Category Archives: Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico

Atlantic TCs

Tropical Storm Don Forms East of Windward Islands

Tropical Storm Don formed east of the Windward Islands on Monday.  An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter reconnaissance aircraft found a small, but well defined center of circulation in a cluster of thunderstorms formerly designated Invest 91L.  Based on information from the recon plane, the National Hurricane Center classified the system at Tropical Storm Don.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Tropical Storm Don was located at latitude 11.2°N and longitude 52.6°W which put it about 595 miles (955 km) east of Trinidad.  Don was moving toward the west at 17 m.p.h. (28 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1009 mb.

A Tropical Storm Warning has been issue for Grenada.  Tropical Storm Watches are in effect for Barbados, St. Vincent, the Grenadines and St. Lucia.

The reconnaissance plane found a small, tight center of circulation near the surface.  A thin band of showers and thunderstorms wrapped partially around the western side of the center.  Other thin bands of showers and thunderstorms were occurring north and west of the center.  There were fewer showers and thunderstorms in the eastern half of Tropical Storm Don.  The circulation of Tropical Storm Don is small and winds to tropical storm force only extend out about 25 miles (40 km) from the center of circulation.  Thunderstorms in the band west of the center of circulation were generating some upper level divergence but it was not well developed.

Tropical Storm Don will move through an environment that will be somewhat favorable for intensification during the next several days.  Don will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  An upper level ridge east of Don is generating easterly winds which are blowing over the top of the tropical storm.  Those easterly winds are generating some vertical wind shear and the shear may partly explain why there are fewer showers and thunderstorms in the eastern half of the circulation.  The shear will also inhibit intensification, but Tropical Storm Don could strengthen during the next 24 to 48 hours.

A strong subtropical high over the Atlantic Ocean is steering Tropical Storm Don toward the west and a generally westward motion is expected to continue during the next several days.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Storm Don could pass south of Barbados on Tuesday.  Tropical Storm Don could move over the southern Windward Islands on Tuesday night.  Tropical Storm Don could bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to the southern Windward Islands.  Flash floods could occur in areas of steep terrain, if they receive locally heavy rainfall.

Tropical Depression Four Develops East of the Lesser Antilles

Tropical Depression Four developed east of the Lesser Antilles on Wednesday night.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Tropical Depression Four was located at latitude 12.8°N and longitude 38.4°W which put it about 1545 (2485 km) east of the Lesser Antilles.  The depression was moving toward the west-northwest at 14 m.p.h. (22 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 30 m.p.h. (50 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1009 mb.

A larger area of thunderstorms formed and persisted on the western side of a tropical disturbance formerly designated as Invest 94L on Wednesday and the National Hurricane Center classified the system as Tropical Depression Four.  The distribution of thunderstorms is still asymmetrical.  Most of the stronger storms are developing in the western half of the circulation.  The thunderstorms in the western part of the circulation were beginning to generate upper level divergence.  There were few thunderstorms in the eastern half of the depression and the vertical structure of the circulation could be tilted to the west with height.

Tropical Depression Four will be moving through an environment that contains both positive and negative factors for intensification.  The depression will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 27°C.  So, there is sufficient energy in the upper ocean to support intensification.  An upper level ridge is producing easterly winds which are blowing toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds could be causing the circulation to tilt toward the west with height.  Moderate vertical wind shear could inhibit intensification.  Drier air is north of the tropical depression.  If the depression remains south of the drier air and if the vertical wind shear does not become too strong, then the depression could strengthen.  Alternatively, if the depression pulls in drier air and/or the vertical shear increases, then the depression could weaken back to a tropical wave.

The subtropical ridge over the Atlantic Ocean is steering Tropical Depression Four toward the west-northwest.  A general west-northwesterly motion is expected for the next several days.  The actual track will also have a significant effect on the future intensity of Tropical Depression Four. If the depression moves on a more southerly track, it will stay south of the drier air and it would have a greater opportunity to intensify.  If the depression moves farther to the north, it will move into the drier air and will be more likely to weaken,

Invest 94L Likely to Develop East of Lesser Antilles

A tropical disturbance currently designated as Invest 94L is likely to develop into a tropical cyclone east of the Lesser Antilles.  The National Hurricane Center’s probability of formation of a tropical cyclone from this system during the next five days is 70%.  At 2:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Invest 94L was located at latitude 8.7°N and longitude 32.7°W which put it about 1830 miles (2950 km) east of the Lesser Antilles.  It was moving toward the west at 4 m.p.h. (6 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 30 m.p.h. (50 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1011 mb.

