Archive for Atlantic Basin

New depression likely forming in Bay of Campeche – otherwise quiet

The only area of interest is in the Bay of Campeche

The only area of interest is in the Bay of Campeche

It looks as though we will start the month off with a new tropical depression. Invest area 99L is trying to organize over the eastern Bay of Campeche, not far off the west coast of the Yucatan peninsula. Overall, conditions appear favorable for this system to develop and it should become a tropical depression later today or tonight over the very warm waters of the region.

The NHC has tasked a Hurricane Hunter crew to fly out and investigate the area and that will tell us a lot more about the structure, surface pressure and wind speeds. I suspect they will find it being close to depression status when they get there later this afternoon.

Track models suggest strongly that a west-northwest path will commence, taking the system in to Mexico in a couple of days. It looks like 100 miles either side of Tampico is a safe bet but since we are talking about a fairly weak system, so far, rain will be the primary concern here.

Speaking of intensity, none of the models indicate any rapid intensification but this does not preclude the chance for modest strengthening before landfall in Mexico. I fully expect that we will see a tropical storm out of this – if so, the name will be Dolly. However, as I alluded to in the previous paragraph, wind will not be as much of an issue as heavy rain will be. The terrain of eastern Mexico rises quickly not far inland from the coast. Flash flooding and mudslides could be an issue as the system moves inland and dies away later this week.

I do not see this system being much of a threat to Texas as strong high pressure parked over the southern part of the United States should keep what ever develops suppressed far to the south. Tropical storms and hurricanes are generally steered around high pressure areas, not in to them. There may be an increase in moisture from the onshore flow and persistent southeast wind but that is about the extent of it.

The rest of the Atlantic Basin is remarkably quiet this first day of September. In fact, I see very little in the global models over the next few days to be concerned with. So, I will stay focused on 99L and its likely eventual growth in to the season’s next tropical depression or storm.

I’ll post more here later this evening once we learn more from the Hurricane Hunters investigating the area.

M. Sudduth 12:54 PM ET Sept 1

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No hurricanes this Labor Day

Tropical weather outlook shows very little promise for development over the coming days

Tropical weather outlook shows very little promise for development over the coming days

The last big beach weekend of the summer is at hand and for anyone headed to the warm waters of the Atlantic, Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico, you have very little to be concerned with – at least hurricane-wise.

After Cristobal clears the pattern in the next day or two, the Atlantic Basin should be fairly quiet. There is a large but rather disorganized cluster of convection in the Gulf of Mexico but I do not see any evidence of it developing nor does the National Hurricane Center. That being said, the region is unsettled and occasional heavy rains with gusty winds will be on tap for portions of the offshore waters from Texas to Louisiana. The movement looks to be slow and mostly northwest so just be aware that this complex of storms is out there.

The only other area to monitor in the coming days is the Caribbean Sea and eventually the southwest Gulf of Mexico. There is a gathering area of clouds, showers and thunderstorms developing throughout the Caribbean as trade winds pile up in the wake of Cristobal. Pressures are fairly low overall and water temps are very warm. Some computer model guidance suggests that low pressure could develop near the Yucatan peninsula early next week and move across the southwest Gulf of Mexico. High pressure to the north, over the southern United States, should keep any development trapped well to the south. We’ll keep an eye on this pattern as it evolves and as of now, I am not seeing any signs of significant development just yet.

In the meantime, the east Pacific is finally calming down as Marie has weakened in to the post-tropical phase of its life span. The enormous swells it generated while a powerful category five are subsiding along the Pacific coast. I don’t see anything developing within the global models anywhere in the Pacific for the next several days at least.

So if you’re headed to the beach this long weekend, enjoy it without worry of any issues from the tropics. I’ll have more here tomorrow.

M. Sudduth 9:00 AM ET Aug 29

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Atlantic Basin has potential to get quite busy, but right now, it’s just that: potential

As we approach the end of August, the Atlantic hurricane season is supposed to ramp up. Water temps are nearing their peak, the atmosphere is more conducive for development and tropical waves dot the map from Africa to the Caribbean. Even though this time of year can be busy, that doesn’t mean it has to be busy. Looking over the various long range models, I think there is at least a decent chance that things will get quite busy in the coming days and weeks.

