The Center of Hurricane Dolly Slowly Making Landfall Near Brownsville
Hurricane Dolly, a category 2 storm with 100 mph winds, will not strengthen any further as it makes landfall near Brownsville. Tornado warnings continue to be issued for locations near and north of Corpus Christi as twisters are developing in the tropical airmass.
The outer-bands of Dolly can be seen in the Brazos Valley as high cirrus clouds can be seen overlapping the puffy summertime cumulus clouds in the lower layers of the atmosphere.
The winds in Hurricane Dolly were near 100 mph during the 10 a.m. advisory -- making it a category 2 hurricane. The storm could continue to strengthen before it makes landfall within the next few hours.
Hurricane force winds extend out to 25 miles from the center of the storm. Tropical Storm force winds extend out to 140 miles from the storm.
Several tornado warnings were issued for Corpus Christi Wednesday morning due to twisters developing to the north of Dolly -- which is typical with tropical systems. A tornado watch remains in effect for the Texas coast through 7 p.m.
Hurricane Dolly continues to track northwestward and should make landfall near Brownsville before noon. Winds in the storm are at 85 mph and the winds could increase by 10 mph before landfall, which would make it a category 2 storm.
Dolly Becomes the Second Hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic Season (Tuesday Evening Update)
The 4 p.m. advisory for Dolly stated what satellite imagery has been suggesting all afternoon -- Dolly is now a hurricane. With winds at 75 mph, Dolly is the second hurricane to develop during the 2008 Atlantic season. Hurricane-force winds extend out about 15 miles from the center of the storm. Tropical storm-force winds extend out over 160 miles from the center of the storm (represented in yellow to the right).
Hurricane Dolly is now expected to make landfall near Brownsville on Tuesday morning.
The latest data suggest that the winds in Dolly have increased to near 70 mph. Once winds reach 74 mph, Dolly will become the second hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic season. Forward motion with the storm has also slowed a bit. An eye is also becoming clear in the visible satellite imagery -- another sign of the storm picking up strength
The latest model run from our Pinpoint Forecast Model has Dolly making landfall a little further south than previous forecast. As mentioned earlier in the blog, this is in-line with the official forecast from the National Hurricane Center. Dolly should make landfall near Brownsville on Wednesday Afternoon. Hurricane warnings were discontinued north of Corpus Christi, but remain in effect from Corpus Christi southward to Mexico.
Dolly will likely make landfall near Brownsville, which is where most of the heavy rain will fall. Up to 10 inches of rain is possible in south Texas through Friday. However, we won't completely miss out on the precipitation. An average of 2 inches of rain is possible for Houston and an average of 1 inch is possible for the Brazos Valley -- in particular locations south of Bryan/College Station.
Rainfall totals may not be great, but at least a trace of rain is possible as far north as Central Texas.
Your Pinpoint Forecast model -- which is run from the News 3 Weather Center -- has shifted its track of Dolly a little further south over the past 24 hours. This is more in-line with the official forecast from the National Hurricane Center. Dolly should hit the lower Texas coast or upper Mexico Wednesday afternoon. We have increased rain chances across the Brazos Valley to 50% for Wednesday and Thursday.
Hurricane Watches issued for lower Texas coast (Monday Evening Update)
The National Hurricane Center has issued a Hurricane Watch along the northern Mexican coast through the lower Texas coast to Port O'Connor. A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible in the watch area within 36 hours.
A Tropical Storm Watch has also been issued along the northern Mexican coast through the lower Texas coast to San Luis Pass. A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible in the watch area within 36 hours.
Dolly is forecast to make a landfall along the lower Texas coast Wednesday afternoon. While the storm won't directly impact the Brazos Valley, it will increase our rain chances Wednesday and Thursday.
Monday Afternoon Update
Tropical Storm Dolly is maintaining maximum winds at 50 mph. The storm is quickly moving through the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Dolly is forecast to become the second hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic season on Tuesday. The official track from the National Hurricane Center has the storm making landfall between Brownsville and Corpus Christi on Thursday.
Hurricane watches and tropical storm watches have been issued for the lower Texas coast and northern Mexico.
Moisture from Dolly should be blown our way, which will mean better rain chances and slightly cooler temperatures by the end of the week. Remember, that a slight change in Dolly's path could mean big differences in your forecast. Continue to keep up to date with KBTX Media for the latest weather developments.
Meanwhile, a new tropical wave has developed off the west coast of Africa. Bertha developed in the same region (which just recently moved off the maps, after almost three weeks of life!) This wave could develop into yet another tropical storm as it moves through the Atlantic ocean.
Tropical Storm Cristobal continues to move northeastward, along the eastern U.S. coast. Cristobal, which is the third named storm of the 2008 season, is expected to bring some much needed rain to the east coast.
Monday Morning (2AM) Update
As of 2am this morning, the National Hurricane Center has a current fix on the center of Dolly, which is very poorly defined, at 21.1 degrees N and 86.8 degrees west--or just east of Cancun! Why is this significant? It is a major shift to the north. This places the center of Dolly to the north of the Cone of Uncertainty. Once this data is ingested in the computer models, we might see a jump to the north bringing what could be Hurricane Dolly ever closer to the upper-Texas coast. At this time, we are still days away from landfall and a lot can still change. The Hurricane Hunters will be investigating the system all day tomorrow and I will bring you the very latest as I get it.
