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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291. TXCWC
Quoting 283. RyanSperrey:

SST = temperature at or near the surface

OHC = basically how much of the water is at what temperature. 

So SST indicates the potential fuel for storms, and OHC indicates the amount of fuel the storm has to work with...At least thats my understanding


Thanks - thank you Dakster as well. So would it be safe to say that the effect each has on a storm is determined by speed of storm? For example a slower storm effected more by a lower OHC and therefore OHC becoming more important than SST in that circumstance?
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Quoting 251. Dakster:


I bet you would have been saying the same thing in 1992... I don't consider that year a bust...

Just saying.


I wasn't even alive at the time lol

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Quoting 287. Joanie38:


Hi, I am in SWLA :)


Good to see ya on here!!!!
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They're always after me Lucky Charms.
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Quoting 202. swlacanemom:


Yes indeed they need it too. I'm down in Carlyss. Watching closely also. Don't hear from too many in SWLA much on here.


Hi, I am in SWLA :)
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I really like this one.
GFS at 69 hours with two weak Lows.
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Looking at the latest hi-res Goes visible loops from the Gulf; the low level COC is in good shape and jogging towards the W-NW in spite of the displaced convection, and banding features starting to appear, off to the North and NE. Still looking like Mexico to Texas to my eyes as nicely captured by Dr. Masters above.

Trying to wrap around and get some meat around the circulation again; probable depression again over the next 24 hours and a tropical storm or possible Cat 1 at landfall on Sunday if the "Bay of Campeche" effect helps the circulation really consolidate over the weekend.

Just my personal opinion........I agree with Dr. Master's call.
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The satellite image...looks like...

That's it, I'm not splainin' no mo jokes!
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Quoting 279. TXCWC:
Having trouble finding information on the subject of SSTs (sea surface temp) and OHC (ocean heat content). What is the diffrence between the two and which if any has more of an effect on storm development and strength?
SST = temperature at or near the surface

OHC = basically how much of the water is at what temperature. 

So SST indicates the potential fuel for storms, and OHC indicates the amount of fuel the storm has to work with...At least thats my understanding
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Quoting 279. TXCWC:
Having trouble finding information on the subject of SSTs (sea surface temp) and OHC (ocean heat content). What is the diffrence between the two and which if any has more of an effect on storm development and strength?


One is the temperature of the surface water. The other is how deep the water is hot. Better measure for cyclones is the TCHP.
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Quoting 253. Grothar:


Thank you.


In the immortalwords of Larry the Cable Guy. That there's a funny joke.
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Quoting 278. mikatnight:


A comma? No, an ear! Listening to the blog...
"Where do I go now?"
I apologize if this sound rude, but I have no idea what you just said :(
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279. TXCWC
Having trouble finding information on the subject of SSTs (sea surface temp) and OHC (ocean heat content). What is the diffrence between the two and which if any has more of an effect on storm development and potential strength?
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Quoting 272. RyanSperrey:
Moving WSW atm, just veerrrry slightly south...I am expecting it to swing north, but still quite the interesting movement!



A comma? No, an ear! Listening to the blog...
"Where do I go now?"
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Quoting 275. blueyedbiker:
Isnt the LLC just west/wsw of the tip of the Yucatan and the ULL is just a bit north. I think some are thinking 92 is the ULL. JMO


ULL is just north of the Yucutan, yes.

LLC is just off-shore the NW tip.
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Erin is critical for any future waves because it clear out most of SAL. That next wave look interesting! Anyway, I got to get my computer issues fix out so I'll be back soon!
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Isnt the LLC just west/wsw of the tip of the Yucatan and the ULL is just a bit north. I think some are thinking 92 is the ULL. JMO
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Quoting 156. bearinLA:


Good to see Sw La peeps, we do need rain. Not as bad as our westerly neighbors, maybe we all can get some rain out of this. I'm watching from Lake Charles...WU has it all information with some fun added, as we say lagniappe.




