Thursday, 19 April 2018
Champions DEFGH (Sawgrass Marriott)
The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season was projected to be an above average season and thus far has lived up to the forecast, with September being the most active month on record in the Atlantic Basin. The standout cyclone for the season has been Hurricane Maria which could now have the most rapid intensification rate at the lowest latitude, as well as the highest peak intensity, and number of variations within its life cycle. The rapid intensification of Maria was recorded as an intensification from Category 1 to Category 5 in less than 15 hours was phenomenal and occurred on Monday 18th September 2017 as the hurricane approached the territory of Dominica. According to the initial model forecasts from ECWMF, GFS and NHC SHIPS, Maria was expected to pass the Lesser Antilles as a Category 1 hurricane, and intensify to a Category 3 hurricane thereafter. What happened? What was missed in the forecast? What environmental factors led to such rapid intensification? This paper investigates the possible physical processes responsible for the rapid intensification of Maria via the analysis of surface and upper atmospheric observations, satellite imagery and derived products and sea surface temperatures.
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