99L getting a little better organized as we round out July

A look at invest area 99L indicates that it is getting somewhat better organized today. A general increase in shower and thunderstorm activity can be seen in satellite imagery although it is still rather poorly organized.

For the most part, the global models are not very bullish on 99L developing much in the coming days. The GFS suggests some strengthening and it is possible that this system becomes a tropical storm as it moves towards progressively warmer water. There is still some dry air around, enough so to limit the deep convection needed to allow 99L to thrive and grow at a rapid pace.

The NHC’s intensity model, SHIPS, shows modest intensification but keeps 99L below hurricane intensity. Yesterday, that same model suggested that it would in fact become a hurricane.

The ECMWF model or Euro, shows very little in the way of strengthening as the system moves towards the Lesser Antilles.

The bottom line here is that it appears some slow development is possible as 99L tracks generally westward towards the Windward Islands. Interests there should be ready for at least an increase in shower and thunderstorm activity in the coming days. I would not be surprised to see 99L become a tropical storm but it would probably be fairly weak and not very organized. Once it moves in to the Caribbean Sea, conditions are generally not very favorable for continued development.

Elsewhere, another tropical wave is moving through the Greater Antilles islands today and will spread showers and thunderstorms across Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and eventually Cuba. None of the reliable computer models indicate that this wave will develop in the coming days. Keep in mind that tropical waves often bring periods of gusty winds and squally weather. Conditions will improve across the region by tomorrow as the wave passes on by.

Speaking of tomorrow, our app, HurricaneTrack, hits the App Store. I will have a full blog post about it and the special limited time price that we will be offering as we officially roll out version 1.0. The app will feature a daily video blog plus live weather data during hurricane and tropical storm landfalls. This version will be just the start as we plan to add more features- but that will depend on YOU to help make it a success. We will have an Android version available just as soon as possible so no worries for our Android device users, we’ve got you covered too!

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Invest area 99L forms in tropical Atlantic as conditions become more favorable

The NHC is monitoring an area of low pressure well to the south and west of the Cape Verde Islands for possible development. It appears that conditions across the region are becoming more conducive for tropical cyclone formation. The dry, dusty air seen in recent weeks has significantly decreased and water temps are just warm enough to support development.

Vertical wind shear in the tropical Atlantic

Vertical wind shear in the tropical Atlantic

Looking at some of the parameters typically associated with tropical cyclone formation, we see that vertical wind shear, the difference in wind speed and direction with height in the atmosphere, is right where it should be for this time of year. In other words, shear is not a factor. It is running at about the climatological average. This should allow for a steady growth in deep tropical thunderstorms or convection. In turn, this will allow the pressures to continue to fall as the fairly large envelope of energy gradually consolidates as it moves westward.

Vertical instability in the tropical Atlantic

Vertical instability in the tropical Atlantic

On the other hand, vertical instability, which is more or less a way of saying how stable is the atmosphere. Yet another way to put it is how difficult is it to lift the air and get the vertical motion needed to create tropical convection? Right now, vertical instability is running quite a bit below the average for the tropical Atlantic. This means that we will not see rapid development of 99L. However, this is not necessarily good news. The reason? Typically, the sooner a system develops, the more chance it has to be picked up by a weakness in the subtropical ridge and track out to sea. The later the development takes place, the farther west we usually see storms and hurricanes track. So even though vertical instability is running below normal right now, it likely only means a delay in development and should not be enough to limit it completely.

Looking at the global computer models, the GFS seems to be the most consistent with development and an eventual track through the Windward Islands. The ECMWF has basically no development from this system while the Canadian CMC model seems a little too aggressive and thus has a more northerly track over the next five to six days. It during these early stages of what is called cyclogenesis that the models will waver and not be of much use. The good news is that 99L is way out in the tropical Atlantic and we will have several days to monitor its progress.

I do think that it is a good reminder that we are entering the busy months of the hurricane season. Whether or not 99L develops, August is fast approaching and the need to be ready for what the next 90 days or so brings is critical. For the next few days, folks in the Lesser Antilles should be watching 99L closely. It has a chance to develop and at least bring inclement weather to the region. How much it develops remains to be seen. It is very early in the process and much will change over the week ahead. I’ll post regular updates here and on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Keep in mind that beginning Wednesday, August 1, you will be able to purchase our brand new HurricaneTrack app for iPhone/iPod Touch (it will work on an iPad though it is not formatted for that device per se). The app will feature an in-depth daily video blog that will keep you informed through the use of graphics and narration concerning any goings on in the tropics. I’ll have a special link and blog post on Wednesday once the app is available.

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HurricaneTrack 1.0 Available in App Store August 1

HurricaneTrack 1.0 for iOS

HurricaneTrack 1.0 for iOS

I am very excited to announce that our app, HurricaneTrack, will be available for purchase in the App Store beginning August 1. It will be released for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad first followed by an Android version just as soon as possible.