Invest 94L consists of a broad area of low pressure, but it has not developed a well organized inner core.  The initial area of low pressure consisted of a counterclockwise rotation associated with a tropical wave that moved over the eastern Atlantic Ocean.  The initial low slowed down as it was moving westward and a second tropical wave caught up to it.  The thunderstorms from the two waves appear to be merging into a single system.  An area of showers and thunderstorms on the northern and western sides of the surface low was part of the first tropical wave.  Other bands of showers and thunderstorms south and east of the low are associated with the second tropical wave.  If the broad low pressure system can collect the rotation from the two tropical waves, it could strengthen the surface low.

Invest 94L will move through an environment that will be favorable for the development of a tropical cyclone.  It will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature (SST) is near 28°C.  There are easterly winds blowing at multiple levels in the atmosphere and there is little vertical winds shear.  The existence of a surface low pressure system, warm SSTs and little vertical wind shear are the primary ingredients for the development of a tropical cyclone.  That is the reason why there is strong probability that Invest 94L will develop into a tropical depression or a tropical storm.

Invest 94L will be steered by the subtropical high pressure system over the Atlantic Ocean.  A general westerly or west-northwesterly track is forecast during the next few days.  There is still significant uncertainty about the ultimate track and intensity of this system beyond that time frame.  It will need to be monitored closely as it moves west.

Tropical Depression Cindy Brings Stormy Weather to Southern U.S.

Tropical Depression Cindy brought stormy weather to parts of the southern U.S. on Thursday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Tropical Depression Cindy was located at latitude 33.1°N and 93.5°W which put it about 70 miles (115 km) southwest of Little Rock, Arkansas.  Cindy was moving toward the north-northeast at 12 m.p.h. (19 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 20 m.p.h. (30 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 30 m.p.h. (50 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1000 mb.

Tropical Storm Cindy made landfall early on Thursday morning near the border between Texas and Louisiana.  Cindy moved steadily northward during the day and it was centered over southwestern Arkansas by Thursday night.  Broad counterclockwise rotation around Cindy transported warm and very humid air over the southern U.S.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms dropped locally heavy rain in some places.  Rivers and streams were above flood stage in several southern states.  Flash Flood Warnings and Flash Flood Watches were issued for portions of the southern U.S. and Ohio River Valley.  Several tornadoes formed in the bands of thunderstorms.  A tornado in Alabama caused property damage.  Southerly winds blowing toward the shore were still causing storm surges along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

Tropical Depression Cindy is forecast to move northeast toward the Ohio River Valley on Friday.  It will continue to produce locally heavy rain.  A slow moving cold front will approach the region from the west.  A band of stronger convergence could develop where the counterclockwise flow around Cindy interacts with the flow along the cold front.  Higher rainfall totals may occur where this interaction happens.  Wind shear created by the interacting weather systems could also create the potential for some tornadoes.  Tropical Depression Cindy could merge with the cold front during Friday night or Saturday.

Tropical Storm Cindy Nears Northwest Gulf Coast

Tropical Storm Cindy neared the northwestern coast of the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday evening.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Tropical Storm Cindy was located at latitude 28.6°N and longitude 93.4°W which put it about 95 miles (150 km) south-southeast of Port Arthur, Texas.  Cindy was moving toward the north-northwest at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 992 mb.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the portion of the coast from San Luis Pass, Texas to Grand Isle, Louisiana.

Tropical Cyclone Cindy exhibits a hybrid structure in which a broad surface low pressure system is interacting with an upper low centered near the Upper Texas coast.  There is a distinct center of low pressure at the surface.  A band of showers and thunderstorms is northwest of the surface center.  Drier air in the middle and upper levels wraps around the southern and eastern sides of the center and there are no thunderstorms in those quadrants of the core of Tropical Storm Cindy.  A broad flow of moisture is producing bands of showers and thunderstorms in the outer portions of the eastern and northern sides of the circulation.

Tropical Storm Cindy is moving around the western end of a subtropical high pressure system centered over the Atlantic Ocean.  The subtropical high is steering Cindy toward the north-northwest.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Cindy will make landfall near the border between Texas and Louisiana on Thursday.  Cindy will turn toward the north and then the tropical storm will move northeastward on Friday.

