Short-lived Dolly to move inland over Mexico tonight, Norbert forms in east Pacific

TS Norbert forecast track in the east Pacific

TS Norbert forecast track in the east Pacific

The tropics are a littler busier today, more typical of what we should be seeing this time of year.

Tropical storm Dolly, which was upgraded overnight, is moving toward the coast of Mexico with about 50 mph winds. Fortunately, strong upper level winds out of the north have kept Dolly from getting stronger especially considering the very warm water it is tracking across. The primary threat for Mexico will be an abundance of very heavy rain and an increase in waves along the coast. This also means a short period of time for additional wave energy to move up in to Texas, providing a short window of opportunity for surfers to take advantage.

Elsewhere in the Atlantic, not much going on as of now. The NHC is indicating that a tropical wave is forecast to emerge from Africa in a few days with a good chance of development. Almost all of the global model guidance shows this happening and conditions do seem to be much more suitable now. We’ll wait and see, even if it does develop, it will be more than a week away from any land outside of the Cape Verde Islands.

There is also an upper level low that is producing some areas of concentrated convection just east of Florida and over the Bahamas. Sometimes these can work their way down to the surface and generate in to a more typical warm-core tropical cyclone. I don’t see that happening on any of the models right now but it’s something to keep an eye on and will continue to bring periods of showers and thunderstorms to the Bahamas and offshore waters of Florida and Cuba over the next few days.

In the east Pacific, TS Norbert has developed just off the coast of Mexico. The official NHC forecast takes Norbert roughly parallel along the coast with modest strengthening indicated. Some model guidance suggests a track closer to the Baja and with a much stronger system. Obviously, interests along the Baja and even mainland Mexico should monitor Norbert closely. Water temps in this region are running well above the long term average and we have seen some very strong hurricanes in this area so far this year. Do not be surprised if the NHC bumps up the intensity quite a bit in the coming days.

By the way, ever wonder what happens when we get to 99L for those “areas of interest” in the Atlantic? We start over again with 90L. The NHC uses this method of labeling suspect areas of weather instead of just calling them blobs of clouds or tropical disturbances. The naming designation also helps to initialize computer models and assign resources such as recon and satellite fixes. The numbers 90-99 are used with the letter “L” for Atlantic. The same labeling system is used in the Pacific except the letter “E” is used for East Pacific. Before Dolly became a tropical depression, it was 99L, the last in the series, and so we will start again with the next area of interest in the Atlantic being labeled as 90L. In case you wanted to know, now you do.

I’ll have more here tomorrow.

M. Sudduth 1:02 PM ET Sept 2

 

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New depression likely forming in Bay of Campeche – otherwise quiet

The only area of interest is in the Bay of Campeche

The only area of interest is in the Bay of Campeche

It looks as though we will start the month off with a new tropical depression. Invest area 99L is trying to organize over the eastern Bay of Campeche, not far off the west coast of the Yucatan peninsula. Overall, conditions appear favorable for this system to develop and it should become a tropical depression later today or tonight over the very warm waters of the region.

The NHC has tasked a Hurricane Hunter crew to fly out and investigate the area and that will tell us a lot more about the structure, surface pressure and wind speeds. I suspect they will find it being close to depression status when they get there later this afternoon.

Track models suggest strongly that a west-northwest path will commence, taking the system in to Mexico in a couple of days. It looks like 100 miles either side of Tampico is a safe bet but since we are talking about a fairly weak system, so far, rain will be the primary concern here.

Speaking of intensity, none of the models indicate any rapid intensification but this does not preclude the chance for modest strengthening before landfall in Mexico. I fully expect that we will see a tropical storm out of this – if so, the name will be Dolly. However, as I alluded to in the previous paragraph, wind will not be as much of an issue as heavy rain will be. The terrain of eastern Mexico rises quickly not far inland from the coast. Flash flooding and mudslides could be an issue as the system moves inland and dies away later this week.

I do not see this system being much of a threat to Texas as strong high pressure parked over the southern part of the United States should keep what ever develops suppressed far to the south. Tropical storms and hurricanes are generally steered around high pressure areas, not in to them. There may be an increase in moisture from the onshore flow and persistent southeast wind but that is about the extent of it.

