Archive for the ‘T.S. Delta, Epsilon & Zeta’ Category

A Picture Share!

Friday, January 6th, 2006

The NHC has issued the final advisory on Tropical Depression Zeta. As of 4pm EST on Jan. 6, 2006, the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, the busiest and costliest ever, is finally over. Appropriately enough, it is the latest ending ever. Happy New Year. :)

T.D. Zeta makes 2005 hurricane season the longest ever

Friday, January 6th, 2006

Adding one final record to its remarkable mother lode of records, the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season has now lasted longer than any other Atlantic hurricane season in recorded history. Tropical Storm Zeta, which formed on my wedding day and became only the second cyclone ever to span two calendar years, is still clinging to life, albeit as a weakening tropical depression, as of 10:00 AM today:

…ZETA WEAKENING AND BECOMING DISORGANIZED OVER THE CENTRAL ATLANTIC OCEAN WELL AWAY FROM ANY LAND AREAS…

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 35 MPH… 55 KM/HR…WITH HIGHER GUSTS. ADDITIONAL WEAKENING IS FORECAST DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS… AND IT IS POSSIBLE THAT ZETA COULD DISSIPATE LATER TODAY OR TONIGHT. …

THE NEXT ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER AT 5 PM AST.

When that next advisory (4pm EST) is issued, Zeta will have lasted 15 hours longer than the previous record-holder, Hurricane Alice, did in 1954-55.

Zeta probably won’t last much longer, though. The 4pm advisory, or perhaps the one that follows at 10pm, could very well be the last, according to the discussion:

THE COMBINATION OF STRONG NORTHWESTERLY WIND SHEAR AND VERY DRY AIR AHEAD OF THE [APPROACHING MID- TO UPPER-LEVEL LOW-PRESSURE] SYSTEM SHOULD BE ENOUGH TO…FINALLY…BRING THE 2005 ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON TO AN END…POSSIBLY AS EARLY AS THIS AFTERNOON OR EVENING.

The Storm Track writes, “See ya latah Zeta.”

T.S. Zeta: not dead yet

Thursday, January 5th, 2006

Tropical Storm Zeta — the storm that formed on my wedding day, and has now extended the cold, dead hand of the historic 2005 hurricane season well into 2006 — is still out there, still alive and kicking, and still breaking records. It briefly weakened to a tropical depression at 4:00 AM EST today, but regained tropical-storm strength at 10:00 AM, and the 4:00 PM advisory stated:

…TENACIOUS ZETA STILL HANGING ON TO TROPICAL STORM STATUS OVER THE CENTRAL ATLANTIC OCEAN…

Zeta is only the second tropical cyclone in recorded history to span two calendar years, the other being Hurricane Alice of 1954-55, which also formed on December 30. And now, Zeta has officially maintained tropical-storm status deeper into the new year than Alice did, making it the “latest” tropical storm in recorded history. (Alice weakened to a tropical depression at 7:00 AM on January 5, 1955, according to Unisys, and never regained tropical-storm status.)

Alice didn’t dissipate entirely — losing even tropical-depression status — until 1:00 AM on January 6, 1955. Zeta will break that record, too, unless the next advisory, the 10:00 PM EST, is the final one. If there’s a 4:00 AM advisory on Zeta, it will be the deepest into the new year that an Atlantic hurricane season has ever been extended by a rouge, out-of-season cyclone.

One thing is certain: when Zeta dissipates, the 2005 hurricane season will finally, really and truly, be over. The next tropical cyclone to form — whether it’s in January, June or whenever — will be considered part of the 2006 hurricane season, and it will be named Alberto.

Houston, we have a cell phone!

