A broad area of increasingly favorable conditions for tropical cyclone development is taking hold in the southwestern Atlantic and extreme far eastern Pacific, over and either side of an area extending from the Yucatan to Central America.
As of 10 AM Oct 16, this region featured an expanding area of scattered and mostly unorganized showers and thunderstorms, with several tropical waves, two tracked wave pouches (51L, 52E), one low center, and a stationary frontal boundary to their northeast. In the mid-levels, troughing is co-located with the wave in the western Caribbean. In the upper-levels, broad anti-cyclonic flow aloft is centered over the northwestern Caribbean.
For over a week, models have been honing in on this general area for development, and although the exact timing of development has been pushed further out with successive runs, the conditions foreseen by these runs are now mostly starting to appear, and it looks increasingly possible that at least one or two tropical and/or hybrid cyclones will form somewhere between the far eastern Pacific to the western Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico, within the next seven days.
None of these features are yet Invest tagged, but if and when they do, this thread will be updated with the Invest tag numbers. It is worth noting that there is an above normal chance for a cross-over from the far east Pac into the western Atlantic, perhaps around the Gulf of Tehuantepec, and so should a far eastern Pacific disturbance form that has robust model support for doing so, it will be tagged and followed in this thread given a then likelihood of being re-tagged or re-numbered.
The next name on the list in the Atlantic is Kate.
The broad area of low pressure located in the Gulf of Honduras associated with a tropical wave is now being tracked as Invest 92L. NHC odds for development of this feature as of 2PM EDT 10/16 are 10% within 48 hours and 20% within 120 hours.
Broad area of low pressure with embedded wave pouches and associated trofs, which at the time this image was taken, had been seriously disrupted by both land interaction - essentially dividing the parent gyre up into thirds - and by the very high shear in its northern portion.
Invest 92L mostly fell apart. The trof to its east - now as of 00Z Oct 22 - is just offshore of the Texas coast and contributing to the very impressive Total Precipitable Water levels seen moving inland. Invest 97E went on to become Hurricane Patricia.
Given the current and forecast intensity and depth of Patricia, together with the strength of the mid/upper-level flow along and ahead of the upper-level low moving into Texas from the southwest, more and more of the most recent model runs actually take Patricia, or its remnant Low, incredibly across mainland Mexico and into south Texas and/or the northwestern Gulf of Mexico, where some runs redevelop it.
Normally this would be an unlikely stretch, but because of the intensity of both the hurricane and the steering currents, along with copious amounts of moisture increase at all levels, is now possible.
Should the circulation remain fairly intact south of the Texas/Mexico border, even if "Patricia" is only a remnant low, it would serve to pump even more deep, tropical moisture into Texas, which would tend to make an historic Texas rain event even more possible later this week - weekend, and perhaps into early next week.
While most recent model runs suggest that the low and mid level centers of Patricia will decouple, either along the southwest coast of Mexico - or once the system - still intact, attempts to traverse the mountainous terrain of mainland Mexico, more and more of the runs are suggesting as mentioned above that there will be enough of a low-level circulation in tow, that the more robust mid-level circulation can sustain the system as a whole, all the way into Texas and/or the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. The most aggressive of these runs is the 10/22 00ZGFDL, which redevelops Patricia into a formidable hurricane off the coast of Houston around Monday the 26th or Tuesday the 27th.
Not nearly as wound up as the 00ZGFDL above, the 10/22 00Z run of the GFS suggests the potential for a significant core rain event over south Texas, or at the very least, greatly enhanced rainfall over the eastern half of the state later this weekend/early next week.
Former Meteorologist & CFHC Forum Moderator (Ed Passed Away on May 14, 2017)
From the NHC 22/15Z Discussion on EASTPAC Patricia:
"Note that model guidance suggests that the mid-level remnants and
moisture from Patricia will be absorbed by a non-tropical area of
low pressure that forms over south Texas or the northwestern Gulf of
Mexico this weekend. This moisture could contribute to a major
rainfall event already ongoing across portions of Texas."
Patricia's intensity heading into an all but certain western Mexico landfall is looking to be historic.
For reference, here is the list of the Top 5 East Pac hurricane landfalls (by wind intensities)
Landfalling Pacific Major Hurricanes
Intensity as measured solely by wind speed:
'Mexico' 1959 160 mph* (260 km/h) , Madeline 1976 145 mph (230 km/h) , Iniki 1992 145 mph (230 km/h), Unnamed 1957 140 mph (225 km/h) , Kenna 2002 140 mph (225 km/h) *Initial reanalysis suggests the 1959 'Mexico' hurricane may have been Cat 4 at landfall.
From the NHC 400 PM CDT THU OCT 22 2015 Discussion. .
1. Confidence is increasing that Patricia will make landfall in the
hurricane warning area along the coast of Mexico as an extremely
dangerous major hurricane Friday afternoon or evening. Preparations
to protect life and property in the hurricane warning area should be
completed today, as tropical storm conditions will begin to affect
the warning area tonight or early Friday.
