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 35. PanhandleChuck:


Sleeper?


They do sneak up sometimes.
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Next in line, please!
Just noticed the circulation to the right of the obvious. Is that separate or is this a possible separation of the coc's?
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Quoting 30. belizeit:
Grothar don,t show us another one we have enough to watch already


OK, I'll show you an old one

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big bend and the panhandle stay alert to local alerts next 2-3 days.................................THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MOBILE HAS ISSUED A FLOOD WARNING FOR THE
FOLLOWING RIVER IN FLORIDA...
SHOAL RIVER NEAR CRESTVIEW AFFECTING OKALOOSA COUNTY.

.HEAVY RAINFALL IS FORECAST TO OCCUR OVER THE NEXT 24 HOURS. AS A RESULT...RIVER
LEVELS ARE FORECAST TO RISE AND A FLOOD WARNING IS NOW IN EFFECT.

SAFETY MESSAGE...
STAY TUNED TO DEVELOPMENTS BY LISTENING TO NOAA WEATHER RADIO.

&&
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Quoting ncstorm:
Never say a storm in the atlantic will be dead until its actually dead..


Does everyone remember Dorian. How many people here called him dead a number of times and he came back.
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Quoting 26. Sfloridacat5:


92L proved that the best computer models along with the top meteorologists in the country still have a lot to learn about forecasting tropical systems.




Especially GOM systems
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Quoting 27. Grothar:


Sleeper?
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Thanks Doc. If it's in the GOM, it's worth watching...conditions change and nothing is set in stone. Just always be prepared.
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Quoting 12. ncstorm:
Never say a storm in the atlantic will be dead until its actually dead..


One of the most wise comments I have read. Heck sometimes these storms have shown that even after death they come back...Oh wait that's one of my favorite TV series.
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Quoting Envoirment:
OSCAT got another good pass on 98W earlier



You can also see the circulation exposed here



It'll need to start firing convection over itself soon. Which I think will happen as it seemed to be moving towards the convection to the south east of it.


Shear from ex-Utor is having an effect over it. That'll soon subside.
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no matter where 92 goes..the huge plume of heavy rains go NE up thru the south altantic states..
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Quoting 27. Grothar:
Grothar don,t show us another one we have enough to watch already
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Haven't had good enough weather to take my boat out on my days off this year, but maybe I can float it out of the storage yard this weekend...... LOL
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Thanks Dr.Masters.Cool I hope 92L becomes Fernand it just need convection near its center.
Quoting 15. SLU:
The SLP anomalies show us exactly where the storms this year will go. In early August last year, the lowest pressures were near the Azores and most storms headed in that direction. This year, the pressures are lowest in the MDR with the bull's eye pointed at the Caribbean and the US.


2013
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2012
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Do you believe this year 1 can affect Central America?it show low pressure in my area in 2012 and I didn`t get hit by a single storm.
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Quoting 14. RitaEvac:
It was guaranteed and even still is by local mets and everyone else including the TWC, that this is going to MX, and basically no chance in hell going to TX


92L proved that the best computer models along with the top meteorologists in the country still have a lot to learn about forecasting tropical systems.


Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
OSCAT got another good pass on 98W earlier



You can also see the circulation exposed here



It'll need to start firing convection over itself soon. Which I think will happen as it seemed to be moving towards the convection to the south east of it.
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Thank you Dr. Masters =)

2516. SouthernIllinois 2:07 PM GMT on August 16, 2013 +0
Quoting 2512. ihave27windows:


You know, since I stated my opinion, a freak Gilbert like storm will develop.....to humble me. HaHa!

I agree with the change on a moderate scale, and that it is normal. =)

OMG. Gilbert. What a MONSTER!!!!!!!!

He was a frightning storm!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have been mistaken many times in my life, so it is within the realm of possibilities I was mistaken about seasons following 2008. Nothing in this world is an absolute. =)
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92L is going west....it's so far that direction already

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Quoting Bluestorm5:
Erin is a key for future storms. It'll moisten up the ocean, but another storm need to develops quickly after that to keep it moist along with more southern route. The problem that is found in most EATL storms is stable environment created by that ridge.

mmmm I think the ocean is moist enough. I think you meant the atmosphere. Grab another cuppa coffee to get your brain ticking at the right pace.

Good Morning Blue
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Its going to be Mexico if weak and N Gulf Coast if stronger and gets caught up by trof.
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My last post last night was, The trough, the trough!!


Thanks for the update, Doc.
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well-developed surface circulation in invest 92L WITH no rain and t.storms with it and tropical storm erin got no more rain and t.storms with it.. to much wind shear and dry air so far this year..
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Thanks Doc!!!
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15. SLU
The SLP anomalies show us exactly where the storms this year will go. In early August last year, the lowest pressures were near the Azores and most storms headed in that direction. This year, the pressures are lowest in the MDR with the bull's eye pointed at the Caribbean and the US.


2013
Image and video hosting by TinyPic


2012
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

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It was guaranteed and even still is by local mets and everyone else including the TWC, that this is going to MX, and basically no chance in hell going to TX
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13. SLU
Quoting 2491. ryang:


Ryang .. I hope you've bought your hurricane supplies already.

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Never say a storm in the atlantic will be dead until its actually dead..
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Thanks Dr. Masters, How would 92L get through Texas high ridge?
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I agree with Doc that we could get a TD we only need convection to fire around the center and we will have TD 6
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Erin is a key for future storms. It'll moisten up the ocean, but another storm need to develops quickly after that to keep it moist along with more southern route. The problem that is found in most EATL storms is stable environment created by that ridge.
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Thanks, Doc!

Let's see what surprises 92L has for us today and tonight.
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I'm still on my PFFFT! bandwagon
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"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".

Dr. Masters
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Thanks Doc!
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Thanks for the Update Dr Masters :o)

Taco :o)
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Thanks Dr Masters
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Thanks, Dr. Masters!
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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