a. Synoptic History
The first indication of Hurricane
Felicia was the detection of a large area of increasing thunderstorms centered several
hundred miles south of Manzanillo, Mexico on July 13th.
On the 14th, this disturbed weather became better organized with a banding-type cloud pattern
and developed into Tropical Depression Eight-E.
Fig. 1 (38K GIF) shows a plot of the
best track of Felicia
and this track is tabulated in Table 1.
Felicia's movement during its existence was toward the
west-northwest at forward speeds varying from 5 to 15 knots.
For the first day or so, there was little additional
development as the depression experienced northeasterly wind shear,
partially associated with the outflow from Hurricane
Enrique. But on the 15th, the system was upgraded to Tropical
Storm Felicia as Enrique's outflow retreated. A burst of deep
convection on the 16th was evidence of further development and
Felicia became a hurricane on the 17th when there was a suggestion of
the formation of an eye between two interlocking
convective bands. Felicia leveled off as a 65-knot hurricane for
24 hours under northwesterly shear caused by a nearby upper-level trough.
On the 18th, an eye became better defined and a period of
intensification began that culminated with estimated 115-knot
sustained wind speeds on the 19th. The hurricane's maximum wind
speed remained 115 knots for most of the 19th and
then began a continuous decrease as a result of colder sea surface
temperatures and a hostile synoptic environment caused by another
approaching upper-level trough.
Felicia moved west of 140 degrees west longitude on the 21st
and the responsibility for issuing advisories was transferred to the
National Weather Service's
Central Pacific Hurricane Center
at Honolulu at that time. Felicia was reduced
to a swirl of low clouds on the 22nd in the central Pacific Ocean.
b. Meteorological Statistics
Figures 2 (20K GIF) and
3 (21K GIF) show curves of minimum sea-level
pressure and maximum one-minute surface wind speed, respectively, as a function
of time. Satellite data plotted in these figures are based on the
Dvorak satellite intensity estimating technique as applied
at the Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch (TAFB),
the Satellite Analysis Branch
(SAB) and the U.S. Air Force Global Weather
Center (AFGWC). As is the case for most eastern Pacific
tropical cyclones, all of the tracking and intensity
estimates of Felicia were based on satellite data.
c. Casualty and Damage Statistics
Felicia did not affect land and there were no known casualties
d. Forecast and Warning Critique
Average official track forecast errors were 8, 33, 66, 95, 125,
and 210 nautical miles, respectively, for the 0-, 12-, 24-, 36-,
48-, and 72-hour forecast periods. These errors are slightly
smaller than the 1988-1995 average errors except at 72 hours
where the errors are slightly larger. The wind speed forecast
errors were rather large for the two days preceding the strengthening
to 115 knots. The 48-hour forecast error for
the forecast issued at 0300 GMT on the 18th was -55 knots, as there
was a failure to recognize the potential for the significant
strengthening that subsequently occurred.