Rina weakens into a tropical storm
Hurricane Rina, the 17th named storm and sixth hurricane of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season, weakened today into a tropical storm (October 27, 2011). Tropical Storm Rina currently has 70 miles per hour winds with a pressure of 989 millibars, and is about 90 miles south of Cozumel, Mexico. Rina is currently moving slowly to the northwest at 6 mph, and is expected to stay in the region, gradually move south, and dissipate. This storm will not affect Florida directly, although Florida might see some tropical rains from it.
My previous post about Rina predicted that wind shear and dry air from the Gulf of Mexico were going to erode the system and weaken it. As you can see in the visible satellite imagery above, Rina no longer looks symmetrical, and you can see that the system is taking in dry air from the Gulf. The track for Rina is finally coming together, and the models and the National Hurricane Center both forecast that Rina will eventually stall around the Yucatan Peninsula and turn back to the south where it will eventually dissipate.
Florida should not be impacted by this system since it is a much weaker storm, and the trough to the north will have very little influence on steering Rina to the north and east.
Wind shear around the system is fairly high, with winds around 20 to 30 knots (23 to 34 mph). The more wind shear a tropical system experiences, the weaker the storm. The wind shear across the area will continue throughout the weekend, so intensification is highly unlikely.
The biggest threat from Tropical Storm Rina is the heavy rains and flooding across the Yucatan Peninsula. Three to six inches of rain are likely across this area as Rina slowly moves to the south this weekend. Some isolated areas could see up to 10 inches.
The 2011 Atlantic hurricane season is not officially over until November 30, but I strongly believe the season is winding down fairly quickly. If anything does form, it will likely stay away from the United States, because larger troughs will probably push into the East Coast throughout November and steer systems away from our coasts. It has been a difficult year for tropical systems to strengthen due to so much dry air in the Atlantic Basin. Of course, this is great news.
You can follow the NHC for the latest updates on Rina and other tropical systems.
NASA video views of Rina from orbit: