Tropics busy around the globe

It is August and the tropics are busy. There is quite a lot to talk about so let’s begin with the Atlantic._The NHC mentions a weak low pressure area currently located over north-central Florida on their latest outlook. The low is over land but it is producing a large area of disorganized convective activity (thunderstorms) that persist over parts of Florida and adjacent Gulf waters.

The low and the stalled frontal boundary that has been draped across Florida for the past few days has produced excessive rainfall in some locations around the Tampa Bay region. Flooding along small streams, creeks and even some major river systems is occurring and will be a problem for the next day or two.

Forecast models show the low pressure area moving northeast along the coastal waters from Georgia up through the Carolinas early this week, eventually moving on out to sea with little additional development. However, periods of heavy rain are possible as the low slowly tracks along the coast – keep this in mind if you’re headed out to the beach over the next few days.

In the far eastern Atlantic, there is a chance that we will see development later this week as a strong tropical wave emerges from the coast of Africa. The GFS model in particular is quite enthusiastic with this scenario and if it comes to pass, we could see the next Atlantic named storm form before the week is out. Other models are not nearly as bullish on development and if something were to get going that far east, it would likely suffer substantial weakening as it moved west in to the extremely hostile environment of the tropical Atlantic.

Meanwhile, in the central Pacific, Guillermo is barely hanging on as a hurricane and will continue to weaken as a result of stronger upper level winds pushing the deep thunderstorms away from the low level center. This shear, as it is called, will continue and Guillermo is expected to weaken to a tropical storm later today.

Interests in Hawaii should be prepared for rougher than normal surf conditions, heavy rain and some gusty winds as Guillermo closes in later in the week. Fortunately, it is not forecast to be anywhere near hurricane intensity due to the strong upper level wind pattern around Hawaii. The impacts from the storm will be minimal on the whole but some localized areas of heavier rain could cause flooding issues which are impossible to pinpoint this far out.

Elsewhere in the east Pacific, invest area 92E is on course to become a hurricane far from land. It will likely track west-northwest away from Mexico and shouldn’t be an issue for Hawaii either.

Last but not least is super-typhoon Soudelor in the western Pacific. Top winds are likely over 160 miles per hour now as it travels westward over the open Pacific. It will take a few days, but it looks like a direct impact on Taiwan and then mainland China is in store as the typhoon churns westward. This will likely be a big news maker and I will be following it closely.

M. Sudduth 9:00 AM ET Aug 3

 

 

0
0
0
0

Hurricane Guillermo tracking in general direction of Hawaii, Atlantic remains inactive

Track map of hurricane Guillermo in the Pacific

Track map of hurricane Guillermo in the Pacific

You’ll be hearing quite a bit about Pacific hurricane Guillermo over the next several days. The track forecast suggests that it could impact Hawaii sometime next week but that is not a certainty, not by any means.

Right now, Guillermo is a category one hurricane with 90 mph winds. Overall, the environment looks favorable for additional intensification and it could become a major hurricane over the weekend.

Water temperatures around Hawaii are running above the long term average due to a spike in northern Pacific sea surface temps this year. However, warm water alone is not enough to bring a hurricane in to Hawaii. The NHC notes on their most recent forecast discussion that upper level winds are likely to be less favorable in the latter part of the forecast period, causing the hurricane to weaken quite a bit before reaching Hawaii. This weakening would also have an impact on steering as well.

If Guillermo weakens and loses a lot of its deep convection, then it is prone to bending back to the west more with time, steered by lower level winds. If this happens sooner rather than later, there is a good chance that Hawaii is only grazed by a passing tropical storm to the south. Obviously, this can change and it really depends on how strong the shearing winds are and when they begin to adversely affect the hurricane. For now, interests in Hawaii should simply be monitoring the progress of Guillermo as it tracks over open water.

Meanwhile, in the Atlantic Basin, all is quiet. The NHC has lowered the chance for development of invest area 94L to 10% over the next several days. None of the global models show the tropical wave surviving the hostile environment of the tropical Atlantic. There is still way too much African dust and drier more stable air in place for anything to have a chance out that way.

Looking down the forecast road, it appears that while several tropical waves emerge from Africa as we begin August, none ever make it past about 40 degrees west longitude before being eaten up by shear or dry air. This is almost exactly what was expected to happen this hurricane season though it is hard to imagine that nothing will ever develop in the deep tropics. Sooner or later, a small window of opportunity will open, even if only for a few days, and we’ll see one or two Atlantic hurricanes. For now, such is not the case and is likely to remain that way for the next several days.

I’ll have more here over the weekend concerning Guillermo in the Pacific.

M. Sudduth 1:40 PM ET July 31

 

0
0
0
0

Tropical Atlantic trying to produce activity in the face of overwhelming odds

Recent satellite photo of 94L off the west coast of Africa

Recent satellite photo of 94L off the west coast of Africa

The National Hurricane Center has recently identified an area of interest, a strong tropical wave with an associated low pressure center, not too far off the west coast of Africa. The tropical wave, labeled as 94L, is moving westward over warm water and actually has a slim chance at further development. However, the environment well ahead of this wave of low pressure is about as hostile as it gets. The combination of very strong upper level winds coupled with a generally stable atmosphere should clip the wings of this fledgling before it ever takes flight.

The global models are “seeing” this scenario as well and none are really doing much with 94L once it leaves the favorable environment that it is currently moving through.

It is interesting to note that after 94L seemingly dies off as it moves farther west that more strong tropical waves emerge from Africa in the coming days and also try to develop. I have to wonder – is the Atlantic just too hostile to allow any of them to flourish and become a tropical storm or hurricane? Or, is each one analogous to arrows being shot at a target: if you have enough, eventually one will hit. We are moving in to August very soon but it’s early August and even during a year without a strong El Nino, climatology tells us that eastern Atlantic development is rare until later in the month.

94L will be interesting to watch and will likely generate a lot of discussion within the hurricane blogosphere but from what I am seeing, that will be the extent of it. We never completely dismiss an area of interest and as such, I’ll be monitoring the future progress of this feature, even if it means watching from afar as it heads straight in to the sheer machine waiting to its west.

I’ll have more here tomorrow morning.

M. Sudduth 3:15 pm ET July 29

0
0
0
0

Weak low pressure in northeast Gulf of Mexico bringing rain to FL but nothing more

Weak low pressure in the Gulf is producing rain for Florida but little else in the way of development is expected

Weak low pressure in the Gulf is producing rain for Florida but little else in the way of development is expected

The tropics are fairly quiet as we start the week. About the only area worth watching as of now is a weak low pressure and associated surface trough draped across portions of the northeast Gulf of Mexico.

There was concern late last week that we could see tropical development from this stalled out frontal boundary but it looks as though that won’t happen now. However, very heavy rain has been falling across portions of the Florida peninsula in recent days, causing flooding with the risk of more to come. Computer models generally agree that the low will move over Florida as the week progresses and as such, the chance for widespread rain, heavy at times, will be part of the forecast for the region.

Why won’t this develop in to a tropical storm?

Strong northeast flow in the upper levels of the atmosphere will likely keep the low from developing further

Strong northeast flow in the upper levels of the atmosphere will likely keep the low from developing further

Normally, low pressure sitting over water temperatures that are in the upper 80s would be cause for alarm. While the heavy rain threat is enough of a problem, it looks as though that will be the only issue Floridians face with this system. So why won’t it develop in to a tropical depression or a tropical storm? The biggest reason are the upper level winds. Right now, they are blowing over the top of the low from the northeast, pushing the deep thunderstorms or convection away from the low center itself. This does not allow the low to strengthen by way of convection wrapping around itself, allowing pressures to drop and the process to get going.

There might be a small window for the low to become better organized but the forecast from computer models indicates that the strong northeast flow across the region will continue.

The bottom line for interests in Florida, especially the central peninsula and points south to an extent, is that heavy rain is possible over the next couple of days as the low moves across. If you have travel plans, leave extra time for that and slow down during the downpours – tropical showers can be very heavy with blinding rain. Also be aware of any flooding that may take place and keep kids away from swollen ditches, creeks and rivers – remember, water is not the only danger when we’re talking about Florida and flooding.

As for the rest of the tropics? The Atlantic is mostly dead right now with a pattern in place that does not promote upward motion in the atmosphere. I do not see this changing anytime soon and so we will likely end July without any hurricanes to worry about.

In the eastern Pacific, there are two low pressure areas to monitor far from land over open water. None of the computer model guidance suggests that either will become a hurricane nor will they impact land anytime soon.

That’s about it for this Monday. I’ll have a special blog post later this week concerning our new generation of storm surge camera systems and how we plan to utilize them when the next hurricane makes landfall along the U.S. coast.

M. Sudduth 12:10 PM ET July 27

0
0
0
0

Tropical Atlantic quiet but we may have to start watching things off the Southeast coast

As we start the new week, nothing is brewing in the tropical Atlantic. There are some robust tropical waves out there but the stable air mass in place is keeping them from developing.

I have posted a video discussion which highlights all of the current goings on in the Atlantic Basin as well what is happening in the east Pacific.

0
0
0
0