Caribbean Hurricane Network
- 2 0 1 6 Season -
Weather discussions by Gert & Dave during the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season. The homepage with the links to local reports from the islands, latest satellite image, current weather outlook can be found here.
Tuesday, August 15, 2017 15:25PM EDT
- Happy Birthday Gert!
I forgot to mention which I am rectifying now, that today is Gert's Birthday!! No, not the storm, but the founder and moderator of this site so please join me in wishing him a Happy Birthday!!
Tuesday, August 15, 2017 15:14PM EDT
With Hurricane Gert spinning his way to a date with the open Atlantic, the pied pipers have started to open up the playground that we know as the MDR (Main Development Region) with 91L and 92L splashing their way west while 93L is a mere formality just waiting for an Atlantic splashdown.
Dry air intrusion and increasing wind shear will initiate the demise of Hurricane Gert Wednesday night into Thursday but not before his efforts to reach minimal Cat 2 status might be rewarded; he just needs to do it sooner than later. The former 99L has a history of fighting, staggering and winning his way across the MDR eventually becoming a hurricane when he was all but written off for dead. So, I doubt he's ready to give up now. The main threats from Gert will continue to be high surf, rip currents and threats to shipping.
91L and 92L are playing follow the leader with 92L about 700 miles behind 91L. Both have potential but are not in any hurry to realize that potential. For the moment, I believe 92L has the better chance of development but if 91L were to do it first, 92L would probably falter as it is close enough to be affected by the outflow wind shear from 91L. Time will tell. Down the road we should see these bring squally weather to the mid and northeastern Caribbean Islands at minimum.
Soon to be designated 93L has grabbed a lot of attention already from the NHC and longer range computer models and could very well become a threat to the islands, possibly even the mainland US. Once again, a slower developing system will tend to a more westerly track while a quicker one usually will take the recurve track aka fish storm.
Pretty much, they all have to be monitored from now on.
Sunday, August 13, 2017 15:52PM PDT - Gert
- It took a while, but finally 99L became a tropical storm, Gert. It looks like it is just as well behaved as me: moving nicely north of the Bahamas, curving to the east, in between the US coast and Bermuda. Not causing any trouble, that's how we like it. -Gert
Thursday, August 10, 2017 13:57PM PDT - Active season ahead?
- Franklin, our first hurricane of the season is moving over Mexico as I write this. So far reports are pretty good, with damage less than expected in the Yucatan, but it can still dump a lot of rain, causing dangerous mud slides and flash flooding.
NOAA just updated their hurricane season forecast. They think it is more likely to have a more active, above-normal season. NOAA now predicts 14-19 named storms (predicted in May: 11-17), 5-9 hurricanes (unchanged) and 2-5 major hurricanes (was 2-4). They 'blame' it on conducive wind and air patterns and warmer than expected sea surface temperatures.
Last week Klotzbach and Bell at Colorado State also issued their update. They also increased the number of storms expected (15, was 14 in June and 11 in April), 8 hurricanes (was 6 and 4, resp.) and 7 major ones (was 5 and 4). Likelihood of one major hurricane tracking through the Caribbean region: 51% (normal is 42%). They are however not too certain about their forecast because of some contradicting factors. For example, on one hand the tropical and subtropical Atlantic is warmer than normal, but the North Atlantic is cooler and there is stronger wind shear in the Caribbean right now. Below is a copy of a table they include with probability of hurricanes tracking within 100 miles of the listed Caribbean regions (number between () is long term mean, more islands available here):
Island/Landmass Hurricane within Major Hurricane
100 Miles within 100 Miles
The Bahamas 61% (51%) 37% (30%)
Cuba 62% (52%) 35% (28%)
Haiti 34% (27%) 17% (13%)
Jamaica 31% (25%) 14% (11%)
Mexico (East Coast) 67% (57%) 29% (23%)
Puerto Rico 36% (29%) 17% (13%)
Turks and Caicos 30% (24%) 12% (9%)
US Virgin Islands 37% (30%) 16% (12%)
Anyway, as I like to remember everyone, it only takes one to spoil your season! Be prepared, or get on with it if you aren't yet! -Gert
Wednesday, August 9, 2017 10:34AM EDT
- Hurricane Franklin?
