Tropical Storm Helene arrives; 94L a potential threat to the Lesser Antilles

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 10:41 PM GMT on August 17, 2012

After a long path across the Atlantic that mirrored the track of Hurricane Ernesto, Tropical Depression Seven finally got its act together enough over the Bay of Campeche tropical storm breeding grounds to earn the name Helene. Helene's formation on August 17 ties 2012 with 1933 for the 2nd earliest appearance of the Atlantic's eighth tropical storm. Only 2005 had an earlier formation date of the season's eighth storm. Most of this year's storms have been weak, though, so the total Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) of 21 is not that much higher than the normal year-to-date ACE of 15, based on a 1981 - 2010 ACE climatology. The normal yearly ACE for the Atlantic is 104. Helene doesn't have much room to work with before landfall, but has the potential to be a prodigious rainmaker for Mexico, with NHC predicting 5 - 10 inches for portions of Northeast Mexico. This part of the coast is not in drought, so will be prone to heavy flooding. Fortunately, Ernesto's main rains fell to the south of where Helene's rains are falling. Helene's rains should remain south of Texas, though we can't rule out a few thunderstorms bringing 1 - 2 inches of rain to extreme South Texas on Saturday and Sunday.


Figure 1. Afternoon satellite image of Helene.

94L a potential threat to the Lesser Antilles
A large tropical wave emerged from the coast of Africa Thursday night, and was designated Invest 94L by NHC this Friday morning. The models have been impressed this system, and develop it into a tropical storm by the middle of next week. The latest set of 12Z (8 am EDT) model runs are divided on how far west 94L will make it before curving more to the northwest. The ECMWF model keeps 94L weak for the next 5 - 6 days, and has progressively been bringing the storm closer to the Lesser Antilles Islands with each successive run. The ECMWF predicts 94L will pass very close to the northern Lesser Antilles August 24 - 25 as a weak tropical storm. The 12Z GFS model predicted recurvature of 94L well to the east of the Lesser Antilles and Bermuda, but the latest 18Z run has the storm plowing through the Lesser Antilles on Thursday, August 23, as a strong tropical storm, then becoming a hurricane in the Eastern Caribbean. Given that our two top models for forecasting hurricane tracks are increasingly showing a threat to the Lesser Antilles, residents of the islands should pay close attention to the progress of 94L. The eventual track of 94L will depend on the strength of the storm over the next seven days, which is difficult to forecast, since 94L will have the usual trouble with dry air to the north from the Saharan Air Layer (SAL.) With the models changing their tune drastically from run to run, its tough to say what land areas might be most at risk from the storm in the long term. In their 2 pm EDT Tropical Weather Outlook, NHC gave 94L a 10% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Sunday afternoon.


Figure 2. MODIS satellite image of Invest 94L taken at 8 am EDT August 17, 2012, off the coast of Africa. Image credit: NASA.

Jeff Masters


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

Reader Comments

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Quoting Gearsts:
Ignored my comments if you want then.


I am just saying based off of the mistakes I have learned from...
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Quoting tropicfreak:
REPOST FROM LAST PAGE.



Don't let those fools get to you Mississippi. That's why there is an ignore button. :). You are a very talented forecaster and I believe you and Levi both have TONS of potential. Just keep making those strides.


Thanks for the kind words, probably too kind (about me anyway, not Levi). But I think I've reached the breaking point tonight. Most probably have me on ignore anyway now. It's been real.
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:
Anyone want some cheese?


yep and crackas'
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1023. Gearsts
Quoting tropicfreak:


I would understand the excitement when a system gets named... that's when the models have a better handle on it. At this point 94L has no organized surface circulation and it is only an invest. Patience is virtue.
Ignored my comments if you want then.
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1022. Grothar
Quoting 954FtLCane:


That could be good. I would think that earlier development and initialization a little further notth would make future model runs trend a but further north I would think. But then again I'm not sure how the strength and location if the High will play into this.


I would not be surprised if the models began shifting more west on tomorrows run. Early indications are pointing to that.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Cantbelieveit nowhere to be found lol.
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Quoting Gearsts:
We all love watching weather and there's a potential for a big hurricane to form so yea ofcourse we get exited. Tell why you think the blog gets flooded when a system gets named?


I would understand the excitement when a system gets named... that's when the models have a better handle on it. At this point 94L has no organized surface circulation and it is only an invest. Patience is virtue.
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Anyway, I'm off. When I'm not hanging with the girlfriend tomorrow, I'll be sure to be on the blog watching.

My forecast for tomorrow:

Mostly civil in the morning, with a 80% chance of a Jason or JFV in the afternoon. A westcasting watch is in effect for the entire Wunderground area, as some posts may contain wishcasting and/ or hunches. Otherwise, look for scattered hype in the area, with a few fish storm references possible if a model run fails to meet hype expectations.

