Saturday, October 17, 2009

Tropical Update – Hurricane Rick – Chewing bubblegum and kicking a$$

I think that Hurricane Rick may be all out of bubblegum…because he is becoming a seriously angry looking storm.

Check out the latest Satellite photo from NOAA…you don’t draw hurricanes that look this perfect…let alone see one on a satellite photo.



The National Hurricane Center confirmed that Rick’s new estimated core winds are sustained at 155- knots with gusts reaching the 190-knot range…so we are talking about 186-mph sustained winds and gusts topping out near 230-mph, which is pretty ridiculous. Hurricane Rick is definitely well into the Category 5 storm range and is expected to maintain this intensity for the next couple of days.

Man even the NHC is getting almost poetic in the description of Hurricane Rick…check out what they wrote in the latest update….classic.

HURRICANE RICK DISCUSSION NUMBER 11
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL EP202009
800 PM PDT SAT OCT 17 2009

THE SATELLITE PRESENTATION OF HURRICANE RICK CAN BE EXPRESSED IN ONE WORD...SPECTACULAR. THE EYE IS QUITE DISTINCT AND IS SURROUNDED BY VERY DEEP CONVECTION. ON THE LAST AVAILABLE VISIBLE IMAGES ONE COULD SEE THE SUNLIGHT REFLECTING OFF THE EASTERN SIDE OF THE EYEWALL AND THE STADIUM EFFECT THAT IS TYPICAL OF INTENSE HURRICANES.




At this point it looks like Rick may actually gather a little more strength over the next 12 hours and then go through what is called an “eyewall replacement/replenishment phase”, basically the storm becomes so intense that it actually sort of chokes itself off…as it does this the organized convection/spin that forms the hurricane “eye” is disrupted and the storm is forced to sort of check itself before it can gather its intensity again. Usually as this occurs we see the sustained winds take a decent drop in speeds…and it takes some time before the storm can gather its strength again. Unfortunately in this case the forecast models are also showing a change in the overall atmospheric conditions, with the introduction of some upper level sheering, at about the same time that Rick hits cooler water...which will likely speed up his destabilization and weaken the storm significantly from its current strength.

I know…I know… “That is great Adam, but how does that help me get waves”…damn you guys are impatient I was just getting to that. :)

Ok from a surf perspective…Rick is basically going to kick out some serious swell for all of the nearby areas…namely Mainland Mexico, which is so close that the affected areas are likely seeing some adverse weather possibly winds from him, and the Tip of Baja which he is traveling towards.

Since Rick has been hanging out and strengthening for the last couple of days I wouldn’t be surprised if new SE swell wasn’t already showing along the Tip of Baja…it won’t be huge yet…but the main push of swell will be arriving over the next day or so. With a storm this intense it is a little hard to gauge size…but conservatively the directly exposed areas would be consistently in the 10-15’ face range…with bigger bomb sets likely hitting 20’ (hell maybe bigger if the storm gets a good run at this Cat-5 strength). Personally I don’t think that the directly exposed spots will even be very surfable…just too much water moving around…but some of those partially exposed areas up in the Sea of Cortez both on the Baja Side, and potentially on the Mainland Mexico side (as the storm moves further west) could be a bit more survivable…not that I would ever advise anyone to go towards a Cat-5 storm.

How does this affect SoCal…at this point not much…the storm is still outside of our swell window. But, and this is sort of a big but, the forecasts are showing Rick potentially hitting the eastern edge of our swell window sometime early Monday morning…and still holding onto some of its intensity. I am not to stoked on the odds of this happening, mostly because storms have a tendency to hook back to the NE this time of year…and if the forecast run is already showing that recurve there is a good chance that it will be more defined by the time it actually happens, which means that it might not even reach our window before going back to the NE and crushing Cabo or something.

But let’s get hypothetical for a moment and say that the forecast is correct…if the storm does follow the current track, it would put it inside of our swell window for about 12-20 hours as it hooks back to the NE, still around Cat-4 strength. We get a bonus in that the storm is still very strong, has established sea-state, and is moving even more towards us (so does the Pacific Side of Baja Sur)…we get a negative for only a portion of the storm making it over the swell window shadow, and the relatively short time it would have to generate fetch/swell. So potentially we could see a new SE swell (155-165) heading our way for the 21st…likely in the head high to overhead range on the sets, and possibly bigger if the storm moves further into our swell window (or hangs in place for some reason).

So that being said…I am not putting much faith in a significant swell for Southern California at this point…most of us know that a hurricane/tropical system can pull up lame in the swell-department for all sorts of different reasons. I am however sort of cautiously optimistic that Rick can reach our swell window…and I will definitely dial in the forecast sizes/arrival times as this becomes more likely. In the meantime…I will have to continue to watch the stupid computer and see what Mr Ricky does…stupid hurricanes.

13 comments:

The Zawasky / Lopez family said...

great post buddy, love the Roddy Piper pic from THEY LIVE... Punta Perfecta on the Sea of Cortez will hold this swell.. maybe

Anonymous said...

Adam, does Ecuador and northern Peru break on this type of swell? I know the storm is moving away, but at this size & intensity and a ruler-straight trajectory, it seems like that region would get very good.

cheerupcheerio said...

get on your knees boys and start praying!

Anonymous said...

Can I borrow your knee pads?

Mike said...

Nice post Adam...Rick is as Badass as they get. Cat 5 with a Coliseum eyewall. Poor Baja is going to get absolutely ripped again. Let's hope for the safety of the locals and for a decent shot at our swell window.

Anonymous said...

Trying to warp my head around this recurve and hoping they have miscalculated it. If they are of by even a little the swell will be a lot bigger and longer. I think they have miscalcualted it and it will go further west.
Problem is they have called it perfect so far against it and most of the models are tightly grouped against my hopeful prediction.
Show em who is the boss Sick Rick!
Coconutz!

Anonymous said...

P.S.
Can we get Santa Ana's with this swell? Saw some mention of canyon winds this week, AW?
Coco

spencer said...

Great post, I don't think I've ever felt so passionate about a hurricane before.

Anonymous said...

i'll give back the knee pads your girlfriend left at my house!

Anonymous said...

That' ok my girl's allowed to munch box.
Keep the knee pads we are both comming over to tag your assets this time.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of whether SoCal gets shiz from Senor Ricardo, this was, without doubt, your greatest surf forecast post since the commencement of your blog. Killing it!

Adam Wright said...

hahaha...it was definitely the "THEY LIVE" quote that took it over the edge.

Thanks guys

Anonymous said...

can't wait. i got a carpet mucher too. but i'll let you use the knee pads so your knees don't get sore while your kneel'n and bob'n...