92L Poised to Develop in Gulf of Mexico; Erin Struggling in Far Eastern Atlantic

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:09 PM GMT on August 16, 2013

Tropical wave 92L crossed over Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula overnight, and the center of the disturbance is now located in the Gulf of Mexico along the west coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Satellite loops show that 92L has a well-developed surface circulation, but there are no heavy thunderstorms near the center. A moderate-sized region of heavy thunderstorms does lie to the northeast and east of the center, over Cancun, Cozumel, and southwards to Belize. An upper-level low pressure system over the Gulf of Mexico is pumping dry air into 92L, slowing development. Wind shear is a moderate 10 - 20 knots over the the wave, which should allow slow development today. The hurricane hunter flight scheduled for today has been cancelled.


Figure 1. MODIS satellite image of 92L taken at 1:30 pm EDT Friday August 16, 2013. Image credit: NASA.

Forecast for 92L
The 12Z Friday SHIPS model forecast predicts that 92L will remain in an area of low to moderate wind shear through Saturday, and ocean temperatures will be a favorable 29 - 30°C. The topography of the Southern Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche can aid in getting a storm spinning more readily, as well. Given these favorable conditions for intensification, 92L should be able to become a tropical depression by Saturday, and a tropical storm by Sunday. A trough of low pressure over the northern Gulf of Mexico will dip down by Sunday over the Central Gulf of Mexico, increasing the wind shear to a high 20 - 30 knots just to the north of 92L. This trough may also be able to pull the storm northwestwards to a landfall in Texas on Monday or Tuesday, as the 00Z Friday runs of UKMET and NAVGEM model predict. If 92L does follow this more northwesterly path, intensification into a strong tropical storm would be difficult, due to the high wind shear. An alternate scenario is presented by our two top-performing models, the European and GFS. They predict that 92L will take a nearly due west track, resulting in a landfall south of Tampico, Mexico on Monday. The storm would have more of an opportunity to strengthen in this scenario, since wind shear would be lower. Either scenario is reasonable, and residents of the Mexican and Texas Gulf Coast should anticipate the possibility of a tropical storm hitting the coast as early as Sunday night. Regardless of 92L's track, a flow of moist tropical air along the storm's eastern flank will form an atmospheric river of moisture that will bring a wide swath of 4+ inches of rain to the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle over the next few days. In their 8 am EDT Wednesday Tropical Weather Outlook, NHC gave 92L a 50% of developing by Sunday, and a 60% chance of developing by Wednesday. I put these odds higher, at 70% and 80%, respectively.


Figure 2. MODIS satellite image of Tropical Depression Erin taken at 10:30 am EDT Friday August 16, 2013. At the time, Erin had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph. Image credit: NASA.

Tropical Storm Erin
Tropical Storm Erin is over the far Eastern Atlantic off the coast of Africa, and continues west-northwest at 15 mph. Erin is small and weak and has lost nearly all of its heavy thunderstorms, as seen on satellite loops. This is probably due, in part, to the fact the storm is over waters of 25.5 - 26°C, which is a marginal temperature for tropical cyclones. Erin is also having trouble with dry air from the Saharan Air Layer (SAL), and the storm's west-northwest motion is beginning to cut Erin off from a moist source of air to its south--the semi-permanent band of tropical thunderstorms called the ITCZ (Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone.) The latest 00Z runs of the major global computer models, except for the GFS, call for Erin to dissipate by early next week. Given Erin's struggles today, I expect the storm will be dead by Sunday.

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 1586. DataNerd:
Evening all. The surface entity that was 92l is dissipating or has already dissipated. This is born out by RGB imagery even after sunset. The old LLC feature just off the yucatan lost most of its lowcloud field and was ejected apparently moving rapidly southwest and is no longer definable on satellite imagery.


Of interest however, is whats going on further east. The upper level low which had begun to interface with the system appears to have mostly diminished, the a strong mid level vortex trying to form under neath it. Additionally the last few frames of rgb loop tend to suggest a new low level feature may be forming under this feature, which is largely baroclinic at the moment.

Remains to be seen if we will still have anything by morning but I would wager that if we do it will be more organized, possibly subtropical in nature however.





did you not see Grothar's post? Its heading south for the pacific. Southward ho!
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Quoting 1467. HimacaneBrees:



Yep just as I expected the usual model shift.. Wahoo I spelled "shift" correctly this time!!!


Go eat your shrimps!.....LOL :)
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The BAM Models have not moved a bit for the last couple of days.

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Quoting 1579. Grothar:


Read back, Levi. You get plenty of support and you know people respect and admire your efforts. I would never have the time or the patience to do those videos and neither does anyone else. We just enjoy the debates between you two. A lot of people respect Drak, too.


