Monday, September 26, 2011

A Look At Hilary

First - there were some light showers around yesterday afternoon and also on Saturday afternoon. Yesterday at 1912 UTC (1212 pm MST) the airport recorded a wind shift with a gust to 40 kts. This was followed by a brief shower and 0.03" of rain. I checked the KEMX radar loop, and indeed a tiny echo developed and moved right across the airport during its brief life. The second "singular" event at the airport this month. The FAA folks apparently should have taken a special observation around 1912, but that seems to have fallen through the cracks.

Now to the interesting Hurricane Hilary situation. Above is an IR image fom 1130 UTC this morning, showing Hilary well west of 110 degrees W but only at about 17 degrees north. So, the Hurricane (still at Cat. 3) has stayed well south of the critical region, as it crossed west across 110, off Baja where tropical storms almost always trigger GoC moisture surges. While PW has increased over the far southern end of the GoC, this morning's upper-air charts show nothing related to Hilary that would trigger a surge at this time. The NHC forecast for Hilary (below) indicates a rapid northward turn after Thursday morning however - this forecast track eventually takes Hilary quite close to Baja, as it moves north and weakens rapidly. Thus, the question of interest is whether or not Hilary will actually trigger a GoC surge later this week?

The NWS forecast models are seriously different this morning. Above is the GFS 84-hour, 700 mb forecast valid at 5 pm next Thursday afternoon. The GFS indicates that Hilary would have brought strong southerly winds into the lower GoC by this time. However, the NAM (below) forecast for 700 mb at the same time indicates Hilary as a weak remnant, but with a strong southerly flow all the way up the Pacific coast. Obviously, at this time, NHC is going with the global model. If the GFS comes close to verifying, we'd expect a GoC surge by Friday morning.

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