Very strong TS Franklin is churning towards the Mexican coastline as he transits the Bay of Campeche with 70 mph winds. With about 14 more hours to go before impact, Franklin looks to become the first hurricane of the Atlantic season and quite possibly reach Cat 2 status before his demise. This is also close to RI (Rapid Intensification) status as well. The only thing keeping Franklin down is a dry air intrusion. Fortunately, he will be landing in sparsely populated areas of Mexico and the government has already issued hurricane warnings. The other good thing is Franklin is running out of time. If he had another day or two running amok in the Gulf of Mexico the potential effects would have been devastating.
99L is something of an anomaly as the little wave that could. That is, survive the intrusion of dry air all the way across it's slow journey through the Atlantic basin to retain a chance of becoming a menace to the Bahamas and SE coast of the US. Wind shear has also played a part in 99L inability to organize but that will diminish over the next few days. If 99L can manage a better moisture envelope around it as insulation from the Saharan dust then it stands a good chance of making the jump to TS Gert. Most of the computer models have been flip flopping on potential intensity and track with no great consensus so we will just have to watch, wait and be prepared.
Speaking of the Bahamas, with all the attention being given to Franklin and even 99L, a system has quietly and sneakily flared up just to the west of the sprawling island chain. Over juicy warm waters, little dry air and low wind shear, a spin up is entirely possible and if it does, there will not be much in the way of warning time for the SE coastline. Right now it looks like a more northerly than westerly track for this.
Off to the east, the bowling alley is open and they just keep rolling off the African coast. Nothing imminent at this time but the busiest two months of the season, Aug 15th-Oct 15th, is rapidly approaching.
Monday, August 7, 2017 09:44AM PDT - Franklin
- And here we have Franklin. Now a tropical storm about to make landfall in the Yucatan peninsula. It is expected to cross about 160 miles south of Cancun, 115 miles south of Belize and 80 miles north of Ambergris Caye. Franklin is actually almost taking the same path as Ernesto did in 2012, also around this time of the year. Hurricane and tropical storm watches/warnings are posted for much of the coast of the Yucatan. The rain, wind and storm surge are expected to be the biggest trouble makers.
After crossing the peninsula Franklin will re-emerge over open waters of the Bay of Campeche. It will be able to strengthen somewhat, but hopefully not too much before it makes landfall in Mexico again, similar to Ernesto in 2012...
The other system we are watching, 99L, has weakened somewhat. It now might not even reach Tropical Storm status, so my namesake might have to wait a bit longer... -Gert
Sunday, August 6, 2017 14:59PM EDT
- Tick Tick Tick
Looking at the tropical Atlantic, you would think there would be great balls of fire going on with a major wave splashdown just off the African coast, another good looking wave just west of that, next, 99L less impressive than ever, and a wind shear warrior just to the east of the windward islands.
The truth be told, at this moment anyway, nada, nothing, and maybe a poof (for 99L that is) until well after 65W. First, the wave currently closest to the Windward & Leeward Islands is being beat up and shoved around by very hostile wind shear as it approaches so rain and some wind gusts will be expected tomorrow afternoon into Tuesday as a TUTT low sinks into the region adding to the enhancement of said showers and gusty winds. No development here with this one but it is the vanguard of a wet week ahead. As I write, it is pouring out.
Slow moving 99L is looking like Little Orphan Annie with no one to play with but Saharan Dust which is not a friendly playmate as 99L has been downgraded by the NHC from 80% to 50% development status in the next 5 days due to that interaction plus increasing wind shear down the road. Look for 99L to remain discombobulated until it passes around 65W late this week. If some of those ingredients come together after that, then the SE coast will need to pay attention which was brought up several days ago. Never disregard a CV seedling that continues to hang on.
The two waves behind will have much moister environments in their path and may take advantage but at the moment are not really on anyone's radar at the moment. Why? 90L and it's proximity to the US of course!
90L has survived the graveyard of tropical systems in the SE Caribbean and is now starting to flex it's muscles as it heads towards the low lying Yucatan Peninsula where favorable wind shear and juicy water temperatures await. Tropical storm formation is very likely before it reaches the Yucatan and the relative flatness of the peninsula will do little to inhibit it's structure before it lands in the Bay of Campeche where it's very likely a Cat 1 hurricane will quickly form. Belize, Honduras, Mexico and even SW Texas should be prepared.
Looks like 90L will win the dubious race to Franklin.
