Tag Archives: Windward Islands

Tropical Storm Don Forms East of Windward Islands

Tropical Storm Don formed east of the Windward Islands on Monday.  An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter reconnaissance aircraft found a small, but well defined center of circulation in a cluster of thunderstorms formerly designated Invest 91L.  Based on information from the recon plane, the National Hurricane Center classified the system at Tropical Storm Don.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Tropical Storm Don was located at latitude 11.2°N and longitude 52.6°W which put it about 595 miles (955 km) east of Trinidad.  Don was moving toward the west at 17 m.p.h. (28 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 1009 mb.

A Tropical Storm Warning has been issue for Grenada.  Tropical Storm Watches are in effect for Barbados, St. Vincent, the Grenadines and St. Lucia.

The reconnaissance plane found a small, tight center of circulation near the surface.  A thin band of showers and thunderstorms wrapped partially around the western side of the center.  Other thin bands of showers and thunderstorms were occurring north and west of the center.  There were fewer showers and thunderstorms in the eastern half of Tropical Storm Don.  The circulation of Tropical Storm Don is small and winds to tropical storm force only extend out about 25 miles (40 km) from the center of circulation.  Thunderstorms in the band west of the center of circulation were generating some upper level divergence but it was not well developed.

Tropical Storm Don will move through an environment that will be somewhat favorable for intensification during the next several days.  Don will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  An upper level ridge east of Don is generating easterly winds which are blowing over the top of the tropical storm.  Those easterly winds are generating some vertical wind shear and the shear may partly explain why there are fewer showers and thunderstorms in the eastern half of the circulation.  The shear will also inhibit intensification, but Tropical Storm Don could strengthen during the next 24 to 48 hours.

A strong subtropical high over the Atlantic Ocean is steering Tropical Storm Don toward the west and a generally westward motion is expected to continue during the next several days.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Storm Don could pass south of Barbados on Tuesday.  Tropical Storm Don could move over the southern Windward Islands on Tuesday night.  Tropical Storm Don could bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to the southern Windward Islands.  Flash floods could occur in areas of steep terrain, if they receive locally heavy rainfall.

Invest 92L Becomes Potential Tropical Cyclone Two, Warnings Issued for Windward Islands

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) changed the designation of Invest 92L to Potential Tropical Cyclone 02 on Sunday evening.  NHC implemented a new policy for 2017 which allows it to issue tropical cyclone watches and warnings before it officially classifies a system as a tropical cyclone.  NHC issued Tropical Storm Warnings for some of the Windward Islands because of Potential Tropical Cyclone 02 on Sunday evening in accordance with the new policy.

At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Potential Tropical Cyclone 02 was located at latitude 7.9°N and longitude 52.4°W which put it about 630 miles (1015 km) east-southeast of Trinidad.  It was moving toward the west-northwest at 23 m.p.h. (37 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.

Tropical Cyclone Warnings have been issued for Barbados, St. Vincent, the Grenadines, Grenada, Trinidad, and Tobago.

The circulation of Potential Tropical Cyclone 02 appeared to get better organized on Sunday evening.  Satellite imagery seemed to indicate that a more circular area of thunderstorms was forming around the center of circulation.  The system was already producing sustained winds to 40 m.p.h. (60 km/h) and if a center of circulation develops, it will be classified as a tropical storm.

Potential Tropical Cyclone 02 will move through an environment that will be somewhat favorable for intensification during the next 24 hours.  It will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  An upper level trough over the eastern Caribbean Sea is generating southwesterly winds that are causing some vertical wind shear.  Potential Tropical Cyclone 02 has about 24 to 36 hours before the shear increases significantly.  After that time the system will weaken.

A subtropical high pressure system over the Atlantic is steering Potential Tropical Cyclone 02 toward the west-northwest.  A general west-northwesterly motion is expected to continue.  On its anticipated track Potential Tropical Cyclone 02 will reach the southern Windward Islands later on Monday.  It will bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain when it gets there.

