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 974. tkeith:
I'm afraid 92L is gonna screw up my round at TPC Sunday...maybe it will drag it's feet a bit :)


Keith, do you have any plans for next weekend?

I'll be in the quarter and was wondering if you'd like to hang out or something.
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And 92L does have very warm watah.
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tropics are quiet next 240 hrs per ecmwf, nothing.
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Quoting 977. Rmadillo:
Should see some convection fire fairly soon
yep the sun is getting low in the sky not long now

I do believe we will get a good convective cycle going once darkness falls
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Quoting 965. hydrus:
A fishy if memory serves correctly, but a major indeed.
One of the biggest hurricanes ever record in the Atlantic at the time.
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Quoting 976. scott39:
Is the ULL forecast to weaken, before wind shear from the N does its damage? TIA


The upper low has been slowly weakening, and the GFS kills it off within the next 24 hours. This may be a little fast, but it should still weaken and provide an environment of lower shear.

Dry air is still going to be problematic, though.
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Either way... Wx from 92L likely from NOLA over to Cedar Key.
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I say 92L kills the upper low and strengthens until the shear coming down from the Mid-West starts to affect the system.
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983. bwi
Kman -- I know you've been watching the wave/low in the itcz mid atlantic. Have any prognostication or too early to opinionate? (Heading to Bonaire in a bit, so watching out for possible low riders to come through and murk up the water...)
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Hello Levi, Looking forward to your video...do you still do the text writing of your video like you did before???
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Quoting 932. opal92nwf:
Poor Texans, hopefully they don't have this ridiculousness again.
pitiful.
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Quoting 973. Levi32:


No it's not baroclinic. 92L is just dancing with an upper low like many tropical disturbances in the western Atlantic. The main surface center and the mid-upper feature aren't even stacked right now.


Taking a closer look, you're correct. I was just going off the satellite presentation, which resembles a subtropical cyclone.

I'll take a more in-depth look later, lol.
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Quoting 973. Levi32:


No it's not baroclinic. 92L is just dancing with an upper low like many tropical disturbances in the western Atlantic. The main surface center and the mid-upper feature aren't even stacked right now.
Will they ever?
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Quoting 977. Rmadillo:
Should see some convection fire fairly soon

new gfs shows nothing keep dreaming
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Should see some convection fire fairly soon
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Quoting 970. KoritheMan:


Probably, but I wouldn't expect a well-organized system over the next 24 hours since the upper low is still pumping dry air into it.

At least some of 92L's energy is from baroclinic processes right now.
Is the ULL forecast to weaken, before wind shear from the N does its damage? TIA
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Quoting 971. Hurricanes101:


how does one meander quickly??


I might be mistaken, but I thought that's what he was going for there. ;)
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Quoting kmanislander:


Not all of it anyway LOL
I'm afraid 92L is gonna screw up my round at TPC Sunday...maybe it will drag it's feet a bit :)
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Quoting 970. KoritheMan:


Probably, but I wouldn't expect a well-organized system over the next 24 hours since the upper low is still pumping dry air into it.

At least some of 92L's energy is from baroclinic processes right now.


No it's not baroclinic. 92L is just dancing with an upper low like many tropical disturbances in the western Atlantic. The main surface center and the mid-upper feature aren't even stacked right now.
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I wonder how many people will start whimpering like two year olds about how the season is shaping up to be just like 2010, 2011, and 2012 all because Erin will likely recurve? You know, regardless of the fact that most CV systems, especially ones in Erin's location, eventually recurve anyway?

I'm sure it's only a matter of time.
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Quoting 949. CosmicEvents:
It's meandering quickly.


how does one meander quickly??
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Quoting 963. scott39:
Hey Kori, Will D-MAX help with 92Ls storms on the W side, regardless of dry air?


Probably, but I wouldn't expect a well-organized system over the next 24 hours since the upper low is still pumping dry air into it.

At least some of 92L's energy is from baroclinic processes right now.
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Quoting 829. CybrTeddy:
Starting to look like 92L will finally develop into a Tropical Depression and then Tropical Storm Fernand. Which is a shame, because 92L will probably never go beyond 40kts if it becomes Fernand. I was hoping to see Fernand as a long tracked Cape Verde hurricane.
It still might because 92L hasn`t been name.
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Quoting 966. kmanislander:


Not all of it anyway LOL


kman, what I see about the low is behind of wave axis. What do you think about that?
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I'm more interested in what that circulation over Africa may do over water than the wave in front of it.
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Quoting 959. tkeith:
I see you haven't lost your touch Kman :)


Not all of it anyway LOL
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Quoting 962. allancalderini:
Gabrielle sounds more fitting for a major hurricane than Fernand imo.Remember Gabrielle of 1989.
A fishy if memory serves correctly, but a major indeed.
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964. Relix
45W wave got a Low. See? I am telling you guys... that little wave will surprise us :P
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Quoting 945. KoritheMan:


Hope for the best prepare for the worst sounds a little hyperbolic in this case. :)

I live in Prairieville, and even if by some chance 92L did make landfall here (which kind of seems unlikely right now given the westward trends), it would still be an east-weighted system, albeit improving. Nothing to really worry about at all.

