CybrTeddy's tropical weather blog

Invest 96L might develop today, a dangerous rain threat - 6/23/2012

By: CybrTeddy, 1:07 PM GMT on June 23, 2012

Good morning and welcome to my tropical weather update for Saturday, June 23rd, 2012. We now have one primary area of interest, and that continues to be invest 96L currently located in the Gulf of Mexico. 96L has gotten it's act together overnight, yesterday we where looking at a very linear, sheared, and disorganized system that wasn't a very immediate threat to develop. Today it is a much different story, the circulation has greatly improved and consolidated over the Gulf with plenty of heavy showers and thunderstorms around the center. However, these thunderstorms are still sheared from the center by 10-15kt shear, but it is no where near as destructive as they where yesterday and is likely to continue to decrease as the system develops further. The hurricane hunters are scheduled to make a trip to 96L today to see if we do indeed have a Tropical Depression, or even a Tropical Storm later today.

(figure 1. Invest 96L as of this morning)

Conditions look favorable for continued development of 96L and I believe it is fully possible that 96L could be renumbered and declared a tropical cyclone today, but that is only if the recon can find a closed circulation. If in that case we do have a named storm later today, conditions appear favorable for further strengthening as the shear begins to lessen thanks to a Upper Level Anti-Cyclone (ULAC) beginning to expand and spread it's influence over the Gulf. The 00z European Model is adamant that 96L will become a moderate-strong tropical storm and probably either approach Hurricane status or become a hurricane as it moves in the Gulf. The 00z Canadian believes that 96L could become a dangerous hurricane, but that seems to be overdone slightly. The GFS still is adamant that 96L will be pulled over Florida as it takes the convection and splits it off into another tropical cyclone. This appears to be convective feedback issues and should be discarded.

The track is completely up in the air. I almost have on idea, there's no consensus. The spaghetti models look like a squished bug this morning with half leaning towards Texas, some leaning towards Louisiana, and some leaning towards Florida. However, the European, CMC, UKMET and the respective Ensemble means believe that the system will be pulled towards Texas under the ridge while strengthening. I believe this scenario more than I do than the GFS, because the GFS has been showing a low developing off Florida and that causes 96L to get pulled into the trough. This appears entirely unlikely and is more than likely convective feedback. The HWRF has also shifted towards this idea that the ECMWF, CMC and UKMET are showing bringing the system in near Brownsville. The HWRF received a significant and higher resolution upgrade and is now a very reliable model to watch out for this season.

(figure 2. latest computer model tracks for 96L)

In summary everything is completely dependent on whether or not 96L gets picked up by the trough and heads NE or gets trapped under the ridge and gets sent west. Right now I am leaning on the idea that the ECMWF is showing, a low end Category 1 or a high end Tropical Storm heading towards the Brownsville area. However, interests along the entire Gulf Coast should bear CLOSE attention to this system. This means business, the CPC has been showing 17+ inches of rain in the Gulf - that could be what people will be dealing with in the future as 96L closes in. This system will be around for a while and should be taken seriously.


Hurricane Chris, Caribbean disturbance soon to be 96L - 6/21/12

By: CybrTeddy, 2:24 PM GMT on June 21, 2012

Good morning and welcome to my tropical weather update for Thursday, June 21st, 2012. The tropics are fairly active today, with newly upgraded Hurricane Chris (yes, Hurricane Chris) and the Caribbean disturbance that we've been talking about.

(figure 1. Current satellite view of the Atlantic)

Hurricane Chris, the curse is broken
First of all I wanted to talk about Hurricane Chris and the truly remarkable feet it has done. Chris is now a Category 1 hurricane and might in fact be stronger than estimated judging at satellite. This is the farthest north June hurricanes in history and is to my knowledge one of the few if not only Hurricanes to develop in June that is NOT in the Main Development Region (MDR) where usually it is necessary for such to happen. Chris is very impressive on satellite given it's location and time of year. Chris probably doesn't have much longer left in it's life, so by tomorrow it should already begin to weaken. However, it looks like the curse of Chris has been broken, as this Chris outperformed everyone's expectations including my own.

