97L with decent outflow developed as it heads towards the Gulf of Mexico
Looking only at satellite images of 97L tonight, one would think a tropical storm has formed in the NW Caribbean Sea. Fortunately, we have the Hurricane Hunters who risk their lives to go out and see for sure. They did just that earlier today and found that there was not quite a well defined surface circulation. However, it’s close and it won’t take much for 97L to become tropical storm Karen.
In fact, the upper level outflow pattern is very impressive. Couple this with very warm water underneath the system and it should go on to develop. But should is far different than will. A lot is still unknown about what is called tropical cyclogenesis – a fancy word for the birth of a tropical cyclone. Sometimes we see explosive development when there appears to be little to work with. Other times, the opposite is true and we are left wondering, quite gratefully I might add, why nothing really happened.
In the case of 97L, the potential is there for it to become a tropical storm and perhaps a hurricane. I need only cite past experience to say that without laughing as I do not say things like that without meaning them. Intensity forecasting is where there is the least amount of skill. There have been plenty of times when a storm or hurricane fell way short of forecasts and plenty of time when they exceeded the forecasts and shocked us all. In this case, it is likely that what ever forms will be weak, sheared and no major issue for the Gulf Coast. On the other hand, I can see where there is the slightest of chance that the shear is not as bad and the would-be storm lines up just right, moving with the flow to allow it to deepen and cause some real problems along the coast.
This is why it is so important to be informed and not just dismiss something because it looks like no big deal right now. For the time being, it is an issue for part of the Yucatan and western Cuba as bands of rain pass through. Over the next few days, it will enter the Gulf and could bring heavy rain, rough seas and the chance for high winds to some portion of the region. As for how strong and exactly where, that part of the plot has yet to be written.
So, let’s find out together, shall we? Tomorrow morning, on the off chance that this does become a strong tropical storm or a hurricane even, I am going to head to Florida where I will meet up with long-time colleague Mike Watkins. We will then provide our audience with live real-time coverage of what ever happens this weekend along the Gulf Coast. We’ll stream live on our Ustream channel or right on the HurricaneTrack.com homepage. You may also follow along in our app which is available for iOS devices AND Android. It’s called Hurricane Impact and is easy to find. Just go to the App Store or Google Play and search “Hurricane Impact”. You’ll know the logo when you see it. We’ll post frequent video blogs along the way to keep you informed no matter where you are. We’ll also set up one weather station somewhere along the coast to provide live weather data and a live cam image to the app. And, if conditions warrant, we will set out the special Surge Cam which sends a live image to the app right from the water – where the surge and wave action is expected to be the highest. Hurricane Impact – get it now and we’ll keep you posted like no other app can.
I’ll have another update here in the morning and then will switch over to our live coverage. I should be on the road by 10am ET heading from North Carolina down to Lake City, Florida to meet up with Mike. We’ll see what happens over night.
M. Sudduth 9:20 PM ET Oct 2