**Felix weaker, but still a Category 4 Hurricane**
At 7:00pm CDT –
– The center of Category 4 Hurricane Felix was 205 miles east of Cabo Gracias a Dios on the Nicaragua/Honduras Border (That was NHC not me). Movement is towards the west at 18mph and this motion is expected to continue for the next 24 hours. Maximum sustained winds are near 135mph and no significant change in strength is expected prior to landfall. Minimum surface pressure is 953mb.
– Felix is not a threat to the U.S.
– Landfall is now expected on Tuesday near the Nicaragua/Honduras Border.
– Hurricane force winds extend outward to 30 nm and tropical storm force winds to 115 nm.
The expected track of Felix has been shifted significantly south since my discussion yesterday. The southern shift has changed many of my prior thoughts. The strong deep layer ridge to the north of Felix, at least a 592dm ridge, continues to keep the cyclone on a west track. 12z upper analysis shows this ridge in-place and little change is expected through Thursday. The shortwave trof expected to weaken the ridge may not be strong enough to influence it. However, the resulting central U.S. longwave trof by Saturday should significantly weaken the ridge. By that time Felix should be a depression, given a continuous westward track of at least 18mmph. Long story short, Felix is now expected to make one landfall on the Nicaragua/Honduras Border Tuesday morning. There is potential for the center to wobble off the Honduras/Guatemala Coast on Wednesday to cause another landfall in southern Belize on the same day. However, once on land tomorrow, Felix is not expected to spend much
time over water.
Felix remains a small/compact cyclone and rapid changes in intensity are possible. I doubt Felix will return to a Cat 5 before landfall tomorrow. Recent IR imagery shows lots of warm cloud tops near the eye with the coldest clouds well removed. Felix may be undergoing and eyewall replacement cycle, which would explain the recent weakening. How long this process takes will determine if Felix can restrengthen prior to landfall early Tuesday. Felix is no longer the threat to Belize that it was just 24 hours ago. Even if it does maintain hurricane strength, the wind field is quite small and Cat 2-4 winds are probably within 10 miles of the center.
The five day track brings Felix very close to the Bay of Campeche on Friday. A northwest track is expected by this point as Felix rounds the western part of the ridge. However, amount of time over land should have significantly weakened Felix to only a depression. The remnants of Felix may make its way into south Texas early next week, but this is too far out to call.
For more information, weather news, weather blog, and chase summaries go to http://www.hook-echo.com.