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 1083. CybrTeddy:
Fantasy land of course but the GFS is starting to become consistent in the long range of the possibility of numerous Cape Verde hurricanes developing as the result of the upward MJO. Fun times ahead if this verifies.
In a pattern like this the East Coast would need to keep an eye on it. The A-B High will take it as far west as it can until it reaches the edge and then a turn north when that happens (early or late) will be the key.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1090. RkptMom
Quoting 1080. want2lrn:
Been, as you call it, "lurking" for about three years now. Thoroughly enjoy the information presented here and the differing opinions as well as the reasons for those opinions. Truthfully i do not grasp all that needs to be grasped to understand all of the dynamics that go into meteorology and i give huge kudos to those of you who do.

Living in Corpus Christi, it has been a long time since we were impacted by a storm of any significance (1970 Celia)and i would love for it to stay that way. HOWEVER, we really could use what it appears 92L may turn into. So if it is possible that you all can send that little jewel our way as a depression or weak tropical storm, i know many farmers, ranchers and home owners who will greatly appreciate it.

Thanks again for all of your valuable information and insight. Back to the shadows.


Hey want2, I'm in Rockport, just up the road from you. And yes, some lovely tropical rain would be awesome. Watching and waiting.

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1089. JLPR2
Quoting 1079. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Gabrielle and Humberto if 92L becomes Fernand.



I expect a hurricane from Humberto so whoo! XD
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1088. OneDay
Weak system + weak steering + convection displaced from llc = low level center will probably re-organize under/closer to the heavy convection to the NE.
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Quoting 1074. Stoopid1:


The lack of rain in TX is wearing thin too, I'm sure. I'm rooting for a TX landfall for you guys but indeed, it is still uncertain until 92 can establish itself.


Exactly, that is why I wish it would develop or not. Whichever, just do it. Just would like to know either way. Do hope we can get some rain though.
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1086. flcanes
Quoting 1080. want2lrn:
Been, as you call it, "lurking" for about three years now. Thoroughly enjoy the information presented here and the differing opinions as well as the reasons for those opinions. Truthfully i do not grasp all that needs to be grasped to understand all of the dynamics that go into meteorology and i give huge kudos to those of you who do.

Living in Corpus Christi, it has been a long time since we were impacted by a storm of any significance (1970 Celia)and i would love for it to stay that way. HOWEVER, we really could use what it appears 92L may turn into. So if it is possible that you all can send that little jewel our way as a depression or weak tropical storm, i know many farmers, ranchers and home owners who will greatly appreciate it.

Thanks again for all of your valuable information and insight. Back to the shadows.

Good. I am not wishcasting a hurricane, but i guess i could say im going to wish cast you some rain.
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92L is for sure something to keep your eyes on. I think this is 75% chance getting named. I'll have a blog up on 92L later tonight instead of discussing my adventure the past week. I'll eventually talk about the adventure when I'm not busy.
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Quoting 1079. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Gabrielle and Humberto if 92L becomes Fernand.

it moves due north after moving due west! what kind of run is that! i like the consistency though
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Fantasy land of course but the GFS is starting to become consistent in the long range of the possibility of numerous Cape Verde hurricanes developing as the result of the upward MJO. Fun times ahead if this verifies.
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1082. ezziboo
Quoting 1037. Patrap:
There was something in the air that night
The stars were bright, Fernando
They were shining there for you and me
For liberty, Fernando





...I am not so sure abbaout that. (cue rimshot)
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1081. flcanes
Quoting 1079. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Gabrielle and Humberto if 92L becomes Fernand.


This before end of august?
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Been, as you call it, "lurking" for about three years now. Thoroughly enjoy the information presented here and the differing opinions as well as the reasons for those opinions. Truthfully i do not grasp all that needs to be grasped to understand all of the dynamics that go into meteorology and i give huge kudos to those of you who do.

Living in Corpus Christi, it has been a long time since we were impacted by a storm of any significance (1970 Celia)and i would love for it to stay that way. HOWEVER, we really could use what it appears 92L may turn into. So if it is possible that you all can send that little jewel our way as a depression or weak tropical storm, i know many farmers, ranchers and home owners who will greatly appreciate it.

Thanks again for all of your valuable information and insight. Back to the shadows.
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Gabrielle and Humberto if 92L becomes Fernand.

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1078. centex
I'm thinking 92L will form into depression tomorrow and maybe even TS on Sunday. If watching NHC center you would not be surprised. This is what we should expect. All systems are unique and waiting to see how this one will manifest itself, the impact can be more or less than expected.
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Kelvin wave is so fake and not real.
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There's no reasoning with him...people told me to give evidence yesterday and I did...Making obnoxious fictional claims that you have no evidence is trolling..
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Everyone,stop down casting,it's getting on my nerves.
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Quoting 1063. TexasHurricane05:
I just wish 92L would hurry up and develop already, so we can get more of an idea as to where it will go and how strong or not so strong it will be.... I hate all this waiting. Doesn't help the fact that I am not a patient person. Sigh....