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2006

Turns out, I didn’t leave my cell phone behind in Arizona — I just inexplicably packed it in my suitcase! I found it just now while looking for toiletries. So, I’m connected to the outside world again. Yippee! :)

Speaking of the outside world, Tropical Storm Zeta is, like Hurricane Epsilon before it, inexplicably maintaining its strength. Indeed, it’s up to 65 mph, and further strengthening is possible today; we could see an incredible January hurricane. The cold, dead hand of the 2005 hurricane season is reaching into 2006 and still smashing records…

Also, scientists recently saw an explosion on the moon. Talk about waking up the echoes! (Something Notre Dame was not able to do yesterday, alas.)

Okay, enough of that. Becky and I are off to explore the northern parts of West Maui. Adios! Go Penn State!

P.S. Pick ’em standings here. Josh Rubin has a five-point lead. Doing some quick math here, I believe the only person with a chance to catch him is DUP (Brian Dupuis), and only if Penn State and Texas both win. A Florida State win today would clinch the pick ’em contest for Rubin. If Penn State wins, it’ll come down to the Rose Bowl tomorrow: Rubin wins if USC wins, Dupuis wins if Texas wins. I think.

Zeta & the Irish

Monday, January 2nd, 2006

Under normal circumstances, Sunday would have been a heavy blogging day for me, what with historic Tropical Storm Zeta prowling the waters of the Atlantic, the Notre Dame-Ohio State Fiesta Bowl looming Monday afternoon (and the USC-Texas Rose Bowl not far behind), a ton of other bowl games and bowl pick ’em contest standings to talk about, and a new computer (and hopefully the end of my long PowerBook saga) to discuss.

But these are anything but normal circumstances. I’m still in recovery mode from the wonderful-but-exhausting wedding (and New Year’s) festivities, and meanwhile I also have a honeymoon to pack for. What’s more, the computer purchase has disrupted my digital world once again, forcing me to go through the now-familiar ritual of restoring backed-up data, re-installing applications and so forth. And blogging promises to remain light tomorrow and beyond as Becky’s and my honeymoon begins. Some things are more important than the blog! :)

So I figured I’d better at least post a brief update on Zeta, and a few Fiesta-related links and thoughts. I’ll start with the latter. Here are previews of the game by SI, Yahoo and ESPN, and here are columns by Jerry Bonkowski and Pat Forde. For an Irish-tinged perspective on the game, ND fanblog extraordinare The Blue-Gray Sky and Irish Buckeye blogger IrishLaw are probably your best options. The latter has a whole list of additional relevant links if you’re interested.

As for me, I wish I could watch the game, but I’ll be on a plane to Maui from the opening kickoff until the final whistle. (I know, I can feel your overwheming sympathy. Flying to Maui… it’s a tough life, but somebody’s got to live it.) Needless to say, I’ll be checking the final score on my cell phone the moment the plane lands.

Anyway…

GOOOOOO IRISH!!!!! BEEEEEAT BUCKEYES!!!!!

Regarding Zeta… the storm formed at 11:00 AM on Friday, tying 1954-55’s Hurricane Alice for the all-time latest tropical storm formation in recorded history. (Alice formed on December 30, 1954, but wasn’t recognized as a tropical cyclone by the National Hurricane Center until January 1, 1955; hence the “A” name. It’s unclear at exactly what time Alice formed on the 30th, so I’ll call it a tie between Zeta and Alice.)

In what has to be an unprecedented occurrence in the history of our relationship, Becky knew about Zeta’s formation before I did. She saw something about it on TV in the bridal get-ready room in the early afternoon. (In the best man’s room, where I was, we were watching old Rose Bowls on ESPN Classic.) I didn’t know anything about Zeta until around 8:00 PM Friday, when Chris and Nick mentioned it at the reception.

Commenting on Zeta’s formation Friday afternoon, InstaPundit declared, “I see this as Mother Nature’s way of marking hurricane-blogger Brendan Loy’s wedding.” Heh.

Zeta maintained its strength on Saturday, and on Saturday night into Sunday morning, it became only the second tropical storm ever to span two calendar years. (Alice, again, was the first.)