Thursday, August 3, 2017 14:45PM EDT
- Franklin soon, maybe Gert too
Good afternoon all,
From so quiet you could hear a pin drop to the roar of tropical engines coming to life, it is clear our "sea of tranquility" is no longer a passive animal; now more an awaking beast.
The most impressive and vigorous tropical wave of the season, designated 99L by the NHC, has flipped on the real "open for business" sign in the Atlantic after 5 earlier soft openings, the last being TS Emily. SSW by over 300 miles of the Cabo Verde Islands, it is moving off to the W/WNW at about 12 mph with an already closed low level, yet elongated circulation according to satellite information and 25 mph winds. It's proximity to the equator and large size will slow it's development since it cannot take full advantage of the earths rotation to consolidate but the other factors are all on the positive side. Those being low wind shear, warm enough SST's plus moisture to work with since the Saharan Dust layer is too far north to inhibit growth.
Down the road virtually all the models forecast development while none are in full agreement of where it will go. Several show a path through the central Lesser Antilles while others to the northern Lesser Antilles. One of the better ones, the GFS, shows it going a few hundred miles to the north of the Lesser Antilles and making a beeline for the GA/SC border. It's way too early to forecast accurately plus it depends on the speed at which 99L develops. Slower development means a southern track while faster development would mean a more northern track. I'm leaning towards the northern one now.
Meanwhile, a weak wave far to the south in the SE Caribbean Sea north of the ABC Islands has blossomed today and is now designated 90L by the NHC. Usually the graveyard of tropical storms, this area isn't so ripe yet as pressure still hasn't started to fall there yet, but has some serious potential down the road as well. In this case, a slower developing system will put Mexico in danger plus possibly Texas while a faster developing system puts the whole GOM at risk. With the GOM very ripe for the picking as I've mentioned previously, rapid intensification could then possibly be in play and not in a fun way.
So, with this said, we could still have them both start to intensify and then die out. The possibility does exist, especially for 99L if it moves farther north without intensifying as it will run into stable, dry and dusty air. I doubt this scenario but I have to mention all the possibilities. I do see two TS's probable at minimum with a problematic hurricane on the horizon.
The race is on to see which one makes Franklin first. Once consolidated and named, we will have a better idea of path and potential intensity. The race should also be on for those of you who have not made any preparations to do so.
Tuesday, August 1, 2017 13:17PM EDT
- Another Quickie?
As I shared in my previous post, the Gulf of Mexico was ripe for the picking and seemingly right on cue, along came TS Emily. Ramping up from a sagging front while taking advantage of that soup of ingredients, Emily landed on the west coast of Florida just south of Tampa a mere 8 hours after coming together. Dropping torrential rains and spawning tornado warnings across the mainly southern half of the peninsula plus the Keys, Emily is now off the east coast of Florida as a depression. She might briefly regain TS strength but I doubt it as she is being absorbed by the same front she was spawned from so quickly the hurricane hunters didn't even have a chance to investigate her. Two good things however, are evident after her crossing: Wildfires are mostly out and Florida's drought conditions from a few months ago are over.
Now, the question is, will we see another quickie pop up in the Gulf? There has been a flareup of activity at the tail end of this same front with SST's still steamy and wind shear lower than with Emily. Once again, if something does rise out of this area, there will not be much time before land interaction and that will be a good thing. Storm surge and wind speed will not have abundant time to rise to destructive levels but the flooding and tornadoes that usually accompany these systems will be destructive enough.
Off to our east, dry Saharan dust is all about that is standing in the way of the 2017 Atlantic season springing to life which many say will happen soon. One wave shows current interest, around 10N, 35W but I believe most of the NHC's attention will be on the GOM.
Don't get complacent because it will be our turn soon.
Saturday, July 29, 2017 12:57PM EDT
- Almost Over!
Good afternoon all,
The Atlantic hurricane season's last two weeks of July annual swoon is about to come to an end and maybe even rudely in the Gulf of Mexico. More on that in a bit.
With three tropical waves in the Atlantic MDR you would think there would be more action, especially after the early season saw 4 named, albeit short lived, storms of little consequence. All three are suffering from sinking air, medium wind shear and Saharan dust intrusion. Hence, only one of them has a colored "X" from the NHC depicting any current interest although we did have another short lived area of interest named 97L.
