Tag Archives: Florida

Chris Strengthens to a Hurricane Southeast of Cape Hatteras

Former Tropical Storm Chris strengthened to a hurricane southeast of Cape Hatteras on Tuesday.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Hurricane Chris was located at latitude 33.7°N and longitude 72.4°W which put it about 205 miles (330 km) east-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.  Chris was moving toward the northeast at 10 m.p.h. (16 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 85 m.p.h. (135 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 100 m.p.h. (160 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 980 mb.

Hurricane Chris strengthened on Tuesday when it moved northeast of cooler water Chris had mixed to the surface while it was meandering off the coast of the Carolinas.  An eye with a diameter of 30 miles (50 km) formed at the center of circulation.  A ring of strong thunderstorms surrounded the eye and the strongest winds were occurring in the eastern side of that ring of storms.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Hurricane Chris.  The strongest rainbands were in the eastern half of the circulation.  Drier air near the western half of the circulation was contributing to the weaker bands in that part of the hurricane.  Storms in the core of the circulation were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away to the north and east of the hurricane.  Winds to hurricane force extended out about 20 miles (30 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 95 miles (155 km) from the center.

Hurricane Chris will move through an environment favorable for intensification on Wednesday.  Chris will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  An upper level trough over the northeastern U.S. will produce southwesterly winds that will blow toward the top of the hurricane.  The winds speeds are similar at most levels and they will not generate a lot of vertical wind shear during the next 24 hours.  Hurricane Chris will strengthen on Wednesday and it could intensify rapidly.  Chris will move over cooler water when it gets north of the Gulf Stream and it will start to weaken when that occurs.

The trough over the northeastern U.S. will steer Hurricane Chris toward the northeast.  On its anticipated track Chris will move away from the coast of North Carolina.  Chris could be south of Nova Scotia in about 36 hours and it could be near Newfoundland in several days.

Elsewhere, the remnants of former Tropical Storm Beryl crossed Hispaniola and they were moving toward the southeastern Bahamas.  At 2:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Former Tropical Storm Chris was located at latitude 20.1°N and longitude 72.6°W which put it about 40 miles (65 km) northeast of Port de Paix, Haiti.  It was moving toward the northwest at 17 m.p.h. (28 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 reconnaissance aircraft is scheduled to investigate the system on Wednesday if there are signs that it could be reorganizing into a tropical cyclone.

Tropical Storm Chris Develops South of Cape Hatteras, Beryl Nears Lesser Antilles

Tropical Storm Chris developed south of Cape Hatteras on Sunday morning, while Tropical Storm Beryl neared the Lesser Antilles.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Tropical Storm Chris was located at latitude 32.9°N and longitude 75.0°W which put it about 160 miles (260 km) south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.  Chris was nearly stationary.  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 1006 mb.

Thunderstorms developed closer to the center of circulation on Sunday morning and the National Hurricane Center designated former Tropical Depression Three as Tropical Storm Chris.  The circulation of Chris was organizing quickly.  A band of showers and thunderstorms was wrapping around the center of circulation.  Several other rainbands were revolving around the core of the tropical storm.  The bands northwest of the center were weaker because there was drier air in that part of Chris.  The storms near the center of circulation were beginning to generate upper level divergence.

Tropical Storm Chris will remain in an environment favorable for intensification for the next two or three days.  The water in the upper portion of the Atlantic Ocean east of the Carolinas is warmer than normal.  Tropical Storm Chris will be over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  Chris will be southeast of an upper level trough over the northeastern quarter of the U.S. and it will be under a small upper level ridge.  The upper level winds will be weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Tropical Storm Chris will continue to intensify and it could strengthen to a hurricane in the next day or two.

Since Tropical Storm Chris is under the small upper level ridge, the steering winds are weak.  Chris may not move much during the next 24 to 48 hours.  Tropical Storm Chris is forecast to linger of the coast of the Carolinas for several days.  Eventually an upper level trough will approach from the west and start to push Chris toward the northeast.

Elsewhere, Tropical Storm Beryl was nearing the Lesser Antilles on Sunday morning.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Tropical Storm Beryl was located at latitude 14.4°N and longitude 57.9°W which put it about 210 miles (335 km) east of Martinique.  Beryl was moving toward the west-northwest at 23 m.p.h. (37 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 1007 mb.

Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for Dominica and Guadeloupe.  Tropical Storm Watches were in effect for Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St. Martin, Martinique, St. Lucia, and St. Barthelemy.

Thunderstorms continued to develop near the center of Tropical Storm Beryl on Sunday morning and the weakening trend halted at least temporarily.  Beryl remained a small tropical storm.  Winds to tropical storm force only extended out about 45 miles (75 km) from the center of circulation.  There were several bands of showers and thunderstorms in the eastern half of Tropical Storm Beryl.  The bands in the western half of the circulation consisted primarily of showers and low clouds.