(figure 2. Hurricane Chris, the first Hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season)

New Caribbean Disturbance a threat to develop.
The next area of interest is the blob in the Caribbean that is being tagged as a 30% chance for development in the next 48 hours. The last 24hrs now that we've gotten closer to development the models have really become aggressive on the strength of this system, but if you could believe it they are still completely diverged on where it will go. The GFS is still continuing to be completely unrealistic with the trough and it actually merging the system with a front in the Gulf, and I will discount this from the solution as the trough would have to be of strength that it would be in mid-winter for something like that to happen.

The European models and the Canadian models are frightening this morning. The European has decided to spin up the Caribbean disturbance into a Category 2 hurricane as it moves into the west coast of Florida. The Canadian model sends it into North Texas/Louisiana as a 976mb Category 2 hurricane. Please remember, and I will be insisting on this the next few days, do not focus on model intensity, for all we know they could very well go back to being a Tropical Storm during their respective 12z runs. The reason they are making this so strong is because they have the system stalled out in the Gulf as it tries to make up it's mind about whether Chris will get stuck under the ridge and be forced back into Texas, or move into the less amplified trough than the GFS is predicting and send it into Florida. That stall causes the system to be stuck over the loop current in the Gulf and bombs it out.

(figure 3. 12z European model 168hrs out)

In summary, the models are completely split on where and how strong this system will get. I do believe though that we will probably get at least a minimal tropical storm out of this system, but a hurricane is far less likely given how rare it is now to have just one but two hurricanes, but don't count it out if the system ends up following the ECMWF, GFS, and CMC track. All interests from Texas to Florida should watch this system.


Watching Chris, Caribbean disturbance - 6/20/12

By: CybrTeddy, 8:42 PM GMT on June 20, 2012

Good evening and welcome to my tropical weather update for Wednesday, June 20th, 2012. The tropics are becoming more active today with two areas of interest, the first being Tropical Storm Chris north of Bermuda which isn't a threat to land, and our main area of interest - an area of disturbed weather in the Caribbean, currently being hatched as a 20% chance of development by the NHC.

(figure 1. Tropical Storm Chris)

It appears at the moment that there is a high probability that Tropical Storm Debby could form sometime next week. The situation remains very complex in terms of development. The GFS, ECMWF remain adamant that a trough will come in and pick up this system as it moves into the Gulf of Mexico. The UKMET and CMC however are showing that the storm will be pushed back into the ridge. At the moment, I am more inclined with the ECMWF and GFS solution as they have been persistent that this will happen.

(figure 2. 12z ECMWF)

The intensity forecast is also problematic but I do believe that we will see at least a minimal TS from this if it develops. The ECMWF, GFS, and CMC all want to make this into a moderate-strong Tropical Storm as it approaches landfall, with the ECMWF being the most aggressive showing a borderline Hurricane as it moves into Tampa. Remember, this is a very fickle situation. I was telling you guys that the models where shoving this into Mexico like Arlene, and now they've switched back to Florida and they WILL switch again. We have no idea where this is going as there isn't an analyzed area of low pressure, it needs to be designated as an invest and then we will have a better idea. Please, do not flip out because one run of the models are showing a minimal hurricane into Tampa.

In short, what I believe will happen is that over the next day or so we will see several lows try to spin up around the general broad low, and that will probably begin to develop over the Yucatan and emerge into the Gulf. The ridge isn't as strong as it was predicted a week ago, so I believe it is entirely possible that a second trough will come through and pick up this system. It is also possible that the GFS and ECMWF are dead wrong and it will be forced under the ridge and into Texas. If I had to guess it would be only a 60mph TS at peak thanks to the shear in the Gulf that should help impede intensification and the ECMWF is known for being too bold. Interests from South Texas to Florida should watch this system.

In any regards, I will post another update tomorrow.


UPDATE 3:50pm, Chris forms! - Watching two areas for tropical development - 6/19/12

By: CybrTeddy, 3:19 PM GMT on June 19, 2012

Good morning and welcome to my tropical weather update for Tuesday, June 19th, 2012. We are currently watching two areas of interest in the Atlantic, the first is the previously mentioned invest 95L, and the second is the now being monitored by the NHC low in the Caribbean that we've been talking about for several weeks that could have a chance to spin up this week.

