Tropical Thoughts on Gulf Storm? Tuesday Update – 10:40pm #alwx @wvua23

Tropical Close Up Loop Storm Area Cone.png

Good Tuesday evening! As new forecast model data comes in this evening, confidence is increasing on the development of a tropical storm in the next 5 days. I must warn you… there are still many, many uncertainties and a lot can change. It is important to keep checking back with us for updates through the weekend and early next week, especially if you live along the Gulf coast or the southeast Atlantic coast.

Please note the map above because there is a lot of information on it. First, you can see the well developed clusters of storms nearing the Lesser Antilles tonight, as a sharp tropical wave or tropical low approaches the northern islands. The track of this feature is west northwest at 15 to 20mph. Currently, there is some dry air around the disturbance, so development will be slow over the next 24 hours. Plus, land interaction with the mountainous islands could slow or even prevent development over the next day or two. By late week, the system will be moving into the southeast Bahamas, which is in a much more favorable environment for tropical development. Models continue to hint at very low wind shear and a deep layer of tropical moisture over the Bahamas and into the Gulf of Mexico (area shaded in green).

A ridge is developing over the mid Atlantic states and will be a key player in where the tropical system moves through the weekend and into early next week. This is a blocking high, which should force the tropical system in a west direction, rather than turn north away from the US. Keep in mind, it may not even develop. This is all based on whether the system actually gets better organized and becomes a tropical storm or hurricane.

I also want to note the current sea surface temperatures  across the Gulf of Mexico. All observations are reporting water temperatures between 87 and 90 degrees across the central and eastern Gulf of Mexico and into the Bahamas. That’s incredibly warm! The warmer the water, the more potential energy these systems have to feed on. Given the lack of wind shear forecasted in this area and the abundant heat energy off the ocean, there’s no doubt there is potential for a strengthening tropical system, if it makes it into the Gulf.

Gulf CURRENT SEA TEMPS Buoy Data  MSL Pressure.png

If this system develops, it would likely impact Florida on Saturday eve or Sunday, then spend Sunday night through Monday in the Gulf of Mexico. Again, this is all hypothetical on if it actually develops and if it actually moves into the Gulf of Mexico. The bottom line… confidence is increasing in the threat of a Gulf storm late in the weekend or early next week. It’s too early to know who will be impacted and how strong the system will become. Lets all keep an eye on trends, and if this turns into a risk for our local weather, I will post plenty of updates on the blog as well as TV and social media.

Join us live on WVUA23 weekdays at 5, 6 and 10:00 P.M. and weekends at 10PM for the very latest on your news, weather and sports.

Richard Scott
WVUA Chief Meteorologist
Twitter: RichardWVUA23
Facebook: WVUA23RichardScott


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