Archive for June 21st, 2012
All indications continue to point to the possibility of a tropical depression forming over the southern Gulf of Mexico over the next couple of days. The NHC now puts the chance at 70 percent. The surface low is just north of the Yucatan tonight and pressures are falling across the region, a sign of development.
Gulf temperatures are certainly warm enough to support the development of a tropical system. Wind shear is the only limiting factor, which could keep it from developing very much, or even at all.
Air Force reconnaissance will investigate the disturbance tomorrow.
The GFS still forecasts that the system will move toward Florida, arriving on the Peninsula either late Sunday or early Monday. The European, however, has defected to the idea that the system will move northwestward into the Central Gulf, siding with the Canadian. The Canadian develops it into a tropical depression tomorrow north of the Yucatan, moves it northward to a point southeast of New Orleans by Sunday, where it strengthens into a strong tropical storm or hurricane before it starts a westward trek along the Gulf Coast toward Texas. Extrapolating its track, the system would make landfall near Houston Wednesday or Thursday. The European is taking a similar theme to its output, with the storm making landfall on the Middle Texas coast near Corpus Christi Thursday.
Needless to say, there is a lot of uncertainty in this forecast which could have a big bearing on the weather along the Gulf Coast. For now, we will continue to watch developments in the Gulf and alert anyone heading south over the weekend or next week to do the same.
Chris briefly became a hurricane on Thursday. The upgrade was short lived, however, as the system fell back to tropical storm status on the late afternoon advisory. By the time you get your morning coffee, Chris will likely have lost its tropical characteristics. The tropical storm is about 600 miles east southeast of Newfoundland. It is forecast to meander in a circle, not moving more than 150 miles over the next 48 hours.
There will be no video this morning due to connectivity issues at my location on Mt. Cheaha.
As I noted yesterday, Central Alabama appears likely to be pinched between systems with dry and warm weather winning out. So for the moment, the forecast remains essentially dry and warm as we watch the future motion of a couple of systems.
There are two major elements in our pattern right now. First we have a ridge over the eastern half of the country with a surface high pressure center over the East Coast of the US. A strong trough moving across Canada will dampen the dampen the ridge today and Friday which could bring a weak front into the Tennessee River Valley. However, moisture remains limited for much of the Southeast, so even with a front at least nearby, there appears to be little reason to forecast more than isolated showers in the heat of the afternoon for Friday and Saturday.
To our south, moisture over the Florida Straits will drift northwestward into the Gulf. But it seems unlikely at this time that this moisture would get to us. By Saturday the upper ridge builds strong again just to our west, so that area of disturbed weather is not likely to reach us as long as the GFS is correct. The GFS shunts the disturbed area into the central Gulf of Mexico where conditions could become more suitable for tropical storm development in a few days.
So while we are watching two systems on this the official start of summer and our longest day of the year for daylight, we are likely to remain warm and dry into next week.
The GFS suggests the ridge to our west nudges somewhat further west with a fairly deep trough over the eastern US by Tuesday. While this does not seem to bring much in the way of rain chances, it would bring a drop in temperatures with afternoon highs dipping back a tad into the upper 80s. And with summer in full swing, I’ll take whatever few degrees we can chop off the highs.
In the tropics, Chris continued in the North Atlantic but was no threat to land. Over the western Caribbean and Southeast Gulf, an area of disturbed weather was expected to drift northwestward producing rain over South Florida but conditions are currently unfavorable for storm formation.
Severe weather potential across the country remains confined to the northern tier of the country.
Voodoo country shows a substantial trough over the eastern US around July 2nd that could bring a front into the area with the ridge centered over eastern New Mexico. Fronts don’t usually make an appearance in July but it can happen and I hope so since it would bring good chances for rain. But the GFS suggests the summer ridge comes back around July 4th and 5th.
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I plan to post an updated discussion on Friday morning. Godspeed.