On the coupling of convective updrafts prior to secondary eyewall formation in Hurricane Katrina (2005)


Hurricane Katrina (2005) was simulated by the Advanced Research Weather Research and Forecasting model to understand the mechanism of a secondary eyewall formation (SEF) prior to its last landfall. The storm underwent a series of structural changes that were deemed necessary for the concentric cycle to begin, which included (1) increased rainband activity outside the primary eyewall in the hours before, mostly related to an intensifying main feeder band, (2) close to initiation of the SEF, an updraft (explained by a pre-existing hypothesis) emerged outside the primary eyewall near the top of the boundary layer (BL), (3) this updraft then intensified and extended both upward and outward, while the storm intensified and approached SEF, (4) eventually, the updraft coupled with the upward motion associated with rainband-related convection near the SEF radius, and (5) once the alignment occurred, the deep updraft quickly organized to support deep convection that led to SEF within hours of initiation. The coupling of updrafts emanating from the BL with the environmental upward motion associated with the pre-existing rainband activity is proposed to be the key mechanism for the SEF initiation in this case.

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Advanced Hurricane WRF


Advanced Research WRF


Boundary layer


Bogus vortex


Eyewall replacement cycle


Huang et al. (2012)


Latent heat


Absolute angular momentum


Fifth-generation mesoscale model


Outer rainband


Planetary boundary layer


Primary eyewall


Potential vorticity


Precipitable water


The Hurricane Rainband and Intensity Change Experiment


Rapid radiative transfer model


Secondary eyewall


Secondary eyewall formation


Secondary maximum convergence zone


Sea surface temperature


Tropical cyclone


Terwey and Montgomery (2008)


Vortical hot tower


Vortex Rossby wave


Weather research and forecast model


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Comments by Drs. James Kossin, Ademe Mekonnen, Yevgenii Rastigejev, Jing Zhang, and three reviewers are highly appreciated. This research was supported by the National Science Foundation Awards AGS-1265783, HRD-1036563, OCI-1126543, and CNS-1429464.

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Correspondence to Yuh-Lang Lin.

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Responsible Editor: M. Kaplan.

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Garcia-Rivera, J.M., Lin, Y. On the coupling of convective updrafts prior to secondary eyewall formation in Hurricane Katrina (2005). Meteorol Atmos Phys 131, 29–53 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00703-017-0557-2

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