Category Archives: Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico

Atlantic TCs

Tropical Depression Alberto Drops Heavy Rain Over Southeast U.S.

Tropical Depression Alberto dropped heavy rain over portions of the southeastern U.S. on Tuesday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Tropical Depression Alberto was located at latitude 36.3°N and longitude 87.5°W which put it about 45 miles (75 km) west-northwest of Nashville, Tennessee.  Alberto was moving toward the north at 16 m.p.h. (26 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 999 mb.

The core of Tropical Depression Alberto moved northward across Alabama and into Tennessee on Tuesday.  The circulation remained well developed and there was a band of showers and thunderstorms that surrounded most of the center.  Upper air data from Nashville, Tennessee indicated that the system might have a warm core and the Weather Prediction Center called it a Tropical Depression in the 11:00 p.m. EDT advisory.  A large counterclockwise circulation extended all the way to eastern North Carolina.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms were rotating northward in the eastern half of the circulation.

Those bands of showers and thunderstorms were dropping heavy rain as they passed over some locations.  A weather station in Asheville , North Carolina received nearly two inches of rain on Tuesday.  Heavier rain likely fell over parts of the Appalachians where the wind forced the air to rise up the mountains.  There were reports of flooding in several locations and Flash Flood Warnings were in effect for a number of counties in western North Carolina.  The National Weather Service Forecast Office in Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina issued a Flash Flood Emergency for areas downstream of the Lake Tahoma Dam in central McDowell County, North Carolina due to imminent failure of the dam.  Flash Flood Watches remained in effect from Georgia to Virginia and westward to the Lower Ohio River Valley.

The core of Tropical Depression Alberto will move northward across Indiana on Wednesday.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms will continue to drop heavy rain in the eastern half of the circulation.  The greatest risk for flooding will be in locations where bands of heavier rain remain over those areas for several hours.  The ground is already very wet in parts of the eastern U.S.  Water levels in streams and rivers could rise quickly.  Saturated ground could also contribute to potential mudslides in steeper terrain.

Subtropical Storm Alberto Makes Landfall in Northwest Florida

Subtropical Storm Alberto made landfall in northwest Florida late on Monday afternoon.  According to the National Hurricane Center the center of Subtropical Storm Alberto officially made landfall near Laguna Beach, Florida.  At 5:00 p.m. the center of Subtropical Storm Alberto was located at latitude 30.3°N and longitude 85.9°W which put it about 15 miles (25 km) west-northwest of Panama City, Florida.  Alberto was moving toward the north at 9 m.p.h. (15 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 994 mb.  A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Aucilla, River, Florida to the border between Florida and Alabama.

Subtropical Storm Alberto weakened slowly as it approached the coast of northwest Florida.  Several factors contributed to the weakening of Alberto.  Drier air spiraled into the core of the circulation.  The drier air inhibited the development of taller thunderstorms in the eastern and southern quadrants of the circulation.  Most of the stronger storms developed north and west of the center of circulation.  Daytime heating of the land made the atmosphere more unstable and the instability contributed to the development of thunderstorms in rainbands in those parts of Alberto.  Subtropical Storm Alberto also mixed cooler water to the surface as it moved slowly toward the coast of Florida.  The Sea Surface Temperature near the coast was about 26°C before Subtropical Storm Alberto arrived.  However, the layer of warmer water was very thin.  The winds caused by Alberto mixed the water in the upper levels of the Gulf of Mexico.  The mixing brought cooler water to the surface and the Sea Surface Temperature cooled to near 24°C.  The cooler water meant there was less energy to support the circulation around Subtropical Storm Alberto.

The circulation of Subtropical Storm Alberto will weaken slowly as it moves inland.  Winds blowing water toward the coast will continue to produce a storm surge of 3 to 4 feet (1 to 1.3 meters) east of the center of circulation for another 12 to 24 hours.  A large surface high pressure system over the Atlantic Ocean will steer Subtropical Storm Alberto slowly toward the north during the next several days.  Locally heavy rain could produce flooding as Alberto moves northward.  Flood Watches have been issued for areas between the Gulf Coast and the Lower Ohio River Valley.  Flood Watches have also been issued for places as far east as the Carolinas and Virginia.  The risk of flooding is even greater for locations that already received heavy rain from previous weather systems.

Subtropical Storm Alberto Strengthens on Its Way to Northwest Florida

Subtropical Storm Alberto strengthened on Sunday as it moved closer to northwest Florida.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Subtropical Storm Alberto was located at latitude 28.5°N and longitude 85.8°W which put it about 95 miles (155 km) south-southwest of Apalachicola, Florida.  Alberto was moving toward the northwest at 9 m.p.h. (15 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h) and the were wind gusts to 80 m.p.h. (130 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 991 mb.  A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Suwannee River, Florida to the border between Alabama and Mississippi.

The circulation of Subtropical Storm Alberto became more organized on Sunday.  A band of showers and thunderstorms wrapped around the center of circulation.  A band of drier air wrapped around the circulation just outside the rainband.  The band of drier air kept the circulation from developing a completely tropical structure and the National Hurricane Center continued to classify Alberto as a subtropical storm.  Alberto moved closer to the center of an upper level low over the Gulf of Mexico.  The upper level winds were weaker near the center of the low and the vertical wind shear decreased.  An upper level ridge over the Florida peninsula enhanced upper level divergence to the east of Alberto and the surface pressure decreases on Sunday.

Subtropical Storm Alberto will move through an environment somewhat favorable for intensification on Monday.  Alberto will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  The upper level low will continue to produce some vertical wind shear.  The band of drier air will limit the development of thunderstorms outside the primary rainband.  Some intensification is possible during the next 12 hours, but the wind shear and drier air should limit any strengthening.

The upper low and the ridge over Florida will steer Subtropical Storm Alberto slowly toward the northwest.  On its anticipated track the center of Subtropical Storm Alberto is expected to make landfall over northwest Florida on Monday.  Alberto will be capable of causing minor wind damage.  Wind blowing water toward the coast will produce a storm surge of up to 4 to 7 feet (1.3 to 2.3 meters).  Alberto will drop heavy rain over parts of the southeastern U.S. and flooding could occur in some locations.

Subtropical Storm Alberto Moves Into the Gulf of Mexico

Subtropical Storm Alberto moved over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on Saturday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Subtropical Storm Alberto was located at latitude 23.9°N and longitude 84.6°W which put it about 120 miles (195 km) west-southwest of the Dry Tortugas.  Alberto was moving toward the north-northeast at 13 m.p.h. (20 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 1001 mb.

Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for the Dry Tortugas and the portions of the coast from Bonita Beach to Anclote River and from the Aucilla River to the border between Alabama and Mississippi.  A Tropical Storm Watch was in effect from the border between Alabama and Mississippi to the Mouth of the Pearl River.

The circulation of Subtropical Storm Alberto remained poorly organized on Saturday.  Several low level centers dissipated and new low level centers of circulation developed on the southwestern edge of an area of thunderstorms northeast of the center.  Even though the center of circulation reorganized several times, the pressure did decrease slowly during the day.  The strongest wind speeds were occurring in the area of thunderstorms northeast of the center of circulation.  The winds were weaker south and west of the center.

Subtropical Storm Alberto will move through an environment that will become more favorable for intensification during the next 48 hours.  Alberto will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  An upper level trough over the western Gulf of Mexico was producing southwesterly winds which were blowing across the top of the circulation.  Those winds were causing significant vertical wind shear which was inhibiting the intensification of Subtropical Storm Alberto.  The shear was also preventing thunderstorms from persisting near the center of circulation, which was keeping Alberto from making a transition to a tropical storm.  An upper level ridge was forming over Florida.  The ridge was starting to enhance upper level divergence to the east of Subtropical Storm Alberto.

The upper level trough will gradually evolve into a closed upper level low.  The vertical wind shear will slowly decrease during the next several days.  When the shear decreases, it will allow Subtropical Storm Alberto to strengthen.  Less vertical wind shear will also let thunderstorms persist closer to the center of circulation.  If thunderstorms persist near the center, then Alberto could exhibit the structure of a tropical cyclone and it could be designated as a tropical storm.  Subtropical Storm Alberto could intensify into a hurricane over the northern Gulf of Mexico.

