Central Pacific storm looks like a hurricane, but is it?

Update:  HORRAY:  Tropical Storm Omeka was named!  Dec 20, 2010

If it looks like a duck…well, if this bird were in the Atlantic, it would have been named a while ago.  Instead, this area of (subtropical) low-pressure that has an eye is labeled Invest 98C — C for Central Pacific — .  Sea-surface temperatures are near the magic threshold of 26 degrees C, convection is surrounding the center, and vertical shear is weak.   However, it is unlikely that hurricane force winds are associated with the system — but the fact remains, even with our fancy technology, we don’t know for sure.  Unless a plane flew in it, this Invest will remain an enigma.   Satellite animations:  Visible and IR.  Note, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center is not responsible:  it is now west of the Dateline…

Click below for a beautiful image of this “baby-hurricane”.

From the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.

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Douglas DC
December 18, 2010 7:23 pm

This begs the question if it were not for the better detection methods would it even have been noted even ten years ago?
This is why I’m suspicious of “Worst everrrr!!!” hurricane seasons in the satellite?digital
era …

December 18, 2010 7:31 pm

What a cute little tyke.
Norfolk, VA, USA

December 18, 2010 7:44 pm

Strike anyone as funny that there would be a (possible) hurricane in mid-December?

jack morrow
December 18, 2010 7:47 pm

Probably one of those “freak” storms that cause mysterious ship disappearances. It certainly looks mean.

December 18, 2010 7:58 pm

I think Al Gore warned us about this, Non huricanes?
It should be named a Goreacane because it is easier to say than Globalwarmingclimatechangeglobaldisrusptionacane.

December 18, 2010 8:22 pm

Maybe Monday will be The Day After Tomorrow.

December 18, 2010 8:40 pm

Perhaps instead of looking at this in a myopic way i.e. “look at the depression”, looking at the associated powerful anticyclone that can be seen on this animation explains why this storm is not genetically the same than a cyclone.
High pressure anticyclones are quite remarkably strong this winter: check a 1065hPa on Greenland for instance… If anticyclones are strong, associated depressions will be deep.

Rhoda R
December 18, 2010 8:41 pm

My father, who grew up in Puerto Rico, used to say that there have been hurricans in every month of the year. Long before the AGW nonsense began.

John F. Hultquist
December 18, 2010 8:50 pm

At the end of the visible satellite loop a number of smaller cells pop up. They show in the b/w image at the top of the post but that isn’t as revealing.
See the GOES-WEST Satellite Imagery — my current link is here:
and water vapor
There is a Low off of the Pacific NW coast (or Vancouver Island).
Shows the moist flow streaming toward CA also.
These seem to be “splitting” the air mass at about 30N and 140E.

December 18, 2010 8:53 pm

Looking at the World TEC it is interesting that this storm coincides with a very strong electron count. The count increased considerably even after this image was recorded.
This is consistent with experiments I performed a few years ago with water vapor and high potentials. It would appear that the high TEC may be partially responsible for this storm.
The high TEC would be brought about by decreased solar wind, because the positively charged solar wind normally strips the Earth (and other bodies in the solar system) of its continually increasing electrostatic buildup.
These ideas are not conclusive but are worth looking into.

Richard Patton
December 18, 2010 8:55 pm

It’s on the other side of the date line, so it wouldn’t be a hurricane. It would be a typhoon (if it were strong enough). There is no “season” for typhoons; they can form any month of the year.

December 18, 2010 9:16 pm

Ooh, how tiny! Hmm, it looks about the size of a Polar Low. Perhaps it’s not just subtropical, maybe the Arctic is expanding!
Heh – http://nsidc.org/arcticmet/patterns/polar_low.html has an image contributed by S. Businger, Department of Meteorology, University of Hawaii. Call him up and ask him what he thinks of it!
See also http://www.irishweatheronline.com/2010/12/polar-low-potential-for-ireland-this.html

December 18, 2010 10:33 pm

What is most interesting are those smaller formations with the micro-lows preceding the storm. These are what accelerate out of control when a Hurricane comes into its glory. They are the demons of destruction. I have seen things that most cannot imagine caused by these little bastards. Wonderful pic. As said above, this is would be a non-entity a mere 20 years ago. If in the Atlantic, no doubt this would be classed as a Hurricane. For reasons that are a bit unclear, but having to do with so many false alarms and the opposite, calming forecasts prior to disaster (Hurricane paths are far more difficult to predict in open, deep, ocean) you don’t call a Hurricane in the Pacific unless it is one. Period. People will get fired for screwing this up.

David L
December 19, 2010 1:37 am

Jeff says:
December 18, 2010 at 7:44 pm
Strike anyone as funny that there would be a (possible) hurricane in mid-December?”
I chalk it up to the fact that we mortal humans still have a lot to learn. We shouldn’t be so arrogant that we’ve figured everything out. Maybe we scratched the surface.

December 19, 2010 2:37 am

For all we know, the Atlantic Hurricanes of the warm periods give way to Pacific Typhoons of the cool periods.
Wouldn’t that be just peachy.
The Typhoon season would be just winding up….er cooling down.

December 19, 2010 3:05 am

David Thomson says:
December 18, 2010 at 8:53 pm
There appear to be a strong connection to the ionosphere:

December 19, 2010 5:54 am

NHC may be getting ready to baptize this “baby”

Pamela Gray
December 19, 2010 7:37 am

This typhoon is weather related don’t ya know. Only Atlantic hurricanes are climate related. Monty Python, you must write a movie script for this stuff.

December 19, 2010 8:35 am

Woaw if SST was the condition for cyclonic development you would not have enough of the chinese alphabet to count them…

December 19, 2010 3:37 pm

vukcevic says:
December 19, 2010 at 3:05 am
There appear to be a strong connection to the ionosphere:
Thanks for putting this information together. It helps brings into focus the importance of electricity and magnetism in weather.

December 19, 2010 5:00 pm

The lunar declination is maximum North for the eclipse of the moon early on the 21st.
if the normal cyclic tidal bulge dynamics still apply, the peak intensity of this little sucker should be at about the same time. Good candidate for watching it interact with the movie I want to make.

William Clements
December 19, 2010 8:51 pm

Jeff says:
December 18, 2010 at 7:44 pm
Strike anyone as funny that there would be a (possible) hurricane in mid-December?
Not really. I would say that this is uncharacteristic but not far fetched. Hawaii’s Hurricane season ended less than a month ago and several locations in the Pacific Ocean stay warm enough to support Hurricane development all year.

Brian H
December 20, 2010 1:13 am

C’mon, let’s stay with the program here: Pacific has typhoons, not Hurricanes! YCLIU

William Clements
December 20, 2010 11:01 am

No, in the East and Central Pacific (East of the dateline) they are called Hurricanes.

December 21, 2010 7:22 am

“The geomagnetic field influences the structure of the ionosphere.”
With the TEC being particularly strong during the formation of this storm, it is likely there was an electrical tie.

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