Tropical Storm Earl Strengthens Near Veracruz

Tropical Storm Earl regained strength on Friday after the center moved over the southern Bay of Campeche near Veracruz, Mexico.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Tropical Storm Earl was located at latitude 18.8°N and longitude 95.0°W which put it about 85 miles (135 km) east-southeast of Veracruz, Mexico.  Earl was moving toward the west at 8 m.p.h. (13 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. (115 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1001 mb.

Because Tropical Storm Earl re-intensified and the radius of tropical storm force winds expanded to the north, the government of Mexico extended Tropical Storm Warnings farther north along the coast.  A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the portion of the coast from Puerto Dos Bocas to Tecolutla, Mexico.

Most of the circulation of Tropical Storm Earl remained intact while it moved over land from Belize to the Bay of Campeche.  As a result, the surface part of the circulation on the northern side of Earl began to redevelop quickly as the center approached the water in the Bay of Campeche.  A primary rainband wrapped most of the way around the center of circulation and other rainbands reformed over the Bay of Campeche.  There have been hints on an incipient eye forming at the center of circulation on recent visible satellite images.  Earl is a very well organized tropical storm.

The Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C in the southern Bay of Campeche.  The upper level winds are weak and there is little vertical wind shear.  Upper level divergence is well formed in Tropical Storm Earl and it is pumping out mass.  The environment is favorable for further intensification.  However, the center of circulation is close to the coast and approximately 40% of the circulation is over land.  So, the proximity to land is the main factor inhibiting further strengthening.  Tropical Storm Earl does have a few hours to intensify and it could get stronger.

A subtropical ridge north of Earl is steering the tropical storm toward the west and that general motion is expected to continue.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Storm Earl will be very near Veracruz, Mexico in 10-12 hours.

The winds in Tropical Storm Earl are strong enough to create a storm surge of several feet (1-2 m) near where the center makes landfall and north of that location.  The primary risks from Tropical Storm Earl will be very heavy rainfall and flash flooding.