Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hurricane Julia (2010)

Storm Active: September 12-20
Early in the second week of September, a strong tropical wave was already very evident over Africa, and it was monitored for development even before leaving the coast. By the time it did emerge over the Atlantic Ocean on September 11, it was very organized and was already showing tropical characteristics. As a result, the system was declared Tropical Depression Twelve on September 12. As the depression turned westnorthwest, it intensified into Tropical Storm Julia late on September 12.

Early on September 13, the southernmost Cape Verde islands experienced tropical storm conditions, as Julia passed just to the southwest. Julia took a more northward track than the cyclones before it, but it still intensified over the next day, as the predecessor of an eyewall formed near Julia's center, signifying a very healthy cyclone. The storm continued this strengthening trend, and became a Category 1 hurricane early on September 14.

It continued to strengthen through the morning as a structure that was almost an eye appeared, but Julia stabilized later in the afternoon after strengthening rapidly to its peak intensity as a Category 4 hurricane with 135 mph winds and a pressure of 950 mb early on September 15.

The cyclone turned farther to the north and began a general northwest motion. It began to encounter less favorable conditions as it approached cooler water and shear associated with the outflow of Igor. However, during its time as a Category 4, Julia set the record for strongest Atlantic cyclone east of 35ºW, surpassing the record set by Hurricane Fred just a year earlier. Julia continued to weaken over the next day, but wind shear died down slightly later on September 16, as Julia took a more westward turn. Julia maintained its Category 1 intensity over the next day, despite entering the outflow of the much larger and powerful Igor.

Julia continued weakening, and the center became separated from the convection on September 17. As a result, Julia soon became a tropical storm. Julia continued weakening into September 19, as it turned north and then northeast, accelerating over the open ocean. The system became extratropical on September 20, and started to be absorbed over the next day as a frontal boundary associated with Igor engulfed it. Julia caused only minimal damage while passing the Cape Verde islands, and was only notable for being a major hurricane very far east.

Julia near peak intensity.

Track of Julia.

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