Looking at the Infrared Satellite this morning, Dolly appears to be struggling to get her act together. The proximity to land hasn't really helped either. Dolly has maintained a very vigorous mid-level circulation with a very weak and ill-defined low-level swirl. The much stronger mid-level circulation appears to have drawn the low-level circulation northward. This often happens during the developing stages of tropical systems. The current forecast by the National Hurricane Center still brings this to a potent category one hurricane just off the coast of Brownsville by 5am Thursday morning. It is important to remember that intensity forecasts are very hard to make. These systems can and often strengthen faster than forecast. It is possible that Dolly could hit Texas as a Category two or three storm. However, with this jump to the north, I would suspect that the Cone of Uncertainty will shift northward as well. Now would be a good time to check to see if your hurricane supplies are well stocked just in case the storm jogs a bit further north than expected.
Sunday Morning Update
Well folks, Tropical Storm Dolly will arrive at 11am EST. The information is scarce currently, but we have just gotten word that Tropical Storm Dolly will be named by the National Hurricane Center in Miami at 11am. I'll edit this blog when we receive more information. All interests in the Cayman Islands, Yucatan, and western Gulf of Mexico needs to pay very close attention on what could become Hurricane Dolly in the next 24 to 48 hours.
Saturday Evening Update
The swirl of clouds we've been watching down in the Caribbean has been trying to organize all afternoon, but upper-level wind sheer has kept this system from developing. The Hurricane Hunters flew into the system earlier this afternoon and found winds well within excess of tropical storm force, but were unable to close off a low level center. That low level center is key to development; often indicated by a west wind. Reconnaissance is scheduled to fly the storm again this evening to see if indeed a storm has developed.
Computer models this evening show a wide range of scenarios but have come into better agreement on placement of the system. Computer models, depending on which one you chose, show a storm ranging from tropical storm strength to a major hurricane. The good news for the upper-Texas coast is that the computer models are now indicating that this system may make its way further south than what was thought earlier--anywhere from Tampico, Mexico to Brownsville, TX. However, please keep in mind that these are mere computer models and can and will change as more and more data is ingested in them. Being that there is no distinct low-level center, the computer models have to guess where the center might be. Once a center is defined by satellite and or the Hurricane Hunters, then that data can be ingested and a better forecast solution can be produced. Until then, everybody from Tampico, Mexico to the Louisiana border needs to keep a very close watch on what may likely be Tropical Storm Dolly Sunday.
Friday Evening Update
The tropics have really heated up this afternoon. We are currently monitoring two systems. One area of disturbed weather is currently located off the coast of the Carolina's. This system has increasingly become better organized today and could become a depression or tropical storm in the next day or so. An Air force's Hurricane Hunters is scheduled to investigate this system tomorrow--if necessary.
Of much more concern is what is brewing down in the central Caribbean Sea. Four days ago, this system was located 1200 miles east of the Leeward and Windward Islands. Up until now, the system has fought upper level wind sheer (which tears storms apart), land, and less than adequate sea surface temperatures (which need to be at least 80 degrees for development). This afternoon, the Hurricane Hunters flew the system and found that the system did not have a closed low (often indicated by a west wind). Therefore, the system was not upgraded. Latest satellite imagery shows that the system continues to become better organized and a depression and or a tropical storm may be developing.
Why are we watching this so closely? A couple reasons actually. First of all, wind sheer over the Caribbean is forecast to relax a little bit. This will allow the storm to better vent itself and therefore grow stronger. This is evident this evening by banding features that are now showing up on the satellite, which previously it has lacked. Second, the sea surface temperatures are very very warm. A system only needs about 79 to 80 degree water about 100 meters deep for a system to develop. The water temperatures currently are far warmer with temps in the mid and upper 80s and coastal waters warmer still. This will provide adequate energy for the storm to grow. Third, the ridge that has provided us with the hot and dry weather over the Brazos Valley remains planted along the east coast. This acts as a blocking pattern and therefore will shunt the system westward. An upper level low currently over Florida this evening is digging southwest which will do two things; pull it north and ventilate the system allowing it to grow stronger. Current computer model forecasts show this system developing into a tropical storm with a general heading toward the Texas coast. Keep in mind that intensity forecasts are very challenging. Though current forecasts call for a tropical storm, we can not rule out the possibility of rapid intensification into a hurricane. Sill many more questions than answers, but Bob, Rodney and I will do our best to keep you ahead of the storm!
Thursday Morning Update
The NHC sent an Airforce Hunter aircraft into the storm yesterday and an organized, surface low-pressure was not found. The storm has shown less organization over the past 24 hours. As a result, it has not been upgraded.
The NHC dose not expect the storm to develop, but will continue to watch it carefully.
The National Hurricane Center will send an Airforce Hunter aircraft into an area of low pressure about 200 miles east of the Winward islands. The area of disturbed weather has shown signs of organization over the past several hours and a tropical depression could be developing.
The center of low pressure is moving westward, into the eastern Caribbean, where development is not favorable. If the storm does manage to develop, it would be the third storm of the 2008 season.