PATTERN ... SATELLITE INTENSITY ESTIMATES ARE UNCHANGED AND SUPPORT KEEPING THE INTENSITY AT 120 KTS.



The good news is that it appears to have peaked in intensity and will gradually begin to wind down as it tracks over cooler SST's and begins to feel the effects of increasing Westerly Shear in the coming days.

For today however, Felicia will continue to be a MAJOR Cat 3or4 Hurricane, as evidenced by this Animated Visible Loop of the storm since Sunrise, local basin time, about 4 hours ago as I pen.



The latest forecast issued a few hours ago by the good folks at the NHC in Maimi are now expecting that 'Felicia' will arrive in the Islands around Tuesday morning, likely no stronger than a Tropical Depression.



Having said that, there's a few 'Flies in the Ointment' that cannot be completely dismissed, which can effect both the track and, more significantly, the intensity of Felicia when she shows up in our neighborhood early next week ...

FELICIA IS DEMONSTRATING SOME ANNULAR HURRICANE CHARACTERISTICS ... AND WIND SHEAR IS EXPECTED TO BE RATHER LOW FOR THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS ... WHICH COULD ENABLE THE SYSTEM TO MAINTAIN ITS INTENSITY MORE THAN IT NORMALLY WOULD OVER MARGINAL SSTS.

... Additionally ...



ALTHOUGH SSTS RISE SLIGHTLY AS THE HURRICANE MOVES INTO THE CENTRAL PACIFIC ... WESTERLY SHEAR IS EXPECTED TO BECOME MODERATE TO STRONG ... WHICH SHOULD CONTINUE THE WEAKENING PROCESS ...


The operative words here are 'expected' and 'should'. Considering the preceeding paragraph and, should the wind shear not materialize as early or as be quite as strong as the the model guidance is suggesting, we *could* have a Tropical Storm on a somewhat more northerly track, as a storm still retaining some of it's deep convection would not be effected *as much* as a weaker, shallow & sheared system, by the low-level tradewind flow.

Next advisory out in 20 minutes ... Will post an update shortly. Hope the news is better !!






Edited by CoconutCandy (Thu Aug 06 2009 05:16 PM)


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CoconutCandy
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Reged: Fri
Posts: 245
Loc: Beautiful Honolulu Hawaii 21.30N 157.83W
Hurricane FELICIA Down to Cat 2 - Strong Eyewall Dynamics Continue [Re: CoconutCandy]
      #85828 - Fri Aug 07 2009 04:34 PM

Hurricane Felicia has weakened considerable since this time yesterday.

Overnight, the inner eyewall convection weakend, as suggested by the warming cloud top temperatures and a steadily contracting central dense overcast feature.

Also, the eyewall convection became rather ragged looking and several passive microwave images during the night revealed an open eyewall to the NW and all the deep convection (red reflectivities) was, for some reason, shunted into the E Semi-Circle.

Passive Microwave Image of Hurricane Felicia Overnight Showing an Open Eyewall to the NW and Lopsided Convection in the E Semi-Circle ...



However, since that time, convective trends have increased once again, beginning with a large spiral rainband developing, with deep convection, in the Northern quadrant ... roughly the same side as the exposed and still open eyewall.

Microwave Image a few hours later with a Large Spiral Rainband Developing in the Northern Quadrant, roughly 7AM Hawaii Time, (1PM Florida Time).



Moreover, since sunrise (again, local basin time) it's readily apparent from both animated visible satellite loops and color-enhanced IR imagery that a large convective bloom has erupted within the inner-core convection processes, once again igniting powerful updrafts and sustaining deep, bursting convection with cloud top temps exceeding -80 C.

This deep convection has rapidly wrapped around the large 30-mile-wide eye that Cat. 2 Felicia is still sporting, dramatically deepening and widening the eyewall structure, all the while the CDO signature is once again expanding in all quadrants to give the overall appearance of a much stronger hurricane than last night!



This a 4 1/4 hour visible loop, ending 1PM Hawaii, about a half hour ago. You can easily see the eyewall rapidly evolving from a small, ragged structure in a larger and stronger feature, with the deep cold tops totally wrapping around the entire eye once again. Also apparent is the simultaneous blossoming of numerous spiral rainband structures, as if the evolving eyewall dynamics had 'triggered' this development on the perhiphary of the cyclone, or vise versa.


And here is yet another Passive Microwave Image *just out!* that tells the story of a stronger, bigger, much better organized tropical cyclone. I'm no expert, but this is decidely *not* the hurricane we had last night!



So, it seems to me, IMHO, that Still Powerful Cat. 2 Felicia is attempting one last 'Hurrah' and, despite less than optimal SST's is never-the-less managing to hold it's own and even to perhaps strengthen just a tad more yet, before her appointed destination with the impending, quashing upper-lever vertical wind shear in a few days time.

It's also interesting to note that there is more spread in the model guidance during the time Felicia will be coming into Hawaiian Waters ... the GFS has been consistant with bringing Felicia directly over O'ahu for the past 2 days, tho it seems that the NHC forecasters are discounting it in favor of the newer 'super-hurricane' models that have evolved over the past few years.



It's worth noting that a somewhat stonger system, with some remaining deep covection, (as opposed to a shallow system, completely devoid of deep convection), might tend to stay on a slightly more Northern track, as it would not be as influenced by the low-level tradewind flow, as would a more shallow sheared system.

Obviously, these developments bear close watching, and my surmise is that the 5PM package (Hawaii !!) may not be quite as rosey as was yesterday's philosophy.

Another interesting development is that a highly specialized aircraft has arrived in Hawaii and is flying at very high altitudes in the vacinity of Felicia and taking detailed instrument measurements to relay back to the NHC and also to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC) here in Honolulu, who will take over responsibility for tracking and forecasting tropical cyclone Felicia, once she crosses over 140W sometime on Saturday.

Finally, the 53rd Weather Squadron, the 'Hurricane Hunters' will be flying out to Hawaii and arriving here on Saturday to begin making numerous flights into Felicia as she makes her approach towards the Islands.

More coming soon ....


Edited by CoconutCandy (Fri Aug 07 2009 08:35 PM)


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