8/27/04 FCST: Frances (Atlantic)

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Hurricane Frances is quite impressive on satellite at the moment and is forecast to become a major hurricane. With a possibility of landfall, a forecasting thread is now open.

Scott
 
Watching the position of the cold front later next week as this should play a big role in where (or if at all) Frances will come toward shore. Also looking to see if the weak low pressure center of interest off the SC/NC coast will be a factor, as the GFS doesn't have it moving much out of Frances' way. Still a long way out to landfall but definately something for east coast chasers to keep an eye on (no pun intended).
 
Frances is progged to approach Cat 4 by 72 hours. Right now some of the models are taking this system right through the Florida Straits. It looks like landfall is going to be a certainty. Just a matter of where.
 
The overall size of Frances has been a sight to behold today. On the floater images, it has exploded in aerial coverage.

Folks in Florida (including my sister) are already quaking in their boots... sandals... flip-flops.

mp
 
Latest (5:00 PM 8-27) NHC discussion notes:

"CATEGORY 5 STRENGTH IS EVEN POSSIBLE"

I have a gut feeling this could be the big one
people have been dreading for some time. The
only hope for the East Coast is a front in the 5-8
day time frame.

Mike
 
There's always the chance that she could be the next Hugo. Of course, there's about equal chance that she could be the next Gloria. Either way, the turn from NW movement to WNW that the NHC is now expecting is a worrying development.

The structure certainly is impressive, though. I can see the eyewall on the IR image!
 
Latest (5:00 PM 8-27) NHC discussion notes:

"CATEGORY 5 STRENGTH IS EVEN POSSIBLE"

I have a gut feeling this could be the big one
people have been dreading for some time. The
only hope for the East Coast is a front in the 5-8
day time frame.

Mike

Long range model guidance steers the sytem between Florida and Cuba and into the Gulf of Mexico - so the East Coast might be spared from this storm if this proves true. With the above normal sea surface temperatures across the Atlantic basin and in th Gulf of Mexico - I'm not surprised to see the this hurricane season turning so active. Frances still holding its own this morning - forecast is for some strengthening despite some increasing shear in the short term - but definitely looking more ominous as an eventual landfall of a potent storm looks very likely.

Glen
 
Satellite estimates seem to be approaching cat. 4. We'll see what the NHC does with the new advisory, coming out in minutes. FWIW, the 12Z run of the UKMET model forecasts Frances to be an "intense" hurricane not far from the Miami area at 12Z on the 3rd (Friday morning). This one could be a nail-biter.
 
TPC 21Z discussion (#16) has this to say:

NOW WOULD BE A GOOD TIME FOR EVERYONE
IN THE SOUTHEASTERN U.S...THE BAHAMAS...AND THE TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS TO CHECK THEIR HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS PLANS AND SUPPLIES.

I couldn't agree more.

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

Bob
 
Mike, when you say "Scrape Miami", you mean "off the maps", right?

BTW, Isabel was once a cat5, was she not? She made landfall as cat3, though, no? I kinda remember Isabel getting sheared pretty good before landfall last year, though, but TPC discussions are giving Frances a green light.

Bob
 
I see it this way:

Andrew missed Miami, but still did $30B in damage in 1992 dollars.

Some day, God forbid, some cat5 may actually strike a major metro area. I think that would be a $150B to $200B disaster, and thousands of lives may be lost.

There was plenty of talk about May 3, 1999 in Moore being a billion dollar tornado.....

Well, a cat5 is about like a 40 or 50 mile wide F3 with a 100 mile path before it weakens. Then add in storm surge and tropical storm force winds that extend out another 40 or 50 miles.
 
While we're discussing scenarios... Miami and New Orleans have been mentioned. A Miami landfall followed by New Orleans, does it get any more worst case? It nearly happened with Andrew.

Scott
 
Modeling continuously shows, over the past few days, a trend for the track changing from the Gulf Coast to the north and east. There is established zonal flow across CONUS, and a solid Bermuda High. Given the trend in models, and current conditions combined with historical patterns, I expect the storm to make landfall somewhere between SC and the Delmarva penninsula.

I would discount model predictions until day 7, which is still three days away. Gaston is going to be a major rainmaker for the southeast, and the expected frontal passage early to mid week will have dissipated by the time Frances reaches the area.

Once again, the major steering forces will be the zonal flow, and the Bermuda high. Historically, this scenario produces a major landfall in the eastern/mid atlantic coast. Look for landfall to occur on Labor Day.
 
I expect the storm to make landfall somewhere between SC and the Delmarva penninsula.

I agree, I think the hurricane will end up tracking further to the right. It always seems to work out that way. After a hurricane reaches major hurricane status, and then makes a sudden turn to the right it seems to lost a LOT of steam too (Floyd), so hopefully that's what will happen..
 
A major right turn and weakening would be awesome, but here's some bad news:

Reported position at 3:00Z 8-29 was 18.3N 53.4W.

Position at 6:45Z was 18.4N 53.8W.

That's a serious left turn W from previous track.
 
As a modeler of sorts, I feel compelled to leap to the defense of NCEP. I won't say you're wrong, Pat, because the models can certainly be that far off the beam at a week off. But I've been watching them progress over the last few weeks, and the evolution of the major features have been quite stable.

I wouldn't count on the the Bermuda high reverting back to its usual position in the next few days and opening the door up the east coast. That usually implies more pronounced troughing over the upper midwest but the energy is still hanging back over western Canada through the period. FWIW.
 
I expect the storm to make landfall somewhere between SC and the Delmarva penninsula.

I agree, I think the hurricane will end up tracking further to the right. It always seems to work out that way. After a hurricane reaches major hurricane status, and then makes a sudden turn to the right it seems to lost a LOT of steam too (Floyd), so hopefully that's what will happen..

Likewise, it could follow Gloria's path — while it was out near the Bahamas in mid-September 1985, its central pressure got down to 918 mb, which was a record at the time . . . but then it dropped to cat-2 and brushed the NC outer banks, then dropped to cat-1 and crossed W Long Island. After all the warnings of absolute catastrophe headed right into FL, of course.

Not to say that's foolproof if that happens again, because Long Island and NYC were spared a worse fate even from a cat-1 because the tide was out at the time. It was estimated that there would have been at least a 9-foot storm surge otherwise.
 
Likewise, it could follow Gloria's path — while it was out near the Bahamas in mid-September 1985, its central pressure got down to 918 mb, which was a record at the time . . . but then it dropped to cat-2 and brushed the NC outer banks, then dropped to cat-1 and crossed W Long Island. After all the warnings of absolute catastrophe headed right into FL, of course.

I'd like to think that hurricane forecasting has made leaps and bounds in the past 20 years. And, in fact, it has. I'm still shooting for Florida, but I'll admit that anything is possible.

I mentioned this back during Alex. SST's are incredibly high this year. These are the kind of conditions that allow a CAT 3 to hit New England.
 
Hurricane Hunters website

Here's the link for readers who didn't already have it:

http://www.hurricanehunters.com/welcome.htm

I would imagine that they will get some interesting stuff on there soon.

It's kinda tough to decipher their plans, but if I did successfully, their first flight to Frances departs at 16Z / noon EDT.

Another thought (two in one day! :lol: ):

This thread title is "8/27/04 FCST". Maybe we should use different rules for hurricanes, Tim, and omit the date, or just make it "late August" or something?

Bob
 
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