Invests 92L, 93L Monitored for Possible Development

Two weather systems designated as Invest 92L and Invest 93L are being monitored for possible development into tropical cyclones.  Invest 92L is a tropical wave that is speeding toward the Windward Islands.  At 2:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Invest 92L was located at latitude 7.3°N and longitude 49.4°W which put it about 800 miles (1290 km) east-southeast of the Windward Islands.  It was moving toward the west-northwest at 24 m.p.h. (39 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 1008 mb.

Invest 93L consists of a broad area of low pressure over the northwestern Caribbean Sea.  At 2:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday the surface center of Invest 93L was located at latitude 19.0°N and longitude 87.1°W which put it about 145 miles (230 km) south of Cancun, Mexico.  It was moving toward the north-northwest at 5 m.p.h. (8 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 1006 mb.

Invest 92L is a tropical wave and it has not yet develop a well defined surface center.  There is some evidence of cyclonic rotation on visible satellite imagery and there could be a center in the middle levels of the circulation.  Most of the stronger thunderstorms are located north and west of the center.  The are some bands of showers and thunderstorms south and west of the center.  There is some upper level divergence from the thunderstorms north and west of the center, but it is not well developed at the current time.

Invest 92L is in an environment that is moderately favorable to development of a tropical cyclone.  It is moving over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  It is in a region of rapid easterly flow, but the wind speed is fairly similar at all levels.  So, there is not a lot of vertical wind shear.  The rapid easterly flow could be inhibiting the formation of a well defined center of circulation.  Invest 92L will be in a moderately favorable environment for about another 36 hours.  An upper level trough over the eastern Caribbean Sea will create increased vertical wind shear when Invest 92L reaches that location.  The National Hurricane Center is indicating that there is a 60% probability that Invest 92L will develop into a tropical cyclone during the next two days.

Invest 92L is being steered rapidly toward the west-northwest by a subtropical high north of it.  A fairly quick motion toward the west-northwest is expected to continue for the next few days.  On its anticipated track Invest 92L could be near the Windward Islands by late Monday.  Even it if does not develop into a tropical cyclone, the system will bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to those islands.

The structure of Invest 93L is much more complicated.  There is a very broad but weak surface low pressure system over the Yucatan peninsula and the center of that low is being used as the center of the Invest.  However, there is a strong mid-level center of circulation near latitude 18.7°N and longitude 82.9°W which is about 115 miles (185 km) west-southwest of Grand Cayman.  Invest 93L is producing winds to near tropical storm force and those winds are occurring in thunderstorms associated with the mid-level circulation.  It is possible that downdrafts in those thunderstorms could transport enough momentum to the surface to generate a new surface center beneath the mid-level center.

Invest 93L is moving in an environment that will be favorable for the development of a tropical cyclone.  An upper level ridge is building between the trough over the eastern Caribbean Sea and another upper level trough over the northwestern Gulf of Mexico.  The trough over the northwestern Gulf is producing strong southwesterly winds which are causing vertical wind shear over the surface low over the Yucatan peninsula.  However, the upper level ridge is producing an area of slower winds over the mid-level center and there is less vertical wind shear there.  In fact, the upper level ridge is enhancing upper level divergence over the mid-level center.  If that continues, surfaces pressure will begin to decrease in that region.  The National Hurricane is indicating that there is a 70% probability of development of a tropical cyclone or a subtropical cyclone during the next two days.

Invest 93L is moving slowly north-northwestward around the western end of the subtropical high over the Atlantic Ocean.  A general north-northwesterly motion is expected to continue for another day or two, but there is some spread in the guidance from the numerical models.  If a cyclone forms from the surface low over the Yucatan peninsula, then the greatest risk would be to the western Gulf of Mexico.  If a new surface center forms farther east under the mid-level center, then there would be a greater risk for the central and eastern Gulf of Mexico.  Interests around the Gulf should monitor Invest 93L.

