Humberto Strengthens A Little More, Hurricane Expected On Sunday

SUMMARY OF 1100 PM EDT…0300 UTC…INFORMATION
LOCATION…27.6N 77.3W
ABOUT 85 MI…135 KM N OF GREAT ABACO ISLAND
ABOUT 115 MI…185 KM NE OF FREEPORT GRAND BAHAMA ISLAND
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…60 MPH…95 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT…NNW OR 335 DEGREES AT 6 MPH…9 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…1000 MB…29.53 INCHES

Humberto is gradually strengthening. Both the NOAA and Air Force Hurricane Hunters have been investigating the storm this evening and they have found that the cyclone is a little stronger. Based on that data, the initial wind speed is nudged upward to 50 kt and the minimum pressure is around 1000 MB. Satellite images also show that the storm’s structure is improving with an inner core trying to form and banding features becoming better defined to the north of the center. Doppler radar data from the NOAA P-3 aircraft indicate that the cyclone has become less titled in the vertical, suggesting that the shear has lessened over the system. However, there is still some signs of dry air being wrapped into the southern side of the circulation.

Satellite and aircraft fixes indicate that the storm is moving north-northwestward at about 5 kt, steered by a mid-level ridge to its north-northeast over the western Atlantic. Humberto is expected to slow down and turn northward on Sunday well off the coast of east-central Florida as it moves into a developing weakness in the ridge. After that time, a turn to the northeast and then the east-northeast with a gradual increase in forward speed is predicted as Humberto moves along with the flow near the base of a large scale trough. The track models are in relatively good agreement, and only small changes were made to the previous forecast.

The tropical storm is likely to continue strengthening during the next 3 to 4 days as it remains in relatively low wind shear conditions and over the warm Gulf Stream waters. Beyond that time, an increase in wind shear associated with an approaching shortwave trough will likely cause some weakening. The NHC intensity forecast is slightly higher than the previous one and shows Humberto becoming a hurricane in about 24 hours with additional strengthening thereafter. This forecast is in best agreement with the intensity consensus models HCCA, IVDR, and IVCN.

The global models suggest that as Humberto gains latitude and intensifies, its wind field will gradually expand, and that is reflected in the NHC wind radii forecast.

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