(figure 1. Current satellite view of the Atlantic)

Invest 95L not a threat to land
Our first area of interest is the one with the most immediate threat to develop - Invest 95L in the Atlantic north of Bermuda. Yesterday 95L became a bit better organized and warranted a 60% chance of development, but overnight the convection died off thanks to shear and went right back down to 50%. However, latest satellite shows that 95L is becoming better organized again and if it can maintain convection for another 4 hours then we probably will see this declared at 5pm as a tropical cyclone.

(figure 2. Current view of invest 95L.)

SPECIAL UPDATE: 95L is now Tropical or Sub-Tropical Storm Chris with sustained winds of 45mph. Details to follow at 5pm.

Watching the Western Caribbean for cyclone development
The next area of interest is a broad tropical wave located in the Western Caribbean. The situation has changed significantly in the models since my last update, as it appeared at the time that the remnant moisture from Carlotta would aid in development - that has in return gotten drawn into Invest 95E in the Pacific. It appears that the main trigger will be the Tropical wave in the Caribbean that is currently under 40kts of wind shear.

(figure 3. View of the Tropical Wave and the Gulf of Mexico)

The models are still all over the place but have come into a bit better agreement that the system will attempt to head towards North Texas while bringing rains to pretty much the entire Gulf coast. The GFS is being completely unreasonable now, it has the low being cut off from the convection by a trough that is way too deep for this time of year, thanks to the GFS over doing the upward MJO phase. I am going to discount the GFS from my forecast, instead focus on the ECMWF which shows the low pressure area developing in the Central Gulf and moving into Texas, but I do not think it will be as weak as portrayed on the ECMWF and farther north.

(figure 4. The ECMWF model out to 144 showing the low pressure in the Gulf, but nothing organized)

In summary, I do believe we will see some sort of development in the Gulf this week. The shear over the system should begin to weaken as an anti-cyclone begins to expand and take shape over the system, bringing shear to a much more favorable environment. The trough being shown on the GFS is way too amplified and the ECMWF is more realistic with the system being drawn north, bringing heavy rains to Florida before being forced westward into Texas. Interests from Florida to Mexico should pay close attention to this system.


95L a threat to develop into Sub-Tropical Storm Chris 6/18/2012

By: CybrTeddy, 7:58 PM GMT on June 18, 2012

Good afternoon and welcome to my tropical weather update for Monday, June 18th, 2012. We have one main area to talk about today and that is Invest 95L over the North Atlantic, just north of Bermuda. Maximum sustained winds are 45mph with a pressure of 1005mb, and it appears possible that if organization continues and the system can manage to separate from the front it is attached to we may end up with a brief and short lived Sub-Tropical Storm, the 3rd named storm of the season.

(figure 1. Invest 95L located over the Atlantic)

Satellite shows that the system is well organized with spiral banding on all quads, but the convection is weak and typical of a sub-tropical system. If this develops later today or tomorrow do not expect a very strong system and it might not even become a purely tropical system.

In the event that 95L does become Sub-Tropical Storm Chris, I will update this blog and tomorrow will have a full update with the threat in the Caribbean.


The Atlantic is opening its doors to development - 6/17/12

By: CybrTeddy, 5:12 PM GMT on June 17, 2012

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to my tropical weather update for Sunday, June 17th, 2012. The tropics are now after nearly a two week break finally starting to warm up. We have two areas of interest to talk about today, a non-tropical area of low pressure by Bermuda and the continued possibility that a tropical storm will attempt to develop in the Gulf of Mexico. Neither of these areas are of immediate threat to develop, though the non-tropical area for development has only a day or so to do so.

(figure 1. Tropical Atlantic as of this update)

Area of disturbed weather by Bermuda

Our first disturbance out there is a non-tropical area of low pressure by Bermuda that is currently moving north at 15 mph. This system is disorganized with shallow thunderstorms around it and a lot of dry air being pulled into the circulation. It needs to quickly get its act together if it wants to develop, as the SST's in the area are already rather on the low side for tropical development and will decrease even more so as the system moves north. However, the GFS is showing that this system could begin to take on sub-tropical characteristics sometime tomorrow. I am not really expecting too much from this system as it is generally rare to get a system at that latitude this early in the season but it has happened before, but the conditions just seem to unfavorable and the disturbance seems to have only a limited amount of time to develop into anything significant.

