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Hurricane Jeanne - Wednesday - September 22, 2004 - 9:00 PM


CURRENTLY: After wandering around well east of the Bahama Islands for several days, Jeanne is getting ready to make her final move. Steering has been very weak to non-existent but that is now changing.

On satellite Jeanne is a fairly well developed hurricane, nothing like some of the other hurricanes this season, but well developed none the less. Jeanne lacks deep cold topped convection but has good outflow in all quadrants, nice banding features and a large well developed eye. The convection looked healthier earlier this evening and was more wrapped around the eye, but over the last few hours convection has pulsed downward especially over the eastern semi-circle.

Current motion is W.S.W. at about 5 mph…this slow motion with a gradual turn toward the west and then west-northwest is expected to continue for the next 60 hours or so.

INTENSITY: The only limiting factor I see for Jeanne over the next 48-72 hours is an abundance of very dry air at mid and upper levels surrounding the cyclone. Jeanne is fighting off the dry air currently and that is why the deep cold convection is struggling. Other parameters seem to favor at least a steady state hurricane, shear is low, waters are warm and Jeanne has an overall well developed structure.

Based on all this would expect a 90-110 mph hurricane over the next 72 hours. Only caveat is…if Jeanne starts to ingest to much of the surrounding dry air, which is a real possibility, then that intensity will end up on the high side. Right now though she seems to be holding the dry air at bay but it remains to be seen if this persists…. For now will forecast a near steady state hurricane of 90-100 mph.


Jeanne will be crossing over the Gulf Stream during Saturday….if there is a chance for her to reach Cat 3 status (111 mph+) believe it will be during Saturday into early Sunday. Shear is still forecast to be low to nil and Jeanne will be entering a more favorable pattern to be ventilated. Based on this will forecast a 110-120 mph hurricane for later Saturday into early Sunday…this should be the peak intensity of Jeanne.

By later Sunday Jeanne will have crossed over the Gulf Stream into slightly cooler waters…also at this time she will be in a better position to pull in some drier air from off the U.S. mainland…especially by Sunday night.

Bottom line…this will likely cause Jeanne to fall back some Sunday night into Monday morning….but still, Jeanne has the potential to strike the U.S. coast as a 100 mph hurricane. At this point I DO NOT see Jeanne striking as a major hurricane (111 mph+)…. my intensity forecast at landfall would be 90-110 mph. Certainly strong enough to cause trouble.


Steering for Jeanne will be provided by a strong mid to upper level ridge of high pressure moving east off the U.S. east coast. The strength and position of this ridge over the next 4-6 days will determine where Jeanne tracks. Models all handle the evolution of this ridge differently. Guidance essentially sprays the S.E. coast from Miami, FL to Wilmington N.C. with a landfall.

Guidance ranges from the NOGAPS with a Frances like track…onshore the east coast of FL just north of West Palm..across the state to the Cedar Key area then north into Ga.

GFS/ETA are into south Florida on a curving track to exit FL near Jacksonville. GFDL scrapes the coast from West Palm all the way up the east coast of FL, GA and SC with landfall near the SC/NC border. Latest ECMWF has a track from the northern Bahamas…to a very short distance east of Jacksonville with landfall near Charleston…then northeast over eastern NC, exiting the coast just south of Norfolk, VA then to s.e. of 40N/70W. UKMET has track well off FL and Ga then a landfall on the far upper SC coast or near Wilmington, NC.

My track is very close to the UKMET and slightly to the left of the official TPC track…thus my call at this time is for a landfall on the upper SC coast with a track up over eastern NC exiting the coast to the east of Elizabeth City, NC then offshore to near or just S.E. of the 40/70 benchmark.

Having said all this some points to consider….this is my best forecast at this time….I can't give an all clear for possible FL landfall, although despite some of the model guidance I consider a FL landfall possibility low. I do not expect landfall on the GA coast…..the area from Charleston, SC south is also not out of the woods…residents along the entire SC coast need to pay close attention to future updates.

By far the worst weather with Jeanne will be near the core and to the east of the track....still with high pressure to the north a strong gradient will create gale to storm force winds along a wide swath of coast from central FL up to the Del-Mar-Va region. Of course locations near and east of the track will have hurricane force winds.

The Virginia tidewater, Norfolk, Newport News will be interesting…depending on the track and intensity of Jeanne strong northeast winds could pile the water into that area causing considerable flooding…will need to watch this over the next several days.

Main effects outside of the landfall zone will be beach erosion, some tidal flooding and dangerous rip currents.

More on storm impacts in the days ahead.

Bottom line….highest risk of landfall is from Cape Romain, SC up to Cape Lookout, NC…with highest risk being between Myrtle Beach, SC to near Cape Fear, NC. Residents south of Cape Romain, SC to the coast of Florida need to monitor the progress of Jeanne.

I see no way for Jeanne to escape out to sea…landfall is essentially a given….exactly where and how strong are the questions that remain.

The period 7:00 A.M. Monday to 7:00 P.M. Monday would be best call on landfall time….the earlier times would be for a SC landfall…the later a NC landfall. Will try and update tomorrow about 3:30 P.M….I will not be available for a evening update tomorrow.


Please refer to official statements from TPC and local weather services offices for official information. Please obey all evacuation orders as issued by local emergency service offices.

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