Some locations will experience prolonged periods of rainfall and fresh water flooding will be possible in those area.  There could also be a storm surge of 3 to 6 feet (1 to 3 meters) near where the center makes landfall.  A few tornadoes could be spun up as rainbands move over the coast.

Tropical Storm Cindy Strengthens Over the Central Gulf of Mexico

Tropical Storm Cindy strengthened on Tuesday night as is moved slowly over the Central Gulf of Mexico.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Tropical Storm Cindy was located at latitude 26.4°N and longitude 91.0°W which put it about 305 miles (495 km) southeast of Galveston, Texas.  Cindy was moving toward the northwest at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 70 m.p.h. (110 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 997 mb.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the portion of the coast from San Luis Pass, Texas to the Alabama/Florida border including Metropolitan New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain.

Although Tropical Storm Cindy does not look very impressive on infrared satellite imagery, data from reconnaissance aircraft and surface observations from buoys and ships indicate that it has strengthened during the past few hours.  Tropical Storm Cindy displays the structure of a highly sheared tropical storm.  There are no thunderstorms near the center of circulation.  Most of the showers and thunderstorms are in bands well to the east and north of the center of circulation.  The circulation of Tropical Storm Cindy is large and winds to tropical storm force extend out about 275 miles (445 km) northeast of the center.

A combination of an upper level low to the northwest of Cindy and an upper level ridge to the east of it have generated enough upper level divergence to cause the surface pressure to decrease.  The lower pressure at the center created a bigger pressure difference with the subtropical high over the Atlantic Ocean and the stronger pressure gradient force accelerated the wind speed.  So, even though the upper level low produced enough vertical wind shear to prevent a classical process of tropical intensification in Tropical Storm Cindy, the larger scale weather features combined to produce a stronger, larger tropical storm.

Tropical Storm Cindy could intensify a little more if the large scale environment pumps out more mass and the surface pressure decreases further.  The tropical storm could also intensify if the upper low moves farther away from Cindy and the wind shear decreases.  It is unlikely that Tropical Storm Cindy will intensify into a hurricane, but there is a slight possibility that could occur before it makes landfall.

The subtropical high over the Atlantic Ocean is steering Tropical Storm Cindy slowly toward the northwest and that general motion is expected to continue for another 12 to 24 hours.  Cindy could gradually turn toward the north as it approaches the coast and the tropical storm will turn toward the northeast after it moves inland.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Storm Cindy could approach the northwestern coast of the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday night.

The large size of the circulation of Tropical Storm Cindy and its slow motion mean that locally heavy rain and flooding are the greater risks.  There is also the potential for rainbands to spin up tornadoes when they move onto the coast.  Southerly winds driving water toward the coast are already causing a storm surge along parts of the coast of Louisiana.  A storm surge of 3 to 6 feet (1 to 2 meters) may be possible where the strongest winds strike the coast.

Potential Tropical Cyclone Three Prompts Warnings and Watches for Louisiana and Texas

An area of low pressure designated Potential Tropical Cyclone Three moved into the Gulf of Mexico on Monday and the National Hurricane Center issued Tropical Storm Warnings and Watches for Louisiana and Texas.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Potential Tropical Cyclone Three was located at latitude 24.4°N and longitude 89.5°W which put it about 380 miles (610 km) south-southeast of Morgan City, Louisiana.  It was moving toward the north-northwest at 8 m.p.h. (13 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1000 mb

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the portion of the coast from Intracoastal City, Louisiana to the mouth of the Pearl River.  A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for the portion of the coast from High Island, Texas to Intracoastal City, Louisiana.

The circulation of Potential Tropical Cyclone 03 is not very well organized.  The system does have a well defined low level center of circulation.  However, there are no thunderstorms near the low level center.  All of the strong showers and thunderstorms are occurring in bands well to the east of the center of circulation.  Some of those bands do contain winds to tropical storm force.  An upper level low over the northwestern Gulf of Mexico is producing strong southwesterly winds which are blowing over the top of the low level center.  The strong vertical wind shear created by those winds is preventing the development of storms closer to the low level center.

