AOML scientists observed the slow weakening of Hurricane Delta during the last NOAA P-3 Hurricane Hunter mission, tasked by the Environmental Modeling Center (EMC) on the morning of October 9. Delta’s minimum central pressure gradually rose and surface wind speeds measured by the Stepped-Frequency Microwave Radiometer (SFMR) steadily lowered throughout the mission.
Tail Doppler Radar (TDR) data indicated that Hurricane Delta was being impacted by moderate wind shear. The hurricane has an asymmetric wind field with stronger winds extending further out from the center of the circulation on the northeast side of the storm. The precipitation is also much heavier on the north side of the hurricane with very little precipitation on the south side.
In addition to collecting data for forecasters and numerical models to use in real-time, AOML scientists also coordinated with several research teams setting up instruments on the ground along the Louisiana coast. Extra dropsondes were released off the coast of Louisiana near research radars and instrumented towers and will be used to verify observations and gain a better understanding of how the winds change as they come ashore.
As Hurricane Delta moves across Louisiana, storm surge, strong winds, and heavy rainfall are expected to impact many of the same communities that are still recovering from Hurricane Laura. Risks for flash flooding from Delta’s heavy rainfall exist for almost the entire state of Louisiana, as well as many other regions within the southeastern U.S.
>> Scientist H. Holbach
>> Edits by R. Kravetz
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