With rising air moving in from the Pacific region, moisture in the atmosphere will improve as well as air lift. This, coinciding with a positive MJO (Madden Julian Oscillation which circles the globe every 60-90 days), heat fueled SST's, lower wind shear and the withdrawal of the Saharan dust layer to the north all the ingredients will, or should, come together and then it's game on. I might add it's entirely possible, with anything that Mother Nature controls, we could see a dearth of activity flying in the face of the forecast. I doubt that will be the case.
The Gulf of Mexico has been ripe for the picking for quite some time while needing some prodding to spin up some anticipated, but not welcome by any means, tropical action. That prodding has been lacking but we could see some action very soon and ramp up quickly. All it takes is a stalled out or very slow moving trough hanging it's rear end over those very warm Gulf waters with favorable winds and whoops, there it is!
There is a front sagging unusually far south for this time of year which looks to do just that in the next few days and the other ingredients are there just waiting to get stirred together. Already saturated in that southern belt from copious amounts of rain and with little warning, flooding would be a humongous issue.
Tuesday, July 25, 2017 10:17AM EDT
- Atlantic Nap but.....
What a picture of tranquility the last 5 days or so have been for the Atlantic side of hurricane season while in sharp contrast, the Pacific theater (East Pacific in particular) has been anything but tranquil. Currently, with two hurricanes, a tropical storm, an invest and the remnants of Fernanda inhabit the East Pacific while a typhoon and two tropical storms are jump starting a very slow Northwest Pacific. While the East Pac's storms are not expected to impact land directly, it will be interesting to see if any of that significant moisture will be able to reach and stream into SoCal thereby helping to contain some of those fierce wildfires.
Back to our side of the hemisphere, our MDR is quietly biding it's time while percolating along, slinging tropical wave after tropical wave off the African coast where currently, hostile wind shear but diminishing in intensity, Saharan Dust, still wreaks havoc on them. That will probably not be the case as we get into August. Right now, a blobbette is close to Barbados and will bring stormy conditions shortly as the wave passes.
CSU has upgraded their forecast (thank you Roddy) to 15 named storms this season and we have been through 4 of them, all short lived systems but still, 4 of them. With 11 to go, they say 8 hurricanes and three Cat 3 or higher. With diminishing wind shear, plenty of warm water fuel, Saharan dust retreating north, and lower atmospheric pressures, this forecast does not bode well.
While the Atlantic is taking a nap, now is a great time to stock up on hurricane supplies, get that generator tuned up, and revisit your hurricane plans both home and at work. Don't let complacency be your own worst enemy.
Wednesday, July 19, 2017 14:31PM EDT
- Whose next?
With the demise of short-lived, less than 24 hours, TS Don and 96L not expected to do anything as it navigates towards the dry, hazy Saharan Dust Layer to it's north, the Atlantic basin will now go take a nap. After getting everyone's attention so early in the season, TS Bret and TS Don will become the vanguard footnotes to quite possibly a very active season coming into August and September.
Ex TS Don is going to give the ABC Islands some much needed rains plus some high surf but not much else after dousing Trinidad and Tobago with flooding rains they did not need. There is little confidence there will be any regeneration from ex TS Don down the road as it continues it's westerly trek.
96L isn't really being called 96L anymore as there is little continued interest by the NHC in it's potential to survive it's encounter with our early season dust shield. I have to say if we did not have the dust in place, we probably would have had 4 named storms by now and one serious hurricane. Still, 96L hasn't gone away as some shower and thunderstorm activity has increased lately despite that dust presence and we all know weird climatological things have transpired bucking forecast trends and models.
Off to the far east Atlantic the next pretender/contender has splashed down off the African coast into a very moist environment with another one riding it's coattails. This scenario will be akin to groundhog day for the foreseeable seasons future.
Monday, July 17, 2017 17:25PM EDT
- TS Don
Good afternoon again,
Yes we now have TS Don, christened in roughly the same area as TS Bret was east of the southern Windward Islands. This is mainly due to a hurricane hunter recon investigation finding a low level closed circulation this afternoon. A small system, it is headed mainly west with a little NW component. Model consensus is between Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago. A narrow track indeed but almost 100% agreement is hard to disagree with. Unusual for one storm much less two affecting these southern Windwards. With 2/3 of the official Atlantic season still left and the traditionally historic 6 weeks of prime activity left, what else is in store? Appears to me, a busy and probably destructive period until Nov 30.
Be prepared, aware, and safe.
Sent from my iPhone
Monday, July 17, 2017 14:18PM EDT
- Tropics heating up again!
