Enok coming and going...

Oct 30, 2006
Minneapolis, MN
Enok came together rapidly yesterday, even while moving very quickly (on the order of 20 kts), and even appeared to be close to hurricane strength when it passed by St Brandon, but since then has been falling apart. That appears to be due to an influx of light mid-level shear, but very dry air, from the west, looking at the water vapor imagery and CIMSS lower level winds.

The low level center, which was well defined when passing north of St Brandon, was captured by Windsat. The lowest pressure posted on the hourly readings was 982 mbar (around 1004 before the TC came near). At the time the sat intensity estimate was 984 mbar, and the center was some distance from St Brandon. They had sustained winds at the weather station (which is on the northern end of the long atoll) around 50 mph.

Now, the deteriorating Enok is shortly going to pass fairly close to Rodrigues. The timing of the Windsat images has been nice...one just came out this morning showing a much less-well-defined TS with a spot of strong convection just east of the center. Winds have just begun to pick up at Rodrigues but pressure isn't dropping yet. If Enok passes just to the west of Rodrigues they could see higher winds than St Brandon even though Enok appears to have weakened.

It always amazes me that these incredibly small islands are populated, and, secondly, that even though they may be hundreds of miles from any other land, TCs will chance to pass close by. There are only four or five of these weather outposts in the SWIO, but every single one, no matter how small (check out an image of Tromelin on the web! -- a sand spit only large enough for an airstrip and one or two buildings, and not even a single tree) has a manned weather station. When I heard there were four staff at Tromelin, I thought that was probably so they had a fourth to play bridge. And many times the readings from these stations are so invaluable for TC ground readings (even just this year: Bondo, Clovis...).

Noon update: Winds did pick up quickly at Rodrigues since 8pm -- at 10pm they reported winds were almost 50 mph with "heavy thunderstorms and rain," and pressure had only dropped to 999 mbar. Since winds were out of the east it will be interesting to see the next couple reports. It appears the circulation will pass just to the west of them; worst case. There may be a risk of landslides due to deforestation of the mountainous slopes. From Ocean Dots, "Rodrigues is...composed of a central ridge of low hills that rise to height of 395 m at Mt. Limon. From the heavily eroded central ridge descend numerous valleys and gullies giving the island a rolling topography. The interior was once blanketed in rich native forest, but today this has been lost and is replaced by introduced woodlands in the central uplands and scrub type vegetation around the coasts." But it seems to be fairly well-covered with vegetation from Google Earth / Google Maps imagery, and the slope of the hills must be gentle, because the entire island is populated even along the spine of the island's highest elevations, and some of the steeper grassy hillsides above villages along the eastern shore appear to be terraced.

It looks like the Rodrigues saw the worst already from the TS Enok, as a subsequent report reduced the winds to around 40 mph and the pressure is rising.
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The latest Mauritius Meteorological Services bulletin for Rodrigues reported 141km/h gusts at Point Canon and 122km/h at Citronelle with 55 and 87mm of precipitation falling at these places. http://metservice.intnet.mu/wbulrodf.htm Of note is while RSMC La Reunion have it down to a 45kt moderate tropical storm Mauritus still have it as a severe tropical storm.
...141km/h gusts at Point Canon and 122km/h at Citronelle...

Thanks for providing the quote from the Mauritius weather service and the link.

Consider that Point Canon is at almost 200 ft elevation, and that Citronelle is very close to the peak elevation of Rodrigues, which puts it at around 1000 ft elevation (more exactly, 193.5 ft and 1150 ft for those locations...59 m and 350 m). Once those gusts are converted to mph (88 and 76 mph) they correspond to sustained winds that are not too much higher than the peak reported sustained wind of 48 mph (78 km/h), and. also taking into account that higher winds and gusts would be expected at higher elevations, do not seem at all atypical.

The precip amounts, corresponding to 2 inches and about 3 1/2 inches, respectively, probably aren't out of the ordinary for a tropical storm given the hilly terrain.
Interesting to see how Tropical Disturbance 09R (currently 25kts, 1001hPa) has also been forecast to head towards land for the last day or so given your comment on these TCs finding land.

Poor Rodrigues...they have had an entire day (and likely to be almost a 24-hour event) of annoyingly-steady winds and TS-force gusts, as Favio slowly develops, moving SSW, and sliding past to their northwest. The overall pattern of convection appears a little sheared, and is mainly to the south and east of the center, placing the island in the path of the band of developing convection.

There was a wealth of microwave images the past twelve hours, showing the fairly well-defined low level center and the band of convection passing Rodrigues, first an AQUA pass at 917Z, then Windsat and TRMM passes at 1414Z and 1418Z, respectively, with the latter two showing a flareup of convection developing close to the center.