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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:(
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
A 10 Dollar to Win ticket aint gonna make Xmas ..LOL

But it will look good in the Photobucket
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127804
335. IKE
Quoting Patrap:
You parked it right between the 2 of us Ike..


Wunderful..LOL


Lol.....
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
You parked it right between the 2 of us Ike..


Wunderful..LOL
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127804
333. auburn (Mod)
Quoting Vortex95:
and one of the horses is winning.


Yep...that seems to happen sometimes...LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
so does anyone think this is an invest tomorrow?
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Quoting NorthxCakalaky:
Drake how old are you?


Drak.
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Quoting NorthxCakalaky:
Drake how old are you?


As old as how long my ignore list is going to be.
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329. IKE
Quoting Patrap:
Rachel does it...!

Im in the Money...Woooooooo,Hooooooooooooooooo!!!!!


Brother can you spare a dime...O'Jays
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting IKE:
Landfall at 144 hours...18Z GFS...


It's much stronger earlier on.
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18Z NAM
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
326. IKE
Landfall at 144 hours...18Z GFS...

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
What a race!!!
mind that bird came on so strong at the end!
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Rachel does it...!

Im in the Money...Woooooooo,Hooooooooooooooooo!!!!!

2 down,,Belmont to go.

Outstanding!!
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127804
Drake how old are you?
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Quoting hurricane23:


scroll down to model data

An animated one?
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Now their Off...!
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127804
that horse is freaking haha
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318. IKE
NOGAPS has it looping and then turning toward the panhandle/big bend area.

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting Drakoen:


Takes it back out into the GOM too


I like how it did something similar to the GFS.
We are starting to see some consensus. :D
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Wait one..LOL Tossed rider
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127804
Quoting IKE:
This looks like a week long system, with a few shifts in track.


Get the popcorn ready! LOL
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The shift east is great for the rain chances.
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312. IKE
At 132 hours it's still south of Mobile. This could be a major flooding event for some.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
somebody needs english lessons...

plus i really hope bird pulls this out
shame on that jockey...
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310. IKE
This looks like a week long system, with a few shifts in track.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting cg2916:
NOGAPS link, please?


scroll down to model data
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Well it looks like we could have an invest by the end of the weekend.
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NOGAPS link, please?
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Quoting Patrap:

The Preakness is about to Start,on NBC




Thanks Pat

Blog, I appologize, but I am a stickler for detail.

WS, you stated your uncle lives in the Dry Tortugas, Please tell me which of the small uninhabited islands he lives on in the National Park. You have shaken my trust by virtue of your statement. Fix it for me please. I feel mislead. TIA
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301. IKE
Quoting SevereHurricane:


Are you serious?


His answer...yes and no.

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting WeatherStudent:


really on what channel again?


Are you serious?
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Now Im really confused IKE..LOL
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Quoting hurricane23:


I'll get my canoe ready.


Takes it back out into the GOM too
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296. IKE
This darn thing can't make up it's mind....and I'm talking about the blob, not WeatherStudentJFV.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting Drakoen:
NOGAPS 18Z


I'll get my canoe ready.
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Out of curiosity, why is the pic in your avatar from 1985?
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Quoting WeatherStudent:


really on what channel again?


You're kidding!
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Quoting cchsweatherman:
Just like some have noted here, I have been watching the pressures lower throughout the day in the NW Caribbean. Doesn't seem to be related to normal diurnal shifts as the pressures have lowered faster than normal. Could be something brewing down near Cuba, but I will have to wait and continue watching observations down there before definitively concluding that.


I personally think if the GFS is right, that's it brewing in the Caribbean as I type this, But I want to see this trend continue for a couple of more hours before I jusp to a conclusion.
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NOGAPS 18Z
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289. IKE
Quoting WeatherStudent:


really on what channel again?


Well....he's in NO,LA.....you're in south Florida....I doubt it's the same station in both locations...***takes another Xanax***
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
In works
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127804
Somebody need a permmanent ban from the Blog..
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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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