HI bearin LA, yes it is good to see SWLA peeps...I think we all are keeping watch here in SWLA, I am near Lake Charles. :)
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12z GFS at 15 hours drops the low down into the BOC.
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Moving WSW atm, just veerrrry slightly south...I am expecting it to swing north, but still quite the interesting movement!

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erin is doing its job. clearing the leftover SAL
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Quoting 263. Rmadillo:
Track-wise for 92L ... expect something along the lines of Cindy (2005) or Opal (1995)

In a very general sense, of course ... BOC up to the North GOM coast.


It is too weak to be picked up by that trough.
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Quoting 253. Grothar:


Thank you.


So funny ... the elephant in the room.
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Quoting 248. LargoFl:


92L sucking tons of dry air. That's going to definitely keep development in check (no rapid develpment).
But any low pressure sitting over 86 degree water has a chance to strengthen with time.

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The wave at 12 N 45 W appears to have hit the brakes the past couple of hours.Has not moved much since this morning earlier.If you run the loop, you can see the other features to the west & north racing away, our blob is just sitting stationary, centred about 12 N 46 W



Ramsdis Loop

Link
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Quoting 135. swlacanemom:


I'm in SWLA also.....we could use some rain.


Hi there, yes we could for sure!!!! :)
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Track-wise for 92L ... expect something along the lines of Cindy (2005) or Opal (1995)

In a very general sense, of course ... BOC up to the North GOM coast.
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Quoting 244. RyanSperrey:
92L is moving WSW atm...that's extremely interesting


Look at this just N of the Yuke tip.
I don't think so.
Link
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What might happen should the ULL center itself of 92L's swirl?
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Flash Flood Watch

------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------
FLOOD WATCH
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHARLESTON SC
1045 AM EDT FRI AUG 16 2013

...POTENTIAL FOR ADDITIONAL HEAVY RAINFALL ON WET SOILS LATER
TODAY THROUGH SATURDAY EVENING...

GAZ087-088-099>101-114>119-137>141-SCZ040-042>045 -047>052-162245-
/O.EXT.KCHS.FF.A.0005.130816T1445Z-130818T0000Z/
/00000.0.ER.000000T0000Z.000000T0000Z.000000T0000 Z.OO/
JENKINS-SCREVEN-CANDLER-BULLOCH-EFFINGHAM-TATTNAL L-EVANS-
INLAND BRYAN-COASTAL BRYAN-INLAND CHATHAM-COASTAL CHATHAM-LONG-
INLAND LIBERTY-COASTAL LIBERTY-INLAND MCINTOSH-COASTAL MCINTOSH-
ALLENDALE-HAMPTON-INLAND COLLETON-DORCHESTER-INLAND BERKELEY-
INLAND JASPER-BEAUFORT-COASTAL COLLETON-CHARLESTON-COASTAL JASPER-
TIDAL BERKELEY-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...MILLEN...SYLVANIA...METTER...
STATESBORO...SPRINGFIELD...REIDSVILLE...CLAXTON.. .PEMBROKE...
FORT MCALLISTER...SAVANNAH...TYBEE ISLAND...LUDOWICI...
HINESVILLE...HALFMOON LANDING...TOWNSEND...DARIEN...ALLENDALE...
HAMPTON...WALTERBORO...ST. GEORGE...SUMMERVILLE...MONCKS CORNER...
RIDGELAND...BEAUFORT...HILTON HEAD...EDISTO BEACH...CHARLESTON...
JASPER...DANIEL ISLAND...NAVAL WEAPONS STATION CHARLESTON
1045 AM EDT FRI AUG 16 2013

...FLASH FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT THROUGH SATURDAY EVENING...

THE FLASH FLOOD WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR

* SOUTHERN SOUTH CAROLINA AND SOUTHEAST GEORGIA.