With a wide variety of hurricane and weather related apps already available, what makes HurricaneTrack different? It’s simple. We take you there. HurricaneTrack was designed to keep its users informed before, during and after a hurricane. Here’s how…

Before

Each day, a detailed but concise video blog, the Hurricane Outlook and Discussion, will be posted to the app. It will cover any potential development areas in the Atlantic and east Pacific through the use of satellite pictures, maps and other graphics. Think of it as your daily hurricane video briefing and therefore as a tool to keep you informed. When there is the threat of landfall, the video blog will highlight the potential impacts, what to expect and what our plans are for field coverage. The daily video blog is sure to be a very popular feature. Keep in mind that during the off-season, the video blog will address other severe weather threats such as winter storms and tornado outbreaks. This makes the app useful even when we’re not in hurricane season.

Of course, the app will also have our social media feeds dynamically updating as we post info to Twitter or Facebook. This blog will also update anytime we post new blogs to the site.

During

When a hurricane is threatening to make landfall along the U.S. coastline, the app will become your portal for a vast amount of information and live data. This is the true heart of what HurricaneTrack is all about. From the moment we leave the driveway to head to the landfall zone, HurricaneTrack will keep you up to date. You can track our progress via GPS position right in the app. We have a live web cam that will update the image directly from our specially equipped hurricane tracking Chevy Tahoe 24 hours a day during the entire field mission.

You want video updates? We will deliver. The field mission video blogs will be a fantastic way for you to stay up to date on not only our mission to cover the hurricane, but also what is going on with the hurricane and the region it is forecast to impact. I am not talking about a few video posts each day. This is the next level. I am talking about several video posts each hour, each day, of the entire field mission! Each video will give you a chronological storyline of what is happening on the ground. As the hurricane draws closer, the video blogs will become increasingly important as we will be able to provide you with real information on actual conditions where the hurricane is coming ashore. You will feel like you are right there with us, experiencing the effects right along with us.

Live Weather Data and Web Cam

No other hurricane tracking app provides its own live weather data from instruments set up specifically for that hurricane landfall. HurricaneTrack will feature data from three 5-meter wind towers equipped with high-end RM Young wind and pressure sensors. We are not talking home weather stations here. This is the same equipment that NOAA uses on their Hurricane Buoys and Sentinels to gather live data during the most intense hurricanes. Our wind towers will be deployed to capture the best possible data. Each site will be labeled and ID’d in the app so you will know right where it is. The data will upload to the app dynamically every 60 seconds! You can literally watch the data change – no need to refresh, the app does it for you. In addition to the live weather data, each tower will also have a live web cam running, also posting an image every 60 seconds. There is simply no better way to monitor real time conditions during a hurricane than with HurricaneTrack.

After

When the hurricane has made landfall and the focus turns to the aftermath, we’ll be there. I have learned more and more that the demand for information in the post-hurricane period is almost as high, if not higher, than during the landfall itself. People want to know “what happened?” We will help to answer that question by use of post-hurricane video blogs, photos and reports. Depending upon the severity of the hurricane, we plan to remain in the region affected for several days after landfall. We can then utilize the reach of the app to provide detailed information through our video posts about the aftermath and what areas appear to need the most help. When the wind dies down, we won’t take off and leave the aftermath in our rear view mirror. Our work continues and we will do our best to continue to post info from the affected region. This is what will make HurricaneTrack the complete package.

On August 1 the app will be available for purchase for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad (keep in mind we do not have an iPad specific version though HurricaneTrack will work on an iPad). We will have a special introductory price for a limited time only. This is the first version of the app. It is up to you, our audience, to support it and help to make future updates possible. Show us how important it is to you. Post feedback, let us know what we can do to improve and what features would really be helpful in future updates.

Version 1.0 is information driven. There are no tracking maps, model plots or satellite pictures. That will come. I do not want to re-produce what so many other apps already have. Instead, I focused on creating an information based product that will serve as an excellent foundation on which to grow. The maps, model plots, sat pics, etc will come. When they do, they will exceed your expectations. If you want to stay up to date with our brand of hurricane news and information, plus the exclusive field mission features, then HurricaneTrack is a must-have app. Next Wednesday, you can be among the first to get it!

 

 

 

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Signs of change as we approach August

As we enter the last week of July and look ahead to early August, it appears that some changes are in store across the tropical Atlantic.

I think it is safe to say that most people know that hurricanes are a result of the build up of heat in the tropics. The warm oceans provide the fuel. However, warm water alone does not support tropical cyclones, there are several other factors involved. One of them is moisture in the mid-levels of the atmosphere. A dry or stable air layer will simply not allow the deep convection that drives tropical cyclones to develop, much less thrive. For the last couple of weeks or so, we have seen enormous areas of dry, dusty air (Saharan Air Layer) move off of Africa and spread west across the Atlantic. I mentioned this in a previous blog post. This phenomenon is typical for July in any year and usually abates by the time we get to August.

Right on cue, the SAL is beginning to weaken and move farther north, allowing the tropical waves that emerge from Africa to retain their energy longer, having a chance to develop more over the warm Atlantic.

In response to this change, several of the global computer models are beginning to hint at possible development over the next week off the coast of Africa. While I think it is still just a little bit too early and conditions are just not quite there yet, it is only a matter of time before we begin to see real signs of life out in the deep tropics.

Meanwhile, in the east Pacific, invest area 90-E has struggled somewhat since yesterday but could still become a tropical depression over the open waters of the Pacific. It will not pose any threat to land areas so even if it does develop, it won’t be an issue.

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