And now, much like Epsilon before it, Zeta is defying the forecasts:

THIS IS LIKE PREVIOUS TROPICAL CYCLONE EPSILON ALL OVER AGAIN. MOST OF THE CONVENTIONAL GUIDANCE SUGGESTED THAT ZETA SHOULD HAVE BEEN DISSIPATED BY NOW…WELL IT IS NOT INDEED…AND ZETA IS PRETTY MUCH ALIVE AT THIS TIME. SATELLITE IMAGES STILL INDICATE A WELL-DEFINED CIRCULATION AND ALTHOUGH THE CONVECTION IS NOT VERY DEEP…THE CLOUD PATTERN REMAINS ORGANIZED WITH AN ESTABLISHED OUTFLOW IN THE NORTHERN SEMICIRCLE. IN FACT…THE LATEST QUIKSCAT AND AMSU DATA SUGGEST THAT ZETA COULD BE A LITTLE STRONGER THAN THE INITIAL INTENSITY OF 45 KNOTS GIVEN IN THIS ADVISORY. THE INITIAL INTENSITY IS BASED ON CONTINUITY AND SUBJECTIVE DVORAK ESTIMATES. ACCORDING TO THE SHIPS MODEL WHICH DISSIPATES ZETA BY 48 HOURS…THE COOLER THAN NORMAL 200 MB TEMPERATURE IS THE ONLY PARAMETER CONTRIBUTING TO THE MAINTENANCE OF THE CYCLONE. ON THE OTHER HAND…THE GFDL INSISTS ON MAKING ZETA A HURRICANE IN A COUPLE OF DAYS AND IT IS HARD TO GO AGAINST IT. HOWEVER…WITH STRONG WESTERLIES ALOFT AND DRY AIR HEADING FOR ZETA…I HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO FORECAST WEAKENING AGAIN AND AGAIN.

The Storm Track suggests that Forecaster Avila is being a wimp, and that he thinks Zeta will become a hurricane but “doesn’t have the guts to go for it” in his forecast. We shall see.

A Picture Share!

Saturday, December 31st, 2005

Here is a great camera-phone photo that I think may not have gotten uploaded yesterday. Aww… Becky was such a beautiful bride! :) … In other news, Mother Nature gave me an unexpected wedding present yesterday: Tropical Storm Zeta formed!! Holy crap!!

Epsilon dies; 2005 hurricane season finally ends (probably)

Thursday, December 8th, 2005

The National Hurricane Center has been wearing its heart on its sleeve, as it were, in recent official advisories about Epsilon, and this morning’s 10:00 AM advisory is no exception:

…EPSILON WEAKENING RAPIDLY…THIS IS THE LAST ADVISORY… …IT IS ABOUT TIME…

AT 11 AM AST…1500Z…THE CENTER OF TROPICAL DEPRESSION EPSILON WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 26.4 NORTH…LONGITUDE 40.3 WEST OR ABOUT 1115 MILES…1795 KM…SOUTHWEST OF THE AZORES.

THE DEPRESSION IS MOVING TOWARD THE SOUTHWEST NEAR 7 MPH…11 KM/HR…AND THIS MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE UNTIL DISSIPATION

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 35 MPH… 55 KM/HR…WITH HIGHER GUSTS. EPSILON IS FORECAST TO DISSIPATE IN A DAY OR SO.

In the discussion, Forecaster Avila — who has been absolutely flabbergasted by this impossible storm — adds:

I HOPE THIS IS THE END OF THE LONG LASTING 2005 HURRICANE SEASON.

Dr. Jeff Masters thinks it’s the end:

Epsilon is finally dying. Fifty knots of wind shear have ripped away Epsilon’s deep convection, and Epsilon is now just a swirl of low clouds. Today will be the final day of Epsilon’s life, and likely the final day of the Hurricane Season of 2005. There is still a possibility that an extratropical low expected to form from Epsilon’s remnants and drift slowly westward may be able to generate into Tropical Storm Zeta by the middle of next week, but I give this only a 30% chance of happening. Water temperatures are a cool 22-23C in the region. While both Delta and Epsilon did form from similar extratropical lows in the same region, the computer models are predicting that the new storm will have a more limited amount of time to develop (four days) before it gets recurved northeastward by a trough of low pressure. This probably is not enough time for it to make the transition to a tropical storm.

