TD 14 likely to become Maria; new Gulf of Mexico system brewing

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:32 PM GMT en Septiembre 07, 2011

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Tropical Depression Fourteen formed yesterday from a strong tropical wave that moved off the coast of Africa early this week, and is headed west-northwest towards an encounter with the Northern Lesser Antilles Islands. Satellite loops show a large a steadily organizing system with plenty of heavy thunderstorm activity, good upper-level outflow to the north and west, and some respectable low-level spiral bands beginning to form. TD 14 is probably a tropical storm now, and is very likely to be named Tropical Storm Maria later today. Water vapor satellite images show that 95L is embedded in a very moist environment. Ocean temperatures are near 28.5°C, which is 2°C above the 26.5°C threshold usually needed to sustain a tropical storm. With wind shear predicted to remain low to moderate the next five days, the atmosphere expected to stay moist, and ocean temperatures predicted to gradually warm, TD 14 should generally show a strengthening trend. Curiously, most of the intensity forecast models show little strengthening of TD 14, so NHC is keeping their intensity forecast lower than is typical for a storm in these conditions at this time of year.

The track forecasts for TD 14 from the various models agree that the storm will affect the Northern Lesser Antilles Islands, though there are some differences in forward speed, resulting in some uncertainty whether the storm will arrive at the islands as early as Friday night, or as late as Saturday afternoon. After it passes the Lesser Antilles, TD 14 has the usual amount of high uncertainty in its 5 - 7 day track forecast. The models are split on how strong the steering influence a trough of low pressure along the U.S. East Coast will have. The ECMWF and UKMET models prefer a more southerly track for TD 14 through the Bahamas towards the U.S. East Coast, while the GFS, NOGAPS, and HWRF models predict a more northwesterly track, with a potential threat to Bermuda. It's too early to guess which track the models will eventually converge on. Climatology favors a track that would miss land, with Dr. Bob Hart's track history pages suggesting TD 14 has a 22% chance of hitting Canada, 19% chance of hitting Bermuda, and an 11% chance of hitting North Carolina.


Figure 1. Morning satellite image of TD 14.

Gulf of Mexico disturbance 96L
A cold front swept into the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Texas behind Tropical Storm Lee on Monday, and has stalled out along a line from Tampa, Florida to Mexico's Bay of Campeche in the southern Gulf of Mexico. Heavy thunderstorms have begun to build along the tail end of this front in the Bay of Campeche, and this disturbance has been designated Invest 96L by NHC. Latest visible satellite loops do not show that 96L has a closed surface circulation yet, but buoy and surface observations along the coast of Mexico suggest that there may be a large-scale counter-clockwise circulation present over the Bay of Campeche. Sustained winds at Buoy 42055, about 100 miles to the northwest of the suspected center of 96L, were northeast at 27 mph at 6:50 am CDT this morning. Water vapor satellite loops show that here is a large area of very dry air from Texas to the north of 96L, and this dry air may interfere with 96L's development. A hurricane hunter mission is scheduled for this afternoon into 96L.

Most of the computer models develop 96L into a tropical depression in the next 1 - 2 days, and these same models did very well at anticipating the formation of Tropical Storm Lee in the Gulf of Mexico last week. Given the moderate wind shear, warm waters, and presence of an old cold front to serve as a nucleus for development, I give 96L an 80% chance of becoming a tropical depression over the next tow days, a bit higher than the 60% probability NHC is going with. Steering currents are weak in the Bay of Campeche, making for a lot of uncertainty in where 96L might go. The only model predicting a U.S. landfall is the ECMWF, which predicts 96L might hit between Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle on Monday. A more popular solution is for the storm to meander in the Bay of Campeche for many days, and eventually make landfall on the coast of Mexico between Veracruz and Tampico. None of the models is hinting at a track towards Texas, and the intense dome of high pressure associated with their record drought and heat wave will tend to discourage any tropical cyclones from making a Texas landfall over the coming seven days.

