Friday, October 28, 2011

Ex-hurricane Rina is losing it

The former Hurricane Rina has weakened to a tropical depression as it moves out to sea from Mexico's Yucatan coast, the Associated Press reports.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami reports that Rina's maximum-sustained winds are down to 35 mph (55 kph).

The forecast track shows it moving away from the northeast tip of the Yucatan Peninsula and then turning south over the weekend to stay over the Caribbean.

Additional weakening is forecast in the next 48 hours and it could become a remnant low pressure area this weekend.

Rina's center is about 55 miles (90 kilometers) north-northeast of Cancun.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Force field around Florida?

Tropical Storm Rina is very near Cozumel at this hour, but any concern South Florida and the Gulf Coast of Florida had for the storm has all but dissipated now.

The latest track has it clipping the Yucatan, then basically doing a complete 180 and heading back -- as a depression, mind you -- toward the Honduras coast.

Get all the details here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Rina's 11 p.m. forecast track

The latest forecast track shows Rina circling back south after clipping the Yucatan late Thursday/early Friday.

Find all the National Hurricane Center details here.

Rina could bring weekend rain, wind to South Florida; not much to Manatee County

By Daniel Chang
McClatchy Newspapers

MIAMI — Hurricane Rina awoke Wednesday in ragged shape, according to the National Hurricane Center’s latest advisory, with the storm’s eye wall losing definition and forecasters suggesting the storm will weaken significantly in the coming days.

In fact, said Dennis Feltgen, a meteorologist with the National Hurricane Center in Miami-Dade, “the storm may have already peaked. We’ve got a (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Hurricane Hunter aircraft in the area right now trying to confirm that.”

But while forecasts call for Rina to shear apart by Sunday under southwesterly winds and a cold front descending from the Midwest, the storm’s future track is much less certain and South Florida remains in the dreaded “cone of uncertainty” — an area stretching about 250 miles in each direction from the storm’s center — for the coming Halloween weekend.

In Key West, where the popular Fantasy Fest celebration is scheduled to culminate this weekend in costumed parades, music and merriment, the forecast calls for stormy weather.

“Folks in extreme South Florida and particularly through the Keys should be prepared for a wet and wind-swept weekend,” Feltgen said. “It’s too early to tell exactly what impacts exactly would be felt, but it’s certainly a distinct possibility there could be tropical storm conditions.”

As for Manatee, Rina’s current track would bring just an increased chance of rain Friday and Saturday, with winds near the coast of about 15 mph to 20 mph, according to Jennifer McNatt, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Ruskin.

— Herald Night Metro Editor Brent Conklin contributed to this report.

Bradenton in Hurricane Rina's 'cone of uncertainty'

Hurricane Rina is gaining strength as she aims for Cancun and other Mexican resorts. Later this week could pose a threat to Florida.

As of 7 a.m. EDT, here's a map reflecting projected paths as generated by various computer models:

And here's another map from the National Hurricane Center, which places Bradenton just within the "cone of uncertainty":

UPDATED, 11:10 p.m. EDT -- The latest map doesn't show much change.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hurricane Rina gaining strength on path to Cancun

Rina's five-day forecast track from the 5 p.m. advisory.

CANCUN, Mexico (AP) — Mexican authorities set up emergency shelters and cruise ships shifted course on Tuesday as Hurricane Rina strengthened off the Caribbean coast, following a projected track that has it whirling through Cancun and the resort-filled Mayan Riviera, Mexico’s most popular tourist destination.

Rina’s maximum sustained winds have increased to 110 mph (175 kph), said the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami, making it a Category 2 storm. Forecasters predict it will strengthen as it nears the Mexican coast Wednesday night before rolling over the island of Cozumel, a popular dive spot and cruise-ship port, then along the coast to Cancun.

The area, dotted with Mayan ruins, also includes Playa del Carmen, another popular spot for international tourists.

Douglas Baird, 40, of Glasgow, Scotland, said he had been in Playa del Carmen for 11 days on a tour with 10 other people. He plans to stay for the five remaining days of his vacation.

“I’ll go to the bar,” he said about his plans for waiting out his first hurricane. “It won’t be a problem.”

Cancun Tourism Director Maximo Garcia said the city alone now has about 22,000 tourists even in the pre-holiday low season. Quintana Roo state, where Cancun is located, has some 83,000 hotel rooms, most in the Mayan Riviera-Cancun area.

Laura Valles, a receptionist at the Hotel Jashita in coastal Tulum, said four of its 15 guests moved inland to hotels at the archaeological site of Chichen Itza, some 90 miles (150 kilometers) west, and others were still deciding what to do.

“We are letting those with a reservation know they will have to change their dates,” Valles said.

Yassir Espinoza, a clerk at the small Plaza Azul hotel in Cozumel, said tourists were being warned of the impending storm.

“We told them if there is a hurricane there won’t be any electricity or water for at least three days,” she said.

In Cancun’s hotel zone, a string of pickup trucks hauled small boats and jet skis away from marinas, while workers at shopping malls began boarding up windows.

At least eight cruise ships were changing itineraries away from the storm’s path, said Carnival Cruise Lines spokesman Vance Gulliksen.

Three cruise ships from the company Norwegian and one from Royal Caribbean have canceled their Friday port of call in the area, said Hiram Toledo, Quintana Roo port administrator.

The area was badly damaged by Hurricane Wilma in 2005, when Cancun’s famous white-sand beaches were largely washed away. Insurance officials estimated total damage at $3 billion.

State officials said they were readying more than 1,100 shelters that could handle nearly 200,000 people, though so far there was no word of any planned evacuations.

The hurricane was centered about 275 miles (440 kilometers) southeast of Cozumel Tuesday afternoon and was moving west-northwest at near 3 mph (6 kph), the Hurricane Center said.

Forecasters said Rina was likely to strengthen into a Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of about 115 mph (185 kph) by night.

The forecast track shows it curving east toward Cuba by the weekend, but senior hurricane specialist Michael Brennan at the hurricane center said it could also move toward southern Florida.

The center said the storm could produce as much as 16 inches (40 centimeters) of rain over at least parts of the eastern Yucatan Peninsula while raising water levels by as much as 5 to 7 feet (about a meter) in places.

The rainfall particularly worries authorities in the Gulf coast state of Tabasco, where about 300,000 people are still flooded following eight days of heavy rains.

In Central America, which was affected earlier by Rina’s outer bands, fishermen on Monday found a Nicaraguan navy boat that had gone missing with 29 people aboard. It had been used to evacuate an island.


Associated Press writers Adriana Gomez Licon and Olga R. Rodriguez in Mexico City contributed to this story.

Hurricane Rina is a Catgeory 2 storm; Florida may be at risk

The National Hurricane Center this morning declared Hurricane Rina, currently in the western Caribbean, a Category 2 storm.

Here's the latest map showing where she might be heading:

Yes, that blue line crosses right over South Florida.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Florida in line for some tropical weather

Florida’s quiet hurricane season is in line to get a little bit of a jolt this weekend.

Here’s what we know:

* A stationary front is sitting right now to the southeast of Florida in the Caribbean.

* Some computer models are in agreement that a tropical low will form along that front over the coming days somewhere in western Caribbean.

* A bunch of rain is likely to soak Florida.

* The low could intensify into a tropical depression or storm.

* The National Hurricane Center is saying nothing on a possible storm as of this point.

“As of now (5 p.m. Wednesday), nothing has formed, so it’s hard to say. That’s why the Hurricane Center has not been talking about it,” said Tyler Fleming, meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Ruskin.

Read the rest of the story here.