Yale meteorology student Bryan Woods at The Storm Track also seems to think we’ve reached the end, as he just posted his wrap-up of the season.

Epsilon downgraded

Wednesday, December 7th, 2005

Epsilon, the longest-lasting December hurricane in recorded history, has finally been downgraded to a tropical storm.

The storm that doesn’t end

Wednesday, December 7th, 2005

Impossible Epsilon is still a hurricane as of 10:00 AM. Here’s the latest NHC discussion, but I think Joe Abbott’s meteorological analysis is better:

This is the storm that doesn’t end
And it goes on and on, my friends
Forecasters saw it weakening, not knowing what it was
Now they’ve abandoned forecasting forever just because…

Heh.

Dr. Jeff Masters writes:

Epsilon has now remained a hurricane for five days, making it the longest lived December hurricane on record. The previous record was just over four days, set by an unnamed 1887 hurricane. Epsilon has been a hurricane long enough to push the Hurricane Season of 2005 into sixth place for the most number of days a hurricane has been present–50.25 days. The record is 1893, with 72 days. If Epsilon can hang around until the 4 pm advisory on Friday, 2005 will tie 1995 for the second highest number of days with a named storm in the Atlantic, 120.5. The record is 136 named storm days in 1933. Not bad for a storm that was expected to be a remnant low four days ago, according to the first NHC forecast predicting its demise!

Epsilon is not done with us yet–the satellite presentation looks excellent, and there is still no sign that the strong westerly winds associated with a trough just to the cyclone’s west are beginning to shear the storm apart. This is expected to happen on Thursday and Friday, but we’ve heard that before! The current best guess is that Epsilon will be destroyed by wind shear from the trough by Saturday. However, several models are indicating that Epsilon may reform into an extratropical low pressure system west of the Azores Islands early next week, then drift southwestward and gradually acquire tropical characteristics, potentially becoming a tropical storm again. There is also a slight chance a tropical storm could form in the ocean waters just north of Panama next week. Overall, I estimate that there is a 30% chance we’ll be watching an Atlantic tropical storm at this time next week, either Epsilon or Zeta.

Or both? (Hey, this is the 2005 hurricane season — pick the craziest, most ridiculously impossible-soundng scenario, and it will probably happen!)

Epsilon still a hurricane, but “the end is in sight”

Wednesday, December 7th, 2005

The NHC on Hurricane Epsilon:

THE END IS IN SIGHT. IT REALLY REALLY IS. BUT IN THE MEANTIME… EPSILON CONTINUES TO MAINTAIN HURRICANE STATUS.

Heh. The impossible storm lives on.

UPDATE: The 4:00 AM discussion says:

THE END IS IN SIGHT…YES…BUT NOT QUITE YET. I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO FIND A WEAKENING SYSTEM AND INSTEAD I FOUND THAT EPSILON IS STILL A HURRICANE.

We’re supposed to be surprised by this?

Impossible Epsilon hanging tough

Tuesday, December 6th, 2005

Epsilon, the impossible storm, is still a hurricane, though just barely, according to the 10am advisory.

If ε hangs on much longer, 2005 will set a couple more records, according to Dr. Jeff Masters: “most number of hurricane days (50, set in 1995) and most number of days with a named tropical storm (120.5, set in 1995).”

Speaking of records, TheSnowman has a list of all the tropical records that have been broken this year. It’s quite lengthy.

