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Unusual Tropical Depression Alberto Reaches Michigan

Unusual Tropical Depression Alberto reached southern Michigan on Wednesday as it continued its northward journey from the Gulf of Mexico.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Tropical Depression Alberto was located at latitude 42.4°N and longitude 85.3°W which put it about 45 miles southwest of Lansing, Michigan.  Alberto was moving toward the north-northeast at 26 m.p.h. (43 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 996 mb.

The circulation of Tropical Depression Alberto remained intact even though it had been over land for more than two days.  There was a distinct low level center of circulation.  Several bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the center of circulation.  Storms in the core of the circulation were generating upper level divergence.  Tropical Depression Alberto looked like a tropical cyclone on both satellite and radar imagery.

Gusty winds in some of the bands of showers and thunderstorms caused damage to trees and power lines in Indiana and Ohio.  Most of the damage was minor.  The peripheral parts of the circulation of Tropical Depression Alberto interacted with other weather system to produce bands of heavier rain over parts of the southeastern U.S.  The heavy rain contributed to flooding in several states.

Tropical Depression Alberto will move northeast across the Great Lakes and into Canada on Thursday.  The broader circulation around Alberto will again interact with other weather systems to produce bands of heavier rain.  The potential flooding will exist in several states in the southeastern U.S. and Great Lakes region.

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.

Subtropical Storm Alberto Forms Over Northwest Caribbean Sea

Subtropical Storm Alberto formed over the northwestern Caribbean Sea on Friday morning.  The National Hurricane Center (NHC) designated an area of low pressure as Subtropical Storm Alberto on Friday morning based on data from buoys and ship reports.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Subtropical Storm Alberto was located at latitude 19.4°N and longitude 86.3°W which put it about 85 miles (135 km) south-southeast of Cozumel, Mexico.  Alberto was moving toward the east at 2 m.p.h. (3 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.

A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for the portion of the U.S. coast from Indian Pass, Florida to Grand Isle, Louisiana including New Orleans.  The government of Mexico issued a Tropical Storm Watch for the portion of the coast from Tulum to Cabo Catoche.  The government of Cuba issued a Tropical Storm Watch for the province of Pinar del Rio.

The circulation around Subtropical Storm Alberto was asymmetrical.  The low level center of circulation was located just to east of the Yucatan Peninsula.  The strongest thunderstorms were occurring in a band located about 100 miles (160 km) east and north of the center.  Flow around an upper level trough over the Gulf of Mexico was producing westerly winds which were blowing toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds were causing strong vertical wind shear which was the reason why the thunderstorms were occurring well to the east of the center of circulation.

Subtropical Storm Alberto will move through an environment marginally favorable for intensification during the next 24 to 36 hours.  Alberto will move over water where  the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  So, there is sufficient energy in the upper ocean to support intensification.  However, the upper level trough will continue to cause moderate to strong vertical wind shear during the next day or so.  The wind shear will inhibit intensification.  Some gradual strengthening is possible.  The winds are weaker near the axis of the upper level trough.  If Alberto moves under the axis of the trough when it reaches the northern Gulf of Mexico, then the wind shear will decrease.  Alberto could strengthen more quickly if that happens.  There is a chance that Alberto could reach hurricane intensity.  If more thunderstorms form closer to the center of circulation, then NHC could change the designation of Alberto to a tropical storm.

Subtropical Storm Alberto is moving around the western end of a large high pressure system over the Atlantic Ocean.  The high is steering Alberto slowly toward the north-northeast.  A general motion toward the north is forecast during the next day or so.  When Alberto gets farther north, the upper level trough could steer it more toward the north-northwest.  There is a chance that the steering currents could weaken when Alberto nears the Gulf Coast.  Thus, there is much more uncertainty about the track forecast after that time.

The greatest risk with Subtropical Storm Alberto will be locally heavy rain and the potential for flooding.  Most of the heavy rain is likely to fall north and east of the center.  Much less rain is likely to fall from the western side of Alberto.  The coast of the Gulf of Mexico is very susceptible to storm surges.  The water level will rise along the eastern and northern coasts of the Gulf of Mexico where the winds blow the water toward the shoreline.

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.

Hurricane Nate Brings Gusty Winds and Surge to Mississippi Coast

Hurricane Nate brought gusty winds, heavy rain and a storm surge to the coast of Mississippi on Saturday night.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Hurricane Nate was located at latitude 29.9°N and longitude 89.1°W which put it about 35 miles (60 km) south-southwest of Biloxi, Mississippi.  Nate was moving toward the north at 20 m.p.h. (32 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 85 m.p.h. (140 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 100 m.p.h. (160 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 983 mb.

A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from the mouth of the Pearl River to the Alabama/Florida border.  Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for the portion of the coast from Grand Isle, Louisiana to the mouth of the Pearl River, for New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain and for the coast from the Alabama/Florida border to Indian Pass, Florida.

