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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1187. IKE
Quoting Wundermet:


Yes, Futuremet

I will not lie


I thought so. I wasn't going to say for fear of you know what.....

Funny how you can tell who someone is by their way of typing....
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1185. Patrap


Cuban Radar,Pilón
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125530
Quoting scottsvb:
ok back to MET 101... A tropical system needs a upper level high to for its exhaust...not a upper level low.... sheer over 15kt isnt good for a tropical system unless its moving in the same direction as the sheer..and then its only slightly better.

If this system forms...it will be around Cuba or near the bahamas on monday into monday night..and it wont be more than subtropical @ best until the sheer relaxes and a ridge develops..otherwise it needs a warm core. ULL=cold core!


That's if it's under the ull. If the ull forms in the gulf and splits the subtropical jet (which ull's do if the cut off from the jet. There is almost always and area of lower shear somewhere east of a ull while higher shear everywhere else.) Then the storm can form tropically.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Good morning everyone. Good to see you again Extreme, how are you?



Hey, I'm doing good. Good to see you still around.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
Good morning everyone. Good to see you again Extreme, how are you?

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Wind Forecast

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12z NAM is more slow on movement,its almost stationary in the GOM.

Link
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Quoting IKE:


Are you new?

I think I know you.


Yes, Futuremet

I will not lie
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1178. Patrap
GOM WV Still

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125530
Quoting Patrap:
Any talk or Quoting of a JFV sighting or other monomania will be flagged and action requested ASAP.

Grow up or MOVE on.

Millions see here daily and your BS is embarrassing all of us.


I hope your not talking to me....
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970
1176. Drakoen
I disagree with the NHC's placement of the surface trough. The quicksat reveals it may be further east closer to 76W.Link
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1175. IKE
Quoting Wundermet:
12Z NAM


Are you new?

I think I know you.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1174. Patrap
Got it in under the wire eh IKE...?
Have daughters Graduation today at 3 here.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125530
1173. Patrap
Guess I should have that morning med now..LOL
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125530
1172. IKE
Raining at my house right now. Got through mowing my yard just in time.

Rain and 77 degrees.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
12Z NAM
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ok back to MET 101... A tropical system needs a upper level high to for its exhaust...not a upper level low.... sheer over 15kt isnt good for a tropical system unless its moving in the same direction as the sheer..and then its only slightly better.

If this system forms...it will be around Cuba or near the bahamas on monday into monday night..and it wont be more than subtropical @ best until the sheer relaxes and a ridge develops..otherwise it needs a warm core. ULL=cold core!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1169. Patrap
Any talk or Quoting of a JFV sighting or other monomania will be flagged and action requested ASAP.

Grow up or MOVE on.

Millions see here daily and your BS is embarrassing all of us.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125530
1168. IKE
Quoting stillwaiting:



how do you know his name if your new here JFV????


Ding-ding-ding!!!!!!

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1167. Drakoen
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WeatherStudent:
I learned it a couple of days ago, and I'M NOT JFV.



from who???,you just sound alot like him..sir and all..
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970
Quoting WeatherStudent:
I learned it a couple of days ago, and I'M NOT JFV.


Haven't been here for more than a couple days but you post just like him. Just sayin...
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
1164. Ossqss
An alternate discussion from this morning on the system and the european model referenced in it with a loop button upper right.

Link

Link
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TS: should drop SSE and might be what the models have been picking up on in that area,IMO this would be the feature to watch as it is forcast to be in our region for atleast the next 120hrs.....
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970
Quoting WeatherStudent:
Anyways the latest GFS model shows another system hitting Florida in about 200 hours from now, thoughts?


200 hours from now answers your own question I think lol
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
Quoting Vortex95:
1145. Heh a 20 incher?

It was raining all through the night and a little in the morning and it's cold now and more clouds rolling in from the east
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Quoting stillwaiting:
ULL forming in the GOM now:Link


Sometimes an ULL can help Vent a system and help it Organize......but, that is usually during the Heat of Season.
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Quoting hurricane23:


12z NAM has a weak low during circles all around southeast florida through 78hrs.rain rain rain


That sucks...I don't mind the occasional day of rain but when it gets excessive like that its not fun.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
Quoting WeatherStudent:


No storm anymore, Adrian. :(



how do you know his name if your new here JFV????
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970
1154. Patrap


Caribbean - Water Vapor Loop
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125530
Quoting keywestbrat:
tampaspin you just put the jinx on us LOL


NO NO NO.....we are all just going to get a ton of rain which we all need......

OH here is some Troll Juice Recipes that you all might need today....LOL
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ULL forming in the GOM now:Link
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970
Quoting extreme236:
As it stands right now, I wouldn't say this is gonna be our first storm of the season, unless it does find itself in a pocket of modestly low shear in a couple days time.


I think its reasonable to look in the CATL at that Low for the first one. This Caribbean system though might have a better chance because it has loads of models going for it.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23012
1147. Patrap
Caribbean - Funktop Color Infrared Loop

Rainbow CH,still
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125530
Tropical Update
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting Vortex95:
the disturbance certinally has good convection.

We are getting some of that convection where we are
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Quoting extreme236:


I dont see SST's as the issue here, more of a shear problem. Would have to agree subtropical development is much more likely than tropical.


12z NAM has a weak low during circles all around southeast florida through 78hrs.rain rain rain
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13597
As it stands right now, I wouldn't say this is gonna be our first storm of the season, unless it does find itself in a pocket of modestly low shear in a couple days time.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
1140. Patrap


Meteorological Analyses over the Tropics
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125530
Quoting WeatherStudent:


I wouldn't speak so confidently if I were you, TS. Because remember, with Mother Nature one NEVER EVER knows and that is for damn sure right there. Smiles.
I agree with you 100%
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About JeffMasters

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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