Although watching you two playing "Would the real 92L please stand up" has been entertaining.
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Quoting 1583. washingtonian115:
I'm saving my breath for when the real action starts.Not that silliness/mess in the gulf.I'm waiting for the beast(s) from the east.
Oh there coming to a theater near you. J/K. How are you tonight, Washi?
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Evening all. The surface entity that was 92l is dissipating or has already dissipated. This is born out by RGB imagery even after sunset. The old LLC feature just off the yucatan lost most of its lowcloud field and was ejected apparently moving rapidly southwest and is no longer definable on satellite imagery.


Of interest however, is whats going on further east. The upper level low which had begun to interface with the system appears to have mostly diminished, and a strong mid level vortex is trying to form underneath it. Additionally the last few frames of rgb loop tend to suggest a new low level feature may be forming under this feature, which is largely baroclinic at the moment.

Remains to be seen if we will still have anything by morning but I would wager that if we do it will be more organized, possibly subtropical in nature however.



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Quoting 1582. flsky:

Be careful what you hope for....


Oh, I am well aware, still driving the car with the smashed roof from Wilma - and did 6 weeks without power too. Until recently, lifelong resident of SoFl.

I certainly do not wish for harm to anyone.
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An increase in convective activity was probably what brought Erin back up to TS status.

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I'm saving my breath for when the real action starts.Not that silliness/mess in the gulf.I'm waiting for the beast(s) from the east.
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1582. flsky
Quoting 1563. daddyjames:


Well, I've got 19 named storms predicted - so things have to improve. if I get 2 for 1 from 92L, all the better (weak systems that is.

Be careful what you hope for....
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1581. sar2401
Quoting GTstormChaserCaleb:
You're so impatient why? We still have 2 whole weeks left of this month, all of September and all of October. Ever heard of the phrase, "patience is a virtue?" If not I advise you to take a class in Ethics.

...and November, lest we forget the last official month. :-)It has been a frustrating season, with weak storms that seem to last forever without doing anything, and then finally keel over, only to be resurrected again. The only thing I can say from my 55 years of hurricane seasons is that seasons like this normally pick up seemingly from out of nowhere, and we suddenly have two or three healthy storms at once. Generally, people, by the end of October, have the reaction of "Enough already!". It will happen again this year, just not over the weekend.
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sure looks almost like the ULL might be trying to warm and get to the surface.....as long as it sits there in that heat....it could very well make that transition.
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1579. Grothar
Quoting 1555. Levi32:
It's actually pretty funny how little support I get from the blog when I'm actually not forecasting the scenario that would bring the worst weather to the US.


Read back, Levi. You get plenty of support and you know people respect and admire your efforts. I would never have the time or the patience to do those videos and neither does anyone else. We just enjoy the debates between you two. A lot of people respect Drak, too.
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1578. scott39
Hey Levi and Drakoen. Ponder on this idea for a moment. This comes from a well known experienced blogger from the past, who doesnt visit here anymore. I summed it up in my own words. There is a small anticyclone overhead 92L. Shear has been dropping the last few hours. This is allowing the thunderstorms to move closer to the LLC. The LLC is reforming NE of where it has been....and closer to the convection. If the center is reforming, the models will shift back to Texas/La
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Quoting 1565. stormgirI:
optimistic you are. i like your mindset.


At this point, desperate may be more accurate.

Still believe that we will see an active season - but not as active as I guesstimated earlier on in the season.
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1576. Drakoen
Quoting 1573. Levi32:


Oh, so now you include Texas lol? Covering your bases, I see. This is likely to come into extreme northern Mexico or southern Texas, in my estimation, if there's anything left of it to come ashore.


When did I eliminate Texas? Please find that post.
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You guys are cracking me up with these puns/jokes.

In other news, 92l is causing a splitting headache amongst tropical enthusiasts alike.
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1573. Levi32
Quoting 1567. Drakoen:


Don't worry bro. I support you, even though we are debating. Team Mexico! Could still happen according to the ECMWF, no? I'm concerned about the CONUS: Texas, and points eastward as it pertains to tangible impacts from this system.


Oh, so now you include Texas in your forecast lol? Covering your bases, I see. This is likely to come into extreme northern Mexico or southern Texas, in my estimation, if there's anything left of it to come ashore.
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1571. flsky
Quoting 1555. Levi32:
It's actually pretty funny how little support I get from the blog when I'm actually not forecasting the scenario that would bring the worst weather to the US. Hey, we'll see what happens. I believe tropical forecasting is one of the greatest competitions there is.

Don't worry about support from the blog. You don't need it.
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1570. Patrap
..will it go round in circles'..

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Quoting 1555. Levi32:
It's actually pretty funny how little support I get from the blog when I'm not forecasting the scenario that would bring the worst weather to the US. Hey, we'll see what happens. I believe tropical forecasting is one of the greatest competitions there is.


