First recorded January hurricane upgrade imminent

January 3, 2006

I believe that by Advisory #18 (4 PM EDT today) Zeta will be called a hurricane.? (And that may be too conservative of a statement by six hours, but for reasons not purely meteorological, I’ll stick with 4 PM).

Zeta was rated at 50 knots at the 10 PM advisory and will be rated 55 knots at the 5 AM advisory (remember, 65 knots is hurricane strength). The 10 PM discussion noted that if QUIKSCAT data were taken into account, then Zeta was being underrated.

While the SHIPS model continues to spread false rumors of a rapid death to Zeta, the GFDL has become progressively stronger in its intensity forecast today.? While it is probably as over-optimistic as ever, it is hard to argue against the general idea since the GFDL has been correct in the general sense all along.

It will be interesting to see if the NHC forecaster sees the light as I have suddenly seen it.? The 10 PM forecast called for steady tweaking (with Zeta down to 45 knots by 10 AM this morning).

Per best track, Alice became a hurricane on December 31, 1954, so the record books for the Atlantic basin contain no instance of a storm becoming a hurricane in January.

LATER: Asymtopically approaching the truth in the 4 AM discussion?

THE WESTERLY SHEAR OVER ZETA COULD LESSEN SUBSTANTIALLYOVER THE NEXT 12-24 HOURS AND
THE GFDL'S FORECAST OF A HURRICANEDOESN'T LOOK SO UNREASONABLE ANY MORE.  NO KNOWN
HURRICANE HAS EVER FORMED DURING THE MONTH OF JANUARY.  I WON'T GO THAT FAR WITH THE
OFFICIAL FORECAST...BUT WILL HOLD THE INTENSITY STEADY FOR THE NEXT DAY OR SO.

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