The reformations of the low level center of circulation increase the uncertainty of track forecasts.  The upper level trough is likely to steer Subtropical Storm Alberto toward the north on Sunday.  Alberto could turn more toward the north-northwest when the trough changes into an upper level low.  On its anticipated track Subtropical Storm Alberto could approach the coast of the northern Gulf of Mexico within 48 hours.  Alberto could be a strong tropical storm or a hurricane at that time.

Subtropical Storm Alberto will be capable of causing minor wind damage when it makes landfall.  Alberto will drop locally heavy rain north and east of the center of circulation.  Flood Watches have been issued for several states in the southeastern U.S.  The Gulf Coast is very susceptible to storm surge.  There will be increases in the water level along the eastern and northern Gulf Coast where the winds blow water toward the shore.

Cyclone Likely to Form Over Gulf of Mexico

A cyclone is likely to form over the Gulf of Mexico during the upcoming weekend.  A broad area of low pressure at the surface is currently centered over the Yucatan Peninsula.  The area of low pressure is currently designated as Invest 90L.  The circulation around the low pressure system is not well organized at the current time.  The center of the surface low is over the Yucatan Peninsula.  Showers and lower clouds are occurring near the center of the low.  Stronger thunderstorms are occurring on the eastern side of the low over the northwestern Caribbean Sea.  Sustained winds of 20 m.p.h. to 30 m.p.h. (30 km/h to 50 km/h) were blowing across the northwestern Caribbean Sea.  The winds were weaker over land near the center of circulation.

An upper level trough over the Gulf of Mexico was producing strong westerly winds which were blowing over the top of the surface low.  Those winds were causing strong vertical wind shear and the wind shear was one of the reasons why the stronger thunderstorms were occurring east of the center of circulation.  Sinking motion in the western portion of the upper level trough was bringing drier air to the surface and the drier air was inhibiting the formation of thunderstorms in the western side of the surface low.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) indicated in a Special Tropical Weather Outlook at 2:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday that there is a 70% probability of the formation of a subtropical or tropical depression during the next 48 hours.  NHC has tentatively tasked a reconnaissance aircraft to investigate the low pressure system on Friday afternoon if necessary.

The wind speeds are slower near the axis of the upper level trough.  If the surface low pressure system moves under the axis of the upper level trough, then there would be less vertical wind shear and a cyclone could form.  If thunderstorms develop near the center of circulation after the center moves over the northwestern Caribbean Sea or southeastern Gulf of Mexico, then NHC would likely designate the system as a tropical depression.  If the thunderstorms develop farther away from the center of circulation and the circulation does not exhibit a tropical appearance, then NHC could classify the system as a subtropical depression.  NHC would issue advisories on the cyclone even if it is designated a subtropical depression.

There is a strong high pressure system over the Atlantic Ocean and the high is likely to steer the surface low toward the north.  The Sea Surface Temperature of the water in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico is near 27°C.  So, there is enough energy to support the formation of a tropical cyclone.  Most of the stronger thunderstorms are likely to continue to form in the eastern side of the circulation because of the vertical wind shear and drier air to the northwest of the surface low.  The low pressure system could slowly organize into a tropical storm during the weekend.

Heavy rain and the potential for flooding are the greatest risks with this low pressure system.  There will be some storm surge along the eastern and northern coasts of the Gulf of Mexico as counterclockwise rotation around the low blows water toward the shore.

System Could Bring Heavy Rain to Southeast U.S.

A weather system over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico could bring heavy rain to the southeastern U.S. this week.  An upper level low over the eastern Gulf of Mexico could transfer enough kinetic energy down to the lower troposphere to spin up a low at the surface.  Air flowing around the eastern side of the low is contributing to upper level divergence over Florida.  The divergence enhanced rising motion over Florida and rain fell over parts of the southern and central portions of that state.

The weather system is forecast to move slowly northward during the next several days.  The Sea Surface Temperatures in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico are 24°C to 26°C.  There is enough energy in the upper levels of the water to support the formation of a tropical cyclone.  The upper level low will create southerly winds which will cause moderate vertical wind shear.  The shear will inhibit development, although those winds could contribute to upper level divergence to the east of the weather system.  Upper level divergence could allow the surface pressure to decrease and a low pressure system could form at the surface.  The National Hurricane Center (NHC) issued a special Tropical Weather Outlook on Sunday afternoon on the weather system.  NHC indicated the probability was 40% that a tropical or subtropical cyclone could form during the next five days.