Hurricane Katia
Hurricane Katia continues to the northwest as a Category 1 hurricane with 90 mph winds. Latest satellite loops show that dry air has eaten into the southwest side of the storm. The computer models continue to agree that a low pressure system over the Eastern U.S. associated with the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee will turn Katia to the north. As the storm moves northwards past North Carolina, Katia will get caught up in west-to-east moving winds associated with the jet stream, and taken northeastwards out to sea. No land areas are in Katia's cone of uncertainty, and Katia's outer rainbands should remain just offshore from North Carolina, New England, and the Canadian Maritime provinces at the point of closest approach. Bermuda may see a few rain showers from Katia, but the storm will not cause hazardous weather there. The main impact of Katia will be a multi-day period of high surf leading to beach erosion and dangerous rip currents. The East Coast is lucky that Tropical Storm Lee came along, since Lee helped to create the steering pattern that will keep Katia from hitting the U.S.


Figure 2. GOES-13 image of Hurricane Katia and the remains of Tropical Storm Lee, taken at 11:45 am EDT Tuesday September 6, 2011. At the time, Katia was a Category 3 hurricane with 120 mph winds. Image credit: NOAA Visualization Laboratory.

Heavy rains from Lee create significant flooding, tornadoes
Tropical Storm Lee is no more, but its remnants are marching slowly northeastwards along a stalled cold front, bringing torrential rains. Fortunately, the dry soils that were present before the event started have helped keep river flooding in the minor to moderate range. No river is currently at major flood stage as a result of rains from Tropical Storm Lee. Soils are at near-average moisture levels in Central Pennsylvania, where Lee's remnants are expected to drop 3 - 5 inches of rain over the next two days. These rains should cause moderate but not major flooding in Pennsylvania. Also of concern is the potential for tornadoes today. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has logged 40 tornado reports over the past four days from Lee, including two in North Carolina yesterday. Most of these tornadoes have been weak EF-0 and EF-1 twisters. A tornado that hit Cana, Virginia at Sunday night ripped the roof off of a gas station and injured two people. More tornadoes are likely today over coastal Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Southern New Jersey, where SPC is predicting a "Slight Risk" of severe weather.

Lee's heaviest rain amounts, by state, as of 4 am CDT today:

Holden, LA: 15.43"
Waveland, MS: 14.11"
Fyffe, AL: 12.94"
Cleveland, TN: 12.22"
Rome, GA: 11.01"
Milton, FL: 10.03"
Blowing Rock, NC: 7.18"
Fancy Gap, VA: 6.77"
Cranks Creek Reservoir, KY: 5.49"
Andover, NJ: 5.06"
Montgomery, NY: 4.23"
Pittsfield, MA: 3.90"
Bluefield, WV: 3.76"
Bridge City, TX: 3.12"
Keene, NH: 3.64"
Hagerstown, MD: 3.60"
Norwalk, CT: 3.20"
Wilmington, DE: 2.63"
Woodford, VT: 2.63"
Washington, DC: 2.42"

Jeff Masters

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So is Katia's recurve tomorrow morning an all but forgone conclusion at this point? Is the trough in place just as expected, or are there any IF/BUT scenarios left to watch?

Thx for the info, all.
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Katia paying a visit to us folks across the pond before she gives up I see.

Hitting the Shetlands and Faroes means she is not gonna be a fish after all!
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Quoting HCW:


Models have not flipped to Mexico
someone just posted the latest euro agrees more with the gfs now, a mexico hit. i know its not developed yet and alot can change. just asking questions trying to figure stuff out
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Quoting Drakoen:
I think the potential is there for 96L to become a more significant cyclone than Lee. Lee formed near the Gulf coast from an elongated trough of low pressure and was under marginal shear for most of its life time. Lee did not have the time to ramp up as much as 96L may have. Whether or not 96L stays in the BOC or moves northward, it should still have a decent chance at becoming a significant cyclone. GFS shows the upper level trough ease up a bit to the north which should allow 96L to establish an upper level anticyclone.


It's much smaller too, and further south under even weaker steering currents. All it has to do is stay away from Texas, that unfortunately place is killing everything that tries to get near it now. Don literally evaporated (I still watch the loops on Youtube of the poor guy just going "poof", it's pretty unreal), and Lee could have been much more significant had it not have been for the dry air.

