Still watching for a potential early-season Atlantic subtropical storm

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:10 PM GMT on May 16, 2009

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The latest 00Z and 12Z runs of the GFS, UKMET, NOGAPS, and ECMWF global dynamical computer models continue to indicate the possibility of an early season subtropical storm forming in the Gulf of Mexico 3 - 7 days from now. A modest area of low shear air is expected to open up between the polar jet stream to the north and the subtropical jet stream to the south, between Cuba and the northern Gulf of Mexico. The models have not been consistent with the timing or the size of this low shear area, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them back off again from this forecast with Sunday's set of runs. Nevertheless, I'll call once again for a 10% chance of development of a subtropical depression in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, 4 - 7 days from now. There isn't much of a disturbance at present to look at--there are some scattered showers between Cuba and Jamaica, but they are under a hefty 30 knots of wind shear. These showers should gradually increase in intensity and areal coverage over the next two days, and phase space diagrams from Florida State University indicate that an extratropical low may form near the western tip of Cuba 2 - 3 days from now. The storm may then gradually transition to a subtropical or tropical system later in the week, if the shear is low enough. Even if the shear is high and the storm remains extratropical, it could be a substantial rain-maker where it comes ashore. The models target the northern Gulf Coast between Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle as the most likely landfall location, but it is too early to place any confidence in this track.

There is also about a 10% chance a subtropical storm may form in the mid-Atlantic a few hundred miles east of Bermuda. There, a large upper-level cold low has cut off from the jet stream, and it may spin in place long enough over the next week to develop a warm core and be classified as a subtropical storm. It is unlikely that a subtropical storm forming that far out in the Atlantic this early in the year would pose a threat to any land areas, with the possible exception of Bermuda.

Climatology of early-season Atlantic tropical cyclones
Tropical storms are uncommon in the Atlantic before June 1, with only 26 named storms on record between 1851 - 2008. Five of these have made it to hurricane strength, and only one--Hurricane Able of 1951--made it to major hurricane status. Last year's Tropical Storm Arthur may be the deadliest May tropical cyclone on record. Though only a 40 mph tropical storm at landfall, Arthur killed five people in Belize and caused $78 million in damage. Three early-season storms have brought hurricane-force winds to land. The March 1908 hurricane swept through the northern Lesser Antilles Islands as a Category 1 or 2 hurricane, destroying at least 24 boats and causing damage to buildings on St. Bartholomew. Hurricane Able of 1951 brought sustained winds of 90 - 95 mph to the northern Bahama Islands, but caused little damage. Hurricane 2 of May 1908 hit North Carolina's Outer Banks as a Category 1 hurricane, but also caused little damage.


Figure 1. Tracking map for the earliest hurricane to make landfall, the March 1908 hurricane in the northern Lesser Antilles Islands.

List of all early season (formed in January - May) Atlantic named storms
May 31, 2008: Tropical Storm Arthur
May 6, 2007: Subtropical Storm Andrea
April 18, 2003: Tropical Storm Ana
April 21, 1992: Subtropical Storm 1
May 6, 1981: Tropical Storm Arlene
January 18, 1978: Subtropical Storm 1
May 21, 1976: Subtropical Storm 1
May 23, 1972: Subtropical Storm Alpha
May 17, 1970: Hurricane Alma (Category 1)
May 28, 1959: Tropical Storm Arlene
February 2, 1953: Tropical Storm Alice
May 25, 1952: Tropical Storm 1
May 15, 1951: Hurricane Able (Category 3)
May 22, 1948: Tropical Storm 1
May 19, 1940: Tropical Storm 1
May 27, 1934: Tropical Storm 1
May 14, 1933: Tropical Storm 1
May 5, 1932: Tropical Storm 1
May 13, 1916: Tropical Storm 1
May 24, 1908: Hurricane 2 (Category 1)
March 6, 1908: Hurricane 1 (Category 2)
May 27, 1890: Tropical Storm 1
May 16, 1889: Hurricane 1 (Category 1)
May 17, 1887: Tropical Storm 2
May 15, 1887: Tropical Storm 1
May 30, 1865: Tropical Storm 1

I'll have an update Sunday.

Jeff Masters

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heres a close up still image of cell between cuba and n jamaica at 19n/77w
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Quoting SevereHurricane:


GOES?