The lack of rain in TX is wearing thin too, I'm sure. I'm rooting for a TX landfall for you guys but indeed, it is still uncertain until 92 can establish itself.
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Quoting 1069. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Fantasy land 300 hrs.

hope its not a fish storm. long range GFS is inaccurate anyways
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1072. Patrap
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Quoting 1067. CybrTeddy:
SuperStorm093, still waiting for evidence.

All you've done is "if x is this, and y isn't this, then the season is a bust." That's not forecasting. That's called posting knee-jerk reactions and an aptitude for ignore evidence. I don't consider you a troll but all I'm asking for you is to back up your claims with a few satellite imagery, model runs, etc pointing out what you're seeing that we're missing. You're using tortured logic to back up your claims behind the season otherwise and you're on a quick path to reach everyone's ignore lists because quite honestly Keeper is right - you do ramble on and on about it every 10 minutes.

92L? It's not impressive, you're right. Never was going to be and anyone who got their hopes up has ended up being wrong. You got something right. Kudos.

Erin? Also was never going to be impressive, and isn't a reflection of the peak of season. Erin developed as a result of a Kelvin wave moving through the Atlantic. Erin was never going to be a powerful system because it was facing a stable environment. The ECMWF, UKMET, GFS, CFS, etc are all showing this stable environment lifting as the MJO returns to our basin with force.

The African wave? Same thing as Erin, but it's still a threat for development. Because it's going to stay weak and southerly it's going to go far more south than Erin and Dorian did and is a threat to develop once it reaches 50W as the MJO comes around in 7-10 days. This is shown on the GFS and ECMWF, and the GFS turned it into a full fledged hurricane as it moved towards the north.
i hope it doesnt turn north :)
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Quoting 1069. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Fantasy land 300 hrs.



Surprise, surprise. Turns the African wave into a potent system in the long range.
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Fantasy land 300 hrs.

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Quoting 1056. gulfbreeze:
Could the two come togather?


Yes, that would vertically stack the system and allow for quicker organization.
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SuperStorm093, still waiting for evidence.

All you've done is "if x is this, and y isn't this, then the season is a bust." That's not forecasting. That's called posting knee-jerk reactions and an aptitude for ignoring evidence. I don't consider you a troll but all I'm asking for you is to back up your claims with a few satellite imagery, model runs, etc pointing out what you're seeing that we're missing. You're using tortured logic to back up your claims behind the season and you're on a quick path to reach everyone's ignore lists because quite honestly Keeper is right - you do ramble on and on about it every 10 minutes.

92L? It's not impressive, you're right. Never was going to be and anyone who got their hopes up has ended up being wrong. You got something right. Kudos.

Erin? Also was never going to be impressive, and isn't a reflection of the peak of season. Erin developed as a result of a Kelvin wave moving through the Atlantic. Erin was never going to be a powerful system because it was facing a stable environment. The ECMWF, UKMET, GFS, CFS, etc are all showing this stable environment lifting as the MJO returns to our basin with force.

The African wave? Same thing as Erin, but it's still a threat for development. Because it's going to stay weak and southerly it's going to go far more south than Erin and Dorian did and is a threat to develop once it reaches 50W as the MJO comes around in 7-10 days. Erin and Dorian made the fatal mistake of developing too quickly and too early, this caused them to go right into that stable environment that's often noticeable this time of year. The weaker a system is = westbound. This is shown on the GFS and ECMWF, and the GFS turned it into a full fledged hurricane as it moved towards the north.
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1066. centex
Time to listen to NHC. Many will post west, north, or east but they have no experience. Learn to filter the tropical want to bee's from info your looking for. Only about 20% of these post are helpful. Maybe this one. Many posters over react and learn to notice them and ignore. They are not trolls but just venting thoughts that are not helpful.
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Quoting 1058. hydrus:
I thought the northern most vort was 92L and the spin to the south, void of just about everything but clouds was the upper low.



The highest cloud tops(read: convection) are going to wrap around the upper level system, while the LLC just has low clouds around it right now. That could change overnight, though.
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Quoting 1060. wunderweatherman123:
144? im stuck on 117
Link
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I just wish 92L would hurry up and develop already, so we can get more of an idea as to where it will go and how strong or not so strong it will be.... I hate all this waiting. Doesn't help the fact that I am not a patient person. Sigh....
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Little puzzled why NHC is only giving 92L a best case 60% of development.....

I believe Doc is right..... 80% is probably more like it! I also believe 92L will surprise many by making a run at Hurricane status before landfall near Brownsville.....

Just my never humble opinion.....
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1061. etxwx
Really hoping for some good ole Texas rain from the Gulf but we'll see. In the meantime, some weather related news:

Tornado Tech: How Drones Can Help With Twister Science

More efforts needed to combat extreme weather: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang

Major rivers above warning level in NE China
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Quoting 1059. GTstormChaserCaleb:
144 hrs.

