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

Tropical storm Adrian forecast to become hurricane in SE Pacific

TS Adrian in the east Pacific - forecast is for a slow movement over the next five days with steady strengthening

TS Adrian in the east Pacific – forecast is for a slow movement over the next five days with steady strengthening

The east Pacific hurricane season has begun with the formation of TS Adrian south of the Central American coastline. It is forecast to become a hurricane over the next few days as it moves fairly slowly off to the northwest. For the time being, Adrian poses no threat to land areas and its slow movement means that there will be plenty of time to monitor how the steering pattern shapes up and thus what the eventual track may be.

Global models are in general agreement that Adrian will eventually turn more to the north and perhaps back to the northeast sometime next week. We will just have to wait and see how this plays out since it looks like a complicated pattern developing which will mean a slow movement. Interests along the Pacific side of Central America and southeast Mexico should be monitoring the progress of Adrian, especially since it is forecast to become a solid hurricane within the next few days.

Speaking of intensity, most of the guidance suggests that the storm will in fact become a hurricane. Curiously, the HWRF model shows very little strengthening while the global models are more robust. With plenty of warm water and fairly light upper level winds, Adrian is more than likely going to intensify but again, it will remain well off the coast and should not pose a direct threat to land for now.

I’ll have continuing posts regarding the future track and intensity forecasts for Adrian over the next several days.

M. Sudduth 8:30 AM ET May 10

Probably going to see first hurricane develop in east Pacific this week – also, Atlantic season begins tomorrow

Invest area 91-E in the east Pacific has a good chance of developing in to the season's first hurricane for that part of the world. Forecast models show it moving away from Mexico

Invest area 91-E in the east Pacific has a good chance of developing in to the season’s first hurricane for that part of the world. Forecast models show it moving away from Mexico

The east Pacific hurricane season began on May 15 and so far, nothing has developed. I think that changes this week as a favorable pattern for convective activity moves across the region.

As of early this morning, the NHC was monitoring an area of elongated low pressure well to the south of the Baja peninsula. The forecast calls for it to gradually become better organized with an 80% chance of it developing in to a tropical cyclone within the next five days. In fact, computer models suggest it will become a hurricane over the fairly warm water of the east Pacific.

Those same models also project a path away from land which means the system can get as strong as it wants without any impact to Mexico.

In the Atlantic, the remnants of short-lived tropical storm Bonnie continue to hang out near the Carolina coast with occasional bursts of limited convection taking place. Right now, conditions just aren’t very favorable for regeneration to occur, especially considering that water temps are marginal at best in the vicinity of the remnant low. However, its presence does mean the chance for heavy, but spotty, rain will persist over the next few days across parts of North and South Carolina, especially the immediate coast. In addition, the risk of rip currents still exists so be sure to check your local surf conditions if heading to the ocean this week. The low is forecast by the major models to slowly move out by the end of the week.

Tomorrow begins the Atlantic hurricane season, at least officially. We have already had two named systems form: Alex in January which became a hurricane, and most recently, Bonnie just off the Southeast coast. Fortunately, there is very little evidence to suggest that this will lead to a hyper-active season for the Atlantic. Since neither system formed from pure tropical origins, we cannot point to them and say with any certainty that they are a harbinger of things to come. The meat of the hurricane season doesn’t begin until late August – if the months leading up to that point feature true tropical development, including any hurricanes, then maybe we can expect a busier season than average. Otherwise, most of the larger, easier to identify puzzle pieces suggest a season with roughly 6 to 8 more hurricanes forming. Out of those it would not be unreasonable to suggest that perhaps 2 or 3 will become category three or higher. There are other less certain aspects of the season that could lead to higher or lower overall numbers, we simply won’t know until we’re about there unfortunately. So, it’s best to be ready for anything. As people witnessed first-hand along parts of I-95 in SC and GA this weekend, even a weak tropical storm can bring mayhem.

Tonight I am producing a special live broadcast for our subscribers and will officially launch the new generation of our 10-year old subscription service. It’s called “HurricaneTrack Insider” and will feature live video, special tracking maps, live weather data, our own chat for members only, exclusive access to newly released videos and updates and more. We’ve had over 450 people become subscribers over the years, the number waxes and wanes with the seasonal hurricane activity but the core group remains – some of whom have been members since day 1 on August 1, 2005. Tonight, we celebrate over 10 years of providing unique, innovative hurricane information unlike anything else out there. The live broadcast will be carried ad-free on our subscriber Ustream channel and begins at 8pm ET for about an hour or so. If you are a current member, please join us and if you can’t we’ll archive it immediately and post the link in the chat. If you wish to become a member or need to sign up again after being away, now is a great time to do so. Click here for more info and to sign up today.

Tomorrow, I will have a special in-depth post on what I see for the coming season and how we plan to cover any potential hurricane landfalls.

M. Sudduth 9:20 AM ET May 31



East Pacific hurricane season begins today

East Pacific area of interest well to the southwest of Mexico - it has only a 10% chance of developing further over the next few days.

East Pacific area of interest well to the southwest of Mexico – it has only a 10% chance of developing further over the next few days.

