Tropical Storm Hermine: News, Notes and Concerns
As of earlier today, Tropical Storm Hermine had formed in the Gulf of Mexico as expected. Right off the bat, what concerned me was that it was stationary in the Gulf as convection was really flaring up. What does that mean? It was beginning to really develop as it has been in an environment most favorable for intensification that it had been in, yet. As of the NHC’s 4pm Advisory update, Hermine has now begun its northerly heading, but moving very slowly… at 7 mph. While not stationary any longer, this speed is still slow enough for continued development in the Gulf.
Here is a look at the latest satellite loop of Tropical Storm Hermine. Notice the continued firing of thunderstorms with this storm system, and the feeder bands.
The NHC has continued their gradual shift west in their track, something I was suspecting would happen for some time now. I suspect that the track will continue a gradual trend west over the next 12 hours or so. Here us a look at the current forecast track and cone from the National Hurricane Center.
MODEL TROUBLES: I’m not going to show the models plots for Hermine because I don’t feel the models are getting a good grasp on the storm as, for a good amount of time, it had trouble gauging Hermine because of its stationary position. Now that it is moving in a northerly heading, I still think the models are not fully grasping this system as it not where the models expected Hermine to be at this point. By tomorrow, I suspect the models will begin picking up the ball a bit better. A good example of why relying strictly on forecast models can do more harm than good.
LANDFALL: This is the million-dollar question. As noted, I suspect that Hermine will have more of a northerly heading before it makes a northeasterly turn. I could be wrong on this, but because the models are still getting a grip on this system, I feel that there is room for Hermine to continue north before heading northeast, more so than models are currently indicating. That said, I could see a landfalling system anywhere from Apalachicola to Pensacola (perhaps leaning more towards Apalachicola). Again, this could change, but based Hermine’s current environment and the environment it is expected to move into, I see this being a realistic possibility at this point.
INTENSITY: The consensus of intensity models keep Hermine anywhere from a moderate to a high-end tropical storm. I think this is a realistic possibility at this point. However, as I am not a fan discounting any possibility, a few members ramp up the intensity of Hermine to a low-end hurricane. This is likely attributed to the slow-moving nature of Hermine in warm waters, meaning it can pick up more strength the longer it is churning in these exceptionally warm waters. As I noted yesterday, a low-end hurricane is an outside chance, but a chance that cannot be tossed out.
We do note that in the northeast part of the Gulf, a cold eddy has developed. A cold eddy is a cooler current of water moving in a counter direction to the main water circulation. This could inhibit the intensification of Hermine as it moves closer to Florida. Something to keep in mind.
IMPACTS TO THE NORTHEAST: Once Hermine makes landfall, there are two scenarios that we need to monitor closely… Hermine being kicked back out into the Atlantic or the prospect that the system recurves back into the Northeast. A third scenario would be that post-landfall, Hermine would hug the East Coast before exiting for the Atlantic. The prospect of Hermine recurving back into the Northeast is dependent on the interaction with it and a trough in the northeast, something to keep a close eye on.
PSA: If this does recurve into the Northeast, this WILL NOT be another Sandy, not even close. Sad that I even have to touch on this, but the social media world has gone wild with this idea in the past day. Sandy was a completely different storm in a completely different environment. It was a generational storm to say the least. If Hermine recurves back into the Northeast, it will be a much weaker storm that will deliver much-needed rainfall and some stronger, gusty winds.
Here are the GFS and European model solutions that curve Hermine back into the Northeast over the weekend.