Dr. Gray predicts 17 storms in 2006; Epsilon still spooking forecasters

Monday, December 5th, 2005

Hurricane expert Dr. William Gray’s initial forecast for the 2006 hurricane season is out. It says: “We foresee another very active Atlantic basin tropical cyclone season in 2006. However, we do not expect to see as many landfalling major hurricanes in the United States as we have experienced in 2004 and 2005.” The forecast says there will be 17 named storms (vs. 26 this year and 10 in an average year), 9 hurricanes (vs. 14 this year and 6 in an average year), and 5 intense hurricanes (vs. 7 this year and 2 in an average year).

Of course, Dr. Gray, while widely respected, isn’t always right. His initial forecast for this season, issued at this time last year, stated, “We foresee a slightly above-average hurricane season for the Atlantic basin in 2005. Also, an above-average probability of U.S. major hurricane landfall is anticipated. We do not, however, expect anything close to the U.S. landfalling hurricane activity of 2004.” In retrospect, those words seem almost comical.

Dr. Gray’s predicted totals, as of last December, for this season? 11 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes. Even by early August of this year, Dr. Gray had upped his predicted totals to just 20, 10 and 6 — still well short of the final totals (26, 14 and 7).

My point isn’t to criticize Dr. Gray — rather, I am suggesting that it’s unlikely, IMHO, that a long-range forecast would ever predict a season as absurdly active as 2005. Even amid a cycle of active tropical activity, this season was a freak of nature.

But — somebody please correct me if I’m wrong — I strongly suspect that 17 named storms is the most Dr. Gray has ever called for in his initial prediction. It’s a sign of how ridiculously busy the 2005 season really was that 17 storms sounds like a relief. In fact, such a season would tie 1969 for the fourth-busiest in recorded history (behind 26 in 2005, 21 in 1933, and 19 in 1995).

Meanwhile, as we look ahead to the 2006 hurricane season, the 2005 season — which was supposed to have ended last Thursday morning at midnight — is still going strong. The NHC’s latest discussion on Hurricane Epsilon is notably tentative — not surprising, considering that this “impossible storm” has made them look like fools several times already:

WE HAVE SAID THIS BEFORE AT TIMES DURING THE PAST SEVERAL NIGHTS…ONLY TO HAVE EPSILON MAKE A COMEBACK THE FOLLOWING MORNING… BUT EPSILON REALLY DOES NOT APPEAR AS STRONG THIS EVENING AS IT DID THIS AFTERNOON. …

OCEAN TEMPERATURES STEADILY INCREASE ALONG THE FORECAST TRACK… BUT THE ATMOSPHERE WILL NOT LIKELY COOPERATE IN PROVIDING AN ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH EPSILON CAN SURVIVE VERY LONG AS A TROPICAL CYCLONE. SOON EPSILON WILL NO LONGER BE EMBEDDED IN THE DEEP WESTERLY STEERING CURRENT OF THE PAST SEVERAL DAYS… AND BY ABOUT 36 HOURS IT WILL PROBABLY BEGIN WEAKENING FAIRLY QUICKLY. BY THAT TIME STRONG NORTHWESTERLY WINDS TO THE WEST OF A SHARP UPPER-LEVEL TROUGH AXIS SHOULD SHEAR EPSILON… TO PIECES IF THE DYNAMICAL MODEL DEPICTIONS OF THE CIRCULATION ARE ANY INDICATION. EVEN THE GFDL FORECASTS THE REMNANT LOW TO DISSIPATE BY 120 HOURS. THE SHIPS GUIDANCE HAS NOT PERFORMED WELL DURING EPSILON THUS FAR… IN PART DUE TO A LACK OF MANY SYSTEMS LIKE THIS IN THE DEVELOPMENTAL DATABASE. SHIPS CONTINUES TO INSIST ON STEADY WEAKENING… WHICH STILL MIGHT NOT HAPPEN DURING THE FIRST 24 HOURS OR SO… BUT SHIPS PROBABLY HAS THE RIGHT IDEA BEGINNING IN ABOUT 36 HOURS ONCE THE SHEAR REALLY KICKS IN. SO EPSILON’S DAYS APPEAR TO BE NUMBERED… WITH THAT NUMBER PROBABLY BEING LESS THAN FIVE… AND THE NEW OFFICIAL FORECAST ONLY HOLDS ON TO A REMANT LOW THROUGH 96 HOURS. OTHERWISE THE PACE OF WEAKENING IN THE NEW OFFICIAL FORECAST IS SIMILAR TO THE PREVIOUS ADVISORY.

