After spending almost three weeks meandering around the Central Atlantic Ocean, Hurricane Leslie sped toward Portugal and Spain on Friday afternoon. At 2:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Hurricane Leslie was located at latitude 33.3°N and longitude 26.1°W which put it about 515 miles (830 km) west of Madeira, Island. Leslie was moving toward the east-northeast at 33 m.p.h. (54 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 971 mb.
A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for Madeira Island.
The circulation around Hurricane Leslie remained well organized. A small circular eye was at the center of circulation. A ring of strong thunderstorms surrounded the eye and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms. The ring of storms was thinner west of the eye. Several bands of showers and thunderstorms north and east of the eye were revolving around the core of Hurricane Leslie. Bands south and west of the center of circulation consisted mostly of showers and lower clouds. Winds to hurricane force extended out about 70 miles (110 km) from the center of Hurricane Leslie. Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 230 miles (370 km) from the center of circulation. Much of the stronger winds were occurring in the southern half of the circulation.
Hurricane Leslie will be moving through an environment unfavorable for a hurricane. Leslie is currently over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 25°C, but it will move over cooler water during the next 24 to 36 hours. An upper level trough south of Iceland is producing strong westerly winds which are blowing toward the top of Hurricane Leslie. Those winds will cause significant vertical wind shear, but Hurricane Leslie will move south of the strongest winds. A combination of cooler water and strong vertical wind shear will cause Hurricane Leslie to make a transition to a strong extratropical cyclone during the next day or so.
The upper level trough south of Iceland will steer Hurricane Leslie quickly toward the east-northeast. On its anticipated track Hurricane Leslie will approach southern Portugal on Sunday morning. Leslie will likely be a strong extratropical cyclone at that time. Leslie will bring strong winds and heavy rain to parts of Portugal and Spain during the weekend. Heavy rain could cause flash floods in some locations.
A tropical cyclone could develop near the Yucatan peninsula during the next few days. At 2:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Invest 91L was located at latitude 16.0°N and longitude 84.3°W which put it about 400 miles (640 km) southeast of Cancun, Mexico. It was moving toward the northwest at 6 m.p.h. (10 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 1007 mb.
A broad area of low pressure is over the western Caribbean Sea, Central America and the adjacent waters of the Eastern North Pacific Ocean. Several smaller, mesoscale centers of rotation appear to be revolving around the larger low pressure system. One of the mesoscale centers is over the Eastern North Pacific Ocean just west of the coast of Central America. One or two other mesoscale centers appear to be over the western Caribbean Sea near Honduras. The low level circulation is not currently well organized. It is broad and diffuse. Thunderstorms are clustered around the mesoscale centers, but large scale rainbands have not formed.
Westerly winds in the upper levels are are blowing over the top of the system. Those winds are creating moderate vertical wind shear which is inhibiting the development of the low pressure system. The upper level winds are forecast to weaken during the next few days and the wind shear will diminish. The Sea Surface Temperature of the water in the northwestern Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico is near 30°C. The broad low pressure system could slowly organize during the next two to three days. The National Hurricane Center is indicating that there is a 70% probability of formation of a tropical cyclone near the Yucatan peninsula or over the southern Gulf of Mexico during the next five days. A reconnaissance plane is scheduled to investigate the low pressure system on Sunday, if necessary.
The broad low is southwest of a subtropical high pressure system over the Atlantic Ocean. The high is expected to steer the low toward the northwest during the weekend. On its anticipated track the low will move over the northwestern Caribbean Sea during the next several days. it could move into the Gulf of Mexico on Monday.
Elsewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, Tropical Storm Leslie continued to meander northeast of Bermuda. At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Friday the center of Tropical Storm Leslie was located at latitude 36.2°N and longitude 58.4°W which put it about 455 miles (730 km) northeast of Bermuda. Leslie was moving toward the north-northwest at 9 m.p.h. (15 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 80 m.p.h. (130 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 986 mb.
Former Tropical Storm Leslie strengthened into a hurricane east of Bermuda on Wednesday morning. At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Hurricane Leslie was located at latitude 29.5°N and longitude 56.8°W which put it about 510 miles (825 km) east-southeast of Bermuda. Leslie was nearly stationary. 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 975 mb.
After being designated as a subtropical storm, Hurricane Leslie made a transition to an extratropical cyclone and then back to a subtropical storm. Leslie eventually moved over warmer water and the structure changed to that of a tropical storm, which intensified slowly until it reached hurricane intensity earlier this morning. It is gradually exhibiting the classical appearance and structure of a hurricane.
There is a circular eye at the center of circulation. A nearly complete ring of thunderstorms surrounds the eye and the strongest winds are occurring in that ring of storms. Several bands of showers and thunderstorms are revolving around the core of Hurricane Leslie. Storms near the core are generating upper level divergence which is pumping mass away from the hurricane, which is causing the surface pressure to decrease. Winds to hurricane force extend out about 35 miles (55 km) from the center of circulation. Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 230 miles (370 km) from the center.
Hurricane Leslie will remain in an environment favorable for intensification for another day or two. Leslie will remain over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 27.5°C. it will be in a region where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear. Hurricane Leslie is likely to get a little stronger during the next day or so. Leslie will move over cooler water later this week and it will start to weaken when that happens.
Hurricane Leslie has been in an area where the steering winds were weak which is why it has meandered east of Bermuda during the past few days. A subtropical ridge southeast of Leslie will strengthen during the next day or two and the ridge will start to steer the hurricane toward the north. On its anticipated track Hurricane Leslie will move farther away from Bermuda later this week.