Hurricane Juan (2003). Part I: A Diagnostic and Compositing Life Cycle Study

McTaggart-Cowan, Ron; Atallah, Eyad H.; Gyakum, John R.; Bosart, Lance F.
July 2006
Monthly Weather Review;Jul2006, Vol. 134 Issue 7, p1725
Academic Journal
A detailed analysis of the complex life cycle of Hurricane Juan (in 2003) is undertaken to elucidate the structures and forcings that prevailed over the period leading up to the hurricane’s landfall in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Despite the presence of easterly wave precursors, Hurricane Juan’s initial development is shown to occur in a baroclinic environment beneath a low-latitude potential vorticity streamer. This feature interacts with a lower-level shear line as the incipient vortex begins to effectively focus ascent and convection. The system undergoes a slow tropical transition over a period of several days as the deep-layer shear over the developing storm decreases. The hurricane is repeatedly perturbed by subsynoptic-scale waves traveling along the leading edge of a large upstream trough. However, Hurricane Juan maintains its tropical structure despite its relatively high formation latitude (28°N) and its northward trajectory. The unusual persistence of the storm’s tropical nature as it propagates northward is of primary interest in this study. In particular, the role of persistent ridging along the east coast of North America is investigated both in high-resolution analyses for Hurricane Juan and in a compositing framework. Dynamic tropopause, quasigeostrophic, and modified Eady model diagnostics are used to elucidate the interactions between Hurricane Juan and this amplified midlatitude flow. Given the strength and persistence of the anomalous ridge–trough couplet both in the case diagnosis and in the composite fields, the study concludes that the presence of prestorm, high-amplitude ridging along the east coast likely reinforced by diabatic ridging downshear of the storm itself produces an environment both dynamically and thermodynamically conducive to the high-latitude landfall of hurricanes still in the tropical phase.


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