Gathering extratropical storm set to drench Florida, Cuba, and the Bahamas

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:11 PM GMT on May 17, 2009

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A concentrated area of heavy thunderstorms has developed near Jamaica and eastern Cuba, in association with a mid- to upper-level trough of low pressure. The latest 00Z and 06Z runs of the GFS, UKMET, NOGAPS, and ECMWF global dynamical computer models continue to forecast that this disturbance will develop into an extratropical low by Tuesday. The low should bring heavy rain and possible flooding problems to Cuba, Florida, and the Bahamas this week as it lifts northwestward over Florida. Up to eight inches of rain may fall over Florida by Friday (Figure 2), thanks also to a cold front expected to move over the state over the next two days. At present, it appears wind shear will be too high to allow the extratropical storm developing over Cuba to transition into a subtropical or tropical storm. However, if the center emerges into the northern Gulf of Mexico late this week, wind shear may be low enough to allow a transition to a subtropical storm (10% chance).


Figure 1. Latest IR satellite image of the Atlantic, showing the gathering extratropical storm near the eastern tip of Cuba, and the cut-off low spinning in the mid-Atlantic.


Figure 2. Forecast precipitation amount between 8am EDT Sunday 5/17/09 and 8am EDT Friday 5/22/09. Image credit: NOAA/HPC.

There has been little change to the large upper-level cold low spinning in the mid-Atlantic a few hundred miles east of Bermuda. The low 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.

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 Monday.

Jeff Masters

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hello everyone, looks to be starting earlier each year it seems....well hope for a good swell for the gulf coast....nice to see alot of the reg's in here...looking to see what this season has in stored...
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ok who wanna bet TD by 10 pm tonight
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GFS 18Z @ 78 hrs

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Quoting Vortex95:
and you feel it does not or will not Drak?


It's a lot farther east than the other models. We'll have to see how things shape up. The GFS may be too agressive.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29941
the system seams to be better organized
90L by monday AM for sure
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114781
Go west unofficial 90L! Florida needs some rain!
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NWS For NC/VA


Late week period to be dominated by the interactions of the broad
upper ridge across the Ohio Valley and middle-Atlantic and the developing
hybrid-tropical upper low over the eastern Gomex. Models in general
agreement in moving upper ridge off the East Coast by early Thursday
and bringing the upper low and attendant surface system ashore
somewhere along the Gulf Coast from Florida Panhandle to eastern
Louisiana. Still considerable uncertainty as to how far/fast the
moisture from this system will push northward. Mostly followed HPC
guidance on the northward push of moisture with probability of precipitation increasing late
Thursday into Friday and persisting chance of showers over the weekend.
However depending on the exact movement of the hybrid low could
potentially be very wet or very dry and still too early to state
with much certainty.
Member Since: May 17, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 904
899. IKE
Looks like the trough forces it north on the 18Z GFS and then it heads back to the WNW with building high pressure.

WeatherStudent...looks like you might be spared.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting Stormchaser2007:


Always good to see a new friendly blogger. Welcome to Weather Underground!


Sometimes they end up being too friendly
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29941
Welcome!
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It's counting on the system having enough vertical depth to be shunted that far east. I would have to see that myself.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29941
Again any SSD forcaster on duty has the ability to put a floater on any given area and it does not necceseraly mean an investigation is forth coming.Theres really nothing down there and pressures are risng last time i checked.Those images are run by SAB not the NHC.
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So its smacked between the advancing frontal trough and the quasi-staionary high. Interesting show.
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Quoting OpusDei:
Hey Guys,
Thought id interject just briefly. I am 26y/o a flight instructor down here in New Orleans and have been interested in T.Weather for a while. Kinda new to the site. Anyhow, does anyone know the threshold for "Invest" as defined by the NHC? Anyhow just hoping to meet some new weather friends. Happy (almost) Hurricane Season.
Bradford


Always good to see a new friendly blogger. Welcome to Weather Underground!
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15790
GFS this far east is a somewhat robust.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29941
890. IKE
Quoting Vortex95:
GFS going nuts?


No...this blog is.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting IKE:
Check out the 18Z GFS @ 42 hours...WELL east of Florida...



Yep, a more reasonable track for the new location of the trough axis.
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GitMo now at 1011.9mb.

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15790
Hey Guys,
Thought id interject just briefly. I am 26y/o a flight instructor down here in New Orleans and have been interested in T.Weather for a while. Kinda new to the site. Anyhow, does anyone know the threshold for "Invest" as defined by the NHC? Anyhow just hoping to meet some new weather friends. Happy (almost) Hurricane Season.
Bradford
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did you read my last post i said iwas sorry for the caps didnt realise it was on before i hit the post button
Quoting WeatherStudent:


There's no need to scream. So, please don't do it. Thanks.
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884. IKE
Check out the 18Z GFS @ 42 hours...WELL east of Florida...

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Link

invest floater link
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Quoting all4hurricanes:
Can someone give me a link to a site that definitively states the blob by Jamaica is 90L


They cant because there isnt one.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15790
Quoting all4hurricanes:
Can someone give me a link to a site that definitively states the blob by Jamaica is 90L

The NHC floater says invest
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18z GFS is taking her way east. Maybe on account for the trough axis relocation.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29941
I think we've gone over the whole 'its not an invest yet' thing a few times. So can we please stop?
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15790
The Weather Channel just had a segment on the potential development of a Sub Tropical Low early this week.

Does anyone concur?
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Can someone give me a link to a site that definitively states the blob by Jamaica is 90L
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Anyone else wondering if this system was supposed to look this good already?
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oh ues yahoo IM???
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114781
873. IKE
Quoting weatherwatcher12:

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/satellite.shtml


They don't run the GFDL and HWRF based on NHC floater's only.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting MississippiWx:


Hi, VA!

Yes, I've had a great off-season. No headaches with worrying about tropical weather! :-) Thanks for asking.


ahhhh headaches are half the fun :p
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Quoting Vortex95:
Billy WOBBLE!!!
That Brings back the memories :D
854. stormpetrol 9:39 PM GMT on May 17, 2009

All is well thanks but boy is it a hot one today. Lots of rain to the East around the Savannah area by the looks of the clouds this morning but not a drop here in SS.

You're right about Wednesday but I suspect that this will be long gone by then.
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Quoting IKE:


Don't see it on the Navy site.

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/satellite.shtml
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Santiago De Cuba pressure is at 1010 millibars
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


Welcome back! :)
have a good year?


Hi, VA!

Yes, I've had a great off-season. No headaches with worrying about tropical weather! :-) Thanks for asking.
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Quoting Weather456:
If anyone else wanted the link:

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/satellite.shtml
\

It's on the SSD site you don't even need to go the NHC site.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29941
863. IKE
Quoting weatherwatcher12:
Guys I don't know if this was posted but it is an invest now


Don't see it on the Navy site.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting MississippiWx:
Hey, everyone. I haven't been on since last season. It's nice to see some of you regulars still on board.

Gotta say, I'm pretty impressed with how this system looks. Not buying into the "hype" of it yet, though.


Welcome back! :)
have a good year?
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lol oh wow.
i say a joke and everyone catches along :D
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


says who?

the Atlantic floater
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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.