I'm fine with the phrase "hope for the best, prepare for the worst", but in this particular instance I think its usage is a bit exaggerated. :)
Hey Kori, Will D-MAX help with 92Ls storms on the W side, regardless of dry air?
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Quoting 860. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Well assuming 92L becomes Fernand, how fitting for Gabrielle to become this seasons first hurricane and perhaps first major hurricane if the GFS long range is to be correct.
Gabrielle sounds more fitting for a major hurricane than Fernand imo.Remember Gabrielle of 1989.
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92l is starting to rap moisture and convection. It's starting on N side of course. Doing this during DMIN only goes to show by morning it will be the talk of the town. Granted not FL town but LA/TX/MX.
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Quoting 955. opal92nwf:

Wow, I forgot about that.

Although what I really think would be interesting is to have the strongest a subtropical storm could become and then see what kind of impacts it has. And something a little more well formed than Lee which was lopsided compared to Andrea in 2007.


It would be a bunch of winds and rain... in bands... well removed from the center.

Repeat the chorus.
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Quoting kmanislander:


No but I will give it a serious chastising
I see you haven't lost your touch Kman :)
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Very reminiscent of Opal in 1995. It was near the same area of the BOC, although as a TD/TS. Kind of lingered there for a bit before pulling north and east to the northern GOM.

Can't imagine the same intensity though. We sure could use the rain, but an Opal track won't do it.
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Quoting 948. opal92nwf:

I need to check. I'm pretty sure there was one or more subtropical storms that made landfall on the Gulf one year in the 70's. I need to look again.

Post # 946
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Great summer for us on the MS coast. 5-10 inches above normal rainfall. My water bill hasn't been this low in 10-12 years, even counting for fee increases. High temps more in the upper 80's, low 90's. Getting down to low 70's at night. Haven't had to get any of this with a TS or hurricane. Know that it can change in a week or two, but keeping the fingers crossed. And we never mention the K word around here. We know we are due, but out of sight out of mind
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Quoting 946. KoritheMan:


We did. Lee.

Wow, I forgot about that.

Although what I really think would be interesting is to have the strongest a subtropical storm could become and then see what kind of impacts it has. And something a little more well formed than Lee which was lopsided compared to Andrea in 2007.
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Quoting 952. KoritheMan:


What if it does? Will you then relinquish ownership and disavow your relationship with that system? ;)


No but I will give it a serious chastising
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Quoting 944. SuperStorm093:
It is going to be a lopsided TD at best, not something that you would expect to see in a hot gulf of mexico in the heart of the hurricane season.

I guess you forgotten about td 2 from 2010..that one was way more pathetic then this.
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Quoting 947. kmanislander:


As long as it doesn't hurt anyone !


What if it does? Will you then relinquish ownership and disavow your relationship with that system? ;)
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16/1800 UTC 17.4N 32.8W TOO WEAK ERIN


Rip
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ULL is still weakening according to CIMSS 200mb vorticity map.
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Quoting 763. CybrTeddy:
Looking at the GOES-E satellite loop, it appears to me 92L is completely stationary in the GOMEX.
It's meandering quickly.
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Quoting 935. centex:
Do we get sub tropical systems in western GOM mid August?

I need to check. I'm pretty sure there was one or more subtropical storms that made landfall on the Gulf one year in the 70's. I need to look again.
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Quoting 943. centex:
You own that system.


As long as it doesn't hurt anyone !
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Quoting 942. opal92nwf:

Well, that would be interesting. What if we had a solid subtropical cyclone make landfall somewhere on the Gulf Coast. I would love for that to move right over me, and not cause too much damage but still be interesting.


We did. Lee.
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Quoting 934. weatherrx:
Here is south Louisiana we are preparing for worst and hoping for the best. I have heard reports that Joe the storm magnet is setting up shop in the Morgan City LA area waiting on whatever 92L can throw at us.


Hope for the best prepare for the worst sounds a little hyperbolic in this case. :)

I live in Prairieville, and even if by some chance 92L did make landfall here (which kind of seems unlikely right now given the westward trends), it would still be an east-weighted system, albeit improving. Nothing to really worry about at all.

I'm fine with the phrase "hope for the best, prepare for the worst", but in this particular instance I think its usage is a bit exaggerated. :)
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It is going to be a lopsided TD at best, not something that you would expect to see in a hot gulf of mexico in the heart of the hurricane season.
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Quoting 938. kmanislander:


:-)

You own that system.
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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-define low level circulation W 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.

Well, that would be interesting. What if we had a solid subtropical cyclone make landfall somewhere on the Gulf Coast. I would love for that to move right over me, and not cause too much damage but still be interesting.
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"Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated."

~ 92L, 1776


Looks to me like the northern GOM remains a player, at least for the wx associated with the system.
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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