Dora almost explores Category 5 – in the Eastern Pacific

Update:  4AM 7/22/2011:  Hurricane Dora nearly made it to Category 5 peaking at 135 knots maximum sustained winds.  Perhaps in the post-season reanalysis, the storm will be upgraded.  But, what’s more spectacular than it’s rapid intensification?  Dora has spectacularly weakened over much cooler SSTs.  All told, Dora will have been a major hurricane for 24-30 hours total, a brief stint in the annals of hurricane lore.  Dora is actually the second major hurricane of the EPAC season (Adrian was the first).

Dora was a lucky storm — as it searched out the only patch of water and had the perfect track in order to reach Category 4.99 status.  The Eastern Pacific hurricane season is forecast to be much below normal in terms of numbers and ACE due to the lingering effects of La Nina, which has left a footprint of much cooler SSTs in the favored breeding area for storms.

From:  NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA satellite video and images show Dora become a major hurricane

The AIRS instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite captured this infrared image of Hurricane Dora's cold cloud temperatures on July 21 at 09:05 UTC (5:05 a.m. EDT). The strongest thunderstorms and convection (purple) surround the very obvious, cloud-free eye. Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen

A new image and video of major Hurricane Dora were released today from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

Satellites provide a bird’s eye view of a hurricane’s eye, and NASA noticed Hurricane Dora’s eye from several of them. Infrared imagery from NASA’s Aqua satellite provided forecasters with a clear view of a cloud-free eye in hurricane Dora as she strengthens near Category 5 status today. Meanwhile the GOES-11 satellite captured a movie of Dora’s intensification over the last two days that clearly shows a developing eye.

 

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured an infrared image of Hurricane Dora’s cold cloud temperatures on July 21 at 09:05 UTC (5:05 a.m. EDT). The strongest thunderstorms and convection totally surrounded the very obvious, cloud-free eye.

VIDEO: This animation of GOES-11 imagery shows the intensification of Hurricane Dora from tropical storm status on July 19 at 14:30 UTC (10:30 a.m. EDT) to major hurricane status on July 21 at 14:30 UTC. – click to view

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite called GOES-11 provides continuous visible and infrared imagery of the western U.S. and eastern Pacific Ocean basin from its position in space. GOES-11 images were compiled into a movie that runs from July 19 at 14:30 UTC (10:30 a.m. EDT) when Dora was a tropical storm, to July 21 at 14:30 UTC (10:30 a.m. EDT) now that Dora is a major hurricane.

GOES satellites are operated by NOAA, and the NASA GOES Project located at NASA Goddard creates images and compiled them into the video of the storm. The animation includes sped up infrared and visible frames of data that were captured every 15 minutes from the GOES-11 satellite and squeezed down to 26 seconds.

At 11 a.m. EDT on July 21, 2011 Dora’s maximum sustained winds were near 155 mph (250 kmh), right on the brink of Category 5 hurricane status. Fortunately, Dora’s center is remaining at sea, and will continue to remain at sea as it moves to the northwest near 12 mph (19 kmh). It is expected to continue in that direction for the next couple of days and slow down.

Dora was centered near 17.1N and 106.9W, about 240 miles (390 km) south-southwest of Cabo Corrientes, Mexico. Minimum central pressure is 929 millibars.

Dora is far enough off the coast so that there are no watches and warnings over land. However, Dora is sending large ocean swells against the beaches of western Mexico today. Those large, rough, ocean swells will affect the coast over the next couple of days, and will also begin affecting the southern Baja California coast.

The National Hurricane Center expects some weakening by tonight and a rapid weakening on Friday as Dora starts battling wind shear and moves into cooler waters.

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NASA’s Hurricane page: www.nasa.gov/hurricane; also at Twitter/NASAHurricane and on Facebook as NASA’s Hurricane Web Page

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From NHC, looks liek it will miss Baja:


Other images: 5-Day track on3-Day track on3-Day track off
[Image of 5-day forecast and coastal areas under a warning or a watch]

BULLETIN
HURRICANE DORA ADVISORY NUMBER  13
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL       EP042011
800 AM PDT THU JUL 21 2011

...DORA NEARLY A CATEGORY FIVE HURRICANE...EXPECTED TO REMAIN
OFFSHORE OF MEXICO...

SUMMARY OF 800 AM PDT...1500 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...17.1N 106.9W
ABOUT 240 MI...390 KM SSW OF CABO CORRIENTES MEXICO
ABOUT 445 MI...715 KM SSE OF CABO SAN LUCAS MEXICO
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...155 MPH...250 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NW OR 310 DEGREES AT 12 MPH...19 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...929 MB...27.43 INCHES

WATCHES AND WARNINGS
--------------------
THERE ARE NO COASTAL WATCHES OR WARNINGS IN EFFECT.

DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK
------------------------------
AT 800 AM PDT...1500 UTC...THE EYE OF HURRICANE DORA WAS LOCATED
NEAR LATITUDE 17.1 NORTH...LONGITUDE 106.9 WEST. DORA IS MOVING
TOWARD THE NORTHWEST NEAR 12 MPH...19 KM/H...AND THIS MOTION IS
EXPECTED TO CONTINUE FOR THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS WITH A DECREASE IN
FORWARD SPEED.  ON THE FORECAST TRACK DORA IS EXPECTED TO STAY WELL
OFFSHORE OF MEXICO.

SATELLITE PICTURES INDICATE THAT MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE
INCREASED TO 155 MPH...250 KM/H...WITH HIGHER GUSTS.  DORA IS A
CATEGORY FOUR HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE.  SOME
WEAKENING SHOULD BEGIN BY TONIGHT...AND A RAPID WEAKENING IS
EXPECTED ON FRIDAY.

HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 45 MILES...75 KM...FROM
THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 150
MILES...240 KM.

ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 929 MB...27.43 INCHES.HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
----------------------
SURF...LARGE SWELLS GENERATED BY DORA WILL AFFECT THE COAST OF
SOUTHWESTERN MEXICO DURING THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS.  SWELLS WILL
BEGIN AFFECTING THE COAST OF THE SOUTHERN PORTION OF BAJA
CALIFORNIA LATER TODAY.  THESE SWELLS WILL LIKELY CAUSE
LIFE-THREATENING SURF AND RIP CURRENT CONDITIONS.
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15 Responses to Dora almost explores Category 5 – in the Eastern Pacific

  1. DWSchnare says:

    One has to ask, will this help break up the weather patterns causing the heat covering the midwest and east?

  2. tom s says:

    Not really. It will die a slow, steady death over the colder waters west of the Baja in the 3-5day pattern. Little interaction with the northern stream and sensible weather across USA.

  3. rAr says:

    Watch Dora die.
    GOES Northeast Pacific Water Vapor loop:
    http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/west/nepac/flash-wv.html

  4. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    Will Dora be an Explorer and find the remnants of the vanished La Nina?
    ;-)

  5. R.S.Brown says:

    See also:

    http://www.goes.noaa.gov/HURRLOOPS/hpwv.html

    for the water vapor loop… which shows the on-land system moving
    from the NE and keeping Dora away from the Baja peninsula.

  6. Bubba Beanstalks says:

    [snip waaayyyyyyyyyy off topic]

  7. John from CA says:

    Looks like Dora is bring some much needed rain to the Southwest.

  8. jakers says:

    Adrian?

  9. So is letter D the first hurricane of the year? If they’re finding more smaller storms these days, could we get a graph of the percentage of name storms over time that were hurricanes? Might be interesting… are we 1 for 4 so far this year or am I mixing up something?

  10. Warren says:

    And at the same time Typhoon Songda is weakening as it hits Japan
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10728895

  11. Ric Werme says:

    Joshua Science says:
    July 21, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    So is letter D the first hurricane of the year? If they’re finding more smaller storms these days, could we get a graph of the percentage of name storms over time that were hurricanes? Might be interesting… are we 1 for 4 so far this year or am I mixing up something?

    Early tropical storm often aren’t very strong. In a month or so we’ll get the storms that form near Africa and trek across the Atlantic, those are often the strongest and largest storms of the season.

  12. Here’s a fun one for you all: if in the Atlantic you take the average date for the letter M, it actually appears before on average before L.

    Letters are not a good way to measure activity.

  13. beng says:

    Like Ryan said earlier, I hope some of the moisture gets entrained in the SW US monsoon plume, which is surprisingly narrow & meanders back & forth over AZ & NM heading northeast:

    http://vortex.plymouth.edu/g_na_wv.gif

    Those desert areas can always use it.

  14. Chris says:

    “Category 4.99 status”?

    I thought the whole purpose of having categories, is to create a small number of characterizations to allow a simple description of the properties of something. Thus integer categories 1 through 5.

    If you’re going to describe something as “4.99″, it’s not a category anymore. It’s a scale like the Richter scale.

    And FWIW, I don’t see that the third figure is significant. What would 4.99 be as opposed to 5?

    Better to describe this as “nearly category 5 status”.

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