* THROUGH SATURDAY EVENING

* AN UPPER LEVEL STORM SYSTEM WILL DEVELOP SOUTHWARD OVER THE
LOWER GULF COAST REGION THROUGH SATURDAY WHILE A WARM FRONT
SLOWLY LIFTS NORTH OVER SOUTHEAST GEORGIA AND SOUTHERN SOUTH
CAROLINA. THIS SETUP FAVORS MOISTURE INCREASING FROM BOTH THE
GULF OF MEXICO AND ATLANTIC OCEAN. THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR
HEAVY RAINFALL AND FLASH FLOODING AT TIMES THIS AFTERNOON
THROUGH SATURDAY EVENING.

* RECENT RAINS DURING THE PAST FEW DAYS HAVE SATURATED THE SOILS
AND FILLED URBAN DRAINAGE SYSTEMS. THROUGH SATURDAY...2 TO 3
INCHES OF RAIN ARE EXPECTED WITH LOCAL AMOUNTS EXCEEDING 4
INCHES POSSIBLE.

* FLASH FLOODING WILL BE ESPECIALLY LIKELY IN LOW-LYING COASTAL
AREAS INCLUDING DOWNTOWN CHARLESTON AND SAVANNAH. AN ABOVE
NORMAL HIGH TIDE WILL OCCUR AROUND 430 PM TODAY. IF HEAVY
RAINFALL DEVELOPS BETWEEN 2 PM AND 6 PM IN THESE AREAS...
SIGNIFICANT FLOODING COULD DEVELOP RAPIDLY. THOSE LIVING OR
WORKING IN CHARLESTON AND SAVANNAH SHOULD CLOSELY MONITOR
WEATHER CONDITIONS THIS AFTERNOON AND BE PREPARED FOR THE RAPID
ONSET OF STREET FLOODING SHOULD HEAVY RAINFALL DEVELOP NEAR HIGH
TIDE.

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Quoting 253. Grothar:


Thank you.


You're speaking on their behalf? :)
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587 along the North Central Gulf Coast, 590 along the Texas coast.



Northern Gulf should be aware, between Houma, LA and Mobile, AL.
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And the CPAC has spit one out! :) TS Pewa has formed, and is expected to move into the WPAC in the next 2 days or so.

(click to enlarge)

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Quoting 224. Drakoen:


Looks like the pros have been doing a job thus far.


Thank you.
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Quoting 232. Articuno:
WTF happened to Erin overnight?

What happened to that 60 mph ts we were supposed to see. lmao
#bustseason



I bet you would have been saying the same thing in 1992... I don't consider that year a bust...

Just saying.
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250. VR46L
Quoting 236. Patrap:
92L RAMMB page



Surprised they haven't updated unless they are effected by the Models failure this morning ...
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www.wunderground.com/tropical
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The ULL to 92L's NE should give it a little boost in TSTM activity as it meanders in the extreme NE BOC as they kind of combine forces.



I would expect a fully tropical system once the ULL is replaced by an ULAC... but that's assuming shear doesn't prevent it from happening.

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Quoting 236. Patrap:
92L RAMMB page



I'm on iPad today...which site u think loads the best on this?
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Quoting 161. LargoFl:
Look at the direction everything is moving..WHY isn't this storm being blown towards Florida?...
. Look what is approaching the LI 'S , looks like a developing TS !
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92L is moving WSW atm...that's extremely interesting
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seminolesfan 12:27 PM EDT on August 11, 2013

Everyone knows I don't play the long range model game but here goes my analysis of the 12zGFS@100+ish hrs:



Rounding the edge of the Midlevel ridge with this:

upper air environment, seems to be a set-up for some cold-core/baro processes in the low seen on the run.

Not sure if this is a (fully)tropical low shown on this run.


I think this idea from Sunday is still in play, forecast-wise.

Looks like the N circ may take on a subtropical look, IMO. While the S LLV goes off to the W...
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Quoting 229. Patrap:
Geostationary
Satellite Images


Patrap it seems like the circulation is developing just N. of the Tip of the Yuke! You Think?
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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