The rest of the Atlantic Basin is remarkably quiet this first day of September. In fact, I see very little in the global models over the next few days to be concerned with. So, I will stay focused on 99L and its likely eventual growth in to the season’s next tropical depression or storm.

I’ll post more here later this evening once we learn more from the Hurricane Hunters investigating the area.

M. Sudduth 12:54 PM ET Sept 1

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No hurricanes this Labor Day

Tropical weather outlook shows very little promise for development over the coming days

Tropical weather outlook shows very little promise for development over the coming days

The last big beach weekend of the summer is at hand and for anyone headed to the warm waters of the Atlantic, Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico, you have very little to be concerned with – at least hurricane-wise.

After Cristobal clears the pattern in the next day or two, the Atlantic Basin should be fairly quiet. There is a large but rather disorganized cluster of convection in the Gulf of Mexico but I do not see any evidence of it developing nor does the National Hurricane Center. That being said, the region is unsettled and occasional heavy rains with gusty winds will be on tap for portions of the offshore waters from Texas to Louisiana. The movement looks to be slow and mostly northwest so just be aware that this complex of storms is out there.

The only other area to monitor in the coming days is the Caribbean Sea and eventually the southwest Gulf of Mexico. There is a gathering area of clouds, showers and thunderstorms developing throughout the Caribbean as trade winds pile up in the wake of Cristobal. Pressures are fairly low overall and water temps are very warm. Some computer model guidance suggests that low pressure could develop near the Yucatan peninsula early next week and move across the southwest Gulf of Mexico. High pressure to the north, over the southern United States, should keep any development trapped well to the south. We’ll keep an eye on this pattern as it evolves and as of now, I am not seeing any signs of significant development just yet.

In the meantime, the east Pacific is finally calming down as Marie has weakened in to the post-tropical phase of its life span. The enormous swells it generated while a powerful category five are subsiding along the Pacific coast. I don’t see anything developing within the global models anywhere in the Pacific for the next several days at least.

So if you’re headed to the beach this long weekend, enjoy it without worry of any issues from the tropics. I’ll have more here tomorrow.

M. Sudduth 9:00 AM ET Aug 29

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Several areas to talk about

NHC five day outlook indicates several areas to monitor

NHC five day outlook indicates several areas to monitor

The tropics are quite busy with one hurricane and three additional areas to watch in the coming days. Let’s begin with Cristobal…

As of this morning, hurricane Cristobal had winds of 80 mph. Not much change in strength is expected although it could become a little stronger before undergoing transition in to a powerful extratropical storm over the North Atlantic. In fact, interests in the United Kingdom should keep watch over the post-tropical version of Cristobal as it tracks across the Atlantic over the next several days.

In the Gulf of Mexico, the NHC has increased slightly the chance of development for what is now invest 98L. Deep convection developed over night around the northern part of the broad low pressure area. However, upper level winds are quite brisk out of the west and west-southwest and this is helping to push the convection away and not let it organize much around the low. In any case, there is a small window of opportunity for this system to develop further before it moves inland over south Texas later tomorrow.

The biggest impact from 98L will be periods of heavy rain and occasional gusty winds. Local effects such as an increase in waves with any of the heavier thunderstorms will impact boating interests. Hopefully some much needed rainfall will come out of this for parts of south Texas – just as long as it’s not too much of a good thing all at once.

A Hurricane Hunter crew is scheduled to investigate 98L later today if conditions warrant. We’ll know more then about the structure and wind field but again, this is only if the NHC feels the flight is needed.

Farther east in the tropical Atlantic, what was once invest area 97L has now become a non-issue, for now anyway. It appears that the tropical wave energy is likely to to track in to and across the Caribbean Sea over the next several days. Computer models are indicating the chance of development either in the western Caribbean or perhaps the southern Gulf of Mexico early next week. This will be something to keep an eye on but for now, the tropical wave is not organizing but it will bring a brief period of squally weather to parts of the Lesser Antilles as it moves through over the next day or two.