The environment around Potential Tropical Cyclone 03 will remain unfavorable for intensification on Tuesday.  The system will move move water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  So, there will be enough energy to support intensification.  However, the upper level low will continue to produce strong vertical wind shear over the low level center of circulation.  The upper low is forecast to move slowly toward the northwest.  It is possible that the strength of the upper level winds over the northwestern Gulf of Mexico could diminish in a day or two.  If the shear decreases, thunderstorms could form closer to the center and if the structure of the system takes on a more tropical appearance, it could be designated Tropical Storm Cindy.

Potential Tropical Cyclone 03 is moving around the western end of the subtropical high over the Atlantic Ocean.  The high is steering the system toward the north-northwest and that general motion is expected to continue.  On its anticipated track Potential Tropical Cyclone 03 is expected to approach the coast of Louisiana in about 48 hours.  The steering winds could weaken when the system gets closer to the coast and the uncertainty about the future track increases after about 48 hours.

Strong southerly flow on the eastern side of Potential Tropical Cyclone 03 will bring very humid air over the southeastern U.S.  The biggest risk is likely to be heavy rain and the potential for floods.  The system will also bring gusty winds and some storm surge to parts of the coast.

Tropical Storm Bret Forms Near Trinidad

An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft investigated Potential Tropical Cyclone 02 on Monday afternoon as it moved closer to Trinidad and the plane found a closed circulation.  Based on data from the reconnaissance plane the National Hurricane Center classified the system as Tropical Storm Bret.  At 8:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Tropical Storm Bret was located at latitude 9.5°N and longitude 60.5°W which put it about 85 miles (135 km) southeast of Trinidad.  Bret was moving toward the west-northwest at 25 m.p.h. (40 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1008 mb.

Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect for Grenada, Trinidad, Tobago and the coast of Venezuela from Pedernales to Cumana.  Tropical Storm Watches have been issued for Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao.

The reconnaissance plane found a well organized center of circulation at the surface.  The strongest winds were occurring in vigorous bands of thunderstorms located north of the center of circulation.  Weaker showers and thunderstorms were occurring in bands south of the center of circulation.  The thunderstorms north of the center were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away to the north of the tropical storm.  The circulation of Tropical Storm Bret is fairly small.  Winds to tropical storm force only extend out about 80 miles (130 km) to the north of the center of circulation.

Tropical Storm Bret will move through an environment that will only be marginally favorable for intensification on Tuesday.  Bret will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  An upper level ridge east of Bret and an upper level trough to the west are producing southerly winds which are generating moderate vertical wind shear.  The vertical wind shear may be responsible for the asymmetrical distribution of thunderstorms.  The shear will also inhibit intensification during the next 24 hours, although some intensification may possible.  When Bret moves into the Caribbean Sea, the vertical wind shear will increase.  Tropical Storm Bret will also move very close to the north coast of Venezuela.  It could pull drier air from South America into the southern part of the circulation, which would contribute to further weakening.

The subtropical high pressure system over the Atlantic Ocean is steering Tropical Storm Bret rapidly toward the west-northwest.  A fast west-northwesterly motion is forecast to continue for several more days.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Bret will move across Trinidad, near the north coast of Venezuela and toward Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao.  It will bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to all of those places.

Invest 92L Becomes Potential Tropical Cyclone Two, Warnings Issued for Windward Islands

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) changed the designation of Invest 92L to Potential Tropical Cyclone 02 on Sunday evening.  NHC implemented a new policy for 2017 which allows it to issue tropical cyclone watches and warnings before it officially classifies a system as a tropical cyclone.  NHC issued Tropical Storm Warnings for some of the Windward Islands because of Potential Tropical Cyclone 02 on Sunday evening in accordance with the new policy.

At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Potential Tropical Cyclone 02 was located at latitude 7.9°N and longitude 52.4°W which put it about 630 miles (1015 km) east-southeast of Trinidad.  It was moving toward the west-northwest at 23 m.p.h. (37 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1005 mb.

Tropical Cyclone Warnings have been issued for Barbados, St. Vincent, the Grenadines, Grenada, Trinidad, and Tobago.

The circulation of Potential Tropical Cyclone 02 appeared to get better organized on Sunday evening.  Satellite imagery seemed to indicate that a more circular area of thunderstorms was forming around the center of circulation.  The system was already producing sustained winds to 40 m.p.h. (60 km/h) and if a center of circulation develops, it will be classified as a tropical storm.

Potential Tropical Cyclone 02 will move through an environment that will be somewhat favorable for intensification during the next 24 hours.  It will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  An upper level trough over the eastern Caribbean Sea is generating southwesterly winds that are causing some vertical wind shear.  Potential Tropical Cyclone 02 has about 24 to 36 hours before the shear increases significantly.  After that time the system will weaken.