Heh.

Epsilon an annular hurricane??

Monday, December 5th, 2005

If who were following my blog as Hurricane Katrina approached the Gulf Coast, you may remember an August 28 post in which I discussed the “scary possibility,” raised by meteorology student and fellow weatherblogger Charles Fenwick, that Katrina might be something I had never previously heard of before: an “annular hurricane.”

Well, in a bizarre twist, the NHC is now using the term “annular hurricane” — usually associated with intense hurricanes in the deep tropics, like Katrina — to talk about Hurricane Epsilon, an out-of-season Category 1 hurricane over the cool waters of the North Atlantic! Here’s an excerpt from the 4:00 PM discussion:

THE CLOUD PATTERN CONTINUES TO BE REMARKABLY WELL-ORGANIZED FOR A HURRICANE AT SUCH HIGH LATITUDE IN DECEMBER. IT HAS A WELL-DEFINED LARGE EYE SURROUNDED BY A RING OF CONVECTION…AND THE OUTFLOW IS ESTABLISHED IN ALL QUADRANTS. EPSILON RESEMBLES ONE OF THESE ANNULAR HURRICANES OR “TRUCK TIRE PATTERN” DESCRIBED IN THE SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE. ALTHOUGH THIS CLASSIFICATION IS FOR HURRICANES IN THE DEEP TROPICS…EPSILON HAS INDEED MAINTAINED ITS INTENSITY…MORE THAN ANTICIPATED…LIKE THESE TYPE OF ANNULAR HURRICANES.

Frankly, I think the flabbergasted forecaster Avila is basically grasping at straws here, trying to come up with some explanation for Epsilon’s refusal to weaken, which makes no sense under our current understanding of hurricanes. Like several other of this year’s storms, Epsilon will be a fascinating subject of academic study. The 2005 hurricane season will be keeping meteorolgists and meteorology students busy for many years.

Epsilon still a hurricane; NHC surrenders

Monday, December 5th, 2005

The headline on this post is admittedly Fark-like, but it’s also pretty much accurate. Check out the opening line of the 10:00 AM advisory:

…HURRICANE EPSILON REFUSES TO WEAKEN…FUTURE INTENSITY UNCERTAIN…

And, from the discussion by an obviously flabbergasted forecaster Avila:

EPSILON HAS IGNORED THE COLD SSTS AS WELL AS THE STRONG UPPER-LEVEL WESTERLIES AND HAS MAINTAINED HURRICANE STRENGTH. I AM NOT GOING TO SPECULATE ANY MORE ON THE FUTURE INTENSITY OF EPSILON AND WILL JUST FOLLOW SHIPS AND GFDL WHICH ARE THE BEST GUIDANCE AVAILABLE.

Heh. Like I said (and with apologies to Mike and any other resident literalists), it’s the impossible hurricane.

P.S. The Storm Track has more.

Hurricane Epsilon: the impossible storm

Monday, December 5th, 2005

Sorry for the lack of updates on Hurricane Epsilon. I’ve been paying more attention to football than weather over the last couple of days — which is unfortunate, because Epsilon is proving to be perhaps the most remarkable storm of the 2005 hurricane season, and that’s saying something. Yale meteorology student Bryan Woods of The Storm Track, in a Sunday-morning post titled “Hurricane Epsilon Defies The Laws of Physics,” puts it best:

Cooler sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and an increasingly hostile environment should have caused Epsilon to weaken by now. Especially considering the cool water below Epsilon, the hurricane was expected to transition to an extratropical storm by now. However, there are no signs of that transition occurring. … Seeing no physical processes capable of continuing to support Epsilon as a hurricane, the logical forecast does continue to call for Epsilon to weaken. However, this has been the forecast for days now. This hurricane, like Vince before it, has completely lost respect for the governing laws of thermodynamics.