Longer range: 100% chance of an exciting week or two ahead of us, get your Fresca and ignore buttons ready, as it appears the season is about to really begin.


Remember
Keep Calm
And
Blog On

Night folks!
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Anyone want some cheese?
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1017. Gearsts
Quoting tropicfreak:


I can see your point, however, people are getting a wee bit too excited for something that is this far out, just my opinion.
We all love watching weather and there's a potential for a big hurricane to form so yea ofcourse we get exited. Tell me why you think the blog gets flooded when a system gets named?
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
00z models are farther south and west.

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1015. JLPR2


Quite a shift since early yesterday.
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Helene poppin' some popcorn.

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1013. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting Gearsts:
I don't know what's wrong with him lol. Nobody was wishcasting just talking about the forecast and the models runs -_-



ya i was posting the run as well
showed on 18z run showed on 00z run
now we wait for the next couple
maybe we should of let him post
some maps and stuff

i rarly post models unless
iam gettig a good feeling
and only go out to 196hr
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Dry air in Atlantic getting surrounded by moisture. Bye Bye dry air.
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Ok

This is what I'm gonna do....

I'm going to put my antennas in the backyard on... And you people on the islands, do the same please. Maybe we can make 94L vanish away....

My backyard.... Me salieron caras estas antenitas...

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REPOST FROM LAST PAGE.

Quoting MississippiWx:
Should have known better than to say the models might be wrong in bringing this to the islands. I've been here too long to think it wouldn't piss people off. Geez. But whatever. You guys can get your wish. I'm done with this blog.

Adios.


Don't let those fools get to you Mississippi. That's why there is an ignore button. :). You are a very talented forecaster and I believe you and Levi both have TONS of potential. Just keep making those strides.
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really?
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1008. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting WxGeekVA:


That's not 94L, that's the wave ahead of it.


Thanks I got that. Wave is looking even better than earlier.

94L looking anemic tonight. Beginning to fire up a little convection. I'm holding back for any certainty til atleast 40W too.

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Quoting washingtonian115:
????.You sir have got it all wrong of course there is a huge possibility for the models to be wrong this far out in time.No one is wishing death or destruction.


I can see your point, however, people are getting a wee bit too excited for something that is this far out, just my opinion.
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Quoting allancalderini:
He is in vacation :)


I'll give it a shot.
Guys I really think the models are over playing this trough, I mean its august! Looking at patterns it seems that the high will move west and force Isaac into the northwest caribbean as a cat 3/4 storm. I am not saying it WILL happen I am saying it MIGHT!! But seriously it will.
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1004. Gearsts
Quoting Relix:
I think Wx needs a time out :P. We all have a rough moment. I like his analysis and his take on things, yes the comment went a little too far but... meh. By now we should know people always get overexcited with stuff, and that's fine. No one is calling models a gospel, its just they are excited and having fun. No need to be a ****ole about it.
I don't know what's wrong with him lol. Nobody was wishcasting just talking about the forecast and the models runs -_-
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
8PM GFS Ensembles:



That's a huge change from 2pm.
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Should have known better than to say the models might be wrong in bringing this to the islands. I've been here too long to think it wouldn't piss people off. Geez. But whatever. You guys can get your wish. I'm done with this blog.

Adios.
????.You sir have got it all wrong of course there is a huge possibility for the models to be wrong this far out in time.No one is wishing death or destruction.
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Quoting Gearsts:
Even though he was been sarcastic it was kinda of a jerk.


how can you say you wish death and destruction on someone and have it be sarcastic?

Sorry I don't buy it, and I could care less how "respected" he is, he should know better than to say something like that

it was completely out of line
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
8PM GFS Ensembles:



I don't really understand the ones that take it north up to like 30N and then turn it west? Has that ever even happened?
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On future model runs this will be my disclaimer so that people won't freak out. Or say anyone is crying wolf....grrrrrrrr

"This is a future model run and is meant for entertainment purposes only,
follow the NHC and/or your local official weather office for all accurate upto date information regarding your specific area."

This model depicts the possibilities as per the GFS model at 252 hours from 0Z, August 18th 2012.
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998. JLPR2
Quoting MississippiWx:
Should have known better than to say the models might be wrong in bringing this to the islands. I've been here too long to think it wouldn't piss people off. Geez. But whatever. You guys can get your wish. I'm done with this blog.

Adios.


Again with the attitude...
You seem a little off tonight, I don't remember seeing you like this.

But anyways, hope to see you tomorrow.
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Should have known better than to say the models might be wrong in bringing this to the islands. I've been here too long to think it wouldn't piss people off. Geez. But whatever. You guys can get your wish. I'm done with this blog.

Adios.


