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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AOI
mark
19.3n/78.2w
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EMC Cyclogenesis Tracking Page

Model Cycle: 2009051618Z


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129441
Quoting hurricane23:


The issue with andrew was the vortices very small compact hurricane with extremely strong winds.

Nothing was left standing...



Yes, there were streaks of damage. I don't know if they were caused by tornadoes or not, but you could actually easily tell where each "streak" was. You'd see one house leveled while the house on either side was damaged, but standing.
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Quoting PELLSPROG:
I went to Miami Lakes from Pompano Beach for Andrew. It was suppose to hit Broward County but curved south just before landfall. I didn't realize just how close I was to such a disaster. I used to live in the Gables and went to help a friend clean up and didn't recognize the area south on Old Cutler Rd. It did look like a bomb leveled the place.


Yeah, just about everything from Kendall and south was destroyed. Miami got very lucky. I often wonder what the city would be like today if Andrew had made a direct hit.
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Were you in the eye?


The issue with andrew was the vortices very small compact hurricane with extremely strong winds.

were that eyewall came in nothing was left standing...

Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13841
I went to Miami Lakes from Pompano Beach for Andrew. It was suppose to hit Broward County but curved south just before landfall. I didn't realize just how close I was to such a disaster. I used to live in the Gables and went to help a friend clean up and didn't recognize the area south on Old Cutler Rd. It did look like a bomb leveled the place.
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Were you in the eye?


Yeah, it went directly over us.
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Were you interested in weather before Andrew Canewarning, or did Andrew trigger it, or did that come after?


Andrew triggered it. I was 11 when Andrew hit.
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125. IKE
18Z NAM @ 60 hours...

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Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13841
Adrian, nice new avatar.
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Quoting SevereHurricane:


Wow,
I had the same problem after Katrina,
I couldn't get the sound out of my ears.
Did you expect Andrew to be as nasty as it was?


I was a kid so I didn't know what to expect. I just remember everyone saying it wouldn't be a big deal. Most of my neighborhood stayed.
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Quoting hurricane23:
On my links page i have the Tropical Cyclone Formation Probabilities from (NOAA) and the back-Up Probability Page(CIRA/RAMMB. Scroll down to model data section

Visit my links page HERE.
Very nice page, well organized
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2 before we eat here.

Caribbean Low Cloud Product


Cuban Radar
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129441
I made a page on my site for andrew go HERE.

Here's the man that kept south florida together through the nightmare.

a href=""
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13841
Quoting CaneWarning:


A really loud roar. I heard that sound in my ears for days it seemed like when it was over. After the roof and outer walls were destroyed it was even louder, not to mention wet.


Wow,
I had the same problem after Katrina,
I couldn't get the sound out of my ears.
Did you expect Andrew to be as nasty as it was?
Member Since: September 7, 2008 Posts: 17 Comments: 1604
116. beell
Genesis compliments of the GFS

All frames from today's 12Z GFS
Valid Monday, 05/18 at 12Z

Surface
(small shear or wind shift noted per the Doc)

Photobucket

850mb

Photobucket

500mb

Photobucket

300mb

Photobucket
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Pats cyclone Genesis image shows highest probability in the Atlantic over the Extra Tropical low.
Defiantly needs to be watched for Sub-Tropical development and the Caribbean.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24552
Been watching the latest visible satellite loop for the disturbance developing between Jamaica and Cuba. Over the past few hours, it seems to me that we may be watching a low-level circulation come together at around 19N and 78.5W. Would love some other opinions.
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
CaneWarning you were in Andrew?


Yeah, Andrew is the reason we left S. Florida.
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Quoting SevereHurricane:


What did the wind sound like?


A really loud roar. I heard that sound in my ears for days it seemed like when it was over. After the roof and outer walls were destroyed it was even louder, not to mention wet.
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Good seeing yas again extreme236..

Im out for Crawfish myself.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129441
I'll be back later on to check on things, hoping to be a bit more active once things start to pick up out there. Later
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
Quoting CaneWarning:


Hell.


What did the wind sound like?
Member Since: September 7, 2008 Posts: 17 Comments: 1604
On my links page i have the Tropical Cyclone Formation Probabilities from (NOAA) and the back-Up Probability Page(CIRA/RAMMB. Scroll down to model data section

Visit my links page HERE.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13841
Quoting SevereHurricane:


How would you describe it?


Nightmare
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Quoting hurricane23:


Sure HERE you go.
Thanks a lot, that's the one!
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Out for now
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Quoting hurricane23:


An atomic bomb


Yeah, I remember my parents getting lost trying to go somewhere because everything was destroyed.
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Quoting SevereHurricane:


How would you describe it?


An atomic bomb
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13841
Tropical Cyclone Formation Probability Guidance Product

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129441
Quoting SevereHurricane:


How would you describe it?


Hell.
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87. hurricane23 8:15 PM GMT on May 16, 2009

Well I tried LOL
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Quoting Huracaneer:
Does anybody have that link to that site that shows the possibility of hurricane formation (the ones with the purple, blue, etc squares)? I seem to have lost my link. Thanks in advance


Sure HERE you go.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13841
Quoting CaneWarning:


Yeah, I was in Homestead for that one.


How would you describe it?
Member Since: September 7, 2008 Posts: 17 Comments: 1604
Quoting stillwaiting:
extreme SJ site:http://www.stormjunkie.com/pages/modelink/models1.php
Psu weather wall:Link
NOAA:Link

hope that gets you started!!!


Thank you!
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
Quoting hurricane23:


My aunts house was on US1 and 312 street in florida city.


Yeah we were right off of US1 ourselves just north of Homestead, but still south of Cutler.
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Does anybody have that link to that site that shows the possibility of hurricane formation (the ones with the purple, blue, etc squares)? I seem to have lost my link. Thanks in advance
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Wouldn't surprise me to see an pre-season storm this year...seems to be more of the norm in recent years. Just from my quick glance at things I'm a bit more interested in the mid-atlantic low for subtropical development...still a decent amount of shear in the Caribbean. Nonetheless some of that persistence in the models makes it worth watching, something I couldnt help remembering from last year.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
This aint August...for sure.Similar GOM Path though.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129441
That was strange, wrong "cut"
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Psu weather wall:Link
NOAA:Link

hope that gets you started extreme!!!Link
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970
Quoting Patrap:
Interesting that the NCEP Ensemble 24 hrs ago was on it,and remains.




Doing a Katrina in the path.
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Quoting hurricane23:


Its an animated gif of the last radar image taken from NHC before the WSR-57 radar was blown off the roof. My experience with 160 mph winds in florida city.


wow didn't realize it was actual radar shots ... I was thinking it was just an animated hypothetical apocolyptocane .... 0.0
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Quoting kmanislander:
Hey Adrian, any chance of a "still" image ?



Hey Kman,

Of course here you go.

Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13841

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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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