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Hurricane GONZALO


500 PM AST MON OCT 13 2014

Another Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft investigating
Gonzalo this afternoon recently found 700-mb maximum flight-level
winds of 77 kt along with believable SFMR surface winds of 62-67 kt
in the northeastern quadrant, plus a central pressure of 984 mb.
Based on these data, the intensity has been increased to 65 kt,
making Gonzalo the sixth hurricane of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane
season. Note that some higher SFMR winds were observed, but these
were believed to be contaminated by shallow-water shoaling.

The initial motion estimate is 305/10 kt. The center of Gonzalo has
been developing northward on the Guadeloupe radar while the entire
circulation has been moving west-northwestward. The result is now
a northwestward motion, which is expected to continue for the next
36 hours or so. After that time, Gonzalo is forecast to gradually
turn northward as a break in the subtropical to its north develops
by 48-72 hours. On days 4 and 5, the hurricane is forecast to
accelerate to the northeast as the southwesterly flow ahead of
fast-moving deep-layer trough and associated cold front that is
currently located over the south-central United States. The models
are in better agreement on this track scenario with only a minor
eastward shift noted through 36 hours. After that, however, the
models have made a significant westward shift and now bring Gonzalo
very close to Bermuda in the 96-120 hour time period. The official
forecast track lies close to a blend of the GFEX and TVCN consensus
models through 48 hours, and is a little to the right of the
consensus models at 72-120 hours.

Both the radar and satellite presentations of Gonzalo continue to
improve, with a 20 n mi diameter eye noted in the radar data since
about 1400-1500 UTC. Gonzalo has been strengthening at a rate of
20-25 kt since this time yesterday. Given that current environmental
and oceanic conditions are expected to remain essentially unchanged
for the next 48 hours, a similar rate of strengthening is forecast
during that time, with Gonzalo forecast to become a major hurricane
by 48 hours. After that, gradually increasing southwesterly vertical
wind shear ahead of the aforementioned deep-layer trough is expected
to induce gradual weakening. The NHC intensity forecast remains
above the intensity consensus models, and closely follows the SHIPS
intensity model.

Although hurricane conditions are not currently expected in the U.S.
Virgin Islands, only a slight deviation to the left of the forecast
track, or a more rapid strengthening of the storm, would result in
the need to extend the hurricane warning into those areas. Interests
in the hurricane watch area are reminded that the watch means that
hurricane conditions are possible, and in this case within the
next 12-18 hours.


INIT  13/2100Z 17.9N  62.9W   65 KT  75 MPH
 12H  14/0600Z 18.8N  64.1W   70 KT  80 MPH
 24H  14/1800Z 20.5N  65.7W   80 KT  90 MPH
 36H  15/0600Z 22.2N  67.1W   90 KT 105 MPH
 48H  15/1800Z 23.8N  68.2W  100 KT 115 MPH
 72H  16/1800Z 26.3N  68.5W  100 KT 115 MPH
 96H  17/1800Z 30.0N  66.4W   95 KT 110 MPH
120H  18/1800Z 35.0N  62.8W   90 KT 105 MPH

Forecaster Stewart