First up, hurricane Cristobal continues to be hit by strong upper level winds displacing the deep thunderstorms away from the low level center. The surface pressure is about 988 millibars according to the latest from the NHC so any deep convection could have hurricane force winds though it’s not a very well organized system to say the least.

The track forecast has not changed much – Cristobal is expected to turn more towards the northeast with time and head out in to the far reaches of the North Atlantic. However, Bermuda is under a tropical storm watch just in case the hurricane passes close enough to bring stronger winds and other effects to the area.

Next up we have a surface trough of low pressure in the Gulf of Mexico which is showing some signs of rotation in satellite and radar imagery. Upper level winds are not especially favorable at the moment but water temps are extremely warm across most of the Gulf. It is possible that the system organizes a little more as it tracks south and west over the next day or two. Interests along the Texas coast should monitor this feature closely. At the very least, a period of rain and squally weather is in store for parts of the western Gulf Coast.

There is an outside chance that this system develops quickly right before coming ashore. We’ve seen this in the past with small disturbances like this one. I do not see any reason to believe it would be very strong but again, the chance is there for it to ramp up quickly and boaters as well as coastal interests should keep abreast of the situation.

Once this system is inland in about two days or so, we will have to watch for possible additional development coming in from the Caribbean. Some of the global models are suggesting the formation of a low pressure area in the Caribbean Sea next week. This too has the potential of working its way across the Yucatan and in to the southern Gulf. It’s just something to keep in mind and monitor as we progress through the next week or so.

Meanwhile, invest area 97L out in the tropical Atlantic is not faring very well today. It looks elongated and lacks any substantial organization. However, the GFS global model has been quite consistent with developing this system once it passes about 60 degrees west longitude. Other models are not showing this scenario so I am somewhat skeptical at this point. None the less, it’s out there and we know the time of year we’re in so it’s worth watching.

The next feature to discuss has not even emerged from Africa yet. Most of the global models indicate that a strong tropical wave will exit the coast in a few days and quickly develop near the Cape Verde Islands. This usually means a turn out to the north rather quickly unless we see well established, deep layer high pressure sprawling across the Atlantic. Right now, it’s not there, so I expect that we’ll see a new tropical storm but it should turn north and in to the open eastern to central Atlantic with time. It is likely to bring gusty winds and possibly even tropical storm conditions to the Cape Verde Islands which is not too uncommon this time of year.

In the eastern Pacific, things are beginning to calm down a bit as Marie continues to weaken well off the coast of Mexico. There are no new areas to watch in the near future and I think once the east Pacific goes quiet, then the Atlantic will have a chance to pick up for a few weeks.

So the bottom line is that there is plenty to watch but nothing that poses any significant impact threats to land areas in the coming days. As I mentioned, that could change and it’s important to at least keep a close watch on conditions these next few weeks. It’s a busier season than we had last year and although we have not had any landfall threats since Arthur, we have a lot of hurricane season left with plenty of warm water around to tap in to. Whether or not all of this potential adds up to anything remains to be seen. I’ll keep you posted.

M. Sudduth 9:46 AM ET Aug 26

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Shear and some dry air impacting Cristobal – rest of Atlantic has potential for more activity

A recent satellite image of TS Cristobal showing the exposured center of circulation due to stronger upper level winds pushing the deep convection away

A recent satellite image of TS Cristobal showing the exposured center of circulation due to stronger upper level winds pushing the deep convection away

TS Cristobal is not very healthy this morning. Strong northerly winds are pushing the deep thunderstorms, or convection, to the south and southeast, away from the low level center. This means the storm is not getting stronger anytime soon. If the stronger upper level winds let up, then Cristobal has a chance to become the 3rd hurricane of the Atlantic season – which most intensity guidance suggests will happen.

The forecast track continues to indicate a turn to the northeast with time and keeps Cristobal away from the United States and Bermuda.

