The MJO and climatology are working together to bring about what I have been alluding to for the past couple of weeks. It seemed almost inevitable that at least one more named storm would develop in the Caribbean Sea and the way things look now, it’s only a matter of time.
We have 99L moving through the central Caribbean this afternoon. The NHC gives it a high chance of becoming a tropical depression within the next couple of days. Water temps and ocean heat content in the region are high while upper level winds continue to become more favorable. Most of the reliable intensity models indicate that 99L will become a tropical storm and eventually a hurricane. Before any of that happens, it will be a persistent rain maker for the region. This will have its own set of problems as areas like Jamaica, Hispaniola, eastern Cuba and eventually the southeast Bahamas could see a lot of rain over the next several days.
The problem is that steering currents are relatively week. This is not a system that will develop and scoot out rapidly to the northeast. It’s going to take some time, perhaps nearly a week, for it to clear the Caribbean entirely. This will lead to excessive rain fall totals for some of the islands in the area and this needs to be taken very seriously. Tropical cyclones and even those in the genesis stage can dump 10 to 20 inches of rain in short order. The longevity of this event for the Caribbean is going to be serious.
For now, the track of the low pressure area will be west and south of west for a couple of days. This will place the low in the western Caribbean first as it awaits a pattern change that should spring it loose and eject it out to the northeast. Exactly when this happens remains to be seen but none of the guidance shows it impacting Florida. However, the impacts to Jamaica, Cuba and Hispaniola could be significant, especially with the aforementioned rain event.
In the longer term, the models suggest that what is almost certain to become “Sandy” will strengthen in to a hurricane. When it does so is tough to say, it could be after it tracks out of the Caribbean which would be good news. My only concern is all of the warm water available and the inability of the models to do well with intensity forecasting historically. Interests in the entire area need to monitor 99L’s future progress very closely.
I’ll have another post here tomorrow. If you have our iPhone app, be sure to check the video section for today’s video blog as it has been posted recently.