(figure 2. Nontropical area of disturbed weather by Bermuda)

Continuing to watch the SW Gulf of Mexico for development
The bigger story for development will come from in the Gulf of Mexico from the potential of monsoonal development. The system, as I have been monitoring for the past few weeks will be of very complex genesis. You have a tropical wave currently traversing the Caribbean, the remnants of Carlotta currently over Mexico, and the monsoonal trough currently lifting northward. You also have the Madden-Julian Oscillation quickly trying to return to our basin, that will help to increase convection.

(figure 3. Current MJO phase returning to our basin)

The models are doing very poor at picking and showing consistent development with this system. The ECMWF has been consistently not showing development with mostly just low pressures in the SW Gulf bringing possibly some rain to Texas. The GFS has been consistently showing development of some sort of development in the Gulf to a probable moderate Tropical Storm. It is worth noting too that the ECMWF ensembles are showing development where as the operational runs are not, and the GFS ensembles are also sniffing out the possibility for tropical development.

In short, I believe there is a moderate chance that we will see a tropical storm in the SW Gulf Of Mexico this week. This system should be fairly similar to Tropical Storm Arlene last year and shouldn't get terribly strong, it also appears that this system will be rather large and could bring beneficial rainfalls and also dangerous flash flooding to Texas and Mexico if the models where to verify. I will update my blog tomorrow with another update as we get a better idea on what will actually happen.

(figure 4. Tropical Storm Arlene of 2011)


Watching for Chris later this month - 6/12/2012

By: CybrTeddy, 1:58 PM GMT on June 12, 2012

Good morning and welcome to my tropical weather update for Tuesday, June 12th 2012. The tropics are very quite as a downward MJO phase is moving through, but that will change. All of the models are indicating that the MJO phase will return to our basin and development chances will increase.

(figure 1. Latest satellite image of our basin)

A Run down of the models.
The 00z ECMWF continues to leave the door open for possible development off the US East Coast by 96 hours, and is probably sub-tropical in nature. By 168 hours, it now finally shows an area of low pressure in the Western Caribbean and moves it into the Gulf, but is very reluctant to strengthen it and dissipates it. I find that odd as conditions should be favorable by then.

(figure 2. ECMWF 192 hours)

The 06z GFS is similar to the ECMWF with predicting that it is possible that a sub-tropical cyclone could get going off the US East Coast by 72 hours as the low that emerges off the coast drifts south into warmer SSTs. By 132 hours, the GFS continues to consistently predict the development of a low pressure area in the Caribbean, and probably develops it into at least a very weak tropical storm before being drawn northward to Cuba and dissipating, where later the same trough that drives it develops a low pressure center by 192 hours, and another, stronger low pressure area gets started at the same time and heads into the Gulf under the influence of high pressure.

(figure 3. GFS 144 hours)

The 00z CMC/GGEM is the most bullish with development off the US East Coast, developing the cyclone in the similar time frame as the GFS and ECMWF, but brings it down to 1004mb as it drifts south and then becomes extra-tropical shortly there after. By 192 hours, it shows a low developing in the GoH before moving inland then into the Gulf, where it develops into a strong tropical storm by 240 hours.

The NOGAPS shows the development of a tropical cyclone in the Caribbean by 132 hours, but is far to bullish with it and is going to be discarded in my opinion. Finally, the 00z UKMET shows the development of a possible sub-tropical cyclone but the timeframe ends before we even get to see what it has in mind for the Caribbean.

Summary and predictions.
The models are all in agreement that something will try to develop this week off the US East Coast, the real question will be if it is tropical or non-tropical, and will only be around for a few days before being blasted by shear and dissipating. The next threat after that for Chris will be in the Caribbean as the MJO phase returns and convection begins to increase in the area. It will be interesting to see how this exactly sets up, and I will have another update in a few days when we get closer to development.


