Monday, October 19, 2009

Tropical Update - Hurricane Rick starting to slow down

Hurricane Rick is starting to weaken…oh he is still pretty intense as storms go…but he has definitely toned it down from the Category-5 nonsense that he was putting out over the weekend.

Currently Rick’s core winds are holding around 100-knots (120-mph) with gusts hitting 120-knots (144-mph).

This weakening is due to a couple of factors…namely that Rick is hitting cooler water and upper level shearing at the same time. The National Hurricane Center is estimating that the shearing is close to 15-20 knots which can destabilize a hurricane’s convection pretty quickly.

Check out the difference in the satellite photos from Saturday afternoon compared against this morning’s. You can see that Rick has lost a lot of his shape…and thanks to the increased shearing most of his NW and SW quadrants have lost their cloud shape making the storm looking increasingly asymmetrical.

Saturday Afternoon

Monday Morning

And here you can see the sea-surface temps from the CIMSS site…that 27-28 degree (Celsius) Isotherm line is generally what forecasters consider the cutoff in sea-surface-temps needed for a storm to maintain its strength.

Unfortunately from a swell-perspective this is bad news for Southern California for a couple of reasons…first is that the storm is weakening and once a tropical storm starts to weaken, particularly when it is caused by shearing, it has a tendency to lift its winds off of the surface of the ocean in fluky periods, which means that the fetch potentially setting up swell is suddenly less consistent and broken up as the storm starts to destabilize.

The other sucky part of what is happening to Rick is that this shearing (which will push him back to the east faster than the original forecasts were estimating) will keep Rick from moving deeper into the Socal swell window.

Based on the latest satellite pics…I don’t think that Rick pushed far enough into our window to generate us much surf…sure half of the storm was over that little green line…but those winds were blowing the wrong way, which does us no good.

Rick still has a little more WNW-N movement in him before he hinks back to the ENE and towards cabo…but with the storm weakening and shearing starting to pull him apart I don’t think that he is going to get much of a chance to set up swell. It probably won’t be totally flat at the SE facing spots…but any swell that makes it out of Rick will probably be fairly small (mostly below chest-shoulder high) and short-lived even at the top exposed spots.

Basically this point it looks like any energy we will see will arrive throughout the day on the 21st out of the SE (155-165) and will be mostly small, shadowed (except in a couple of areas), and will be almost completely gone by Thursday the 22nd. Fortunately there will be more long-period SW and NW swell showing around the same time so hopefully Rick will just help to enhance the surf shape/consistency at the exposed breaks.


Anonymous said...

RE: Hurricane Rick (Mon, 10/19)
Do you suppose everything in Baja sur is firing right now? With offshore winds? (ya gotta dream)

Anonymous said...

well thanks for pissing in my cherrios! what a waste of cat 5... this tropical season = big let down!boooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! :(