One effect that I mentioned yesterday, especially if Cristobal becomes a hurricane, is the ocean swells that will roll in and impact the coast this week. Surfers will delight in this but swimmers, especially younger ones and those with little ocean experience, need to be very careful. Rip currents and general dangerous surf conditions could make for a hazardous few days along portions of the East Coast. Your best bet is to ask local life guard officials about the current conditions. Also, you may consult your local NWS homepage for any hazards related to beach conditions.

Meanwhile, we have a new area of interest out in the tropical Atlantic that has potential for development this week. The NHC is giving it a 30% chance of becoming at least a tropical depression within five days. We’ll have plenty of time to monitor this feature as it moves westward this week. Interests in the Lesser Antilles should monitor this tropical wave closely – but you don’t need me to tell you that, it’s that time of year, anything coming out of the deep tropics is worth watching.

Elsewhere, not much going on for the time being but the overall pattern is fairly ripe for development in many areas. Water temps are plenty warm and we are approaching the time of year when we could see several systems develop in a short period of time. Do not be surprised to see quite a bit of activity in the coming weeks – it’s the “where and who” that is difficult to know right now, so keep paying attention on a daily basis at least.

In the east Pacific, hurricane Marie, which peaked out at cat-5 intensity yesterday, is now weakening. The forecast keeps Marie well off the coast of Mexico but powerful ocean swells will impact parts of the region for the next several days. Again, this is great for surfers who can handle such things but swimmers need to be very careful and know their limits.

TS Karina is also on a weakening trend and should fizzle out within the next few days posing no threat to land.

That’s it for today – I’ll have more here tomorrow including my plans to perhaps head out to the NC Outer Banks to cover the ocean swells coming in from Cristobal – especially if it becomes a hurricane. More on this tomorrow morning.

M. Sudduth 10:02 AM ET Aug 25

 

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Cristobal means nice surf days ahead for parts of East Coast, little threat of landfall

Track map showing TS Cristobal

Track map showing TS Cristobal

Tropical storm Cristobal looks rather messy this afternoon. The clouds are disorganized and there is not a lot of curved banding going on. This tells me that the storm is not strengthening very quickly, if at all.

The NHC forecast does indicate that Cristobal will become a hurricane as it tracks northward and eventually northeast, away from the Southeast United States. After almost a week of computer model mayhem, it looks as though everyone along the U.S. coast can relax, Cristobal is not likely to have a direct impact.

One positive side effect of Cristobal becoming a hurricane, assuming it does, will be the increase in swells heading towards the coast. This means a few days of decent surfing coming up for parts of the East Coast. It also means an increase in rip currents and occasional dangerous surf conditions so swimmers need to be aware. Hopefully Cristobal will bring a period of decent waves for the surf community which in turn brings a little economic bump to local businesses (restaurants, gas stations, surf shops, hotels). Just be careful out there once the swells begin to arrive in a few days. Check your favorite surf site for more info on what may be a great week ahead.

Once Cristobal turns northeast in a few days, it will head out in to the Atlantic, likely a safe distance from Bermuda and of course, Cape Hatteras. If it in fact does become a hurricane, it will probably be in the maps for a few days and help to pile up the seasonal ACE points. This is the measure of the energy output of tropical cyclones. Last year that number was very much below the long term average: 36. Cristobal has a chance add quite a few to this year’s total which is around 14 right now and slowly climbing. We’ll see how strong Cristobal becomes, the stronger it is, the more ACE points it adds.

Elsewhere in the Atlantic, we are watching a tropical wave out in the deep tropics far from land that has a chance to develop as the coming week progresses.

In the east Pacific, powerful hurricane Marie is churning well off the coast of Mexico. Top winds are 150 mph and it could make it to category five intensity later today. Fortunately, the hurricane is not forecast to track any closer to Mexico than it already is. However, dangerous surf conditions could impact parts of the coast and this extends up to southern California as well. Excellent surf but for those who are not used to such conditions, it can be harmful, so be careful and aware of local beach/surf information.

I will have more here tomorrow morning.

M. Sudduth 2:46 PM ET Aug 24

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