Tropical Storm Matthew Develops Near the Windward Islands

The National Hurricane Center determined that a surface circulation center formed within Invest 97L on Wednesday morning and it designated the system as Tropical Storm Matthew.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Tropical Storm Matthew as located at latitude 13.4°N and longitude 60.7°W which put it about 35 miles (55 km) southeast of St. Lucia.  Matthew was moving toward the west at 21 m.p.h. (33 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1008 mb.

Tropical Storm Warnings have been issued for Guadeloupe, Martinique, Barbados, Dominica, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The circulation of Tropical Storm Matthew is still organizing and it appears as if the surface center is located southwest of the mid-level center.  There are many more thunderstorms north and east of the center and there are fewer thunderstorms south and west of the center.  The strongest winds are occurring in the bands of thunderstorms northeast of the center of circulation.  The winds are much weaker in the western half of Tropical Storm Matthew.  The stronger thunderstorms northeast of the center of circulation are generating upper level divergence which is pumping mass out to the north and east of Matthew.

Tropical Storm Matthew will be moving into an environment that is favorable for intensification The Sea Surface Temperatures in the eastern and central Caribbean Sea are near 30°C.  The upper level winds are weak and there is not much vertical wind shear.  Even with those favorable conditions, several factors could slow the rate at which Tropical Storm Matthew intensifies.  First, it is moving west at 21 m.p.h. (33 km/h).  Sometimes tropical cyclones generate low level vertical wind shear when they move that quickly.  Second, the asymmetrical distribution of thunderstorms around the circulation of Matthew could prevent the tropical storm form efficiently using the energy it extracts from the ocean.  In addition, if Tropical Storm Matthew moves too close to the northern coast of South America, it could pull in some drier air, which would also slow the rate of intensification.  Even with those potential inhibiting factors, Tropical Storm Matthew is likely to become a hurricane by the end of the week and it could become a major hurricane while it is over the Caribbean Sea.

A subtropical high pressure system to the north of Matthew is steering the tropical storm toward the west and that general motion is expected to continue for several more days.  Tropical Storm Matthew is likely to slow down over the weekend as it gets closer to the western end of the subtropical high.  Matthew will likely turn toward the north during the weekend.  There is a great deal of variability in how quickly and sharply the models predict the turn will be.  Some models forecast a quick sharp turn toward the north that could eventually carry Matthew near Bermuda.  Other models forecast a later slower turn that occurs over the western Caribbean Sea and could take take Matthew closer to the U.S.  It is too early to know which scenario will be the right one.

Tropical Storm Matthew will bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to the Windward Islands and southern Leeward Islands.  Interests in other parts of the Caribbean Sea, the Bahamas, U.S. and Bermuda should monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Matthew.

Tropical Depression Six Forms Over Eastern Atlantic

A center of circulation developed within a tropical wave designated as Invest 98L on Tuesday and the National Hurricane Center classified the system as Tropical Depression Six.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Tropical Depression Six was located at latitude 12.6°N and longitude 34.1°W which put it about 1800 miles (2900 km) east of the Leeward Islands.  The depression was moving toward the northwest at 14 m.p.h. (22 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. (70 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1008 mb.

The circulation of Tropical Depression Six is still organizing.  A center of circulation exists near the surface and thunderstorms are developing near the center.  Several partial spiral bands are beginning to form.  The thunderstorms near the center are generating a small region of upper level divergence, but the divergence is occurring mainly to the southwest of the depression.

Tropical Depression Six is moving through an environment that favors intensification.  It is moving over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 27°C.  An upper level ridge to the north is causing northeasterly winds to blow across the top of the depression.  There is some vertical wind shear, but the shear will only slow the rate of intensification.  The shear is not strong enough to prevent intensification and Tropical Depression Six is expected to become a tropical storm during the next day or two.

