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


Danielle forms this morning – heavy rain spreading in to eastern Mexico

Track map showing TS Danielle which will be inland over Mexico by later today

Track map showing TS Danielle which will be inland over Mexico by later today

The NHC upgraded TD4 to TS Danielle this morning and thus setting a record for the earliest formation of the 4th named storm. I am beginning to wonder if this is in fact a sign of things to come? Danielle originated from a tropical wave and not an old frontal boundary or other non-tropical feature. Water temps across the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico are warmer than average and it’s only June. I suppose it’s a bit early to speculate on August and September but at this pace, it will be a very busy season if things keep going like they have been.

As for Danielle, the obvious major hazard for Mexico will be continued heavy rain, this is especially true for the high-terrain areas as the storm makes landfall. Once inland, as is typically the case in this region, the system will quickly die out. Fortunately for Texas, where more rain is the last thing anyone needs right now, Danielle is too far south and has no chance of making in to the Lone Star State.

The rest of the tropics, including the east Pacific, are nice and quiet as we begin the first official week of summer. I don’t see anything in the global models so suggest further development any place else in the near future. However, the GFS is remarkably persistent in showing a low pressure area in the northwest Caribbean Sea around the 10 day time frame. This is just a bit too far out in time for me to be very concerned about it but the pattern suggests that perhaps this isn’t too far-fetched, especially considering how busy the season has been already. It’s something to monitor but nothing is imminent.

I’ll have more here later today when I post my video discussion.

M. Sudduth 9:45 AM ET June 20



Tropics quiet for now, SSTs going up in some places while we prepare to test HURRB

Posted a video blog today highlighting the quiet time we have ahead. Also noted the rising sea surface temperatures in the northeast Atlantic, a stark contrast to where the region was this time last year. While things are quiet, the team heads to Kansas to test out our hurricane weather balloon project. All of this covered in today’s video discussion:


Colin product of favorable time period, likely not sign of hyper-active season

This map shows the favorable upward motion or MJO pulse (green areas) that helped to support the development of TS Colin

This map shows the favorable upward motion or MJO pulse (green areas) that helped to support the development of TS Colin

Tropical storm Colin, or what ever it is right now, is moving quickly northeast just south of the North Carolina coast near Cape Fear. It will continue this track and may strengthen some over the warm waters of the Gulf Stream but it won’t matter much since the effects will be well offshore.

Many references were made of the fact that Colin was the earliest we had reached the 3rd named storm in a season. Some may even point to this as evidence that the 2016 hurricane season will be quite a bit busier than thought. Here is why that makes little sense.

First, Colin was the product of a very favorable upward motion pattern in the Western Hemisphere. This is also known as a favorable MJO period or Madden-Julian Oscillation. Essentially, it is a period of time during which tropical convection or upward motion is enhanced for a certain region of the globe. It just so happens that during the past several days, our part of the world was favored. The result is tropical convection that often leads to the development of tropical cyclones. In this case, it did and did so in the climatologically favored areas of the Atlantic Basin. In other words, the pattern supported the development of Bonnie and Colin, nothing more, nothing less.

For the sake of argument, had Colin originated from a tropical wave in the deep tropics, then we would have some concern that the season will be busier than current conditions indicate. Tropical waves usually don’t develop that far east until much later in the season. In this case, Colin had its genesis in the western Caribbean, right where it should be for this part of the hurricane season. So far, there is nothing to make me think that this is a sign of things to come. Yes, it will probably be a busy season, considering we have had very little to track since 2012. Even an average year will seem busy at this point.

Also note that we had an anomaly back in January with what turned out to be hurricane Alex. Again, this was just a random event where by the pattern allowed a very rare January hurricane to develop but it did so outside of the deep tropics and under very different circumstances than we would look for during the normal part of the season of June-November.

While it may seem like we are off to a record-setting pace, I think things will calm down after Colin. We might see something try to develop in the western Gulf of Mexico, almost in to the Bay of Campeche, during the next 10 days, but after that, the season will likely go in to a lull until the main event in August, September and October.

Meanwhile, TD One-E (for East Pacific) is meandering around just off the coast of Mexico nearing the Gulf of Tehuantepec where it should die out due to unfavorable conditions. However, the threat of heavy rains still exists for parts of the region and this could result in flash floods and mudslides, a common hazard from all tropical cyclones regardless of intensity.

I will say this: I find it interesting that the Atlantic Basin has produced two tropical cyclones during the season (Bonnie was technically just before the start) while the east Pacific is lacking somewhat. This is usually not the case as the east Pacific tends to be more active early on. In fact, last year, the east Pacific had record activity while the Atlantic was virtually shut down except for powerful hurricane Joaquin in early October. This might be a sign that at least the balance of energy is shifting from the Pacific and in to the Atlantic. We’ll see….time will tell.

M. Sudduth 8:40 AM June 7


Disorganized Colin headed for Florida with additional impacts for Georgia and the Carolinas

Posted a video discussion of TS Colin to explain what to expect in the coming hours as the storm, disorganized as it may be, heads for a landfall in Florida. Overall, the impact idea has not changed: the biggest threat will be heavy rain with some coastal surge issues in the Big Bend area of Florida.

After landfall, Colin should emerge in the Atlantic off the Georgia coast and then track fairly close to the Carolinas, potentially dumping heavy rain along the immediate coast later tomorrow.

I will have another blog post concerning Colin this evening.