Heh.

Epsilon actually did briefly weaken to a tropical storm Sunday morning at 4:00 AM, only to unexpectedly restrengthen to a hurricane six hours later. The NHC discussion at 10:00 AM yesterday summed things up nicely:

AFTER A SLIGHT WEAKENING OVERNIGHT…MORNING SATELLITE IMAGES INDICATE THAT EPSILON HAS RESTRENGTHENED. THE EYE HAS BECOME MORE SYMMETRIC AND THE RING OF CONVECTION IS STRONGER THAN YESTERDAY. T-NUMBERS FROM TAFB AND SAB ARE 4.5 ON THE DVORAK SCALE AND ON THIS BASIS…THE INITIAL INTENSITY IS INCREASED TO 75 KNOTS. THERE ARE NO CLEAR REASONS…AND I AM NOT GOING TO MAKE ONE UP…TO EXPLAIN THE RECENT STRENGTHENING OF EPSILON AND I AM JUST DESCRIBING THE FACTS. HOWEVER…I STILL HAVE TO MAKE AN INTENSITY FORECAST AND THE BEST BET AT THIS TIME IS TO PREDICT WEAKENING DUE TO COLD WATER…HIGH SHEAR AND DRY AIR.

EPSILON IS MOVING EASTWARD AT 10 KNOTS…RUNNING AHEAD OF A STRONG MID-LATITUDE TROUGH. BUT SOON…ACCORDING TO THE GLOBAL MODELS…THE CYCLONE WILL BE TRAPPED SOUTH OF A DEVELOPING RIDGE WHICH EVENTUALLY FORCE EPSILON SOUTHWARD AND THEN SOUTHWESTWARD. THERE IS FAIRLY GOOD GUIDANCE AGREEMENT IN SHOWING THIS MOTION. ALTHOUGH EPSILON WILL ENCOUNTER WARMER WATERS ONCE IT MOVES TOWARD THE SOUTHWEST. HOWEVER…THE UPPER LEVEL WINDS ARE EXPECTED TO BE HIGHLY UNFAVORABLE AND EPSILON WILL LIKELY BECOME A REMNANT LOW. I HEARD THAT BEFORE ABOUT EPSILON…HAVEN’T YOU?

LOL!

Here is the latest discussion and forecast track for Epsilon. It is still expected to weaken — and it’s still not weakening. Maximum sustained winds are 75 mph, and the discussion implies it may be stronger than that, but “I’d like to see Epsilon maintain its current improved satellite signature for a while before changing the intensity again.”

Hurricane Epsilon, the Impossible Storm: a fitting footnote to the historic 2005 Atlantic hurricane season.

UPDATE: Dr. Jeff Masters, in a post written yesterday afternoon, writes:

Epsilon refuses to obey the rules. Not only has Epsilon refused to die as expected–it has strengthened in the past day to near Category 2 strength. Epsilon is traversing 22-23C waters, which are a full four degrees C (7 F) below what is normally thought of as the minimum needed to allow a hurricane to strengthen. The upper level winds are unfavorable–Epsilon was been under 20 knots of shear the past two days. It is unusual to see a hurricane intensify in the face of 20 knots of shear (although Wilma managed to do so). It is unheard of for a hurricane to intensify in the face of 20 knots of shear, and with 22C water temperatures under it. Like I’ve been saying about this entire Hurricane Season of 2005, the normal rules do not apply. Epsilon is another storm that we do not understand, and I hope someone out there in grad school is taking data on this storm and writing a Ph.D. thesis on it!

Masters adds that, once Epsilon finally dies, it “should put a end once and for all to the Hurricane Season of 2005. I don’t expect anything else to develop this month.” Famous last words…