The last area to discuss is a tropical wave forecast to move off the coast of Africa in a day or so. Most computer model guidance suggests that this will develop rather quickly and should become a tropical storm over the far eastern Atlantic. I do not know how many people actually live in the Cape Verde Islands but it appears that they will be impacted by this strong low pressure area and could experience tropical storm conditions as it passes by. Beyond that, it is obviously too soon to even speculate on where it may end up. However, most of the time when something develops that far east, it has no trouble finding a weakness in the high pressure area over the Atlantic and turning north and eventually out in to the open Atlantic.

So there is quite a bit going on as we end August. Things can change quickly this time of year so keep up to date with the latest. I’ll post updates on Twitter as they come in and will have another full blog post either late tonight or certainly by early tomorrow morning.

M. Sudduth 10:00 AM ET Aug 27

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Atlantic Basin has potential to get quite busy, but right now, it’s just that: potential

As we approach the end of August, the Atlantic hurricane season is supposed to ramp up. Water temps are nearing their peak, the atmosphere is more conducive for development and tropical waves dot the map from Africa to the Caribbean. Even though this time of year can be busy, that doesn’t mean it has to be busy. Looking over the various long range models, I think there is at least a decent chance that things will get quite busy in the coming days and weeks.

First up, hurricane Cristobal continues to be hit by strong upper level winds displacing the deep thunderstorms away from the low level center. The surface pressure is about 988 millibars according to the latest from the NHC so any deep convection could have hurricane force winds though it’s not a very well organized system to say the least.

The track forecast has not changed much – Cristobal is expected to turn more towards the northeast with time and head out in to the far reaches of the North Atlantic. However, Bermuda is under a tropical storm watch just in case the hurricane passes close enough to bring stronger winds and other effects to the area.

Next up we have a surface trough of low pressure in the Gulf of Mexico which is showing some signs of rotation in satellite and radar imagery. Upper level winds are not especially favorable at the moment but water temps are extremely warm across most of the Gulf. It is possible that the system organizes a little more as it tracks south and west over the next day or two. Interests along the Texas coast should monitor this feature closely. At the very least, a period of rain and squally weather is in store for parts of the western Gulf Coast.

There is an outside chance that this system develops quickly right before coming ashore. We’ve seen this in the past with small disturbances like this one. I do not see any reason to believe it would be very strong but again, the chance is there for it to ramp up quickly and boaters as well as coastal interests should keep abreast of the situation.

Once this system is inland in about two days or so, we will have to watch for possible additional development coming in from the Caribbean. Some of the global models are suggesting the formation of a low pressure area in the Caribbean Sea next week. This too has the potential of working its way across the Yucatan and in to the southern Gulf. It’s just something to keep in mind and monitor as we progress through the next week or so.

Meanwhile, invest area 97L out in the tropical Atlantic is not faring very well today. It looks elongated and lacks any substantial organization. However, the GFS global model has been quite consistent with developing this system once it passes about 60 degrees west longitude. Other models are not showing this scenario so I am somewhat skeptical at this point. None the less, it’s out there and we know the time of year we’re in so it’s worth watching.

The next feature to discuss has not even emerged from Africa yet. Most of the global models indicate that a strong tropical wave will exit the coast in a few days and quickly develop near the Cape Verde Islands. This usually means a turn out to the north rather quickly unless we see well established, deep layer high pressure sprawling across the Atlantic. Right now, it’s not there, so I expect that we’ll see a new tropical storm but it should turn north and in to the open eastern to central Atlantic with time. It is likely to bring gusty winds and possibly even tropical storm conditions to the Cape Verde Islands which is not too uncommon this time of year.

In the eastern Pacific, things are beginning to calm down a bit as Marie continues to weaken well off the coast of Mexico. There are no new areas to watch in the near future and I think once the east Pacific goes quiet, then the Atlantic will have a chance to pick up for a few weeks.

So the bottom line is that there is plenty to watch but nothing that poses any significant impact threats to land areas in the coming days. As I mentioned, that could change and it’s important to at least keep a close watch on conditions these next few weeks. It’s a busier season than we had last year and although we have not had any landfall threats since Arthur, we have a lot of hurricane season left with plenty of warm water around to tap in to. Whether or not all of this potential adds up to anything remains to be seen. I’ll keep you posted.

M. Sudduth 9:46 AM ET Aug 26

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