After a lull in the early season action, both the Pacific and Atlantic MDR's have come alive with actual and potential tropical entities. While the Pacific has a major hurricane still in the form of Fernanda with a couple trailing suitors, the Atlantic has a few more early birds with eyes on a name for themselves.
We will take the farthest one out in the Atlantic first, which is about 900 miles WSW of the Cabo Verde Islands. Moving off to west at about 12-17 mph it probably will be designated 96L sometime later today or overnight as it is being given a 30% chance over the next 5 days to develop at this moment. Current modeling indicates it will turn more west northwest and not be any threat to the Caribbean or any other land masses. It also will run into plenty of Saharan Dust, the early on, knight in shining armor protectorate. Still needs monitoring though if it's path doesn't follow instructions.
Closer to home we have 95L struggling to build on it's current condition of an open wave while satellite located around 11.5N 54W or about 525 miles ESE of Barbados. Moving a bit north of due west at about 16 mph, it has shown some convective improvement in the last few hours and a hurricane hunter recon mission has just reached it's first NW entry point. We will know much more during and after this flight.
Track wise, almost all of the models are in good agreement, regardless of development or not, this system will pass somewhere between the Grenadines and Martinique. A weaker storm will pass more southerly while a building storm will tend to take a more northern trek but not expected to be abrupt either scenario.
I'll have more later
Saturday, July 8, 2017 10:27AM EDT
So much for an early season pretender as the Saharan Dust Layer has crushed the hopes of TD#4 receiving any recognition as a July named storm. What was once expected to be knighted TS Don by many models is now just a pawn of the Atlantic as it continues on a WNW trek, passing by the northern Leeward Islands later this weekend. We might receive a few showers and a wind gust or two but that looks to be the extent of it. Down the road, the Bahamas might take a closer look as the main culprit of non development, the dust, will not be so prevalent in that area and SST's will be a bit warmer. Remotely, there is a chance to get to the Fla Straits. That would not be a good thing.
Off the African coast, some talk of a long trek Cabo Verde storm is already sprouting the possibilities of a hurricane in July with Matthew like similarities born from the latest tropical wave splashdown. Obviously though, we are a long way from any actuality but the conjecture is there.
This wave has one advantage that ex-TD#4 didn't have: it is expected to take a more westerly trip across the Atlantic and avoid, for the most part, the detrimental effects of the SAL while staying closer to the ITCZ. However, it does share the disadvantage in the early going, much like ex-TD#4, of being so close to the equator it will not be able to leverage the earths rotation and therefore spin up quickly.
Nothing is in stone so right now it is something to ponder and watch.
Tuesday, July 4, 2017 17:23PM EDT
- Soon to be TS Don?
Good afternoon and Happy 4th of July to America!
First I have to say it's raining here now with more to come later in the USVI, bringing us some much needed precipitation as our islands are looking a musty old green/brown lately. Cisterns are starting to sprout smiles while our water haulers will start to frown if this continues for any relevant length of time this afternoon. Hopefully though by 9 pm, it will die off long enough to get the fireworks in off St. John signaling the end, not only of the 4th of July, but St. John Carnival as well.
So, while the eastern Pacific is percolating right along with several entities catching Mexico's west coast attention, our very own east central Atlantic, a/k/a the MDR or main Development Region, has it's personal attention getter for the time being in the form of 94L, soon to become TS Don according to virtually all model guidance and conditions.
As an Invest or "area of interest", future tracks are not always reliable. Current track thinking brings probably still TS Don near or north of the NE Leeward Islands but uncertainty is a given until a solid low level circulation develops. While most models call for 94L to become TS Don tomorrow, every hour it does not develop a closed circulation means the probability of a closer encounter with Caribbean land areas. Those include St. Maarten, Anguilla, Antigua/Barbuda, The British and US Virgin Islands and even Puerto Rico.
A strong ridge will guide this tropical system mainly along a W to WNW route, especially once it breaks free of the ITCZ and consolidates it's strength into a center. Then, we will be able to get a better handle on future track. Intensity wise, computer models as I mentioned previously, are bringing 94L to TS status by end of tomorrow. Most are not forecasting a hurricane at this time to develop, mainly due to the concentration of Saharan Dust that it must inevitably overcome.
Right now, it is something to be aware of as we head closer to the weekend. Wind shear is lessening, the SST's (sea surface temperatures) are favorable, thunderstorms have been persistent, and dry air has not been able to really entrain itself into the core.