Tropical Storm Beryl is forecast to into a region where the easterly winds in the lower levels are stronger.  That would increase the vertical wind shear and make it difficult for the circulation to stay vertically coherent.  Beryl will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 27°C.  So, there will be enough energy in the upper ocean to support a tropical storm if the wind shear is not too strong.  Tropical Storm Beryl is forecast to weaken when it moves over the eastern Caribbean Sea, but that will depend on how strong the vertical shear gets.

Tropical Storm Beryl is moving south of the subtropical high over the Atlantic Ocean which is steering Beryl toward the west-northwest.  A general motion toward the west-northwest is forecast to continue for several more days.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Beryl will bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to St. Lucia, Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe during the next few hours,

Tropical Storm Beryl Weakens East of the Lesser Antilles

Tropical Storm Beryl weakened on Saturday as it move closer to the Lesser Antilles.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of circulation was located at latitude 13.1°N and longitude 54.3°W which put it about 495 miles (795 km) east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles.  Beryl was moving toward the west-northwest at 18 m.p.h. (30 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 1005 mb.

Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for Dominica and Guadeloupe.  Tropical Storm Watches were in effect for Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, Martinique, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, Barbados and St. Lucia.

Tropical Storm Beryl moved into a region where the easterly winds in the lower level were stronger and the increased vertical wind shear started to blow the lower part of the circulation to the west of the upper part of Beryl.  It also seemed to move into an area of drier air, which caused most of the stronger thunderstorms to weaken.  There was still a well organized circulation in the lower levels, but it weakened on Saturday.  More thunderstorms developed near the center of circulation and on the eastern side of Tropical Storm Beryl in recent hours.  If those storms persist then Beryl could strengthen again, but if they dissipate quickly, then the tropical storm could weaken again on Sunday.

Tropical Storm Beryl will move through an environment that contains factors that are favorable for intensification and other factors that are unfavorable.  Beryl will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 27°C.  It will move through an area where the lower level winds are stronger and so there will be more vertical wind shear.  There will be areas of moister air within a larger area of drier air.  If the recently developed thunderstorms persist on Sunday, then the Beryl could strengthen again.  However, if the storms dissipate in a few hours, then Tropical Storm Beryl could weaken further.  The small size of the circulation means that rapid changes in intensity can occur.

Tropical Storm Beryl was moving south of the subtropical high over the Atlantic Ocean.  The high was steering Beryl toward the west-northwest and that general motion is forecast to continue for the next several days.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Beryl could reach the Lesser Antilles on Sunday night.  There is a lot of uncertainty about how strong Beryl may be when it reaches those islands.

Elsewhere over the Atlantic Ocean Tropical Depression Three spun south of Cape Hatteras.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Tropical Depression Three was located at latitude 32.9°N and longitude 75.1°W which put it about 160 miles (260 km) south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.  It was nearly stationary.  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 1014 mb.

Hurricane Beryl Prompts Watches for Lesser Antilles, TD 3 Forms Southeast of Carolinas

The potential approach of Hurricane Beryl prompted the issuance of Watches for some of the Lesser Antilles on Friday afternoon, while at the same time Tropical Depression Three formed southeast of the Carolinas.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Hurricane Beryl was located at latitude 10.6°N and longitude 47.8°W which put it about 965 miles (1555 km) east-southeast of the Leeward Islands.  Beryl was moving toward the west at 15 m.p.h. (24 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 80 m.p.h. (130 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 95 m.p.h. (155 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 994 mb.

A Hurricane Watch has been issued for Dominica.  Tropical Storm Watches have been issued for Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy.

The circulation of Hurricane Beryl remains very small.  The pinhole is no longer visible on satellite imagery, although strong thunderstorms continue to develop near the center of circulation.  Short narrow bands or showers and thunderstorms are revolving around the core of Hurricane Beryl.  Winds to hurricane force only extend out about 10 miles (15 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 40 miles (65 km) from the center.

Hurricane Beryl will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 24 hours.  Beryl will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 27°C.  It is moving south of an upper level ridge.  The ridge is producing easterly winds which are blowing toward the top of the circulation.  However, the wind speeds are similar at all levels and there is currently little vertical wind shear.  Tropical Storm Beryl could intensify on Saturday, but the circulation is so small that any increase in wind shear could cause rapid weakening.

The subtropical ridge over the Atlantic Ocean is north of Hurricane Beryl and the ridge has been steering Beryl toward the west.  A motion more toward the west-northwest is forecast during the weekend.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Beryl will approach the Lesser Antilles later on Sunday.  That is the reason why the Watches were issued for some of those islands.  Beryl could still be a hurricane when it gets to the Lesser Antilles, but there is a lot of uncertainty about the intensity forecast because the hurricane is so small.

Elsewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, the National Hurricane Center designated an area of low pressure southeast of the coast of the Carolinas as Tropical Depression Three.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Tropical Depression Three was located at latitude 32.2°N and longitude 73.8°W which put it about 230 miles (370 km) south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.  It was moving toward the north-northwest at 5 m.p.h. (8 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 1016 mb.  Tropical Depression Three is forecast to meander off the coast of the Carolinas during the weekend.  It could strengthen into a tropical storm and there is a chance it could intensify into a hurricane next week.

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.