Ida has become stronger over the weekend with top winds of 50 mph as of this morning. The forecast keeps Ida on the maps for the next five days, eventually strengthening it in to a hurricane over the open Atlantic. Some of the long range models suggest that it could become quite a strong hurricane as the pattern changes and becomes more favorable for intensification. There are no indications that Ida will ever impact land, at least not directly. Perhaps, if it becomes strong, it could generate swells that would eventually impact the East Coast but that remains to be seen.
As we move through the week ahead, we will need to begin watching the western Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico for possible development. Almost all of the global model guidance now suggests that something will form around the Yucatan peninsula and move in to the southern Gulf.
Climatology suggests that this is the area to watch as we begin to shift away from the Cape Verde storms (we have had several this season) and focus more on the western Atlantic and Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico regions.
So far, the long range guidance seems to want to develop a low somewhere in the vicinity of the western Caribbean with a track towards the north to north-northwest. This would bring the system in to the Gulf of Mexico where water temps are still very warm. From an ocean heat content perspective, there is plenty of potential for development.
However, I am skeptical because the upper level winds look way too strong for anything purely tropical to get going. A large and expanding area of high pressure does seem to build in across the region but the low-shear environment appears to me to be to the south and east of where the low would be. None of this makes much difference right now since we have more than five days to monitor the situation. In any case, it is a region that becomes more favorable towards the end of September in most seasons. Whether or not that is the case this year remains to be seen. I’ll be watching the evolution of the pattern very closely over the next several days.
Meanwhile, another possible significant flood event is taking shape out in the Desert Southwest as moisture from a tropical depression is moving north from the Pacific and in to Mexico and Arizona. The region from southeast California stretching across all of southern Arizona and in to New Mexico is under the threat of flooding from excessive rainfall. Anyone with travel plans to the region needs to keep a very close eye on the situation and be ready to avoid any and all areas of flooded roadways, etc. This event has the potential for widespread flooding across several major population centers across the Southwest. The worst of the weather is likely to take place over night tonight and in to tomorrow, mainly across southern Arizona.
I’ll have a video blog posted later this afternoon with more details on all of the goings on in the tropics.
M. Sudduth 7:30 AM ET Sept 21