Guidance from numerical models suggest that the weather system will move slowly northward over the eastern Gulf of Mexico during the next few days.  Counterclockwise rotation around the low will transport moist air northward on the eastern side of the low.  The moist air combined with upper level divergence will create the potential for locally heavy rainfall over the southeastern U.S.  Heavy rain could result in floods in some locations.

System to Bring Wind, Rain to Bahamas and South Florida

A complex weather system near the Bahamas is forecast to move westward and it will bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to parts of the Bahamas and South Florida during the weekend.  The circulation is strongest in the middle and upper troposphere.  An upper level low is centered near the Bahamas.  Showers and thunderstorms are occurring north and east of the upper low.  There is not a distinct center of circulation in the lower troposphere or at the surface.  There is a small upper level ridge to the east of the upper low and the ridge is producing some upper level divergence which is pumping mass away to the east of the system.

The system will move through an environment that is only marginally favorable for the development of a tropical cyclone.  It will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 26°C.  So, there is potentially enough energy in the upper ocean to support the development of a minimal tropical cyclone.  The upper low and the ridge to the east are southerly winds near the Bahamas and westerly winds southeast of the Bahamas.  Those winds are causing strong vertical wind shear.  The winds are weaker near the center of the upper low, but there are no thunderstorms in that region at the current time.  If a surface low were to develop under the center of the upper low, then there would be the possibility of some slow development.  A second, possible scenario is that a subtropical cyclone develops north and east of the upper low where the showers and thunderstorms are forming.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) issued a special Tropical Weather Outlook on this system at 10:45 a.m. EDT on Friday.  NHC indicated that “no significant development” is expected and it gives a 0% probability of the formation of a tropical cyclone.

The upper level low is forecast to move south-southwest over the northwestern Caribbean Sea during the next 72 hours.  The surface and lower parts of the system are forecast to move across the Bahamas toward South Florida during the weekend.  Since the showers and thunderstorms are occurring north and east of the upper low, this could bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to parts of the Bahamas and South Florida during the weekend.  Some of the humid air on the northeastern periphery of the system could be pulled toward the Carolinas ahead of an approaching cold front.  The moist air could enhance rainfall in eastern South Carolina and eastern North Carolina when the cold front moves through those places and lifts the air.

Tropical Depression 19 Strengthens to Tropical Storm Rina

Tropical Depression Nineteen strengthened into Tropical Storm Rina on Monday night.  At 10:00 p.m. EST on Monday the center of Tropical Storm Rina was located at latitude 30.4°N and longitude 49.9°W which put it about 890 miles (1430 km) east of Bermuda.  Rina was moving toward the north at 7 m.p.h. (11 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 1010 mb.

Although an upper level low northwest of Tropical Depression Nineteen continued to produce westerly winds which caused moderate vertical wind shear, stronger thunderstorms developed east of the center of circulation.  Downdrafts in those storms were able to transport stronger winds to the surface and winds to tropical storm force were occurring at the surface.  The National Hurricane Center upgraded Tropical Depression Nineteen to Tropical Storm Rina on Monday night.

The circulation of Tropical Storm Rina is asymmetrical.  The stronger storms are occurring east of the center of circulation.  The winds to tropical storm force are occurring northeast of the center.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 60 miles to the northeast of the center of circulation.  The bands west of the center consist primarily of lower clouds and showers.  The upper level westerly winds are tilting the circulation toward the east with height.

The moderate vertical wind shear will continue to inhibit the intensification of Tropical Storm Rina.  Rina will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 25°C.  Although the water is cooler than it is in the tropical, colder air in the upper levels will make the atmosphere unstable enough to allow thunderstorms to continue to develop.  The vertical wind shear could decrease during the next 24 to 36 hours and some intensification is possible.  When Tropical Storm Rina moves farther north, it will move over colder water.