Some drier air wrapped into the western side of Hurricane Nate on Saturday afternoon.  In addition an upper level trough approaching Nate from the west produced southwesterly winds which caused vertical wind shear.  The drier air and shear caused the circulation of Hurricane Nate to become asymmetrical.  The stronger winds are occurring in the eastern half of the circulation.  The winds are weaker in the western side of the hurricane.  The bands of showers and thunderstorms are also occurring in the eastern half of Hurricane Nate.  Very little rain was falling on the western side of the hurricane.

The partial eyewall north of the center of Hurricane Nate was moving over the coast of Mississippi from Pascagoula to Gulfport.  Strong gusty winds and heavy rain were falling on that section of the coast.  Winds blowing water toward the coast were pushing a storm surge onto the coast.  A water level gauge at a NOAA laboratory in Pascagoula, Mississippi was reporting a storm surge of 6.75 feet (2.06 meters).  The highest surges were occurring in Mississippi, but there were also storm surges on the coast of Alabama and Florida.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms were dropping heavy rain over southeastern Mississippi, southwestern and central Alabama and northwestern Florida.  Brief tornadoes spun up in some of the thunderstorms on Saturday.

Hurricane Nate will move inland over southeastern Mississippi during the overnight hours.  Nate will weaken after it moves inland, but it will continue to bring gusty winds as it spins down.  There is a strong flow of moist air from the south and heavy rain will continue to fall east of the track of Hurricane Nate.  Places west of the track will experience weaker winds and will receive little rain.  Locations west of a line from New Orleans to Hattiesburg to Meridian,  Mississippi could see little minimal impacts from Nate.  Nate will cross over west central Alabama on Sunday morning.  It will continue to move toward the north-northeast and the remnants of Nate could reach eastern Tennessee on Sunday night.  Areas of heavy rain will fall over northwestern Florida, Alabama, northern Georgia, eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina.  Fresh water flooding could occur in some of those areas.  Tornadoes could develop in the rainbands again on Sunday afternoon.

Hurricane Nate Speeds Toward Gulf Coast

Strengthening Hurricane Nate sped toward the central Gulf Coast on Saturday.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Hurricane Nate was located at latitude 26.6°N and longitude 88.4°W which put it about 265 miles (425 km) south of Biloxi, Mississippi.  Nate was moving toward the north-northwest at 26 m.p.h. (43 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 90 m.p.h. (150 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 105 m.p.h. (165 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 984 mb.

A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Grand Isle, Louisiana to the Alabama/Florida border including New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain.  A Hurricane Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from the Alabama/Florida border to the Okaloosa/Walton County line and from Grand Isle to Morgan City, Louisiana.  A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from the Alabama/Florida border to Indian Pass, Florida and from Grand Isle to Morgan City.  A Tropical Storm Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from Morgan City to Intracoastal City, Louisiana.

Hurricane Nate strengthened on Saturday as it moved over the warm water in the Gulf of Mexico.  An eye with a diameter of 30 miles (50 km) began to form at the center of circulation.  A ring of thunderstorms around the eye was generating strong upper level divergence which pumped mass away from Hurricane Nate.  The strongest winds were occurring in the eastern side of the circulation.  Winds to hurricane force extended out about 35 miles (55 km) east of the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 120 miles (195 km) east of the center, but they only extend out about 60 miles (95 km) to the west of the center.

The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Hurricane Nate is 13.9.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) is 7.7 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) is 21.6.

Hurricane Nate will continue to intensify during the next 12 hours until it makes landfall.  Nate will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  An upper low over the western Gulf of Mexico is producing southerly winds which are blowing toward the top of the circulation.  However, there are also southerly winds in the lower levels of the atmosphere and as a result, there is not much vertical wind shear.  Hurricane Nate is likely to intensify to a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale before it makes landfall.  There is a chance Hurricane Nate could intensify to Category 3 before landfall, if it continues to intensify rapidly.

The upper low and an upper level ridge east of Florida are combining to steer Hurricane Nate quickly toward the north-northwest and that motion is expected to continue for the next few hours.  An upper level trough over the Central U.S. will approach Nate on Saturday night as the hurricane nears the coast.  The trough will turn Hurricane Nate more toward the north as it reaches the coast.  The trough should steer Nate quickly toward the north-northeast after it makes landfall.  On its anticipated track the center of Hurricane Nate will pass near the mouth of the Mississippi River on Saturday evening.  The center of Nate will likely make landfall on the coast of Mississippi or near Mobile on Saturday night.

Hurricane Nate will be capable of causing regional serious damage when it makes landfall.  Nate will produce strong winds, especially in locations east of the track of the hurricane.  Nate will also be capable of producing a storm surge of 10 to 12 feet (3 to 4 meters) along the coast.  The surge will be higher in bays, inlets and mouths of rivers that funnel the water into specific areas.  Nate will also be capable of dropping heavy rain as it moves inland.