Not true Levi, active seasons have left many spoiled - its not you, don't take it personally.
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Quoting 1550. DonnieBwkGA:
HurricaneKing is grayed out and I have click to open his comments. I don't understand why he is ranked below average. His comments are good.

I'm not resenting my filter. Most of the people ranked below average belong there.


Probably because I come and go so often lol. I'm a graduate student in atmospheric science so when life gets really busy I tend to disappear from wunderground for extended periods of time. I also started blogging when I was in high school so some of my earlier post.......were rather wishcasterish.
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1567. Drakoen
Quoting 1555. Levi32:
It's actually pretty funny how little support I get from the blog when I'm actually not forecasting the scenario that would bring the worst weather to the US.


Don't worry bro. I support you, even though we are debating. Team Mexico! Could still happen according to the ECMWF, no? I'm concerned about the CONUS: Texas, and points eastward as it pertains to tangible impacts from this system.
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1566. FOREX
Quoting 1559. redwagon:


WHOA that shot you posted shows two centers of circ. New to me... so 92L is doing its second split, and this is the part where the Nrn coc goes to the NGOM, leaving the southern maybe into MX, or TX/MX.


Alarmist Cantore is no longer concerned about the gulf disturbance, so then neither am I.
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Quoting 1552. stormgirI:
at one point was hopeful back in july but the steering and upper level dynamics aren't exactly conducive right now.


Well, I've got 19 named storms predicted - so things have to improve. if I get 2 for 1 from 92L, all the better (weak systems that is.
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1561. sar2401
Quoting DonnieBwkGA:
HurricaneKing is grayed out and I have click to open his comments. I don't understand why he is ranked below average. His comments are good.

I'm not resenting my filter. Most of the people ranked below average belong there.

I use the classic version, so I don't see all that extra stuff on the "new" site. I do sometimes hit "Hide" by accident, which makes the post disappear. Could it be something like that?
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Quoting 1548. stormgirI:
middle of august and not even a ts to mention.no hurricane yet this year. unprecedented in the buckle. why did i even make a hurricane tracking chart for the atlantic this year????? why?????
You're so impatient why? We still have 2 whole weeks left of this month, all of September and all of October. Ever heard of the phrase, "patience is a virtue?" If not I advise you to take a class in Ethics.
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Quoting 1525. opal92nwf:
I'm just tired of this ridiculousness. It's like how you want one or the other, not in between. Strengthen, or fizzle out.




WHOA that shot you posted shows two centers of circ. New to me... so 92L is doing its second split, and this is the part where the Nrn coc goes to the NGOM, leaving the southern maybe into MX, or TX/MX.
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1555. Levi32
It's actually pretty funny how little support I get from the blog when I'm not forecasting the scenario that would bring the worst weather to the US. Hey, we'll see what happens. I believe tropical forecasting is one of the greatest competitions there is.
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1554. Patrap
92L lost a lotta Fla posters..but I'm sure they are lurking, tweaking the runs,....dont count the panhandle out for a lot of wet mojo.

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Quoting 1548. stormgirI:
middle of august and not even a ts to mention.no hurricane yet this year. unprecedented in the buckle. why did i even make a hurricane tracking chart for the atlantic this year????? why?????


Sheer frustration?
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Quoting 1544. stormgirI:
not much tropical about it with lack of convection.more like a ghost low.conditions out there are brutal.the next three months look pretty hostile.


Ah, but that has been your stance from the beginning. i for one am going with CNN's forecaster - things could explode any moment now :)
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1547. Patrap


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Quoting 1537. HurricaneKing:


I'm at this point nowcasting myself. Sometimes the models just bug me in situations like this with weaker systems.

Honestly normally in a situation like this they tend to track the stronger of the two pieces during the split because the other one tends to slowly weaken and die. (as it appears is happening now with the one in the Bay of Campeche) So if they do split since it came from the same wave axis interacting with an upper level system they would track the strongest piece at the moment of splitting.

For example if the system splits tonight and the northern portion becomes dominant that would be 92L and they would track it until it died. If during that time the other portion became active I believe they would tag it a new invest. Though I have seen situations where a invest has split they tracked a half of it that then died and the other half began to develop so they started tracking it as the same invest.

Short answer its complicated and up to the powers that be and the situation.





So essentially, they flip a coin? Kinda reminds me of the Ivan discussion posted by the NHC after it circled back south and started crossing Florida.
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Jim Cantore said "We're keeping TUMS on hand" Right, Jim.
Very comforting to know...thanks for the 92L update. Or non update. Tums-Up

[comment bootied from a Pyrate Queen]

: )
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1543. Drakoen
Quoting 1539. Levi32:


Yes, a baroclinic trough and a tropical low, called 92L.


Incorrect. This is all 92L, a piece moving west and a piece moving north.
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This Hurricane Season 2013 s zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz im going to the western pacific.
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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