2. In addition to the coastal impacts, very heavy rainfall is
likely to cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides in the
Mexican states of Jalisco, Colima, Michoacan and Guerrero beginning
late tonight and continuing into Saturday.
Product: Air Force Vortex Message (URPN12 KNHC)
Transmitted: 23rd day of the month at 5:05Z
Agency: United States Air Force
Aircraft: Lockheed WC-130J Hercules with reg. number AF97-5303
Storm Number & Year: 20 in 2015
Storm Name: Patricia (flight in the Northeast Pacific basin)
Mission Number: 3
Observation Number: 10
A. Time of Center Fix: 23rd day of the month at 4:46:20Z
B. Center Fix Coordinates: 16°19'N 105°18'W (16.3167N 105.3W)
C. Minimum Height at Standard Level: 2,182m (7,159ft) at 700mb
D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind: 146kts (~ 168.0mph)
E. Location of the Estimated Maximum Surface Wind: 6 nautical miles (7 statute miles) to the NE (44°) of center fix
F. Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: From 130° at 179kts (From the SE at ~ 206.0mph)
G. Location of Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: 4 nautical miles (5 statute miles) to the NE (46°) of center fix H. Minimum Sea Level Pressure: 894mb (26.40 inHg)
I. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Outside Eye: 12°C (54°F) at a pressure alt. of 3,059m (10,036ft)
J. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Inside Eye: 28°C (82°F) at a pressure alt. of 3,001m (9,846ft)
K. Dewpoint Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): 11°C (52°F)
K. Sea Surface Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): Not Available
L. Eye Character: Closed
M. Eye Shape & Diameter: Circular with a diameter of 7 nautical miles
N. Fix Determined By: Penetration, Radar, Wind, Pressure and Temperature
N. Fix Level: 700mb
O. Navigational Fix Accuracy: 0.02 nautical miles
O. Meteorological Accuracy: 0.5 nautical miles
Maximum Flight Level Wind: 179kts (~ 206.0mph) which was observed 4 nautical miles to the NE (46°) from the flight level center at 4:45:00Z
Dropsonde Surface Wind at Center: From 280° at 25kts (From the W at 29mph)
The purpose of this special advisory is to update for a significant
increase in the intensity of the hurricane. Reports from the Air
Force Hurricane Hunters indicate that Patricia has intensified at an
incredible rate since yesterday. The plane measured peak 700-mb
flight level winds of 179 kt in the northeastern eyewall, and this
may be an unprecedented value for a tropical cyclone. Using the 90
percent adjustment value to convert this to a surface wind speed
yields an intensity estimate of 160 kt, which is tied with eastern
north Pacific Hurricane Linda of 1997 for the strongest on record.
A dropsonde released into the eye measured a sea-level pressure of
894 mb with 25 kt of wind. Adjusting this pressure for the surface
winds (i.e. the drop did not land into the actual center of the eye)
gives an estimated minimum central pressure of 892 mb, which breaks
the record for the lowest pressure of an east Pacific hurricane.
Some fluctuations in intensity are likely today due to eyewall
replacements, but Patricia should maintain category 5 status through
landfall this afternoon or evening...
This thing is unreal. The final recon pass appears to make Patricia the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded in the western hemisphere... 880 mb and 200 mph surface wind. It may strengthen a bit more, amazingly, but recon had to leave so we won't get any additional measurements.
Data from three center fixes by the Hurricane Hunters indicate that the intensity, based on a blend of 700mb-flight level and SFMR-observed surface winds, is near 175 kt. This makes Patricia the strongest hurricane on record in the National Hurricane Center's area of responsibility (AOR) which includes the Atlantic and the eastern North Pacific basins. The minimum central pressure estimated from the aircraft data, 880 mb, is the lowest ever for our AOR.
So Patricia is already the strongest Western hemisphere hurricane, but the eyewall has continued to shrink throughout the day, to the point of being nearly invisible without zoom.
As I recall, Wilma got down to a 2nm eye, but this seems smaller. Is there any data to back this up?
The most recent and possibly final pass through Patricia's center reported a circular eye with a diameter of 5 nautical miles. The reason it appears to be even smaller than that is because it has been filling during the past hour - likely starting an ERC right into landfall (with pressures probably up and winds down some).
Assuming Patricia's Low Level Center does not decouple and get left behind upon traversing the very rough Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range (with a peak elevation of over 10,000') in western Mexico, it is forecast to continue tracking all the way to just west of Brownsville, TX, and so, these plots are the official forecast positions from NHC giving the LLC the benefit of the doubt.
But this does not tell the whole story.
Patricia's very intense Mid Level Circulation will almost certainly continue over Mexico to the northeast or east-northeast and cross into south Texas and/or the northwestern Gulf of Mexico, where, either together with the original Low Level Center, or, more likely, a reconstructed one, could become a very powerful non-tropical, or quasi-tropical cyclone there. This new Low will be bringing with it high amounts of both vorticity and moisture, with the potential to exacerbate flooding in the state. In addition to this potential for additional heavy to torrential rains, the hybridized cyclone may promote some damaging wind gusts in squalls and/or bowing segments, along with a heightened risk of brief tornadoes and waterspouts.
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