Tropical Storm Chris strengthens; Cuba disturbance needs to be watched
Tropical Storm Chris continues to intensify over the North Atlantic Ocean, despite the fact that it is over cool waters and in moderate wind shear. As of the latest National Hurricane Center (NHC) advisory, Chris has maximum sustained winds of 60 mph and minimum pressure of 997 mbar. The system is situated roughly 605 miles south-southeast of Cape Race, Newfoundland. Chris is the third earliest third tropical storm in the Atlantic basin on record; Atlantic seasons in 1887 and 1959 both had its third named storm formed earlier than Chris. Recent satellite image depicts that Chris is a well-organized tropical storm with good spiral bands and a conspicuous eye.
Forecast for Chris
The cyclone is currently moving eastward at 21 mph. Chris is expected to turn northeastward and then northward as an upper-level trough to the northwest of the cyclone cuts off. It will not threaten any landmasses. Chris appears to have likely reached its peak intensity, and would maintain that intensity during the next 12 hours while the cyclone will be in marginally favorable conditions. After that, however, the cyclone will begin interacting with frontal boundary and entering over much colder waters. By the next 36 hours, Chris is forecasted to become an extratropical cyclone, and eventually be absorbed by a larger extratropical cyclone in the next 3 days.
Figure 1. 2km Natural Color Imagery of Tropical Storm Chris. Image courtesy: Colorado State University's (CSU) RAMMB imagery.
Disturbance near Cuba needs to be watched for development
A large area of cloudiness, shower, and thunderstorm activity is situated between northwestern Caribbean Sea to Florida. This tropical disturbance is producing heavy rainfall to parts of Cuba, the Cayman Islands, southern Florida, and the Bahamas. This disturbance will need to be watched for development during the next several days. It is anticipated to move slowly towards the northwest and enter into the Gulf of Mexico by late this week. Satellite imagery depicts that the disturbance remains disorganized due to moderate to strong wind shear with 20 – 30 knots affecting the system. However, the shear could decrease by the next couple of days.
The forecast for the disturbance in the coming days seems complex. Some models predict that the disturbance will become a tropical storm and affect Florida while other models forecast it to affect between Louisiana and Texas. Interests along these areas should monitor the disturbance closely during the next few days. The NHC gives the disturbance a 20% chance of developing into a tropical cyclone by the next 2 days. Regardless of development, the disturbance will continue to bring heavy rainfall to western Cuba, southern Florida, and the Bahamas during the next couple of days.
In the eastern Pacific, Invest 95E continues to be disorganized with little shower and thunderstorm activity in the center as seen on satellite imagery. The disturbance is forecasted to slowly move north-northwestward. SHIPS model forecast indicates that environmental conditions will remain unfavorable for further development of the tropical disturbance; therefore, I expect no further development of 95E. The NHC is giving 95E a 10% chance of becoming a tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours; however, I believe the odds should be near 0%. The disturbance might bring some showers to southern Baja California in the next several days.