About Mark Sudduth

Greetings! I am Mark Sudduth, the founder and editor of HurricaneTrack.com. The site began in 1999 as a way to post info concerning tropical storms and hurricanes for any interested visitors. Little did I know how big it would become in the years since. Now, we have millions of visitors from all over the world who have come to rely on the site as a no non-sense, tell it like it is resource for all things hurricane related. We are supported by a combination of corporate sponsors and our loyal Client Services members who subscribe to premium content on our sister site, premium.hurricanetrack.com. I am married with six energetic and intelligent children and live in southeast North Carolina. I graduated UNC-Wilmington in 1995 with a BA in Geography and have studied the effects of hurricanes on our society ever since.

92L in the tropical Atlantic bears watching as we wait and see about potential Gulf system

The hurricane season is getting off to a somewhat busy start. While we have not had a new named storm since the beginning of the season, that may be about to change.

Currently, the NHC is monitoring two areas for possible development. One is way out in the deep tropics and has been designated as invest area 92L. The other is a slowly organizing system in the western Caribbean that has potential for further development once it reaches the southern Gulf of Mexico.

I am most interested right now in 92L out in the deep tropics. It has the potential to become a tropical depression and maybe a tropical storm as it approaches the Windward Islands in about 5 days.

The Gulf system is less of a concern at the moment since it is unclear whether or not a low pressure area will ever actually take shape. Could be a large lop-sided area of showers and storms with some tropical storm force winds on the east side, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

I go over all of this and more in my video discussion for today which is posted below.

M. Sudduth 2:30 PM ET June 16

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Possibility of Gulf of Mexico development next week

I posted recently that a window of opportunity for development could be lurking and it looks as though that chance is beginning to arrive.

The NHC has outlined an area of interest centered on the Yucatan peninsula that could become the focal point for possible tropical development early next week.

Right now, there is little to even monitor but the overall consensus of the global models is to gradually lower the pressures across the region as upper level winds become more conducive for something to take shape. It will be a fairly slow process and all indications are that the low will large and spread out meaning more rain and low wind impacts for a larger area – assuming this is what in fact happens.

I have prepared a detailed video discussion concerning the potential for development – check it out below. I will have more posted here tomorrow early afternoon.

Also – tonight I will be a guest on the popular Internet show Storm Front Freaks talking all things hurricanes. To watch live via YouTube, click this link – the show begins at 9pm ET and will be archived for later viewing and available as a podcast via iTunes.

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Window of development opportunity coming up?

It’s still early June and typically this time of the hurricane season means that things are usually quiet. Every once in a while we will get a June tropical storm or hurricane, but it’s not the norm. As most of you know, the season really begins to ramp up from about mid-August on. Usually….

This season might not be usual.

I am seeing the beginnings of signs that may point to a development window opening over the next week to ten days and beyond.

GFS and its ensemble members indicating a more favorable MJO state coming up for portions of the Western Hemisphere over the next couple of weeks

GFS and its ensemble members indicating a more favorable MJO state coming up for portions of the Western Hemisphere over the next couple of weeks

For starters, the Madden-Julian Oscillation or MJO is forecast by the GFS and Euro models to be moving in to the phase that often supports development somewhere within the Atlantic Basin. The MJO phenomenon is easy to think of as a period of fertility in the tropics, when deep convection can form and blossom, not just fizzle out and dissipate. While the MJO helps to enhance development it does not necessarily mean that development is a certainty.

The upcoming signal from the MJO is not especially strong but it is there (forecast to be there anyway) and could lead to better upper level winds over parts of the southeast Pacific and extending in to the western Caribbean and western Gulf. With water temps plenty warm in the region, all we need is a kick and it could lead to development in one basin or the other, maybe both. We will have to just wait and see.

If we look at the GFS operational model at the 850 millibar level which is about 5k feet up, we can see one week out from today that a wind shift or monsoonal trough begins to set up from the southeast Pacific, across Central America and in to the western Caribbean. This would act like a focusing mechanism for the air to come together or converge, probably leading to enhanced convection (thunderstorms) across the region.

GFS model at 168 hrs showing (yellow area) a wind shift and overall troff of low pressure stretched out over a large area, we call this a "monsson trough" and it can lead to development if conditions allow

GFS model at 168 hrs showing (yellow area) a wind shift and overall troughof low pressure stretched out over a large area, we call this a “monsoon trough” and it can lead to development if conditions allow

This large counter-clockwise “gyre” is so spread out that in and of itself it wouldn’t develop. We would need to see if an area of concentrated energy or vorticity breaks off and tries to develop out of this larger area of energy. If so, then a low pressure area could get going either in the Pacific or the western Caribbean – leading to the chance of a tropical depression or storm at some point.

