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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Quoting NorthxCakalaky:
Okay next question..

Weatherstudent do you ever feal as if your color plays a role on here as how well you are treated?


WTF is with these questions?
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Quoting Drakoen:
Looks like my date for the 19th to be the first storm may come true.


You think a tropical/subtropical storm forms?
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Quoting IKE:


456, what is the JMA?


A japenses-based global dynamic model
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Quoting Drakoen:
ZOMG!!!! Guys only 4 more hours till the 00z runs. Who wants to stay up with me and my baby...


I'll be a Trooper Drak. We can Hang..LOL

Got time to kill till Daughters High School Graduation at 3pm CST tomorrow.
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Quoting Drakoen:
Looks like my date for the 19th to be the first storm may come true.


Its all in the records on the blog in summary form. You will have some company around that date. Jeffs713 has agreed to provide some histograms of our picks. It will be interesting to see how our cumulative consensus stacks up in the end.
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Thundering here as I type. Sounds like the Jurrasic park movie outside. LOL
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ZOMG!!!! Guys only 4 more hours till the 00z runs. Who wants to stay up with me and my baby...
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30832
Westpark Tollway at Chimney Rock,Houston

Spookie Sky
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Quoting IKE:


See post #416.




See post 421.
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Quoting weatherblog:


Wow, I'm older than you. I thought I was the youngest one here- I'm turning 17 in November. I'm very smart though; I'm more mature than I should be at my age.


It dosen't bother me that im probally the youngest on here because I know plenty. :D
Member Since: September 7, 2008 Posts: 17 Comments: 1604
424. IKE
Quoting NorthxCakalaky:
Thanks Ike. Well I guess I should just send private messages instead of the open blog.


At 51, I don't care who knows my age.
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423. IKE
Quoting NorthxCakalaky:
Thanks everyone for letting me know. I needed a sample of about 10 or more... Sorry if I offended anyone, just thought I had seem some very intelligent people here. Ike how old are you if you do not mind me asking?


See post #416.

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The system looks moderately sheared with most of the moisture and cloud cover to the east of the centre. Which works to Floirda's advantage.

Total Cloud Cover (All Levels)

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Thanks Ike. Well I guess I should just send private messages instead of the open blog.
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Quoting Patrap:
Id say the same as Blogger Ike. Odds are we will Hannah


You guys aren't passing out the good news I see ;) well, just have to deal with it...it's a way of life around here this time of year. Thanks
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More Houston WEBcams
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Thanks everyone for letting me know. I needed a sample of about 10 or more... Sorry if I offended anyone, just thought I had seem some very intelligent people here. Ike how old are you if you do not mind me asking?
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Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30832
416. IKE
Quoting NorthxCakalaky:
Im sorry, I was just trying to ask some selected people for my research. Did I say something wrong or..?


Maybe you should have pointed that out as the reason and then asked the ages?

I'm 51.
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Id say the same as Blogger Ike. Odds are we will Hannah
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That area south of Cuba is most likely what the models are picking up on as I said. I think though we might want to look out to the Extra-Tropical low in the Atlantic, its starting to gain tropical characteristics.
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412. IKE
Quoting Weather456:
Add the JMA to the list of models



456, what is the JMA?
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Quoting IKE:


Yes.


Interesting....heading to NO on a train trip with the 8 year old...had to cancel last year for Gustav...time to cross the fingers
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Looks like my date for the 19th to be the first storm may come true.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30832
408. IKE
Quoting hurricanehanna:
Afternoon all...Pat, Ike....besides trouble brewing in here, think we'll actually see 90L before June 1?


Yes.
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Quoting SevereHurricane:
I'll be 15 in July.


Wow, I'm older than you. I thought I was the youngest one here- I'm turning 17 in November. I'm very smart though; I'm more mature than I should be at my age.
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Im sorry, I was just trying to ask some selected people for my research. Did I say something wrong or..?
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Houston Webcam
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Add the JMA to the list of models

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Afternoon all...Pat, Ike....besides trouble brewing in here, think we'll actually see 90L before June 1?
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The NWS must think it will develop...

Member Since: September 7, 2008 Posts: 17 Comments: 1604
CONUS Cold Front,...come on down...!
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Quoting SevereHurricane:


Its not far off at all.



cool
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115454
Quoting WeatherStudent:


Have you've accquired your B.A. as of yet, Weather456?


July
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Spelling test sounds good to me and a lie-detector test too.

WeatherStudent: "I am not JFV"

Lie-Detector Test: "Yes you are"
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30832
Quoting Tazmanian:
so where is 90L


Its not far off at all.
Member Since: September 7, 2008 Posts: 17 Comments: 1604
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
i think it would be better if there was a IQ requirement and spelling test


OMG thats funny...
Member Since: September 7, 2008 Posts: 17 Comments: 1604
Enjoy a B-Day brew on Me ..
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Quoting weathermanwannabe:


Thanks...Family went out of town for the weekend so I celebrated with the TV, some Sushi, and several Sam Adams.....It was a great Birthday......Lol


Awesome, just sent the fam to the grandparents for the night. Its poker night in Bradenton !!

Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
i think it would be better if there was a IQ requirement and spelling test


I appologize for dropping the average IQ 10 points on this blog by just logging on. Somebody has to do it :)
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WS,

Plz, don't fall for it. You're going to get ban, just keep it weather related.
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Atlantic WV Loop with Dry-Air Shaded.
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so where is 90L
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115454
Quoting Weather456:
While convection has gotten noticeable alot more spatial and stronger south of Cuba it is not self sustaining yet. It is being generated by cyclonic mid-upper level winds. But this seems to be the beginning.


You have a good eye....Time for this old man to "retire" for the evening...Yall have a nice one and happy hunting.....WW
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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.

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