yea
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I am grateful that whatever this will turn out to be or not to be, rainfall is expected over Polk County, where my Florida place is in Lakeland. I've got lush greenery, and I want it to stay that way. I worry about Florida hurricanes, but my place is built like a bunker, complete with a hurricane "safe room" that allows you to look outside the thick block porthole of glass while safely stowed in this concrete room. Even doors and windows are protected by iron bars, that would stop projectiles in their tracks before they could ever damage the glass. Hurricane resistance was obviously on the mind of the builders of this home in the 1940's, when hurricanes criss-crossed Florida yearly, as has been the case in most of the last few seasons. Storm surge from the nearby lake wouldn't be a concern due to the very steep slope that separates us. I'm more concerned about storm surge in New Jersey, as I live on a barrier island carved out of sand dunes, and I live on land that was once pushed out to sea during a hurricane, creating an inlet for many years, only to be filled in years later by another hurricane. It's rare on the Jersey Coast, but not unprecedented. In Florida, my oaks are what I fear will fall on the house. I would have never planted them so close, although they give morning shade, keeping the house cooler than it might otherwise bee. That might be the Achille's heel. I read more than I post during the hurricane season, but this is year four for me, if I am calculating correctly, and everyone is insightful...Pete from Seaside Heights, New Jersey and Lakeland, Florida.
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Quoting Thundercloud01221991:
does someone have a link to close up sat images the one where you can click your options at the bottom and then click the large sat map and see an upclose shot?


GOES?
Member Since: September 7, 2008 Posts: 17 Comments: 1604
does someone have a link to close up sat images the one where you can click your options at the bottom and then click the large sat map and see an upclose shot?
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Been noticing a much better defined rotation with the Caribbean disturbance over the past few frames on satellite imagery. But I can't determine whether its now low-level or still mid-level.

Link
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storms tonight, good we need the rain.
i doubt we will get an invest tomorrow most models dont have anything until monday i expect we will get on then if any.
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finnally got the links to the radar working. East or west? Still learning and I can't figure it out.
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20n/78w

17n/78w

19n/80w
img
src="http://vortex.plymouth.edu/gifs/090517032508.gif" width="640" height="480" alt="" />
17.5n/76.5w
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So agreed, Zoo.
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Quoting hurricane23:
Based on the 00z NAM most of the heavy rain would stay of florida coast to the east.


Having a hard time comprehending the solution proposed by this latest NAM model. Seems like a total mess if you ask me. But then again, the NAM has always been the worst with tropical cyclogenesis.
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Quoting hurricane23:
Based on the 00z NAM most of the heavy rain would stay of florida coast to the east.


The NAM only goes out 84 hours.
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Quoting hurricane23:
Based on the 00z NAM most of the heavy rain would stay of florida coast to the east.


That really sucks, but that I suspect that forecast can change.
Member Since: July 10, 2006 Posts: 27 Comments: 1623
Quoting Patrap:
00 Zulu is in..but incomplete here

-- EMC Cyclogenesis Tracking Page --

Model Cycle: 2009051700




Why they include NAM in that suite is beyond me...
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Hi Foggy - been bopping in and out. Interesting to see that there may actually be something forming. As I said before, I would just love some rain - the dust is makng me crazy.
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Based on the 00z NAM most of the heavy rain would stay of florida coast to the east.
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00 Zulu is in..but incomplete here

-- EMC Cyclogenesis Tracking Page --

Model Cycle: 2009051700


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128654
another hr or so till next run then its nap time for me
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Quoting TheCaneWhisperer:


Now that there is a beginning of something to look at in the Caribbean, you'll see more chatter tomorrow. Suspect area that I marked this morning has actually drifted east or remained stationary. Definitely looking & feeling different out today in SEFL, summer is here my friends.


Been here for past month or so if you asked me.
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Quoting HurricaneKing:


I have a feeling that we'll have 90L and possibly 91L tomorrow.

That storm out over the Atlantic is looking more and more subtropical. The caribbean blob is starting to look circular.


Now that there is a beginning of something to look at in the Caribbean, you'll see more chatter tomorrow. Suspect area that I marked this morning has actually drifted east or remained stationary. Definitely looking & feeling different out today in SEFL, summer is here my friends.
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Bust thru like a Gangsta it did
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128654
Quoting Patrap:
Caribbean IR loop,thru 02:15 UTC

Satellite Imagery from the University of Miami
There is no endorsement of NWHHC by the University of Miami. Loops are for informational purposes only. Please refer to local emergency management officials for official information



Huh, look at Cuba entirely covered in clouds at the beginning of that loop. Heating broke the cap...
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GOM IR Loop..shows the Front well.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128654
761. eddye
cchs go on facebook please
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Some Banding aloft on the Northern side, is impressive the last 4 hours..over Cuba
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128654


The Atlantic/Bermuda Circulation..IR loop
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128654
Quoting Patrap:
Caribbean IR loop,thru 02:15 UTC



Over the past few hours, it seems the disturbance has gotten better organized, but still no low-level circulation at this time. Will be interesting to see how diurnal maximum affects this disturbance, if at all.
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Right, like I said before so glad it is May and the later on in the season. The thinking is that we will have an invest tomorrow?
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Caribbean IR loop,thru 02:15 UTC

Satellite Imagery from the University of Miami
There is no endorsement of NWHHC by the University of Miami. Loops are for informational purposes only. Please refer to local emergency management officials for official information

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128654
Time and a Low center will sort it all out.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128654
And if you are really serious, you might want to visit MetED and see the module titled "Introduction to Tropical Meteorology, Chapter 10: Tropical Cyclones"

Description:
"Chapter 10, Tropical Cyclones, is the third published chapter of the online textbook, Introduction to Tropical Meteorology...

