Harvey moving through the Windward Islands today bound for western Caribbean

TS Harvey track map from the NHC

TS Harvey track map from the NHC

Tropical storm Harvey is moving quickly through the Windward Islands where it has dumped heavy rain, resulting in some flooding in portions of Barbados this morning. The quick motion off to the west will mean that conditions begin to improve by this afternoon across the region as the storm enters the eastern Caribbean Sea.

Once Harvey clears the Windwards today, the next two or three days will be spent watching the evolution of not only its intensity but also its track. Some of the computer guidance suggests that Harvey will become a hurricane and a lot will depend on how close to Central America the storm gets. Obviously the more land interaction there is, the less Harvey will strengthen. Water temps in the western Caribbean are very warm with plenty of fuel for development.

The track forecast is fairly straight-forward essentially taking Harvey generally westward across the Caribbean through the weekend. Towards the end of the five day track the storm is expected to slow down some and gain a little more latitude. How much farther north remains to be seen but it is entirely possible that Harvey will end up over Honduras and move inland from there – never coming back out over water again. We will just have to wait a couple of days to see how the steering pattern plays out over the United States and what changes to the track result.

In the mean time, invest area 92L is holding on for now, probably as a tropical depression but since it is not near land, it really doesn’t matter in my opinion. Strong upper level winds are beginning to impact the system which means it will not have much time to strengthen further and it may just dissipate on its way west-northwest to the north of the Lesser Antilles. There is an outside chance that 92L survives the strong upper winds in a few days and thus could be an issue for the Bahamas or Florida but right now, that seems to be a long shot. We never say never this time of year but as of today, I am not too concerned with the future of 92L.

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Tropical storm possible for Windward Islands later tonight and tomorrow

The NHC has begun advisories on what they refer to as “Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine”. This is a new policy implemented this year to begin advisories and thus the issuance of watches and warnings for a disturbance that has not officially become a tropical depression or tropical storm – but is expected to. The new policy gives an advantage to officials to be able to warn the public earlier instead of having to wait until recon verifies or other data indicates that a specific disturbance has in fact strengthened in to a tropical cyclone. In this case, we are talking about invest area 91L which is located just east of the Windward Islands.

I have prepared a video discussion covering the impacts that are expected for the region as the soon-to-be-storm passes through and then in to the Caribbean Sea. I will have another update and video post later this evening.

M. Sudduth 11:15 AM ET Aug 17

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Hurricane season about to kick in to high gear

It’s the middle of August and that means the hurricane season normally begins to ramp up as conditions across the Atlantic Basin become more favorable. I think that this season, however, things are going to be busier than normal and that may be a bit of an understatement.

Right now we are tracking TS Gert well off the Southeast coast of the U.S. Top winds are 60 mph but Gert is almost certain to become a hurricane as it moves around the edge of the Bermuda High, eventually turning away from the U.S.

The soon-to-be hurricane won’t part ways 100% quietly. Beginning as soon as later today, swells generated by the storm (and eventually what will be a hurricane) will begin impacting the coast of North Carolina and points north. This will be great news for surfers but for novice swimmers, children etc. it can mean disaster! I am not kidding about this, larger waves are indeed exciting to play in but they can lead to an increase in rip currents and the energy within the waves can cause physical harm when they crash on top of you. Be careful out there – this is not something to just brush off. As Gert gets stronger, the swells will get larger and this will remain an issue for several days.

Next up we have invest area 91L out in the open tropical Atlantic which has a 60% chance of developing as of the 8am ET NHC tropical weather outlook. All in all, it looks as though the environment is conducive for this system to strengthen and become a tropical storm later this week.

As of this morning, the guidance from computer models is divided between the ECMWF or Euro which is very aggressive with development and a solid west path across the Atlantic and other models such as the GFS which don’t seem to do much with the system. Considering the poor track record of the GFS this season, I am inclined to put more faith in the Euro for the time being. Perhaps once the envelope of energy associated with 91L consolidates and we get a closed low – then the other models will latch on and aid in helping to understand where this feature will track over the next several days. For now, it is out over the open Atlantic and not a threat to any land areas.

I cover these topics and more in my video discussion for today which is posted below.

M. Sudduth

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Franklin inland over the Yucatan, likely to be a hurricane at final landfall as we watch 99L for possible development

There is a lot going on in the tropics this week which is to be expected considering the overall pattern that we are in, the lack of El Nino and the very warm look to the sea surface temps across the Atlantic Basin.

Tropical storm Franklin visible satellite image showing the storm over the Yucatan today.

Tropical storm Franklin visible satellite image showing the storm over the Yucatan today.

First, we have TS Franklin which has moved inland over the Yucatan peninsula during the overnight hours. Obviously is has weakened some since it is over land but the inner core is likely not being disrupted too much since it was not very well established in the first place. This means that once Franklin is over the water later today, it should start to strengthen again and do so fairly quickly.

There is some evidence of stronger upper level winds coming out of the north over the southern Gulf of Mexico but this does not look like it will impede the storm from getting stronger and I expect that Franklin will be a hurricane before landfall in Mexico later tomorrow night.

As for concerns in south Texas, no need to worry. A solid wall of air, almost literally, is between Franklin and the Gulf Coast of the U.S. which means that the storm will not be able to move north very much at all. In fact, it should track close to the 20N latitude line until landfall in Mexico. We may see an increase in rip currents and swells along the Texas coast but that should be the extent of any impacts.

Next we have invest area 99L meandering out in the open Atlantic. Remember, this is the system that the GFS had developing in to a strong hurricane and heading towards the Southeast U.S. next week. Then, the GFS “dropped” that idea completely. All along, the ECMWF or Euro model was very unenthusiastic about development – until now.

As of the last couple of days, it seems that the Euro and its ensemble members (different runs of the operational model with slightly different variables input to give different output) are trying to finally develop 99L as it moves westward well north of the Lesser Antilles. In fact, if we look at the satellite shot of 99L this morning, there has been a noticeable increase in thunderstorm activity, more concentrated too and not as spread out as we saw earlier in its life cycle. Is this a sign that 99L is about to start towards a development trend? It is possible. Water temps are warm and getting warmer along its path and it won’t be long before upper level winds become more favorable, probably near the weekend, and allow for more organization of the disturbance. It’s something we should keep an eye on but nothing to worry about just yet.

I go over all of this and more in my video discussion posted below:

M. Sudduth 10:45 AM ET August 8

 

 

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Tropical storm Franklin forms in NW Caribbean Sea, likely to become a hurricane

The NHC began issuing advisories on TS Franklin in the NW Caribbean Sea late last night. Since that time, the storm has strengthened and now has winds of 60 mph with a pressure of 999 mb. The overall appearance and organization of the storm suggests it is strengthening quickly and it would not be a surprise to me at all if Franklin becomes a hurricane before landfall along the Yucatan later tonight.

Due to fairly strong high pressure over the northern Gulf of Mexico region, Franklin in not likely to gain much latitude which means it will track WNW across the Yucatan and in to the Bay of Campeche as the week progresses. Interests in Texas have little to worry about as the pattern does not look to change much which will keep the would-be hurricane well to the south of Brownsville and vicinity.

On the other hand, this means that some location, likely between Veracruz and Tampico, will get the brunt of the impacts from Franklin later on Wednesday and in to Thursday. Obviously, the stronger the storm/hurricane is, the worse the impacts will be. We will focus on on that after the storm crosses the Yucatan tonight and tomorrow.

I go over all of this in detail as part of my video discussion concerning the tropical storm. Check it out via the link below:

M. Sudduth 10:45 AM ET Aug 7

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