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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Somebody need a permmanent ban from the Blog..
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285. beell
Quoting Drakoen:
Don't know if any one noticed but this shift is back to where we were from the beginning lol.


Classic GFS!
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I think someone is Yanking a lotta folks chain.


LOL..
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Apparently, acorridng to the GFS shows the low fizzling in the GOM after FL.
Member Since: December 21, 2007 Posts: 13 Comments: 3046

The Preakness is about to Start,on NBC

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Whelp,
There it is again...

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The NOGAPS 18z has made quite a shift to the east compared to its previous runs.
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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.
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Quoting Vortex95:
I live in Cape Town South Africa what should I do to prepare for this deadly system of hell? Please I beg of you!!!


ROFLMFAO!!!!!!!!!!
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Quoting Vortex95:
I live in Cape Town South Africa what should I do to prepare for this deadly system of hell? Please I beg of you!!!


Take a shuttle to the Sun.
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18Z GFS is very agressive with 3 lows already. 3, not 2.
Member Since: December 21, 2007 Posts: 13 Comments: 3046
271. IKE
Now it's shifting WNW...
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Quoting IKE:
2 lows...WTH?



Just another example showing how complex this weather pattern will be just a couple days down the road. Good luck to the true forecasters at the local NWS offices in Florida and along the Gulf Coast in terms of developing a forecast.
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268. beell
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Quoting IKE:
2 lows...WTH?



The low in the central GOM is the hybrid in this run. It's under the upper low. The one over Florida is debatable. Subtropical or tropical entity especially considering southern origins.
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Drak, we got CAT 5s already? ;) j/k...thanks folks for the updates.

Maybe it'll get some rain for the folks that need it! Less dry air, and some good turning down there.

LINK

And, man that thing out in the mAtl is really doing some churning.
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Can someone copy and paste all the trolls on here so I have them on the ignore list?
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I have decided that I will wait a few more runs before jumping aboard on the model bandwagon since the 18Z model run set depicts a totally new solution and needs much more consistency before being totally believed. But I will say that this set represents probably the most realistic solution to date.
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261. IKE
2 lows...WTH?

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Don't know if any one noticed but this shift is back to where we were from the beginning lol.
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Pressure in Grand Cayman down to 1011.7mb from 1014 this morning so it appears something is happening in this area.
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257. beell
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
MARINE WEATHER DISCUSSION


CONFIDENCE IS SLIGHTLY BETTER IN REGARDS TO THE EVOLUTION OF A LOW FEATURE ...BUT REMAINS VERY LOW WITH RESPECT TO EXACT INTENSITY AND TRACK GUIDANCE. WILL CLOSELY FOLLOW FUTURE MODEL RUNS AND UPPER AIR DATA TO GET A BETTER GRIP ON THIS UPCOMING
SCENARIO.


Another chicken/egg/fence sitter!
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Quoting hurricane23:
GFS tags with NAM lol...


The NAM trying to improve it's rep this season. We will see.
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Quoting Drakoen:
Wunderground banned Futuremet on the account that he is a troll. He's making an appeal. Hopefully he will get through.


Ya, if he's a troll I'm the Ham burglar .
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I know a Good Wu-Lawyer.

But he requires a Huge retainer fee.
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WeatherStudent


Blocked.
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GFS tags with NAM lol...
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Wunderground banned Futuremet on the account that he is a troll. He's making an appeal. Hopefully he will get through.
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The Dry Tortugas got a direct hit from Charley in 04, fortunately no one was injured.

Dry Tortugas
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246. beell
221.
We're on the same brain wave lol.

An lol here also!
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MARINE WEATHER DISCUSSION


PRESENT MODEL INDICATIONS ARE THAT THE LOW WILL LIKELY FORM NEAR A SWWD TRAILING MID-LEVEL TROUGH ASSOCIATED WITH THE AFOREMENTIONED FRONT BEGINNING SOMETIME MON. CONSENSUS TRACK PROJECTIONS BY THE MODELS SHOW THE LOW TRACKING IN A N OR NE DIRECTION. IT IS STILL TOO EARLY TO PINPOINT JUST HOW CLOSE TO THE GULF THIS FEATURE WILL COME. IT STILL APPEARS OF THAT THE LOW WILL BE ON THE WEAK SIDE WITH POSSIBLE INCLINATIONS THAT IT MAY BE OF A HYBRID TYPE...PROBABLY MORE ONCE IT GETS CLOSER TO THE WRN ATLC AS OPPOSED TO THE GULF OF MEXICO. FORECAST CONFIDENCE IS SLIGHTLY BETTER IN REGARDS TO THE EVOLUTION OF A LOW FEATURE ...BUT REMAINS VERY LOW WITH RESPECT TO EXACT INTENSITY AND TRACK GUIDANCE. WILL CLOSELY FOLLOW FUTURE MODEL RUNS AND UPPER AIR DATA TO GET A BETTER GRIP ON THIS UPCOMING
SCENARIO.
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GFS 18z shift way east.
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WeatherStudent:

Going to say this once. There is no need to panic or get excited at this time. We don't even have an actual system to track at this time. So, please calm down and just approach this like we all are; in a watch, wait, and see mode. That is the main reason why, quite frankly, many are annoyed by you and don't give you responses to your questions. Just learn to be rational and approach things level-headed and you will see that more will respect you on the blogs. Until then, you will continue to get ignored and attacked by others.
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240. IKE
Quoting WeatherStudent:


it was only a question , my gosh :) grammatical rideculer.


Here we go....

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Quoting WeatherStudent:
any south floridains on ehre if so, plz ya'll watch your local news affeliates this evening


It hasn't developed yet...
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its ok drakoen i like to call this the drama queen hour
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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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