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Hurricane Jeanne - Thursday - September 23, 2004 - 3:30 PM


CURRENTLY: Hurricane Jeanne has been in a near steady state intensity wise over the last 18 hours or so. Satellite presentations show the overall circulation has become more compact and a bit more symmetrical. The eye has contracted SLIGHTLY and cloud tops are uniformly cold. Outflow remains good in all quadrants. But in my opinion Jeanne is still fighting a battle with the surrounding dry air…she is winning to be sure…but fighting a battle none the less.

Jeanne is moving slowly west (265-270 degrees) at about 6 mph.


No change here from my Wednesday night update. If Jeanne is to reach Cat 3 status it will be Saturday into Sunday as she crosses the Gulf Stream. That means a 90-110 mph hurricane for the next 36 hours or so.

Shear is forecast low and Jeanne will be moving west to west-northwestward over warmer water by Saturday. This along with favorable conditions aloft could allow Jeanne to intensify to a major hurricane (111 mph+) by Saturday and into early Sunday.

Only potential limiting factor will be if any of the drier air surrounding Jeanne is entrained into the circulation. So far Jeanne has been holding it off nicely so will assume that continues to be the case.

That being said my forecast would be for Jeanne to reach Cat 3 status sometime Saturday into early Sunday (115-120 mph)..thus I believe Jeanne will peak intensity wise by early Sunday then start to fall back some as it approaches the FL east coast in roughly 60-72 hours..or early Sunday morning.


Interaction with land, increased shear and shallow cooler water near the immediate coast should serve to SLOWLY weaken Jeanne once past Sunday morning. This weakening trend will continue through Sunday and into Monday.

Bottom line….Jeanne will likely make landfall on the FL east coast as strong Cat 2 or low end Cat 3 hurricane. Latest 18Z SHIPS supports this borderline Cat 3 at landfall idea.


Only a minor leftward shift in my track from last night (75 miles or so) is going to make a big difference to Florida. Key to this entire forecast is where and when Jeanne makes the turn to the NW then north.

General model consensus has been shifting westward with this turn…and actually is rather tightly clustered out to 72 hours.

Mid to upper level ridge off the east coast will be main steering for Jeanne and it positions itself off the east coast.

Models seem to be getting a good handle on this feature and see no reason not to move my track slightly to the left.

This means Jeanne will reach the east coast of FL near Ft. Pierce then begin the turn to the NW then eventually North.

So I'm taking my entire forecast track from Wednesday night and moving it left by 75 miles.

This will track Jeanne up along or more likely just inland (30 miles or so) up the east coast of FL from Ft. Pierce to near Jacksonville….rough call..20 miles east or west of Jacksonville when she reaches northern FL…then up along or JUST inland along the coast of GA and SC with potential second landfall near Charleston as a strong tropical storm or weak hurricane. That second landfall would be avoided if Jeanne moves up inland along the coast of Ga.

12Z GFS, GFDL and UKMET are all tightly clustered along a path as I've outlined above. Canadian global and NOGAPS are left most outliers bringing Jeanne to the west coast of FL as she makes a wider curve on her turn to NW then North…. I have discounted those solutions.

On this potential track a large portion of the S.E. coast of the United States will be raked by Tropical Storm force winds with gusts to hurricane force. This due to the tight gradient between Jeanne and high pressure crested over the northeast, as well as being on the right side of the storm as it passes. The worst impacts from Jeanne will be near and to the right of where the center crosses the coast of central FL. But make no mistake….a large part of Florida will be raked by Tropical Storm force winds and heavy rains. Power outages will yet again be widespread in FL, eastern 1/3 of GA and the eastern ¼ of SC and NC.

Will outline more storm impacts once track becomes more certain.

If things hold…residents of the east coast from Ft. Pierce, FL northward to the NC outer banks should start to make preparations tomorrow.

Hurricane Watches could be issued as early as tomorrow morning for portions of the S.E. coast.


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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