East Pacific getting busy – will western Caribbean/Gulf follow?

East Pacific tropical storm Aletta tracking map from the NHC

East Pacific tropical storm Aletta tracking map from the NHC

The east Pacific has its first named storm – Aletta – which is forecast to become a hurricane at it moves away from the Mexican coastline over the coming days. The formation is right in line with what we would expect to see this time of year in the eastern Pacific, so nothing unusual happening here.

We will likely also see another storm develop further to the south and east towards the weekend but with strong deep layer high pressure to the north, it too is probably going to remain offshore of Central America and Mexico. This is fairly common to see this time of the year when upper level troughs are few and far between in this region. Later on during the season, usually in latter August and in to September, we see the pattern shift and tracks tend to bend back towards the north and east, threatening the Pacific coast of Mexico and even the southwest United States.

6z GFS showing the beginnings of a new tropical system developing out of the Caribbean Sea in about a week. Something to watch for now as none of the other reliable guidance seems to suggest such an event.

6z GFS showing the beginnings of a new tropical system developing out of the Caribbean Sea in about a week. Something to watch for now as none of the other reliable guidance seems to suggest such an event.

On the other side of the land mass, the Atlantic Basin remains quiet for now. We do need to monitor an old frontal boundary that is draped across the northern Gulf of Mexico. There are some signs within the global models that a small but potent area of vorticity or spin may try to develop and hug the coast, eventually moving in to the Atlantic off the coast of Jacksonville. Plenty of additional rain is likely while the stalled front hangs around – and any development of a low pressure area would only enhance this; something we will need to monitor over the next day or two.

And finally, the GFS is alone again in forecasting the development of a tropical cyclone originating out of the western Caribbean in about a week. It’s hard to say if the model is simply having issues handling energy being pulled in off of South America, generating the kick so to speak to get things started, or if we may in fact need to watch the region closer in the coming days. I suppose it never hurts to at least be aware and wait and see what happens.

I will have a full rundown on all of these topics and more during today’s video discussion to be posted later this afternoon.

M. Sudduth

9:00 am ET June 6

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2018 Atlantic hurricane season officially begins

The fist 10 days of the official start to the season are usually quiet but we do need to watch the western Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and the southwest Atlantic for signs of development as the month wears on.

The fist 10 days of the official start to the season are usually quiet but we do need to watch the western Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and the southwest Atlantic for signs of development as the month wears on. Tap or click for full-size image.

As you know, we have already had a named storm – Alberto – even though it was outside of the normal window that we call “hurricane season”. It was also classified as being subtropical in its structure but I think that will be changed in post-season analysis. Does the presence of Alberto mean the season will be busier or more problematic than usual? Not really. Although, I am intrigued at how well it maintained itself, and even became better structured, while over land. Perhaps this gives us a glimpse in to the future of how other systems will behave near or inland over the United States this season. Something to consider but overall, Alberto was a product of the pattern, not a symptom that something is amiss as we enter the official start to the season.

The list of names we are using this year are the same ones from 2012 except for Sara which replaced Sandy for obvious reasons. The next name on the list this season will be Beryl followed by Chris, Debby, Ernesto and so on. The general consensus is that we will use between 12 and 14 names this season; we’ve already used one, so we shall see.

This time of the season, we usually look to the Gulf of Mexico, western Caribbean Sea or the southwest Atlantic for signs of development. The deep tropics, or what we call the Main Development Region, is almost never favorable in June due to higher pressures, lower SSTs and generally fast trade winds. It’s not until August that we typically watch the eastern Atlantic for development but you never know…there’s always a first time. For the most part, however, June is considered a slow month for Atlantic hurricane activity.

My plan this season is to continue to do what I have done for the better part of two decades: provide easy to understand, matter of fact updates about the tropics. If there’s nothing going on, then that’s what I will say. If I see something that worries me, I will say that too. In between, we will work on learning more together and I will use my 22 years experience to help you better understand not only what may or may not happen in the tropics, but also what to do about it should something head your way. We all have a role to play, it’s not up to the government to do it for us. I’ll help in what ever capacity that I can but will often refer you to other experts who know more than I do or who may have a different take on a certain aspect of what we’re dealing with. Preaching down to you as if I am beyond learning will never happen. When I stop learning, I will retire and write a nice long book. Until then, let’s get through the 2018 hurricane season together using the tools that we have and the collective trust that we have in each other.

