Gulf system slow to develop, not sure where it is headed

As you know, 96L is being closely monitored for developments as it slowly moves out of the Caribbean Sea and in to the southern Gulf of Mexico. This morning’s satellite pictures reveal very deep convection associated with the system but it still lacks sufficient organization to be classified as a depression. That being said, the NHC continues to note that pressures are falling in the region while upper level winds are forecast to become more conducive for development.

Hopefully the Hurricane Hunters will fly in to the region today and provide much more data on what the structure and overall organization is with 96L.

The future track and intensity will depend a lot on where a solid low level center develops and how quickly the system strengthens. It is interesting to point out that the SHIPS intensity model indicates a moderate tropical storm and not a hurricane. This is obviously good news especially when we also consider that the usually aggressive GFDL and HWRF intensity models both show a very weak system. This can change and probably will as the low takes shape and gets better organized. At least for the time being, we’re not looking at a potential hurricane – let’s hope it stays that way.

As for where this system will end up? It’s too tough to call right now. Some of the model guidance suggests a track in to the central Gulf of Mexico with a turn back to the west and even south of west towards Texas/Mexico. Other models keep the would-be storm heading towards the northeast portion of the Gulf, with possible impacts in Florida. Right now, everyone along the Gulf Coast should just keep an eye on what goes on with 96L today and tomorrow. It’s not moving very fast and there will be plenty of time to react and prepare if needed.

I am on the road today and tomorrow but will post updates regularly. Fortunately, the rest of the tropics remain nice and quiet.


Global models indicating chance for tropical cyclone formation in the Gulf of Mexico

The NHC has outlined an area of disturbed weather that is situated in the southeast Gulf of Mexico. Right now, it is broad and disorganized and upper level winds are simply too strong to support additional development. However, this could change over the next few days and this just might lead to the development of at least a tropical depression if not a named storm (the next one would be Debby).

Water temps in the Gulf are plenty warm with ample heat content to support tropical storm formation. I think the question will come down to how much the upper level winds calm down to allow for the divergence aloft needed to promote deep convection or thunderstorm activity. Since we do not have a low level center to track or for the models to latch on to, it’s difficult to determine what might eventually happen with this system. The bottom line is that it is likely going to be a slowly developing storm that has potential for impacting the weather over some portion of the Gulf Coast next week. Stay tuned.

The rest of the tropics are nice and quiet even as TS Chris spins away in the northern latitudes. It remains only an interest to shipping.

I’ll post another update here tonight and will discuss the Gulf system further during my appearance on the Barometer Bob Internet show. I’ll be calling in around 8:15 ET tonight. You may listen in here: Barometer Bob Show

Tropics a little more active today

The tropics are getting to be more active as we head towards the end of the month. Tropical storm Chris formed yesterday despite being over the cooler waters of the North Atlantic. Chris is only a concern to shipping interests and even that impact is minor since the storm is small and obviously not intense.

Now I am keeping an eye on the disturbance in the waters around Cuba and Florida for possible development later this weekend. Several of the global computer models indicate that a more defined area of low pressure will form from this mess somewhere in the central Gulf of Mexico. It should then get pulled eastward towards Florida as a strong trough sweeps in over the eastern United States. At the very least, it looks like more rain is in store for Florida (the peninsula anyway) over the next several days. It is also possible that a tropical depression or weak tropical storm could form from this system though that is not currently forecast by the National Hurricane Center. Right now, their outlook indicates only a 20% chance of development. Remember, this only goes out to 48 hours. I am thinking that beyond that time, over the weekend, that we’ll see a more organized system develop in the open Gulf. For now, it’s something to keep tabs on as I do not see any indications that we’ll get much more than a weak tropical storm, mainly a rain maker, out of this system.

In the east Pacific, 95-E is weakening due to several negative factors that will not allow for it to develop. The remainder of the east Pacific is finally free and clear of any development potential. I’ll post another update on the system in the Gulf/Caribbean this evening.

East Pacific remains busy as we monitor a large distubance in the Gulf/Caribbean

The east Pacific hurricane season has been quite busy so far with three named storms; one of them becoming a major hurricane.

It looks as though another tropical depression is forming not too far off the coast of Manzanillo. The good news here is two-fold. First, the system is only experiencing marginally favorable conditions to develop so it should not ramp up very quickly. Second, computer model guidance suggests that it will not track in to Mexico but rather turn back to the north and northwest over the next couple of days. While it could strengthen in to a tropical storm, none of the intensity models indicate a very strong system. Obviously, interests along the Pacific coast of Mexico will need to monitor this feature closely until it starts moving away.

Meanwhile, I am watching a large area of showers and thunderstorms that has developed over the southeast Gulf of Mexico and portions of the northern Caribbean Sea. The NHC mentions that there is a surface trough in the region which is simply a weak area of low pressure that acts like a focusing mechanism for unsettled weather. Upper level winds are not completely hostile but they’re not particularly favorable either. Water temps are plenty warm and this will lead to a continuation of the shower and thunderstorm activity that we currently have in place.

HPC Precip Forecast

HPC Precip Forecast

Computer models indicate that the disturbance is likely to remain in the region and move slowly northwest throughout the remainder of the week. The result will be periods of stormy weather for the Florida peninsula. In fact, the precip forecast from the HPC shows the potential for several inches of rain to fall across south Florida (see graphic). Beyond that, I do not see much in the way of potential for the system to become a tropical storm although this scenario cannot be ruled out. As long as the disturbance remains disorganized and lacking of a well defined low level center, it will not do much more than be a large rain maker.

Elsewhere, invest 95L, over the cold waters of the North Atlantic, is a non-issue except for shipping interests. The storm system had some potential yesterday to develop in to a more tropical type storm but that window has since closed.

I’ll post another update here tomorrow with more info on the Pacific and Atlantic at that time.

95L poses no threat to land as tropics remain quiet

A non-tropical low pressure area, designated 95L, is the only area on the NHC’s tracking map worth noting this morning. It is located well out in the subtropical Atlantic, far from land areas. Even though it has gale force winds and some convective activity, it lacks a well organized warm core and is moving over progressively cooler sea surface temperatures. Even if it were to become a subtropical storm, it will continue to move to the northeast and not bother any land areas.

The rest of the tropical Atlantic through the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico are, for the most part, nice and quiet. There is a notable increase in convection in the Caribbean which is partly due to the favorable MJO pulse moving through coupled with a tropical wave passing across the region. There is some chance for this energy to eventually develop in the western Gulf of Mexico later this week but I see nothing to suggest a major problem.

In the east Pacific, a large disturbance is moving eastward not far off the coast of Mexico. It has some potential for additional development before moving inland over Mexico later this week, bringing with it more heavy rains for the region.