On the Coupling of Convective Updrafts Prior to Secondary Eyewall Formation in Hurricane Katrina (2005)

Friday, 22 April 2016: 9:45 AM
Ponce de Leon A (The Condado Hilton Plaza)
José M. García-Rivera, I. M. Systems Group, Rockville, MD; and Y. L. Lin

Hurricane Katrina (2005) was simulated by the Advanced Research WRF (ARW) to replicate a secondary eyewall formation (SEF) prior to its last landfall. The storm underwent a series of structural changes that were deemed necessary for the cycle to begin. These included a significant increase of rainband activity in the SEF region and the eventual vertical coupling of azimuthal-mean updrafts that led to cycle initiation. Increased rainband activity outside the primary eyewall in the hours before was mostly related to an intensifying main feeder band. Close to initiation, an updraft (explained by a pre-existing hypothesis) emerged outside the primary eyewall near the top of the boundary layer (BL). This updraft then intensified and extended both upward and outward, while the storm intensified and approached SEF. Eventually, the updraft coupled with the upward motion associated with rainband-related convection near the SEF radius. Once the alignment occurred, the deep updraft quickly organized to support deep convection that led to SEF within hours of initiation. The coupling of updrafts emanating from the BL with the environmental upward motion associated with the pre-existing rainband activity is proposed to be the key for SEF initiation in this case.
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