..."At the end of this chapter, you should understand and be able to:

* Describe tropical cyclone global climatology (where and when they form, where most form, least, or none form)
* Identify distinguishing features of tropical cyclones (eye, eyewall, spiral bands, surface inflow, upper outflow)
* Identify inner core features such as eye-wall vortices
* Describe ingredients needed for formation or genesis (including subtropical genesis)
* Define the stages of a tropical cyclone lifecycle (wave, depression, tropical storm, tropical cyclone, severe tropical cyclone, decay)
* Using satellite remote sensing, describe how you could detect changes in intensity of tropical cyclones
* Describe the links found between inner core dynamics and changes in cyclone structure and intensity
* Describe the mechanisms that influence tropical cyclone motion from its precursor tropical wave to its landfall in a midlatitude continent
* Describe various mechanisms that lead to extratropical transition
* Describe the hazards of tropical cyclones particularly those at landfall (storm surge, heavy rain and floods, strong winds, tornadoes, ocean waves) and understand the basic mechanisms for each type of hazard
"

Very in-depth, but worth it...if you are serious about it.
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Patrap- in the last 3-4 days that model storm track has been all over Fl and GOM, though the general movement towards the gulf states seems to be fixed on it..
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Evening QuikSCAT

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting boxer01:
i'm new here! where can i go to study up for pre-season?


Welcome, newbie.

If you are serious, I would recommend getting familiar with all of our internet sources of data, satellite images, forecasts, observations, etc.

Hard to give you one place for all of the links, but a few of my personal favorites are in my blog (just click my name). Also see stormjunkie.com, for starters.
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According to the nam by 72 Hours the old main center of the storm has made landfall in ne florida while a new center has formed off of se Florida moving Ne.
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Quoting Patrap:
The NHC may have to Move the Atl Opening to May 15 since the Season is coming earlier.

.."That should rattle some cages"..


lol
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
The NHC may have to Move the Atl Opening to May 15 since the Season is coming earlier.

.."That should rattle some cages"..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128654
-- EMC Cyclogenesis Tracking Page --

Model Cycle: 2009051618



Multi-Model
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128654
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Quoting Weather456:
Another interesting fact: If this manages to become a named system it would mark 3-consecutive years that a storm formed in May - Andrea 2007, Arthur 2008, possible Ana 2009. The first ever such occurrence.


We're accustomed to really odd things in the tropics. When you think there isn't anymore records to break.. a season breaks a few dozen more.
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Quoting WeatherStudent:
When will the NHC realized this area?


TPC 8PM...

BY MON...MANY OF THE GLOBAL
MODELS ARE SHOWING LOW PRES DEVELOP OVER CUBA OR THE SE
GULF...EITHER EXTRATROPICAL OR SUBTROPICAL...AND MOVING
GENERALLY N. ITS DEVELOPMENT AND TRACK IS UNCERTAIN BUT MODELS
ARE IN ENOUGH AGREEMENT TO WARRANT GALE HEADLINES OVER A PORTION
OF THE E AND MIDDLE WATERS FOR EARLY NEXT WEEK.


A MID TO UPPER TROUGH OVER THE WRN CARIBBEAN IS PRODUCING
SCATTERED SHOWERS AND TSTMS N OF 17N BETWEEN 75W-84W. LIGHTNING
DATA SHOWS THE GREATEST CONCENTRATION OF STRIKES OVER CUBA...AS
LOCAL SEABREEZE/TERRAIN EFFECTS ARE PROVIDING ENHANCED LIFT.
LATEST VIS/SHORTWAVE IR IMAGES SHOW CYCLONIC ROTATION IN THE MID
LEVEL CLOUDS ALONG 79W JUST S OF CUBA. THIS FEATURE MAY BUILD
CLOSER TO THE SFC OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS AND DRIFT
GENERALLY NWD
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Another interesting fact: If this manages to become a named system it would mark 3-consecutive years that a storm formed in May - Andrea 2007, Arthur 2008, possible Ana 2009. The first ever such occurrence.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Well at 60 hours on the new Nam it has a broad low with multiple centers from cuba to off the North Florida coast in the Atlantic. Looks more like an extratropical system to me.
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Quoting Tazmanian:
Blog Statistics:

2335 comments and 40 entries posted by all members in the last 24 hours.


Wow, and have you noticed that our typing and our spelling have improved also. :)
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Hey Taz!

Yeah, and it's only May 16th!!
Just wait until August...
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Judging if the models are correct with this blob,
90L could be declared at any time.


I have a feeling that we'll have 90L and possibly 91L tomorrow.

That storm out over the Atlantic is looking more and more subtropical. The caribbean blob is starting to look circular.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.