The upper level low to the northwest of Tropical Storm Rina and a ridge to the east of Rina are steering the tropical storm toward the north.  A general motion is expected to continue for another day or two.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Rina will pass between Labrador and the Azores.

Tropical Depression Nineteen Forms East of Bermuda

Tropical Depression Nineteen formed east of Bermuda on Monday.  At 10:00 a.m. EST on Monday the center of Tropical Depression Nineteen was located at latitude 29.5°N and longitude 50.4°W which put it about 875 miles east of Bermuda.  It was moving toward the north-northeast at 3 m.p.h. (5 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 1013 mb.

A small low pressure system has been meandering over the Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Azores.  More showers and thunderstorms formed near the center of the the low and the circulation became more circular.  Because the low pressure system developed the characteristics of a tropical cyclone, the National Hurricane Center designated the system as Tropical Depression Nineteen on Monday morning.

The circulation of Tropical Depression Nineteen is being affected by vertical wind shear.  An upper level low located to the northwest of the system is producing easterly winds which are blowing across the top of the depression.  Those winds are producing moderate vertical wind shear shear which is tilting the upper portion of the circulation to the east.  The surface center of circulation was exposed on visible satellite images.  Most of the showers and thunderstorms were occurring to the east of the center.

Tropical Depression Nineteen is forecast to intensify into a tropical storm.  The depression will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 25.5°C, which is marginally warm enough to support intensification.  The upper level low will continue to produce vertical wind shear which will inhibit intensification during the next 12 to 24 hours.  The shear is forecast to decrease on Tuesday and Tropical Depression Nineteen could strengthen into a tropical storm before it moves over colder water.

Tropical Depression Nineteen is currently in an area where the steering currents are weak.  The circulation around the upper level low to the northwest of the Tropical Depression is being deflected around an upper level ridge to the east of the depression.  Some of the flow is turning northward and the rest of the flow is turning toward the south.  The orientation of the upper low and ridge is forecast to change and the two systems are forecast to steer the depression toward the northeast later this week.  However, if the wind shear stays strong enough to prevent the circulation of the depression from growing vertically, then the winds in the lower level could steer the depression more toward the west.

Tropical Storm Philippe Brings Wind, Rain to Cuba and South Florida

Tropical Storm Philippe brought wind and rain to parts of Cuba and south Florida on Saturday night.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Tropical Storm Philippe was located at latitude 24.8°N and longitude 82.1°W which put it about 25 miles (40 km) northwest of Key West, Florida.  Philippe was moving toward the north-northeast at 24 m.p.h. (39 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 1003 mb.

Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for the Cuban provinces of Isla de la Juventud, La Habana, Ciudad de la Habana, Matanzas, Cienfuegos and Villa Clara.  Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for the northwestern Bahamas including the Abacos, Andros Island, Berry Island, Bimini, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama Island and New Providence.  Tropical Storm Watches were in effect for the portion of the coast from Craig Key to Golden Beach, Florida.  Tropical Storm Watches were also in effect for the Central Bahamas including Cat Island, the Exumas, Long Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador.

The circulation is of Tropical Storm Philippe is not well organized.  The appear to be multiple smaller centers of counterclockwise rotation moving around inside the broader circulation.  One center of circulation is in northwest of Key West.  Showers and thunderstorms were primarily northeast of that center of rotation.  There were low clouds west of that center.  Another center of rotation was just north of the coast of Cuba.  A primary band of showers and thunderstorms wrapped around the eastern side of this second center.  The middle and upper level circulation of Tropical Storm Philippe appeared to be associated with the center near Cuba.

Tropical Storm Philippe will move through an environment that will be somewhat favorable for intensification.  Philippe will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  An upper level trough approaching Tropical Storm Philippe from the west is producing strong southwesterly winds which are causing significant vertical wind shear.  The shear is inhibiting the organization of the circulation.  Tropical Storm Philippe could intensify on Sunday if the center of circulation near Cuba becomes the dominant center, since it has a more complete vertical structure.

The upper level trough will continue to steer Tropical Storm Philippe quickly toward the northeast on Sunday.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Philippe will move through the Upper Florida Keys and over the Northwestern Bahamas on Sunday.   It will bring gusty winds and locally heavy rains to those areas.