Update on Harvey & 97L

Harvey drenching Belize; 97L a threat to the Caribbean and U.S.
Posted by: JeffMasters, 4:16 PM GMT on August 20, 2011 +21
Tropical Storm Harvey is closing in towards a landfall this afternoon in Belize, and is dumping very heavy rains on northern Honduras, northern Guatemala, and Belize as it steadily moves west near 12 mph. A personal weather station on Roatan Island on the north coast of Honduras has received 6.68″ of rain as of 10am EDT this morning from Harvey, and had a peak wind gust of 42 mph. The Roatan airport has received 3.55″, and had a peak wind gust of 40 mph. The first significant spiral band from Harvey moved over Belize City at 7am local time, dropping nearly an inch of rain on the city. Belize National Meteorological Service radar shows that Harvey has appeared to close off an eyewall as of 11:30am EDT, which may allow the storm to intensify another 10 – 15 mph before landfall. The 11am NHC wind probability forecast gave Harvey a 3% chance of making it to hurricane strength, but the discussion noted that it wouldn’t be that hard for Harvey to gain another 10 – 15 mph before landfall. I estimate there is a 30% chance that the winds along a 10-mile stretch of Belize coast where the eyewall makes landfall will reach hurricane force.

Figure 1. Radar image of Harvey taken at 11:30am EDT on Saturday, August 20, 2011, a few hours before landfall in Belize. A small closed eye is visible just south of the offshore islands of Belize. Image credit: Belize National Meteorological Service