Hurricane Gordon is headed for the southern Azores Islands and is beginning to weaken as shear and cooler water begins to impact the circulation. This process will likely continue and should bring Gordon to under hurricane intensity as it tracks through the region over the next day or so. After that time, a more rapid weakening is probable and Gordon will be just a remnant low pressure area.
In the western Gulf, we have the left over energy associated with what was once TS Helene trying to flare up again over the very warm water. A substantial increase in convection is noted this afternoon and we’ll have to see if the NHC outlines it for any kind of potential for re-development. I do not see anything significant in the major computer models, just pulses of weak low pressure areas moving northeast out of this general area of disturbed weather. We also have a cold front entering the northern Gulf and this will add to the piling up of tropical moisture across the region, resulting in fairly unsettled weather as we start the week. While it’s possible that we could see some development in the western Gulf, I doubt that it would be anything to worry about as it would likely stay weak.
Next we have 94L which has been quite interesting to watch over the last few days. It seems that there is a big of cat and mouse going on with the global models, especially the GFS. At first, that model was indicating quite a significant hurricane developing and impacting the eastern Caribbean. Then, within just a few forecast cycles, the model kind of said, “Oops, never mind” and keeps 94L very weak as it approaches the Lesser Antilles. However, the SHIPS and LGEM intensity models both make 94L a powerful hurricane, contrary to what the global models indicate, including the ECMWF which has never really done much with 94L.
In this case, I think we need to go by what we see. Looking at 94L right now, it is definitely not organizing or developing much. Convection is weak and limited although it has a noticeable circulation and a large envelope of moisture to work with. I think that it is reasonable to expect that as it moves westward towards higher ocean heat content, between 50 and 60 west longitude, that we can expect to see it begin to strengthen. The overall lack of development in the deep tropics this season is apparently not going to be easily overcome and this, so far, spells good news for the islands.
In the longer term, the track of 94L depends largely on its strength. A shallower, less intense system will tend to track more west. On the other hand, if it develops deep convection and starts to increase its size in the atmosphere, it will feel the deeper layers of the steering pattern better and could gain more latitude over time. This all boils down to weak = track through the Caribbean while strong = track likely north of the Caribbean. Stay tuned, there’s no easy answer for what will happen with this system.
I’ll cover the very latest on all of the goings on in the tropics on today’s video blog which will be posted to our iPhone app later this afternoon. If you have the app, remember to completely close it and then open it again to refresh the video blogs page. This was a flaw that will be fixed during the first update coming out soon that will allow you to pull down and refresh the video page. For now, simply closing the app completely and restarting it will refresh everything.
I’ll post another update here this evening as well.