I think that if Texas wants any significant rainfall at all, it will take a literal onslaught of a few significant tropical systems to try and punch through that dry air. If that happens, it would already have to be significant upon entry into the Gulf. As Levi said in his blog about the Carribean, there may be hope yet.
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Quoting Drakoen:


Too early to say. Let wait till the system develops a well-defined center.
drak even though its a long shot does the pattern look like florida maybe in danger of TS maria
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464. HCW
Quoting mobhurricane2011:
with all the major models now flipped to mexico its a safe bet that it stays that way or still a wait and see kinda thing?


Models have not flipped to Mexico

Member Since: Agosto 10, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 1346
Quoting mobhurricane2011:
with all the major models now flipped to mexico its a safe bet that it stays that way or still a wait and see kinda thing?


Too early to say. Let wait till the system develops a well-defined center.
Member Since: Octubre 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29714
462. HCW
Quoting ScottLincoln:


It's not even a formed system yet....


Is this the same Scott Lincoln that runs that great site with the free GR3 place files ?
Member Since: Agosto 10, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 1346
Quoting mobhurricane2011:
with all the major models now flipped to mexico its a safe bet that it stays that way or still a wait and see kinda thing?


It's not even a formed system yet....
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Quoting Drakoen:
The ECMWF, UKMET, and GFS, have been "fighting" over 500mb 5 day forecast verification as of late so it shouldn't be too much of a surprise either way.

with all the major models now flipped to mexico its a safe bet that it stays that way or still a wait and see kinda thing?
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Models not too excited about Maria. It makes sense. She is moving too fast.
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96L Seems to be developing rather well, NHC gives it now a 70%. GFS predicts it will continue stalled and then hit Mexico while it's counterpart the ECMWF take's it all the way to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Although many argue that the ECMWF is the most accurate of the models, but by looking at the steering layer map I think that the GFS is handling this system better.



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457. 7544
Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
More rain on the way for west central Fl this evening. I think this is round 4 of activity... Not that I'm counting or anything.


yeap looks like the two blobs to the east of 96l are going over fl from west to east maybe one will surpise us and be yet another invest lol but it does seem to bbe tracking est over the state
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The ECMWF, UKMET, and GFS, have been "fighting" over 500mb 5 day forecast verification as of late so it shouldn't be too much of a surprise either way.

Member Since: Octubre 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29714
Quoting 19N81W:
36 in the shade in cayman and not a single cloud...we sure could use something to provide some cooling...western carib seems to have a force field around it..
we've been seeing extremes
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Quoting Skyepony:



Looks like TA grouped it under Katia but labeled it untask. That's pretty neat they are looking for arc clouds. Says they are sampling around the storm. Is this not being fed to the models?

They had a great graphic of the pattern in your link..


The data will go into the 18Z model cycle, but most land based stations will not have upper air obs, so it's worth for track would be questionable. Will be great for storm structure though. Also noticed Gonzo flys the GOM tomorrow, targeted for the 00Z model cycle. That link will probably later show the flight pattern for the GOM mission.
Member Since: Septiembre 23, 2005 Posts: 13 Comments: 10465
014L/TS/M/CX
MARK
14N/42W

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36 in the shade in cayman and not a single cloud...we sure could use something to provide some cooling...western carib seems to have a force field around it..
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Buoy near maria

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449. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Gonzo is on a Saharan Air Layer research flight according to HRD


Link



Looks like TA grouped it under Katia but labeled it untask. That's pretty neat they are looking for arc clouds. Says they are sampling around the storm. Is this not being fed to the models?

They had a great graphic of the pattern in your link..
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Good Afternoon


Blog Update With Video

Tropical Storm Maria-Hurricane Katia-Pre-Nate
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445. Jax82
Katia from Terra 2km True Color today.

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07/1745 UTC 12.8N 43.2W T2.5/2.5 14L



Maria still moving W.
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TD coming soon:

AL, 96, 2011090718, , BEST, 0, 201N, 929W, 30, 1006, DB, 34, NEQ, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1009, 150, 60, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, S,
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442. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting hurricanejunky:
Seems like there is more deep convection between Florida and 96L than there is associated with 96L itself:



That looked kind of interesting as recon hit it. They looked liked they descended into it like they would when they got to the center of an invest. Nice wind shift there. I wonder if they will come back to it on the way back from the BOC too.
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441. HCW
Member Since: Agosto 10, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 1346
Quoting wxobsvps:
12Z Euro flipping to the GFS solution for 96L