As you can tell, the process is long and complex. I am not going to dwell on it day after day for two weeks but it is something to keep an eye on. At the very least, more rainfall than normal may be setting up for portions of Central America and it may lead to a named storm on one side of Central America or the other. Time will tell.

Then there is this interesting set up taking shape: The ECMWF (Euro) is indicating the possibility of an easterly wave (tropical wave) trying to develop way out in the deep tropics between Africa and the Lesser Antilles. Remember, water temps out this way are running above the long term average. If we do in fact see a strong area of energy emerge from Africa, it could take advantage of the warmer water and more favorable conditions overall  and try to develop some. This would be highly unusual and a significant sign in my opinion that this season could be quite busy. Again, time will tell.

We live in an age when computer guidance and satellite information allows us to see in to the future of weather forecasting better than ever before. These early warning signs are helpful since we should no longer be totally caught off guard. It may not prevent a “Labor Day hurricane of 1935” scenario in which case we saw a TS become a Cat-5 hurricane in a very short amount of time but the advances in technology now allows us to be more aware than ever that a threat from the tropics is looming (or could be looming). My point is, do not be alarmed or worried. There’s no reason for that. Instead, be aware. We were told the season could be busier than average and these are possible signs of that happening. So just take note and pay attention a little more than normal perhaps. Applaud the fact that we have such tools at our disposal and as long as we know how to interpret them, it can be a good thing. After all, with such much at stake along our coastlines (all of us, not just the USA), the more lead-time the better; at least I think so anyway.

I’ll have more on Monday during my video discussion.

M. Sudduth 1:20 pm ET June 9

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Any chance of El Niño during Atlantic hurricane season is almost gone

I wrote about this in a recent blog post and so I thought it prudent to do a follow-up piece regarding the chances of El Niño making an appearance during the next few months.

Well, they say a picture is worth a thousand words…

Subsurface temperature anomalies along the equatorial Pacific as of June 2

Subsurface temperature anomalies along the equatorial Pacific as of June 2, 2017. Notice the lack of positive anomalies (yellow-orange-red) anywhere across the tropical Pacific. It’s mostly neutral for the time being.

 

Just looking at the most recent subsurface anomalies chart that was updated on June 2, we see that there is virtually no warm pool left in the tropical Pacific west of about 150 degrees longitude. The only positive anomaly, or warmer than normal area, is in the eastern Pacific and even here we’re talking about only a degree C at the most. To break it down in to simple terms: no El Niño anytime soon, if at all in 2017.

What does this mean for the Atlantic season? It means that we are likely to see less of the hurricane-inhibiting wind shear across the Caribbean and tropical Atlantic. That, in turn, should result in a busier season than we have seen in quite some time. It’s no guarantee as there are certainly other factors at play but the lack of El Niño is often seen as a significant enhancing signal for Atlantic hurricane activity.

We will get a new set of ensemble model plots from the ECMWF, which is often regarded as the model of choice, that will give us an update on its “thoughts” for the coming months. That model was quite aggressive in developing an El Niño going all the way back to the early winter months. We’ll see if it has seen the light, so to speak, and has backed off like other modeling has in recent weeks. I’ll keep an eye out for that new data and will include in during a future video discussion, so be on the lookout for that.

In summary, I think it is safe to say that El Niño will not be a factor this season and that, in and of itself, is reason enough to take the 2017 Atlantic hurricane quite seriously. We should be doing so any season but perhaps this time around, there may be more to it than normal. Time will tell.

M. Sudduth 8:20 AM ET June 7

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Atlantic hurricane season begins today

Here we are again, it’s June 1 and that means it is hurricane season. A lot has been said in recent weeks about what kind of season we may have. While it appears that conditions would support a busy season, it is just too tough to know with much certainty how things will turn out. Even if we have a lot of hurricane activity, there’s no way to know where they will track. It is always best to just stay aware and be ready no matter what.

Since it is hurricane season now, the video discussions will be pretty much every day. I’ll post them here and of course they will be in our app, Hurricane Impact, and on YouTube (search hurricanetrack).

In today’s video I go over the latest on east Pacific tropical storm Beatriz and its effects on Mexico and some potential for it to redevelop somewhere within the Gulf of Mexico early next week. I also break down the latest SST anomalies and a look at recent ENSO thoughts as we begin the season.

M. Sudduth 4:30 PM ET June 1

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