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HURRICANE FELICIA MAINTAINS CATEGORY 4 STRENGTH

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   August 5th, 2009 · 2 Disqus Comments · Featured, Maui News

Hurricane Felicia has maintained category 4 strength and is expected to weaken later today.

Image courtesy NOAA, The National Weather Service and The National Hurricane Center.

Image courtesy NOAA, The National Weather Service and The National Hurricane Center.

At 11:30 p.m. HST,, the Center of Hurricane Felicia was located near Latitude 15.5 North, Longitude 131.2 West, or about 1480 miles west-southwest of the Southern tip of Baja California.

Felicia is moving toward the west-northwest at 10 mph and is on a northwestward to west-northwestward track, with an increase in forward speed expected over the next couple of days.

Maximum sustained winds are near 140 mph with higher gusts. Felicia is a Category Four Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale.

Weakening is forecast during the couple of days as Felicia moves over colder water.

Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 40 miles from the center, and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 155 miles.

Estimated minimum central pressure is 937 mb…27.67 inches.

FORECAST DISCUSSION (courtesy BERG of NOAA):

FELICIA APPEARS TO HAVE LEVELED OFF IN INTENSITY. THE EYE HAS BEEN WARMING AND HAS BECOME MORE WELL-DEFINED OVER THE PAST FEW HOURS… BUT AT THE SAME TIME THE COLD CLOUD TOPS AROUND THE EYE HAVE ALSO BEEN WARMING. FINAL T-NUMBERS ARE UNCHANGED FROM SIX HOURS AGO… AND THIS ADVISORY MAINTAINS 120-KT AS THE INTENSITY. FELICIA MAY HAVE PEAKED NEAR 125 KT AROUND 0200-0300 UTC WHEN A WHITE RING
COMPLETELY SURROUNDED THE EYE ON THE DVORAK BD ENHANCEMENT CURVE.

THE FORWARD SPEED HAS SLOWED DOWN A BIT…AND THE INITIAL MOTION IS 300 DEGREES AT 9 KT. FELICIA CONTINUES TO MOVE WEST-NORTHWESTWARD DUE TO A WEAKNESS IN THE SUBTROPICAL RIDGE…AND THE HURRICANE COULD TURN A LITTLE MORE TO THE NORTHWEST DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS AS THE RIDGE RETREATS FARTHER EAST OVER MEXICO. THE GLOBAL MODELS AGREE THAT ANOTHER MID-LEVEL RIDGE CURRENTLY NORTH OF HAWAII WILL
SHIFT EASTWARD AND CAUSE FELICIA TO TURN BACK TO WEST-NORTHWEST AND THEN WEST BY DAYS 2 AND 3. THE GUIDANCE ENVELOPE HAS SHIFTED A LITTLE FARTHER SOUTH FROM THE PREVIOUS PACKAGE…AND THE NEW OFFICIAL FORECAST NOW LIES NEAR THE NORTHERN EDGE OF THE SOLUTIONS. FELICIA IS EXPECTED TO BE STEERED WESTWARD BY DAYS 3 THROUGH 5 AS
IT WEAKENS AND BECOMES EMBEDDED IN THE TRADE WIND FLOW.

FLUCTUATIONS IN INTENSITY COULD OCCUR DURING THE NEXT DAY OR SO AS FELICIA REMAINS OVER WARM WATERS. THEREAFTER…THE HURRICANE SHOULD BE OVER SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES LESS THAN 26C AND HEADING TOWARD INCREASING WESTERLY SHEAR. STEADY WEAKENING IS INDICATED IN THE FORECAST AT THAT TIME. ALL THE GLOBAL MODELS SHOW A MUCH WEAKER VORTEX AS THE CYCLONE APPROACHES THE HAWAIIAN ISLANDS…AND THE SHIPS MODEL EVEN DISSIPATES THE SYSTEM BY THAT TIME. ONLY THE HWRF AND GFDL STILL HAVE THE CYCLONE AS A MINIMAL TROPICAL STORM ON DAY 5. THE OFFICIAL FORECAST IS A COMPROMISE BY NOT INDICATING DISSIPATION BUT WEAKENING FELICIA TO A TROPICAL DEPRESSION AT THE END OF THE FORECAST PERIOD.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS:

INITIAL 06/0900Z 15.5N 131.2W 120 KT
12HR VT 06/1800Z 16.2N 132.3W 115 KT
24HR VT 07/0600Z 17.4N 133.9W 105 KT
36HR VT 07/1800Z 18.5N 135.8W 90 KT
48HR VT 08/0600Z 19.4N 138.1W 75 KT
72HR VT 09/0600Z 20.0N 143.0W 55 KT
96HR VT 10/0600Z 20.0N 148.5W 35 KT
120HR VT 11/0600Z 20.0N 154.0W 30 KT

(Posted by Wendy Osher:  Information provided by NOAA, The National Weather Service, and the National Hurricane Center)

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  • CANDY

    I hope it weanens! We are scheduled for vacation in Maui end of October…

    • http://www.mauinow.com admin

      What exactly is weanens?