Tune in tomorrow!
Monday, July 3, 2017 21:06PM EDT
- 94L North?
Just a quick note on 94L, still nearly stationary but slowly building convection while trying to shield itself against the Saharan Dust along it's northern boundary.
Most models, at this time, have 94L traversing north of the NE Lesser Antilles come this weekend. It could be a depression by then, a weak tropical storm, or a wind sheared strong open wave. All cards are on the table at this moment due to it's current weakness, the dust layer to the north and low latitude position. The computer models have their differences as well.
With a lot of territory to cover, it will depend on just how developed 94L gets. The faster it develops, the quicker it will exploit a weakness in the ridge to the north and turn NW and pass north of the islands and maybe menace Bermuda. The slower it develops, 94L will take a more southerly track before turning NW and visit the NE Lesser Antilles late this weekend at some point. This track would be similar to a few storms of yesteryear, hurricane Bertha coming to mind from 1996 about this same time.
Either way, nothing is in stone yet but something to keep an eye on as we head to the weekend here in the Caribbean. More tomorrow.
Tuesday, June 20, 2017 13:38PM EDT
- Bret, soon Cindy
It looks like our close to home system, 92L, won the name race, and, as TS Bret, is still speeding along over 20mph through the southernmost Windward islands of Trinidad & Tobago, Grenada, and Margarita Island, Venezuela along with numerous little cays and spits. Flooding has been reported, mostly in Trinidad so far and sporadically elsewhere but not all reports are in yet. TS Bret will continue to motor away from it's entrance into the Eastern Caribbean and make a beeline for the ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao as a forecasted diminishing storm but making history along the way.
Bret is also forecast to fall apart and become an open wave by Thursday but surprises are everywhere this early season thus far, so it's not out of the question the east central Caribbean graveyard of early season storms might not yet claim another victim.
Back off to the east, the coast of Africa continues to emit an early season onslaught of tropical waves with a couple catching a few peeks from the models and the NHC. Interesting, when June is active, it seems July goes into a swoon. As long as we get rain periodically, that is not a bad thing!
It's looking like 93L, whose designation has now been replaced and upgraded by the new PTC 3 classification, is already dumping copious amounts of rain along the gulf coast with flooding, rip currents, closed beaches and businesses, sandbags, and local warnings in place. Recon is in the middle and regardless if it gets the name TS Cindy, which I expect shortly, the effects will be the same, name or no name as they have mentioned numerous times. Many tropical storms, especially slow movers, are more devastating than a fast moving hurricane as some areas might receive 12-18" of rainfall and many of these gulf coast areas are prone to flood from 3-5 inches of rainfall; Houston immediately coming to mind. However it appears from the Texas border to the Big Bend of Florida will receive the brunt at this time anyway.
Sunday, June 18, 2017 08:44AM EDT
- Who wins the race?
Happy Fathers Day to all you Dad's out there!
The race is on to see who gets assigned the name Bret between our system in the NW Caribbean, a/k/a 93L and our system in the south central Atlantic, a/k/a 92L. Both are headed towards development with a 90% chance over 5 days for 93L and only a 50% chance for 92L.
93L experienced a blow up of convection overnight although this blob of thunderstorms and heavy rains was located off to the east of the low pressure system and not over it. This could be due to the lows proximity to land at this time but also the upper level winds influence. The models have now trended towards a more northerly component and possible formation in the central Gulf of Mexico as opposed to the western Gulf due to the approach and effects of a trough digging down from the north. This scenario appears to take Mexico out of the direct impact area and puts the Panhandle of Florida to Houston, Texas in tropical crosshairs. While a minimal hurricane is not out of the question as we have seen these things rapidly intensify previously, it is not expected. But, heavy flooding rains and gusty winds are, lasting for several days. Since there is no closed center of circulation yet and the system is very spread out, it will take some time to get organized and it could still curve west, impacting western Texas and Mexico directly but at the moment that seems unlikely.
92L, on the other hand, is chugging along at a robust 20 mph clip towards Venezuela and the southernmost Windward Islands of Grenada, St. Lucia, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago. It still has a few days in which to reach depression and/or tropical storm status and just might beat 93L for the next name as it is more organized and compact. However, it's forward speed is not allowing it to consolidate its convection. In about 60 hours, it is expected to be several hundred miles south of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in the eastern Caribbean, known at this time of year as the graveyard of tropical cyclones due to the dire effects of the upper level wind structure.
