Weather Nerd

Hurricane Warnings up

As expected, Hurricane Warnings are up as of 11:00 PM EDT for substantial portions of the Texas and Mexico coasts:

Unfortunately, the 11:00 advisory did little to clear up the lingering uncertainties surrounding Tropical Storm Dolly’s future track and intensity. For now, winds remain at 50 mph, and the pressure only dropped another millibar since my last update, to 999 mb. The discussion says “STRENGTHENING SHOULD BEGIN VERY SOON,” but at this point, I’ll believe it when I see it.

The NHC’s bottom line is this: “DOLLY VERY LIKELY WILL BECOME A HURRICANE…BUT THE ODDS ARE AGAINST IT BECOMING A MAJOR HURRICANE.” Dr. Jeff Masters agrees; he says the odds of Dolly becoming a major hurricane have dropped from 10 percent to 2 percent today.

Since so much remains in flux, I’ll wait till morning to say anything else about Dolly.

Well, except this: it goes without saying that folks in the Hurricane Warning area should rush their preparations to completion, including evacuation if they’re in an area where that’s called for. You don’t mess around with hurricanes; although it’s unlikely, there is always the possibility — especially given forecasters’ extremely limited ability to forecast rapid intensification — of unexpected, explosive strengthening at the last minute. So it’s prudent to treat Dolly as if she’ll be a very serious storm, even if she’s much more likely to hit as a relatively weak Category 1. Besides, Cat. 1 hurricanes are nothing to sneeze at!

In other news, forecasters continue to watch the well-organized tropical wave that’s about to emerge off Africa. The NHC is currently giving it a “medium” (20-50%) chance of development in the next two days. Meanwhile, on his blog, former NHC director Max Mayfield writes that “in my 34 years at the NHC, I don’t recall ever mentioning a tropical wave before it emerged from the coast of Africa”:

We certainly monitored these disturbances by satellite and surface/upper air data, but these systems come off the coast every three to four days and we were never smart enough to know which ones would develop. The science has improved and several of the global models are currently showing development of this wave about to emerge from Africa. The forecasters have enough confidence in these models to at least mention the potential for tropical cyclone development. Time will tell if the models are correct.

It sounds like Mayfield is a little skeptical of this new predictive eagerness. Anyway, here’s another blog post about the African wave that could become Edouard, from the Palm Beach Post‘s Kevin Deutsch.