The subtropical ridge over Africa and the Atlantic Ocean is splitting into two parts and Tropical Depression Six is moving toward the northwest into the split that is developing.  The depression is expected to continue to move toward the northwest in the short term.  The longer term motion will depend on how strong Tropical Depression Six becomes.  If it intensifies more and develops a taller circulation, then the depression will be steered by the winds higher in the atmosphere.  The winds at those levels are more likely to carry it into the central Atlantic Ocean.  However, if vertical wind shear weakens the depression and the circulation is shallower, then the winds in the lower levels of the atmosphere could carry the depression farther to the west.  In either case Tropical Depression Six is no immediate threat to any land area.

Tiny Danny Quickly Intensifies Into a Hurricane

Tiny Tropical Storm Danny intensified quickly during the past 12 hours and the National Hurricane Center upgraded it to hurricane status in its 11:00 a.m. EDT advisory on Thursday.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Hurricane Danny was located at latitude 12.5°N and longitude 44.8°W which put it about 1090 miles (1755 km) east of the Windward Islands and about 2480 miles (4000 km) east-southeast of Miami.  Danny was moving toward the west-northwest at 12 m.p.h. (19 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 90 m.p.h. (145 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 992 mb.

The core of Hurricane Danny organized quickly on Thursday.  An eye formed in the center of the circulation and a ring of thunderstorms developed around the eye.  The circulation around Danny is very small.  Hurricane force winds only extend out about 12 miles (19 km) from the center and tropical storm force winds only extend 60 miles (95 km) from the center.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) for Danny is only 4.2.

The environment around Danny remains complex.  It is over water where the Sea Surface Temperature (SST) is near 28°C and the upper level winds are very light.  Upper level divergence is being produced by the thunderstorms around the eye.  On the other hand, slightly cooler SSTs and drier air are just to the north of Danny.  In addition, small hurricanes like Danny can be strongly affected by changes in their environment and they can intensify or weaken very quickly.  The environment would seem to support further intensification, but if Danny moves a little farther north, it could move into a more hostile environment.

Danny is being steered toward the west-northwest by the subtropical ridge to its north and that general steering pattern is expected to continue for another two or three days.  Late in the weekend the subtropical ridge is forecast to strengthen and steer Danny more toward the west.  On its anticipated track Danny could be near the Leeward Islands in about four days and near Puerto Rico in about five days.

Tropical Depression 4 Forms over Eastern Atlantic

As the calendar reaches mid-August, the environment over the tropical Atlantic Ocean typically becomes more favorable for tropical cyclone formation.  The Sea Surface Temperature warms and vertical wind shear decreases.  Despite the ongoing El Nino in the tropical Pacific Ocean, we are seeing the typical pattern develop in the Atlantic for this time of year.  A low level circulation within an area of thunderstorms over the eastern Atlantic Ocean became better organized on Tuesday and the National Hurricane Center classified the system as Tropical Depression Four (TD4).  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Tuesday the enter of Tropical Depression Four was located at latitude 10.6°N and longitude 36.5°W which put it about 1665 miles (2765 km) east of the Windward Islands.  TD4 was moving toward the west at 13 m.p.h. (20 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 35 m.p.. (55 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1009 mb.

TD4 is currently in an environment that is favorable for intensification.  The upper level winds are light and the thunderstorms are generating upper level divergence in all directions.  It is currently over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  As long as TD4 moves westward, it will stay over warmer water and intensification will be likely.  If TD4 were to move more toward the northwest, then it would move over slightly cooler water and less intensification would occur.  Since TD4 is forecast to move west, it is expected to become Tropical Storm Danny, and it could be a hurricane later this week.

A subtropical ridge north of TD4 is steering it toward the west and that steering motion is expected to continue for the next 24 to 48 hours.  Later this week an upper level trough passing north of the ridge is expected to weaken the ridge, which could cause TD4 to move northwesterly for a day or so.  After the upper level trough moves off to the east, the subtropical ridge is forecast to steer TD4 back more toward the west.  On its anticipated track TD4 is expected to be east of the Windward Islands this weekend.