Program note: this evening at 7:30 pm ET I will be live on my YouTube channel and hopefully on Facebook live as well to gather ’round the campfire, so to speak, and talk about the season. It will be like a gathering of friends, some old, some new, who have like-minded interests. In this case, it’s hurricanes and how we deal with them. I’ll have some tee shirts to give away plus a very special opportunity to own a piece of history. I will also take questions via email, Twitter, our own HurricaneTrack Insider chat, YouTube chat and (hopefully) Facebook comments. It should be fun which is what friends do when they get together. Hurricanes are tough, getting ahead of the curve shouldn’t be and it shouldn’t be all doom and gloom either. Weather is exciting and often beautiful – yet we know that tropical storms and hurricanes are dangerous, especially if not respected and understood. I think we can do a lot together and this evening we begin that journey. I call it “Day 1”. I’ll embed the YouTube feed here at 7:30 pm and will Tweet the link as well. Follow via YouTube and Facebook for instant notifications: search “hurricanetrack” and look for my logo.

M. Sudduth

8:35 AM ET June 1

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Alberto a slow-moving and odd storm – headed for Florida Gulf Coast tomorrow

Alberto is still classified as being subtropical in its structure. Time is running out for it to transform in to a more typical tropical storm but the effects won’t matter much: heavy rain at times, gusty winds and some storm surge issues in the usual areas will be the calling card for this storm.

I have posted a video discussion with the latest info from the NHC regarding Alberto and what to expect tomorrow. This includes important inland impacts which will be widespread over the next several days.

 

M. Sudduth 11:55 PM ET May 27

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Alberto poised to strengthen and bring a lot of rain, some surge to Florida then Southeast U.S.

The latest from the NHC tells us that Alberto is still structured as a subtropical storm, with a large and lopsided wind field. Over the next day or so, it should change and become more tropical with stronger winds and more concentrated area of showers and thunderstorms. Still, it is May and most early season storms are like this which means a majority of the inclement weather will to the east, well to the east, of where the center makes landfall.

I have prepared a video discussion highlighting the latest information plus my plans to cover Alberto’s impacts in the field. I will be heading to Florida today for coverage and will post updates while I travel. Be sure to follow me on Twitter: @hurricanetrack since I can post instant updates, pics and short video clips there on the fly.

M. Sudduth 11:45 AM ET May 26

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East Pacific hurricane season starting early…again

NHC outlines an area, invest 90-E, for possible additional development well to the southwest of the Baja peninsula.

NHC outlines an area, invest 90-E, for possible additional development well to the southwest of the Baja peninsula.

The eastern Pacific hurricane season officially begins on May 15 but once again, like we saw last year, it seems that things will get started a littler sooner than expected.

The NHC is monitoring an area of low pressure well to the south and west of Cabo San Lucas along the Baja peninsula. It currently has a 70% chance of additional development and could become a tropical depression later today.

If it were to strengthen in to a tropical storm, with winds of at least 40 mph, it would take the first name on the 2018 Pacific list: Aletta.

Even if the system (technically designated as invest 90-E) does develop further, it will have zero impact to land but would be an interesting novelty – especially since we saw early season development in the eastern Pacific last year; on this same date ironically. That was TS Adrian and it was the earliest formation of a tropical storm in the eastern Pacific. Adrian formed much closer to land, just offshore of Central America but quickly dissipated.

The eastern Pacific is only marginally favorable right as sea surface temperatures are still warming since we’re only in early May. A favorable upward motion pattern (MJO) in the region, along with other local factors which enhance convection or thunderstorm activity, is likely causing this earlier-than-normal occurrence to take place.

It will be interesting to see what happens as this favorable pattern slowly migrates eastward in to the western Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico towards the end of the month. It would not be surprising to me if we saw a similar flare-up of convection farther east near Central America, either on the Pacific side or the western Caribbean side, in a week or so.

I’ll have more information concerning 90-E in a video discussion that I will post later this afternoon.

M. Sudduth

8:50 AM ET May 9

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