Sun Sep 02 2007 07:41 AM
Watching Category FIVE Hurricane Felix and Area off Georgia

11PM EDT 2 September 2007 Update
Felix maintains a 145kt, or 165mph wind. The pressure is being estimated by NHC to 930mb, or a 4mb drop. However, it should be noted that the recent mission was canceled mid-way through due to a scary run-in with a combination of hail and Extreme Turbulance. Extreme Turbulance is defined by NHC as inability to control the aircraft, which is extremely dangerous to crew and is thus quite understandable that the mission was prematurely cut short. The Central Dense Overcast has, in the last 1.5 hours, appeared to have warmed slightly and this may be an early indication of system structural changes.

Some other notables and statistics:
Located near 13.9N/73.9W
Movement is 280 degrees, or close to west-northwest at 18mph
The government of Honduras has issued a Hurricane Watch from Limon to the Honduras/Nicaragua border.

More to come...

8PM EDT 2 September 2007 Update

Felix has become a Category 5 hurricane with 165mph winds....

Recon found a dramatic pressure drop, down to 934 mb. Ambient pressures are high, so with that it supports a rather high windspeed even at that pressure...

Recon found a flight level windspeed of roughly 163knots... Which puts surface winds (about 90%) at 165MPH.
It is heading still mostly west, and northwest. It apparently is still strengthening, Recon ran into enough turbulence and graupel (hail) to abort the mission after the last drop, which is rare event for the hurricane hunters. (I'm sure it's an interesting story -- a note from the Special discussion says, "A dropsonde released in the southwest quadrant landed in the northeast quadrant." -- lightning was also found in all four quadrants of the hurricane. Which is reserved normally for extremely rapid intensifying systems that still aren't done intensifying.)

This makes it the second category five hurricane in less than a month, and Felix's structure is still very good going over very high water temperatures.

The hurricane force winds are surprisingly narrow only extending about 25 miles from the center, so this is a tightly wound system miles from the center. It is likely to undergo some sort of eyewall replacement at some point, but when is in doubt. Conditions are about as perfect as they can get for the hurricane right now. Extremely high water temperatures, good air environment and outflow, and no sign of dry air intrusion.

More to come soon.

4:42PM 2 September 2007 Update
Felix is now a category 4 hurricane with winds of 140MPH, pressure is down to 956, and conditions continue to be near optimal for continued strengthening. This has been an extremely rapid deepening of a system that was just a tropical depression about 38 hours ago.

3:25PM 2 September 2007 Update
Felix continues to intensify at a rapid rate. Recent Recon has measure a 132kt flight level wind. 10% reduction from that level brings a little less than 120kts winds to the surface, or close to 135mph. It is likely that Felix is a Category 4 hurricane at this time, although awaiting official declaration. We will know soon enough! Another interesting observation reported in the Vortex Message is that the eye has evolved into a stadium structure, a characteristic reserved usually for intense tropical cyclones.

1:50PM 2 September 2007 Update
Felix has been upgraded to a Category 3 storm with winds of 125MPH and a pressure of 964mb. Recon is not finished flying through the system yet, but Felix appears to be currently in a full rapid strengthening mode, and about to enter even warmer water. It has definitely has the potential to be Felix the Cat 4 later tonight or tomorrow.

1:45PM 2 September 2007 Update
From reports from recon flight inside Felix, and Satellite estimates (Dvorak T Numbers of around 6.0 which equate to roughly 125-130MPH winds) , it appears Hurricane Felix is now a major hurricane, and strengthening quite rapidly at that. Pressures are down to roughly 964mb. The National Hurricane Center's 2PM Update should reflect major status.

11:30AM 2 September 2007 Update
Category 2 Hurricane Felix is still moving west northwest at around 18 miles per hour. It has strengthened a bit, and now an eye is visible on satellite imagery.

98L: is persisting, but not developing much today. We're still watching that.

A disturbance off the coast of Georgia is worth watching for development too, and could potentially become a tropical depression later it will need to be watched because of the close proximity to land. This system won't be moving all that much because steering currents are weak, and already is dumping lots of rain on parts of eastern Georgia and South Carolina.

From Tip:

The system off the Georgia coastline was originally triggered by a stalling frontal zone. Originally a baroclinic system altogether, this now appears to be entering a phase-transition because the air mass north to south through the axis of weak rotation is becoming less differentiable. This, while convection persists, needs to be monitored so long as we have a general southwest wind field beneath the axis of frontalysis and east-northeast wind above. That provides a nature cyclonic convergence.

Two key factors:

* Shear remains low in the deep layer analysis. Moreover, the upper level winds are somewhat divergent while being light in that area. This can be seen using
http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/nwatl/loop-avn.html ..and clicking the radial button that states, HDW-High, which overlays the wind field on the image. There is no floater assigned to this feature but NHC has given it a mention in the 11am so perhaps an Invest is in the works. Given to some cyclonic presentation emerging a circulation is likely in the process of forming and an Invest would have more success at that time.

* Oceanic heat content; ample availability in the area as is suggested via:
http://www.erh.noaa.gov/box/maps/sst/2007090200_sst_AB.png Additionally, we all know the Gulf Stream is in that area and that supplies an artery pumping rich fuel directly into any fledging system. Sometimes if there is an offshore component, cooler shelf water can upwell along the immediate Coast in that vicinity. That does not appear to be the case now as buoy data indicates temperatures ranging between 81 and almost 90F!

Whatever develops there is likely to move very slowly and be there for awhile. The larger scale synoptic evolution does not provide for very many steering signals. There is a ridge tending to develop surface and aloft, moving off the Mid Atlantic and New England states and into the NW Atlantic, from day-3 through day-6. That should help pin whatever is there in place, or perhaps even push it SE or SW. Some of the models actually do suggest that occurring, showing a slow but gradual development only drifting around in that area.

More discussion on the system off the Georgia coast can be found here.

Original Update
Felix is moving north of the Netherlands Antilles islands this morning, as a solid category 2 hurricane, it will likely strengthen some more as it moves away from the islands. Possibly quite a bit more as it appears the storm is in a very good position for strengthening.

The future track still suggests that Honduras may be dealing with a brush of this system later in the week, and all eyes from there,including Nicaragua, Belize, and the Yucatan of Mexico should keep a strong eye out. It does not look like Felix will have any United States impact, the ridge is strong, and there is nothing currently that could move it more northward.

98L is not looking as good today as it did yesterday, but the system could still develop later on as there is a circulation with it. If it survives the latest round of unfavorable conditions, it still has a chance to develop.

If you would like to take a guess at where Felix will go, and may not have exact reasoning for it, let us know here

Radar Loops
{{radarlink|jax|Jacksonville FL}}
{{radarlink|clx|Charleston, SC}}
{{radarlink|ltx|Wimington, NC}}
Netherland Antilles/Aruba Radar 1
Netherland Antilles/Aruba Radar 2
{{StormLinks|Felix|06|6|2007|1|Tropical Storm Felix}}

{{StormLinks|98L|98|7|2007|2|98L (East Atlantic Wave)}}

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