144? im stuck on 117
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144 hrs.

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1058. hydrus
Quoting 1046. RascalNag:


If I'm not mistaken, that convection is wrapping around the nearby ULL, not 92L. As that ULL weakens though, we should see more convection over 92L itself.
I thought the northern most vort was 92L and the spin to the south, void of just about everything but clouds was the upper low.

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Quoting 1054. SuperStorm093:
sure doesnt have the good convection though and doesnt have enought time to get going.


At its current movement speed, it has plenty of time. And as the ULL weakens, it will be able to make its own convection.
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Quoting 1052. centex:
Than why is low level circulation so strong? Working to surface is hard to do when already at surface.

Could the two come togather?
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Quoting 1052. centex:
Than why is low level circulation so strong? Working to surface is hard to do when already at surface.



That's 92L's surface circulation. If a surface circulation were to form under the ULL, it would be more to the northeast.
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Quoting 1051. RascalNag:


92L does have an LLC.
sure doesnt have the good convection though and doesnt have enought time to get going.
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1053. Patrap
Area forecast discussion
National Weather Service New Orleans la
311 PM CDT Friday Aug 16 2013


Short term...
weak stationary front in coastal waters. Scattered showers and a
few thunderstorms are associated with the front.


Long term...
expect the front to remain mostly stationary through Sunday. The
upper level disturbance over the southern Gulf will move north and
interact with the weak stationary front Sunday night and Monday.
This will provide a Portal for deep tropical moisture to enter the
central Gulf Coast. Heavy rain will be a possibility because of
the weak steering currents and nearly stationary cyclonic shear
zone between the Bermuda ridge and the southwest U.S. Ridge.


&&


Aviation...
scattered clouds around 4000 feet and visibility 7 miles or more
except near scattered showers and a few thunderstorms mainly near
the la and MS coast.


&&


Marine...
winds should remain light and variable tonight but will become
southeast 15 to 20 knots Saturday and 20 to 25 knots Sunday night
and Monday as an upper level disturbance approaches the coastal
waters from the south. Seas 1 to 2 feet tonight will increase 3 to
4 feet Saturday and 5 to 8 feet Saturday night. Winds and seas
will be higher near numerous showers and thunderstorms especially
east of the MS river tonight but spreading westward Saturday
through Monday.


&&





$$
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1052. centex
Quoting 1039. gulfbreeze:
It looks like the ULL is taking over and working down to the surface. If so she may be able to wrap. IMO
Than why is low level circulation so strong? Working to surface is hard to do when already at surface.

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Quoting 1048. SuperStorm093:
When we actually have a storm in a favorable environment with good convection and an ACTUAL LLC


92L does have an LLC.
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1050. Grothar
Quoting 928. DocNDswamp:
Good day,
And an interesting one watching the interaction of 92L and the little ULL, which as indicated were on a collision course with low-mid level flow steering it into the shear axis. The ULL has done it's job in disrupting further organization since yesterday, shoving off / replacing the favorable anticyclone aloft... robbing 92L of it's convection and mid level vorticity, in the process causing further vertical misalignment - GFS layer analysis indicates steady tilt to NE in height, esp 700 mb on up (right into the ULL) - while also introducing dry air and shearing northwesterly winds presently right over what is clearly a well-defined low level circulation NW of Yucatan.



Yes, it would appear 92L could become a subtropical cyclone, but couple things right now I see being unfavorable in that scenario is the fact the ULL and the 92L's sfc swirl are not perfectly co-located, appears still over 100 miles distance apart, plus of greater significance, BOTH features remain solidly tight circulations, more importantly that the ULL is such... In other words, if the ULL was a much broader circulation encompassing 92L, could see more cohesive development regarding less shear / dry air and more centralized convection building around the LLC. The GFS does and has been indicating a weakening ULL so we'll see... although beyond that other factors come into play that are potentially disruptive.


Best explanation I've seen.
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1049. Patrap
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Quoting 1045. gulfbreeze:
Do you down cast everything?
When we actually have a storm in a favorable environment with good convection and an ACTUAL LLC, then I will be positive, but honestly 92L isn't going to be anything.
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About to get interesting as next week normally is.
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Quoting 1030. hydrus:
Convection is trying to wrap all around a center. By tomorrow, wii will have Fernand.....thats like being hit with Hurricane Grover or sumpthin..


If I'm not mistaken, that convection is wrapping around the nearby ULL, not 92L. As that ULL weakens though, we should see more convection over 92L itself.
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Quoting 1008. SuperStorm093:
that african wave looks horrible. and 92L isnt impressive, call me a downcaster all you want but hey its the the heart of the season and nothing really going on.
Do you down cast everything?
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Good night for tracking this little invest :)
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Quoting 974. tkeith:
I'm afraid 92L is gonna screw up my round at TPC Sunday...maybe it will drag it's feet a bit :)


Good luck. I don't have a game this Sunday, my pals are all off the island this weekend :-(
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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