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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Those ensembles NE of the operational have the right idea, I feel

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Quoting 151. RitaEvac:
If you are in TX and if it did this....you do realize it will be sunny and dry and the drought will keep on keeping on



I think we could also say.. Hello wild fires
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The feature along 45W is being assited for now, by the ITCZ which is probably why the nearby dry air to the north doesn't seem to be hindering thunderstorm development. This one should be watched....looks like a creeper. Any idea what the steering set-up is like for the next few days? I'd imagine this will enter the Caribbean through the central Antilles?
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Quoting 179. washingtonian115:
Sigh..another pathetic waste of a name storm is about to take shape in the gulf...Where are the Igor's,Danielle's,Isaac's(2000) and Alberto's? (2000).


If something meets the criteria of being a tropical storm, it is, by definition, not a waste of a name.
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Hawaii


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If 92L develops, which I think it will ... he won't be going to TX.

Already lots much of the westward motion, and trough diving in to the north ... that's where the lower pressure is that he'll tend toward I feel.

I would have said Matagorda Bay, had it been TX, but probably between Houma, LA and Mobile, AL.
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Quoting 170. sunlinepr:

Interesting! The ull has all the convection and the lll has nothing.
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Quoting 175. LargoFl:
thanks rita..im wondering what happens if this goes to TS later on this weekend


Nobody has a clue
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Sigh..another pathetic waste of a name storm is about to take shape in the gulf...Where are the Igor's,Danielle's,Isaac's(2000) and Alberto's? (2000).
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Quoting 173. Sfloridacat5:


Upper level winds blowing everything to the N/E/ But at the lower levels the flow is from East to West.

A more developed system would have been pulled to the North (toward Fl. Panhandle) like earlier model runs.
ok so we need to watch for development..guess the nws is right..stay alert.
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.
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Quoting 169. RitaEvac:


Because storms are at the lower levels (LLC) and it's not developed enough to be taller height wise in the atmosphere to be blown NE into FL. Follows the low levels.
thanks rita..im wondering what happens if this goes to TS later on this weekend
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Quoting 167. Drakoen:
Lots of deep-layered troughiness to the north of 92L.


That's a fact.
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Quoting 161. LargoFl:
Look at the direction everything is moving..WHY isn't this storm being blown towards Florida?...


Upper level winds blowing everything to the N/E/ But at the lower levels the flow is from East to West.

A more developed system would have been pulled to the North (toward Fl. Panhandle) like earlier model runs.
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172. jpsb
Quoting 54. allancalderini:
I believe Erin is being downgrade to td status.

I wonder if in the old days before satellites and radio buoys if Erin would have ever even been a named storm. One of the reasons for an apparrent increase in TC activity is (IMHO) that we are finding and naming storms that in earlier times would have gone unnoticed.
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Sitting and spinning ... Just off-shore NW Yucutan



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Quoting 161. LargoFl:
Look at the direction everything is moving..WHY isn't this storm being blown towards Florida?...


Because storms are at the lower levels (LLC) and it's not developed enough to be taller height wise in the atmosphere to be blown NE into FL. Follows the low levels.
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I remember way back when the GFS first noticed this 92..it had it in the northern gulf,getting absorbed into the tail end of that front and being sent into the panhandle or big bend area........is THAT..out of the question now?
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Lots of deep-layered troughiness to the north of 92L.
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Quoting 151. RitaEvac:
If you are in TX and if it did this....you do realize it will be sunny and dry and the drought will keep on keeping on



The drought map sure looks better than last year, maybe if 92l vists texas, we will be done with the constant mention of the texas death ridge.
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this is what it shows for hr 33 sat aug 17


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NAm kills 92L very quickly inland by the end of the run
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Look at the direction everything is moving..WHY isn't this storm being blown towards Florida?...
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92L is likely to stay mostly 1 sided. Lots of dry air to its West.
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NON TROPICAL MODEL
sim refect NAM 00 54 HR SUN AUG 18

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With little weaknesses coming down the northerly flow into TX (thunderstorms) tells me the ridge aint what it's cracked up to be
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Quoting 135. swlacanemom:


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


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.


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Trough, trough, baby ...



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according to the nam, looks like I need the get the
piroque ready. South Louisiana, Terrebonne Parish.
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Quoting 141. LargoFl:
wasn't charley at 10% at one point?..and look what he did once conditions changed


They didn't have the Tropical Weather Outlooks back then, I think they were established in 2008 and by around 2010, they added the percentage feature (by 10s). Charley was never a large storm in size anyway, but don't know how organized it was in structure.
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Quoting 142. GeorgiaStormz:
Well the GFS ensembles have come full circle back to AL/MS





But it looks like instead TX will get rain

I think 92L is going to bend W and organize into a moderate to strong TS, and then bend back NW to N. More than likely the N GOM shear will not allow it to become a hurricane before landfall some where on the central to N Gulf Coast.
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If you are in TX and if it did this....you do realize it will be sunny and dry and the drought will keep on keeping on

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Quoting 132. roxycc:


no one on my local news has guranteed anything, "guarantee" is a strange word to use anyway when weather is concerned. We were told told to keep an eye on it this morning in Corpus.



When my colleagues and I fish in mid May in the Bahamas (annual vacation) they start asking me in April for "long range forecasts" I always respond with a
"guarantee" it won't snow.
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149. L1990
Quoting 138. LargoFl:
well flooding might get to be an issue later on,and perhaps they are being safe minded,also they are telling folks to listen to local alerts etc...no one really is 100% sure what this tropical low is going to do or where it is going right now.


yea agreed.... i just wish we knew what it was going to do because we dong know whether or not to start tieing down things on the platform im on because theres not much time left
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Very Opal-ish, in a general track sense, to me.

(BOC to North Central Gulf)
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12z Nam at 71% finished...................
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92L spin isn't moving much ... just off the NW corner of the Yucutan.

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Quoting 133. L1990:
im just wondering if theres something we dont know that the higher ups do because the system 92l is pathetic at the momment which leaves me to wonder why people are being evacuated from the gulf at this point... maybe its just a precaution because we all know in august (katrina) storms can go from nothing to hurricane status in a matter of twelve hours or so...


I am in Intracoastal City, La. They always Evac non-essential personnel in cases like this because of the unpredictability of storms at this time of the year.
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Quoting 142. GeorgiaStormz:
Well the GFS ensembles have come full circle back to AL/MS





But it looks like instead TX will get rain



Look at the initialization point though
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Quoting 136. Drakoen:


The cimss wind products suggest the circulation is lower to mid level in conjunction with an 850mb vorticity maximum. Very healthy circulation around 5W.


It looks like convection may be starting on the sw side.This will be interesting to wwatch how this pans out in conjunction with the wave about to splash down.
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Well the GFS ensembles have come full circle back to AL/MS





But it looks like instead TX will get rain

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wasn't charley at 10% at one point?..and look what he did once conditions changed
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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