Watching the Caribbean for possible development next week - 6/8/2012

By: CybrTeddy, 5:42 PM GMT on June 08, 2012

Good afternoon and welcome to my short tropical weather update for Friday, June 8th 2012. The tropics today are very quite with no areas to discuss for development. The Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) phase has switched to a downward pulse over the Eastern Pacific and the Atlantic, suppressing convection by increasing dry and stable air. However, the majority of the models are predicting the MJO to return and the GFS has already been consistently predicting the development of another tropical storm but in the Caribbean in a fully tropical manner. This seems to make sense to me as the MJO will be returning around the 15th or so. 500mb wind shear analysis show a strong anti-cyclone over the Western Caribbean, indicative that a system could be under it fanning convection and increasing organization.

(figure 1. 06z GFS run showing development from the Caribbean out to sea)

I will have a much longer update whenever models jump onboard, but welcome to hurricane season everyone!


The 2012 Atlantic Hurricane season begins - 6/1/2012

By: CybrTeddy, 4:52 PM GMT on June 01, 2012

Good afternoon and welcome to my tropical weather update for Friday, June 1st, 2012. Tropical Depression Beryl has lost all tropical characteristics and is no longer a threat, but did come ashore as an extremely impressive 70mph tropical storm. It's extremely impressive as in the fact no other system has made landfall in the USA before June at that intensity, and more so that it was the 2nd named storm of the year. Anyways, today marks the first day of the Atlantic Hurricane season and I will be discussing my thoughts on what to expect this season.

CSU's analogue years.
The CSU team in Colorado has picked a set of analogue years for the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane season, they include 2009, 2001, 1968, and 1953, an interesting blend of inactive and active years. Analogue years are basically years that have similar ENSO setups and patterns in the Atlantic that might contribute/not contribute to an active hurricane season. The CSU has also for the June 1st, 2012 predictions to go with 13 named storms, 5 hurricanes and 2 majors, which is slightly above average. 2009 however appears to have been selected based solely on ENSO which I personally do not agree with 100%.

ENSO predictions.
The majority of the models have come to agreement that we will be seeing a weak-moderate El Nino this year, the question will be when it will appear. Often when El Nino's develop the atmosphere tends to lag, such as years like this with a cold PDO, the atmosphere will still tend to act like we're in a La Nina state, which might help to pad numbers out. However, El Nino years regardless will cause increased shear over the Atlantic, in more specific possibly the Eastern Atlantic, knocking down the number of Cape Verde storms we will see.

(figure 1. ENSO anomalies for the Pacific reveal a developing El Nino)

A/B high and Atlantic setup
The A/B high looks to be in a dangerous position this year. While the pattern will probably change, generally speaking the high will lock in place by mid-late June for the season. The A/B high is much farther south that usual and will cause tropical waves that come off the coast to be forced more westward, including more than likely hurricanes as well. The pattern is reminiscent of previous dangerous hurricane seasons that had hurricanes go into the Caribbean. However, I will not go as far to assume that they will.

SST and TCHP in the Atlantic.
Currently the TCHP (Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential) and SST's (Sea Surface Temperatures) in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico is far above average, and gives storms more availability to tap into the warm waters and really strengthen. This could prove to be a huge problem this year, and where we will see most of our storms. If shear is low in the Caribbean and in the Gulf of Mexico we might see powerful storms develop in the Caribbean.

(figure 2. Current TCHP in the Atlantic)

(figure 3. TCHP on May 31st, 2009, our most recent analogue year.)

(figure 4. SST's currently in the Atlantic)

(figure 5. SST's in 2009, our most recent analogue year)

Summary and final season predictions.
Based on all the factors combine, I believe we will see a less active Atlantic Hurricane season than in 2011 and 2010 but a potentially more deadly one. The main problem this year will as the El Nino develops, more shear will develop over the Eastern Atlantic - that will cause tropical waves to not intensify as quickly and wait until they reach the Eastern or Western Caribbean to develop or the Gulf of Mexico, where Sea Surface temperatures are far above average. However, because a lot of our named storms develop off the Cape Verde islands, that will knock down the seasonal totals.

CybrTed's June and final predictions.
12 named storms.
6 hurricanes.
3 major hurricanes.

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.