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Hurricane Epsilon defies the laws of physics

As of the 10AM EST Public Advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Epsilon has restrengthened as a Category One hurricane with sustained winds of 85 mph and a central pressure down to 979 mb. The eye of the hurricane is 725 miles west-southwest of the Azores and moving to the east at 12 mph.

Hurricane Epsilon is maintaining a strong ring of convection surrounding the eye. The ring of convection is even stronger than yesterday and wraps around the whole eye, forming a solid eyewall. Beyond that, outflow has improved dramatically and the storm is remarkably symmetric. This is a very impressive hurricane for the central Atlantic in December, and one that has continued to maintain hurricane intensity despite a lack of any explanation. Epsilon is truly an amazing storm considering its strength and location.

It is amazing that Epsilon has strengthened given its location. Lixion Avila at the National Hurricane Center is shooting straight on this one:The eye has become more symmetric and the ring of convection is stronger than yesterday. The initial intensity is increased to 75 knots. There are no clear reasons...and I am not going to make one explain the recent strengthening of Epsilon and I am just describing the facts. However...I still have to make an intensity forecast and the best bet at this time is to predict weakening due to cold water ... high shear and dry air.

I was going to attack this forecast due to past performace (Avila really hasn't been doing well with this storm), but he continued in his discussion: The upper level winds are expected to be highly unfavorable and Epsilon will likely become a remnant low. I heard that before about Epsilon...haven't you?

Cooler sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and an increasingly hostile environment should have caused Epsilon to weaken by now. Especially considering the cool water below Epsilon, the hurricane was expected to transition to an extratropical storm by now. However, there are no signs of that transition occurring. In fact, the GFDL model is still maintaining Epsilon as a warm-core system for the foreseeable future.

Seeing no physical processes capable of continuing to support Epsilon as a hurricane, the logical forecast does continue to call for Epsilon to weaken. However, this has been the forecast for days now. This hurricane, like Vince before it, has completely lost respect for the governing laws of thermodynamics. The models are pushing Epsilon due east in the short term. In a couple days if Epsilon is still intact, which is expected at least as a remnant low, the models are turning the system to the southwest. This will bring whatever is left of the storm back over warmer waters. I am past the point of surrender. I should have picked a simple job, like rocket science or brain surgery.
0:Track Map
1:Visible Satellite
2:Infrared Satellite
3:Microwave Satellite
4:Computer Models
5:Model forecast track and SSTs
6:Cyclone core temperature forecast

Posted by Bryan Woods | Permalink