Don't let those fools get to you Mississippi. That's why there is an ignore button. :). You are a very talented forecaster and I believe you and Levi both have TONS of potential. Just keep making those strides.
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8PM GFS Ensembles:

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Quoting Hurricanes101:


We were sitting here looking at the forecast models, some were getting a bit overdramatic, but its been pretty civil

then you came in and started crap and then basically wished that the storm would hit people and ruin where they live

and now you are surprised that you are getting backlash from that comment?

I think your thinking is what is unreal
Even though he was been sarcastic it was kinda of a jerk.
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994. Relix
I think Wx needs a time out :P. We all have a rough moment. I like his analysis and his take on things, yes the comment went a little too far but... meh. By now we should know people always get overexcited with stuff, and that's fine. No one is calling models a gospel, its just they are excited and having fun. No need to be a ****ole about it.
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
It was, but somehow the dates got messed up I saved it and uploaded it to photobucket.


The 9 is an 8, oh I gotcha.
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I see some GRAY in 94L's convection... I say 30% at 2AM
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Should have known better than to say the models might be wrong in bringing this to the islands. I've been here too long to think it wouldn't piss people off. Geez. But whatever. You guys can get your wish. I'm done with this blog.

Adios.
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Quoting WxGeekVA:
Where's wunderkidcayman saying that Isaac is actually going to run the Caribbean and turn into the GOM?

SARCASM FLAG: ON

I would like to hear his input though...


you will sometime after 7 am in the morning blog be crazy tomorrow

looks like maybe 30 percent for 94 at 2 maybe
i dont think more than that
they are going to go slow with this one
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Quoting MississippiWx:



Lol...Wow. So now I'm a wishcaster and I'm jealous because I don't have something bearing down on me? You are ridiculous.


We were sitting here looking at the forecast models, some were getting a bit overdramatic, but its been pretty civil

then you came in and started crap and then basically wished that the storm would hit people and ruin where they live

and now you are surprised that you are getting backlash from that comment?

I think your thinking is what is unreal
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988. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting tennisgirl08:


Yes, my thoughts exactly.


I changed that once I really noted the coordinates. 5 hours ago 94L is marked at 11n 25.5w. It's been moving west 2 every 6hrs. This is way too far west to be 94L but close enough to be disruptive.
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Quoting MississippiWx:



Lol...Wow. So now I'm a wishcaster and I'm jealous because I don't have something bearing down on me? You are ridiculous.


You were pretty harsh on the islanders Miss..and there you go with calling people ridiculous again..If I had a nickel every time you have called me that..LOL..but its all good..have a good night..
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Quoting WxGeekVA:
Where's wunderkidcayman saying that Isaac is actually going to run the Caribbean and turn into the GOM?

SARCASM FLAG: ON

I would like to hear his input though...
He is in vacation :)
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985. JLPR2
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:
Exploding convection!!!



Ha!

XD
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Quoting WxGeekVA:
Where's wunderkidcayman saying that Isaac is actually going to run the Caribbean and turn into the GOM?

SARCASM FLAG: ON

I would like to hear his input though...
I think he said he would give his input when it reached 40W.
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Quoting MississippiWx:


Lol. Prepare to be blasted.


I'm just being reasonable here... based on past mistakes that I have made with tracking winter storms. Around here in Richmond VA a slight shift in any track can mean either all rain or all snow, or hung out to dry. Just saying from experience not to get all hyped up about a storm that hasn't developed and is far out from impacting someone.

Just saying, winter doesn't really tolerate well for us here. We are in a bad location... lol.
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Quoting MississippiWx:


Lol. Prepare to be blasted.


So I should start evacuating now right?
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Well, I hope you all get your major hurricane that ruins your countries/islands. Better you than me, since you want it and all.
You need to be careful people are going to think you are really saying it out of true just because I know you are a respectable blogger I know you are joking but if you were other I would had think he was a heartless person.
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Quoting WxGeekVA:


That's not 94L, that's the wave ahead of it.


In this animation, NHC the second storm seems to come from a wave that merges from the S of 94L

Link
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Quoting MississippiWx:


No drama???? I'm the dramatic one? Lol. You people are unreal.




re-read what I said

I said I DO see people being a bit over-dramatic, but you went way too far
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Where's wunderkidcayman saying that Isaac is actually going to run the Caribbean and turn into the GOM?

SARCASM FLAG: ON

I would like to hear his input though...
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Quoting MississippiWx:


No drama???? I'm the dramatic one? Lol. You people are unreal.


Dude chill! I'm not wishcasting just worried so i dont know what your problem is. Take a step away from the pc and just chill a bit.
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Exploding convection!!!

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Cat 6 lead authors: WU cofounder Dr. Jeff Masters (right), who flew w/NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990, & WU meteorologist Bob Henson, @bhensonweather