The wave train rolling off Africa is pretty impressive for this time of year and the wave that is right behind 92L is much more robust and should be around mid next week with the NHC already taking peeks at it while dealing with 92 and 93L.
Thursday, June 15, 2017 08:02AM EDT
- Early double trouble potential
The two early season possibilities I shared on Monday have started to slowly manifest themselves many thousands of miles apart; one in the western Gulf of Mexico off the Yucatan Peninsula and a very low latitude tropical wave SSW of the Republic of Cabo Verde aka the Cape Verde Islands, west of the African nation of Senegal.
Currently located approx. 5N 29W stretching up to about 11N, our area of interest has a 1012 mb low imbedded and is moving towards the west approx. 15-20 mph. The factors playing in it's favor for slow development are SST's (sea surface temperatures) definitely warm enough to foster development, light wind shear (at least until it reaches about 45W), favorable MJO timing in the Atlantic ( which is a weather oscillation that circles the globe every 30-60 days enhancing or decreasing potential development depending on it's location) and it's position in a moisture laden atmosphere well south of the dry Saharan dust layer. Factors working against significant development are it's forward speed, it's proximity to the equator which keeps it from taking advantage of the earths rotation to spin up, and the aforementioned wind shear up ahead.
Track wise and timing show not much of a NNW track so current forecast has it plowing into the southern Windward islands as maybe a depression fighting wind shear with heavy rains for those areas and the coast of South America. Some rains and windy conditions would also affect the central and northern Antilles.This track is not cut in stone however, as it's early in the forecast period but all interest in the Lesser Antilles should pay attention.
Yes it's early and very rare for Atlantic development in June but it has happened a handful of times since the 1850's. What's rarer is to have another area of potential at the same time in June.
This would be the western Gulf of Mexico where a potential system of depression or TS strength could affect the Mexican coast and Texas within a week. If the system can avoid intense interaction with land, the other factors for development are definitely in it's favor. Pay attention Texas!
Monday, June 12, 2017 14:21PM EDT
Seems like it was just Christmas right? Well, the year is flying by and we are already into our second week of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season! The Pacific 2017 season, which started May 15th, already has seen three systems, with TD 3-E still lingering off the southern coast of Mexico dumping copious amounts of rain.
Here in the Caribbean and Atlantic there has been nothing noteworthy other than the omnipresence of that pesky Saharan Dust and a lack of real good rainfall in the NE Caribbean. The water trucks have been enjoying the lack of rain while vegetation and our cisterns continue to wilt down.
However, two areas of interest have manifested themselves; one with model consistency and the other not so much. The first potential area is the western Gulf of Mexico where models have been agreeing the last few days that some tropical trouble is possible at the end of this week and into next. Still too early to accurately forecast but several path scenarios bring it into Mexico and Texas. Something to pay attention to if you live around the GOM.
The second possibility is off to our east as a lineup of tropical waves has started to roll off the African coast, mostly at low latitudes. While this vanguard of waves is not in development mode, they are enhancing the path for those that follow. One of those followers has drawn a little interest. Timetable for this one is potential development early next week.
So, as we've said time and time again, it's never too early and it only takes one. Preparation saves lives and property!
Thursday, June 1, 2017 09:28AM PDT - 2017 Hurricane Season
- And here we go again... although we already had one named storm, today is the official start of Atlantic Hurricane Season. Forecasters expect it to be an average to a bit above average season. Klotzbach et al at Colorado State have slightly increased their forecast, since chances of an El Nino this season seem to be lower than earlier thought. They expect 14 storms, of which 6 will be come a hurricane, and 2 of those will reach Category 3 status (normal is 12, 6.5 and 3.9 resp.). The probability of a named storm tracking through the whole Caribbean (10-20N, 60-88W) is 84%, and for a hurricane 78%. The chance of a major hurricane tracking through the Caribbean is 44% (42% is normal). Read more on tropical.colostate.edu. Brian McNoldy also has a very nice write up on the upcoming season, incl. what is new with the NHC forecast. Read it on Washington Post.
