No major issues in the tropics right now – just one area to monitor in NW Caribbean

Map showing location of invest area 95L over the NW Caribbean Sea

Map showing location of invest area 95L over the NW Caribbean Sea

The tropics remain quiet for the most part as we begin to approach the end of June. Only one area, tucked away in the NW Caribbean Sea, is of any concern and even it has a low chance of development.

This morning’s update from the NHC indicates that a tropical wave and a weak area of low pressure is present just off the coast from the Yucatan peninsula, over the northwest Caribbean Sea. It is rather disorganized with limited convection associated with it.

As with the precursor to what became TS Danielle, the main threat here will be periods of heavy rain for portions of Central America as the wave/low moves across over the next few days. And, as was the case with Danielle, if the low has enough warm water to work with once over the southern Bay of Campeche, there is potential for some additional development. Right now, nothing indicates any major issues arising from this system but it is something to monitor.

Computer models indicate that a track similar to Danielle would be likely which means more rain possible for eastern Mexico over the weekend. I see no reason to believe that this system would be of any concern to Texas or elsewhere along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Meanwhile, the Pacific remains virtually shut down, quite a stark contrast to last year when several hurricanes had formed by now. This is truly remarkable and I do not see the trend ending anytime soon. Perhaps within the next 10 days something will try to get going as a strong upward motion (MJO) pulse is forecast to move through the region, helping to promote tropical convection and thus increasing the chances for development.

I will have more here tomorrow.

M. Sudduth 10:50 AM ET June 23


Two areas of development likely but far, far from land

93L (left) and 95L (right) both show promise to develop in to tropical depressions over the next day or two

93L (left) and 95L (right) both show promise to develop in to tropical depressions over the next day or two

The deep tropics remain fairly active, despite the strong El Nino in place in the Pacific. Fortunately for coastal dwellers, none of the systems that the NHC is monitoring pose any threat to land.

Up first is invest area 93L, the western most disturbance. As you can see in the satellite photo, it certainly has that look of becoming a tropical depression and may do so later today.

Computer models suggest a short window of opportunity for it to strengthen in to a tropical storm, if it does, it would be named Ida….unless…..

Unless 95L, the eastern most system develops first. It too has become better organized overnight but I think that 93L is well on its way to becoming a depression and eventually a storm.

Steering currents are such that both systems will almost certainly turn north with time and remain well away from land areas. In the end, we could finish the week with two additional named storms and a few more ACE points for the season but that’s it.

Looking ahead, the long range global models do not indicate any solid leads as to where the next area of interest may be. The natural evolution of the season would suggest that we begin watching the western Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico this time of year but upper level winds have not been favorable at all this season across that region. Water temperatures are slowly coming down from north to south as well and so the sands in the hourglass of the hurricane season will begin to run out quicker as we head towards October. It’s not over until it’s over, no doubt about that, but for the next several days at least, the United States and surrounding countries of the western Atlantic Basin are safe from the threat of hurricanes.

In the eastern Pacific, there are no areas of concern right now and I do not see that changing over the next five to seven days.

I’ll have more here tomorrow.

M. Sudduth 8:20 AM ET Sept 16


Tropics of little concern across Atlantic Basin, not so much for west Pacific

Track map of typhoon Usagi in the western Pacific

Track map of typhoon Usagi in the western Pacific

This weekend will be wet in some places across the Southeast and Gulf Coast but not because of any tropical storms or hurricanes. Things are beginning to slacken up quite a bit as we head towards the end of September.

The NHC has lowered the chances of development for invest 95L in the western Gulf of Mexico. Computer models still indicate that a weak low will take shape from this system which could have some strong winds and heavy rains associated with it but nothing purely tropical. The good news is that a healthy dose of rain is likely for areas from Texas across to the Carolinas though some areas could receive a little too much too soon.

Meanwhile, a weak area of low pressure is trying to develop well east of Florida and could become what is termed a subtropical cyclone as it moves to the north with time. Interests in Bermuda want to pay attention to this feature as it could bring rain and an increase in wind over the next few days.

Way over in the western Pacific, a powerful typhoon, Usagi, is closing in on southern Taiwan today where excessive rain is likely to fall due in part to the lifting of the moisture associated with the mountainous terrain there. It looks like the core of the typhoon will pass far enough south of Taiwan to keep the worst conditions offshore.

Then, early next week, Usagi is expected to make landfall in China, possibly near Hong Kong as a strong typhoon but probably weaker than it is currently.

I’ll have posts throughout the weekend.

M. Sudduth 2:15 pm ET Sept 20


Complex pattern shaping up for Gulf of Mexico, could lead to more rain for areas drenched by Ingrid

A look at various computer models shows the complex situation with 95L

A look at various computer models shows the complex situation with 95L

There’s nothing much new happening with invest 95L this morning. The loosely defined center is located over the Yucatan peninsula with limited deep convection associated with it. The NHC notes that conditions are favorable for some development once the low emerges in to the SW Gulf of Mexico. The global models generally agree with this scenario and show some organization over the next few days as the low moves slowly westward. This could lead to even more rain for portions of Mexico where hurricane Ingrid made landfall recently.

As you can see from the graphic, the computer models are not in agreement as to where the system will track over the coming days. The pattern is complex and there is no easy answer for what may happen with this system.

One interesting item of note – the two most reliable global models, the ECMWF and the GFS, both show very little in the way of strengthening with this system once it is over the Gulf of Mexico. On the other hand, the UKMET model, another fairly reliable global model, shows modest strengthening with a track towards Mississippi. As usual, the hurricane-specific HRWF model creates a strong hurricane out of the situation, something that I simply cannot believe at this point.

It looks like the global models are depicting the energy from the low pressure area getting strung out over a wide area and thus it never has time to focus and thus we see a weak storm at best. Complicating matters is what appears to be a low pressure area that develops across the southern tier of the U.S. that itself moves along the northern Gulf Coast and Southeast, finally moving offshore of the Carolinas. This is more like what we see in winter with southern-track storms that bring heavy rain and severe weather with them.

The end result looks to be a rather slow process taking shape with this system. While it is possible that we see something significant come of it, I have my doubts at this point. I believe the more likely scenario is a weak tropical storm forms in the southwest Gulf, mills around for several days and then gets pulled east, strung out and disorganized but a big rain maker. I guess time will tell.

For the next couple of days, the weak area of low pressure will gradually move off the Yucatan and from there we will see what it does. Heavy rain and squally conditions are going to continue for the region as the low moves quite slowly.

Meanwhile, in the eastern Pacific, TD Manuel, which made landfall a few days ago in Mexico, has managed to get back out over the water and is forecast to become a tropical storm again as it too dumps more heavy rain on the Pacific side of Mexico. The NHC forecast takes the soon-to-be storm in to the Baja area and then turns it southward, finally weakening at the end of the forecast period.

It has been a strange hurricane season – one that has featured a few systems that have seemingly died out, only to come back again a short time later. We’ve also not had any strong hurricanes form in either the east Pacific or the Atlantic this season, opposite of what was forecast earlier in the year. However, we’ve seen a lot of rain from landfalling storms and hurricanes and that has been problematic for people who have had to deal with it. We still have a few weeks left of the peak time of the season, at least from a climatological perspective. So far, no intense hurricanes have come along, perhaps it will stay that way. I see nothing in the long range to indicate a change but we do have to deal with what ever comes of 95L. Once we are past that, we may start to slow things down quite a bit, we’ll see. So far, so good.

I’ll post more here this evening on 95L and have a look at the day’s model output.

M. Sudduth 7:40 am ET Sept 18