Yeah, oops. My pics of the 12z Euro were from yesterday (I had to refresh them). Euro jumps on the Mexico train.
Member Since: Julio 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10156
Quoting robert88:
ECMWF now agrees with GFS and takes 96L into MX....NEXT I believe the GFS is starting to become king now. ;)


That's at least better for TX, hopefully increase moisture off the gulf and start having some seabreeze storms push inland
Member Since: Julio 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9625
Yeah Skye, that is one heckuva wall of dry air 96L is up against.
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ECMWF now agrees with GFS and takes 96L into MX....NEXT I believe the GFS is starting to become king now. ;)
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435. Skyepony (Mod)
96L has time & distance on it's side. Lee ate alot of dry air too..though what 96L is faced with is wicked dry...if it survives that, then I think it has more potential to work with than Lee did.

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Seems like there is more deep convection between Florida and 96L than there is associated with 96L itself:

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Buoy near Maria stating to get some winds
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Quoting Skyepony:
Gonzo is out on an untask mission chuckin sondes for the models. Just about completed a six pointed star. Bermuda is one of the points on the NE side.


Gonzo is on a Saharan Air Layer research flight according to HRD


Link
Member Since: Septiembre 23, 2005 Posts: 13 Comments: 10465
Quoting Levi32:


But even if that is so, it never lets up on the northerly to northwesterly mid-level flow off of Texas, which is going to be unceasingly pushing very dry air into 96L's personal space.


It looks like it eases up from about 20 knots to 5-10 knots. Also to note on the GFS 700mb product is the omega forcing shown a good indication of rising air with the system.
Member Since: Octubre 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29714
Quoting superweatherman:
Does anyone have satellite view of the Texas fire.. I want a Radar loop


GOES Real-Time Fire Floater Imagery
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Quoting Phiznat:
Could we have another Opal waiting to hatch?

http://www.wunderground.com/hurricane/at199515.as p
Bite your tongue!
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the storm that shows hitting SFL probably occurs sometime after September 13 as that when the supposed upper level strong high pressure system could be in play in the western atlantic
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Quoting Levi32:


No it's the air lol. 1-2C above normal water in the Gulf of Mexico isn't historic. It happens all the time during warm AMOs.

This is 12-15C below normal temperatures in the southern United States during the summer, and that is significant.



The frontal system basically turned the weather upside down. It's kinda neat to see. The wide areas of 60-80F for highs yields much below normal in the south and much above normal to the north. We're not complaining too much down here though, it's almost like a late summer gift to be able to open windows and spend time outdoors.
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425. Skyepony (Mod)
Looks like 90W got named in the last few hours..that was quick.

17W KULAP

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Link

similarities?
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lol 12z gfs has maria totaly missing the islands now i feel like iam on a roller coaster ride of emotion here just give me a plot i can deal with either its hitting pr or it aint... sorry.. i am ok i got it out of my system now
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Quoting Drakoen:
I think the potential is there for 96L to become a more significant cyclone than Lee. Lee formed near the Gulf coast from an elongated trough of low pressure and was under marginal shear for most of its life time. Lee did not have the time to ramp up as much as 96L may have. Whether or not 96L stays in the BOC or moves northward, it should still have a decent chance at becoming a significant cyclone. GFS shows the upper level trough ease up a bit to the north which should allow 96L to establish an upper level anticyclone.


But even if that is so, it never lets up on the northerly to northwesterly mid-level flow off of Texas, which is going to be unceasingly pushing very dry air into 96L's personal space.
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Quoting Drakoen:
I think the potential is there for 96L to become a more significant cyclone than Lee. Lee formed near the Gulf coast from an elongated trough of low pressure and was under marginal shear for most of its life time. Lee did not have the time to ramp up as much as 96L may have. Whether or not 96L stays in the BOC or moves northward, it should still have a decent chance at becoming a significant cyclone. GFS shows the upper level trough ease up a bit to the north which should allow 96L to establish an upper level anticyclone.


Agreed.
Member Since: Julio 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10156
Quoting P451:
Whacky NAM. Teasing Texas. Also look at what it does with the remnants of Lee and the front in the Mid-Atlantic. Strange.



Also has something in Carribean nearing Jamaica
Member Since: Julio 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9625

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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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