The list of names for this year (incl. pronunciation):
Name Pronunciation Name Pronunciation
Arlene ar-LEEN Lee lee
Bret bret Maria ma-REE-ah
Cindy SIN-dee Nate nait
Don dahn Ophelia o-FEEL-ya
Emily EH-mih-lee Philippe fee-LEEP
Franklin FRANK-lin Rina REE-nuh
Gert gert Sean shawn
Harvey HAR-vee Tammy TAM-ee
Irma ER-mah Vince vinss
Jose ho-ZAY Whitney WHIT-nee
Let us all hope for a quiet season, but nevertheless we have to be prepared. It only takes one... Stay tuned! -Gert
Thursday, May 25, 2017 20:19PM PDT - Above normal hurricane season?
- NOAA's Climate Prediction Center issued its hurricane forecast for the season. They say that it is most likely to be an above-normal season. However, when I look at their plots (see the media release) I don't see it that way. It shows that there is only a 45% chance of an above-normal season but a 55% chance of a near-normal or below-normal season. They also predict that there is a 70% chance of 11 to 17 named storms, of which 5-9 could become a hurricane and 2-4 a major hurricane. Since 12, 6, 3, resp. is normal, that would indeed indicate an above normal season. A bit confusing...
It will depend if (and how strong) an El Nino will be forming. El Nino conditions means below normal seasons. Also, NOAA indicates above average sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic, while the people at Colorado State noted below average in April. Currently it is actually a bit above normal (see for example here). In any case, like we always say, we will have to be prepared regardless, it only takes one! -Gert
Thursday, April 20, 2017 18:57PM EDT
I hope all has been well since the end of last hurricane season which seems a mere few months ago.
It's been a quick fall, winter, now spring and soon, it will be the official start of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season on June 1st. However, an early season upstart, TS Arlene, has decided to jump start 2017 and realizes "early bird gets the worm attention".
Approx. 815 miles west of the Azores and moving quickly to the WNW at approx. 25 mph, TS Arlene is no threat to land and expected to dissipate tomorrow as it gets absorbed by another extra-tropical storm system.
It is noted by the NHC that TS Arlene is only the second TS storm to be observed during the satellite era in the month of April. It is also noted TS Arlene would have never been noticed by anyone but ship traffic if satellites did not exist.
Early, yes. Hurricane season looking less active than normal, yes. Chances of you getting a direct hit, small by statistical standards. However, only one strike could cause chaos, misery, loss of power, destruction, injuries and possible fatalities? YES. It may be early but it should be in the back of all of our minds that hurricane season is rapidly approaching and the time is now to be re-assessing disaster plans.
It's never too early as TS Arlene has demonstrated.
Wednesday, April 19, 2017 08:41AM PDT - First one?
- It is officially not hurricane season yet, but far out in the Atlantic the first (sub)tropical depression of the season already developed. It is no threat to land (or island), and it is expected to be short lived and would probably not reach (sub)tropical storm status. So no Arlene yet.
I notice that not everything is working this year yet on the website, hope to be able to fix it soon! Stay safe. -Gert
Friday, April 7, 2017 10:05AM PDT - Below normal hurricane season forecasted
- As a long time tradition the scientists at Colorado State have issued their Atlantic Hurricane Activity forecast. Philip Klotzbach and his team is calling for a slightly below average season. They expect 11 named storms (12 is normal), 4 hurricanes (6.5 is normal) of which 4 might become big ones (Cat-3+, 3.9 is normal).
The probability of at least one major hurricane traveling through the Caribbean is 34% (42% is normal). The main reasons for this is that the Atlantic is pretty cool at the moment due to a persistent positive phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation, also, it looks like there might be weak El Nino conditions developing in the summer, which is not conducive to hurricane formation either.
Three Caribbean locations have an above 10% change that a major hurricane will track within 50 miles some time during hurricane season: The Bahamas (29%), Cuba (19%) and Mexico (13%). Not sure how they calculate this, but it looks like size/area is a factor too... (see link to complete spreadsheet here).
In any case, even if chances are small, there is still a chance! Only one big hurricane hitting your island will spoil your whole season! So, regardless, be ready! The best thing is to prepare now. Check that all your shutters are ready, have some supply of water, food, batteries and other emergency supplies. You all should know the drill by now. It is a lot easier to prepare for things now then just a few days before a storm might hit, when everyone else is scrambling at the grocery and home improvement stores. As you can see I am not ready yet, I hope to have the website '2017-ed' soon! -Gert
Maintained & moderated by: Gert van Dijken (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Weather discussions also by Dave McDermott, St.Thomas, USVI.