From the ABC 7 Weather team

Hurricane Philippe's track takes storm east of U.S. (MAP)

October 6, 2011 - 01:06 PM
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The fifth Atlantic cyclone of 2011, Hurricane Philippe, seems a little lost at sea. Here's where the storm is forecasted to travel over the next few days.

The 2011 Atlantic hurricane season now has its fifth and Frenchiest-sounding cyclone, the sad-sack Hurricane Philippe. (NOAA)

As of this afternoon, the newly formed Hurricane Philippe was... well, not exactly "roaring" out of the Atlantic, but it was definitely there, doing something. Spinning around sadly. This hurricane, which is stuck with a name suggesting it should be wearing a beret while digging into a big wheel of Camembert, has had a difficult time of it lately.

The last time StormWatch 7 checked in with Philippe, the sad sack of a tropical storm was on the verge of getting nailed in the face by "30 kt of northerly shear." But the system absorbed that blow and, full of righteous nerd rage, began shedding thousands of tons of freshwater tears. Look at the rainfall inside Philippe when it was still a tropical storm yesterday, Oct. 5, as measured by NASA and JAXA's TRMM satellite:

hurricane philippe 2011 atlantic season track

The TRMM's precipitation radar is showing tall convective towers (in red) that corkscrew up to 8 miles high; bands of heavy rainfall are wrapped around the southeast side of the storm's heart. So today, weeping profusely, the tempest picked itself up off the sea surface and flailed around until its winds became fast enough to mark the storm as the Atlantic's fifth 2011 hurricane.

It took Philippe 12 days to achieve this honor. It'll no doubt lose it soon. A gruesome twosome of an extratropical low paired with speed-racing vertical wind sheer are waiting in ambush for Lil' P near the Canadian Maritimes. The hurricane won't know what hit it, although forecasters with the National Hurricane Center have a good idea. Here's how they see Philippe's doomed journey developing:

hurricane philippe 2011 atlantic season track

With only five Atlantic hurricanes so far this year, the atmosphere would have to spin out at least another one to reach the low end of NOAA's 2011 prediction of six to 10 hurricanes before the end of November. (Read more about the 2011 outlooks here.) And that's totally doable, according to ABC7's senior meteorologist Bob Ryan.

"We're on the down side of the probabilities of more hurricanes, but the water is still warm out there," Ryan says. We've had hurricanes into late October and even early November. As long as they stay off the coast, that's fine!"

The wind patterns we've had this year are helping diminish the probabilities of a U.S. landfall, Ryan adds. That's not to say the country is out of nature's crosshairs yet, but it's nice to hear. "With each week that goes by, there's less of a chance of anything becoming a threat."

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