It is time for the east Pacific hurricane season to officially get underway. May 15 marks the beginning of the season for that part of the world and we typically expect to see 16 named storms form in the region.

Right now, the NHC has outlined an area of interest well to the south and west of Mexico but it has very little chance of developing further due to increasingly hostile upper level winds.

The season ahead should be at least as busy as the averages would suggest – perhaps slightly busier due to the residual effects of the fading El Nino. NOAA and the NHC will issue their seasonal outlook soon for the east Pacific and the Atlantic Basin.

I have produced a video discussion covering the start of the east Pacific season as well as some preparedness info since it is also National Hurricane Preparedness Week – you may watch it here:

I will regularly post blog updates and video discussions concerning the east Pacific throughout the season ahead. For now, things look quiet – have a great rest of your Sunday!

M. Sudduth 2:50 PM ET May 15

Dangerous hurricane Odile heading closer to the Baja peninsula, likely to spread more flooding rain in to Southwest U.S.

Powerful hurricane Odile off the Baja peninsula

Powerful hurricane Odile off the Baja peninsula

Hurricane Odile in the east Pacific has strengthened significantly over the past 24 hours and is now a solid category four. This is an extremely dangerous hurricane capable of inflicting serious wind damage as well as accompanying heavy rain, storm surge and enormous waves. People along the southern Baja peninsula should be ready by now, if not, time is running out quickly.

The forecast track keeps the core of the hurricane just off the extreme southern part of the Baja, sparing Cabo San Lucas the worst of the category four winds. However, hurricane force winds are likely to occur and any deviation to the east would bring the eyewall that much closer to the coast. Indeed, it will be an interesting and potentially frightening night along the southern Baja peninsula.

Further up the coast, conditions should be less intense as the hurricane begins to weaken over cooler water, partly due to being disturbed by category three hurricane Norbert just last week. Never the less, the entire southern region of the Baja is at risk from this hurricane and preparedness measures need to be taken. From what I am seeing, a category four hurricane has never passed this close to the area – it needs to be taken very seriously.

Seven day total precip for Southwest U.S. showing large area of 1-2 inches of rain

Seven day total precip for Southwest U.S. showing large area of 1-2 inches of rain

Once Odile moves northward over the coming days, its circulation will begin to push deep tropical moisture in to the Southwest U.S. setting the stage for another possible high-impact flood event next week.

After dealing with the rains from Norbert, coupled with Gulf of Mexico moisture being funneled in around a large high pressure area, this part of the country is vulnerable to serious flooding issues throughout the week ahead.

It is important for people living in or traveling to the area to monitor local National Weather Service information. If you have a Smartphone, use it to stay up to date on the latest information. It won’t be long now before flash flood watches are posted for the region. We could be looking at several days of heavy rain setting up and the problem is, it is impossible to know precisely which locations will get hit the hardest with rain.

Once again, I am heading out West to cover the event. I spent several days out there last week and learned a lot about how the desert interacts with tropical cyclone moisture. It is not something to mess around with. We saw instances where I-15 was washed out northeast of Las Vegas, almost taking the lives of several people who were caught up in the flash flood. Phoenix set its all time rain fall record during this past event with numerous flooding issues and a dust storm. Areas from southern California through southern Nevada, southwest Utah and most of Arizona could be impacted by slow moving, torrential downpours as the week progresses. Flooding is a major concern and I will be in the region to provide live coverage via our Ustream channel and for The Weather Channel. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for people to realize that tropical cyclones are not just about wind or storm surge. They have several weapons that they can hit you with and rain is most certainly one of them. Be aware and keep up to date on the very latest. I will post frequent updates to our app, Hurricane Impact, which include video blogs in the video section. I never thought I would be covering more hurricane related activity out West than I am along the East Coast or Gulf Coast but here we are – it’s that type of year.

In the Atlantic, hurricane Edouard is forecast to become the season’s first major hurricane but it will remain well out in the open Atlantic, bothering only shipping interests. One weather geek factoid about it – we’re likely to see quite a few ACE points pile up with Edouard as it looks to remain on the map for several days to come. ACE or Accumulated Cyclone Energy is the measure of how much energy a hurricane season outputs based on each individual tropical storm or hurricane. The typical ACE number for the Atlantic is around 100-103 in any given season. Right now, we are in the low 20s but are climbing now due to Edouard. We ended last season around 36 I believe and it’s possible that Edouard will allow this season to eclipse last year, especially if Edouard becomes a major hurricane and stronger than forecast. It’s just something I like to keep track of as it tells me much more about the quality of the season instead of the numbers of named storms, etc.

Elsewhere in the Atlantic, nothing to be concerned with for the time being though I cannot imagine that we will go the entire month of September without something forming in the Western Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico. Long range models are sketchy at best but some do indicate activity brewing within about 10 days in the Western Caribbean or Gulf. No matter how quiet a season is, you never turn your back on it.

I’ll post more here in the morning including details about the field work coming up for the Desert Southwest this week.

M. Sudduth 2:32 PM ET Sept 14