Tropical Storm Franklin Moves Over Bay of Campeche and Strengthens

Tropical Storm Franklin moved off the Yucatan peninsula over the Bay of Campeche and began to strengthen on Tuesday night.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Tropical Storm Franklin was located at latitude 20.3°N and longitude 91.3°W which put it about 325 miles (525 km) east-northeast of Veracruz, Mexico.  Franklin was moving toward the west-northwest at 10 m.p.h. (16 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 996 mb.

A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Puerto de Veracruz to Tuxpan, Mexico.  A Hurricane Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from Tuxpan to Rio Panuco.  A Tropical Storm Waring was in effect for the portion of the coast from Celestun to Puerto de Veracruz and from Tuxpan to Rio Panuco.

Although Tropical Storm Franklin weakened as it moved across the Yucatan peninsula on Tuesday, its circulation maintained its structural integrity.  In fact, a tighter inner core developed at the center of the circulation while the tropical storm moved over land.  New thunderstorms began to form near the center of Tropical Storm Franklin as soon as the center moved back over water.  A primary band of thunderstorms began to wrap tightly around the eastern and northern sides of the center.  Additional bands of showers and thunderstorms began to form over the Bay of Campeche.  Thunderstorms in the core were generating upper level divergence which is pumping away mass.

Tropical Storm Franklin will move over an environment very favorable for intensification on Wednesday.  Franklin will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  The upper level winds are weak and there is little vertical wind shear.  An upper level trough over the Bahamas may enhance the upper divergence by creating an outflow channel to the east of Franklin.  Tropical Storm Franklin will intensify on Wednesday and there could be a period of rapid intensification.  Franklin is likely to become a hurricane.

Tropical Storm Franklin is being steered to the west by a subtropical high to its northeast.  A general westerly motion is expected to continue for another day or two.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Franklin will approach the coast of Mexico north of Veracruz on Wednesday night.  Franklin will bring gusty winds, heavy rain and a storm surge at the coast.  When Franklin moves inland the mountains will enhance the rising motion and very heavy rain could fall.  The heavy rain could cause flash floods.