A subtropical high pressure system over the Atlantic is steering Potential Tropical Cyclone 02 toward the west-northwest.  A general west-northwesterly motion is expected to continue.  On its anticipated track Potential Tropical Cyclone 02 will reach the southern Windward Islands later on Monday.  It will bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain when it gets there.

Invests 92L, 93L Monitored for Possible Development

Two weather systems designated as Invest 92L and Invest 93L are being monitored for possible development into tropical cyclones.  Invest 92L is a tropical wave that is speeding toward the Windward Islands.  At 2:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Invest 92L was located at latitude 7.3°N and longitude 49.4°W which put it about 800 miles (1290 km) east-southeast of the Windward Islands.  It was moving toward the west-northwest at 24 m.p.h. (39 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 35 m.p.h. (55 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1008 mb.

Invest 93L consists of a broad area of low pressure over the northwestern Caribbean Sea.  At 2:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday the surface center of Invest 93L was located at latitude 19.0°N and longitude 87.1°W which put it about 145 miles (230 km) south of Cancun, Mexico.  It was moving toward the north-northwest at 5 m.p.h. (8 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1006 mb.

Invest 92L is a tropical wave and it has not yet develop a well defined surface center.  There is some evidence of cyclonic rotation on visible satellite imagery and there could be a center in the middle levels of the circulation.  Most of the stronger thunderstorms are located north and west of the center.  The are some bands of showers and thunderstorms south and west of the center.  There is some upper level divergence from the thunderstorms north and west of the center, but it is not well developed at the current time.

Invest 92L is in an environment that is moderately favorable to development of a tropical cyclone.  It is moving over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  It is in a region of rapid easterly flow, but the wind speed is fairly similar at all levels.  So, there is not a lot of vertical wind shear.  The rapid easterly flow could be inhibiting the formation of a well defined center of circulation.  Invest 92L will be in a moderately favorable environment for about another 36 hours.  An upper level trough over the eastern Caribbean Sea will create increased vertical wind shear when Invest 92L reaches that location.  The National Hurricane Center is indicating that there is a 60% probability that Invest 92L will develop into a tropical cyclone during the next two days.

Invest 92L is being steered rapidly toward the west-northwest by a subtropical high north of it.  A fairly quick motion toward the west-northwest is expected to continue for the next few days.  On its anticipated track Invest 92L could be near the Windward Islands by late Monday.  Even it if does not develop into a tropical cyclone, the system will bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to those islands.

The structure of Invest 93L is much more complicated.  There is a very broad but weak surface low pressure system over the Yucatan peninsula and the center of that low is being used as the center of the Invest.  However, there is a strong mid-level center of circulation near latitude 18.7°N and longitude 82.9°W which is about 115 miles (185 km) west-southwest of Grand Cayman.  Invest 93L is producing winds to near tropical storm force and those winds are occurring in thunderstorms associated with the mid-level circulation.  It is possible that downdrafts in those thunderstorms could transport enough momentum to the surface to generate a new surface center beneath the mid-level center.

Invest 93L is moving in an environment that will be favorable for the development of a tropical cyclone.  An upper level ridge is building between the trough over the eastern Caribbean Sea and another upper level trough over the northwestern Gulf of Mexico.  The trough over the northwestern Gulf is producing strong southwesterly winds which are causing vertical wind shear over the surface low over the Yucatan peninsula.  However, the upper level ridge is producing an area of slower winds over the mid-level center and there is less vertical wind shear there.  In fact, the upper level ridge is enhancing upper level divergence over the mid-level center.  If that continues, surfaces pressure will begin to decrease in that region.  The National Hurricane is indicating that there is a 70% probability of development of a tropical cyclone or a subtropical cyclone during the next two days.

Invest 93L is moving slowly north-northwestward around the western end of the subtropical high over the Atlantic Ocean.  A general north-northwesterly motion is expected to continue for another day or two, but there is some spread in the guidance from the numerical models.  If a cyclone forms from the surface low over the Yucatan peninsula, then the greatest risk would be to the western Gulf of Mexico.  If a new surface center forms farther east under the mid-level center, then there would be a greater risk for the central and eastern Gulf of Mexico.  Interests around the Gulf should monitor Invest 93L.