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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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


says who?

the Atlantic floater
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Quoting kmanislander:


It doesn't look as bad there now as it did this morning but if this thing swings back to the WNW across you then watch out with those mountains. Orographic lift can ring out a lot of rain from the system

this morning and last night were bad but it is a little better now
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Quoting weatherwatcher12:
Guys I don't know if this was posted but it is an invest now


says who?
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oops sorry about the caps!
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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.
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current movement, right to miami.
Quoting kmanislander:


Hi There SP

Pressure on my station now is 1009.8 and falling. I hit the " forecast " button and it said precip coming, windy with possible wind shift to the W, NW or N !.
Hi Kman, hope things are going good for you, something sames to be brewing. Even though we need the rain, hope Wednesday isn't too rainy might suppress voter turn out.
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Quoting weatherwatcher12:

In Jamaica we have a flash flood watch up


It doesn't look as bad there now as it did this morning but if this thing swings back to the WNW across you then watch out with those mountains. Orographic lift can ring out a lot of rain from the system
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We have a high surf advisory due to the gradient winds that are going to develope between the low and strong high to the north.
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If anyone else wanted the link:

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/satellite.shtml
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting Weather456:


google it


LOL. I didn't need to. I found it myself. Mr. Attitude.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30563
NVM I found it.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30563
Guys I don't know if this was posted but it is an invest now
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WELL I AM GLAD NITS NOT COMING THIS WAY HOWEVER WE DO NEED THE RAINS FROM IT , BEEN SO DRY EVERY THING IS DRYING UP!
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So all this system needs is a LLC (surface low) and it becomes a TD or STD. Am I correct?
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845. IKE
Things are starting to pop with the future 90L.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting Drakoen:
W456 link?


google it
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
I always liked this site
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15921
Quoting kmanislander:


Hi There SP

Pressure on my station now is 1009.8 and falling. I hit the " forecast " button and it said precip coming, windy with possible wind shift to the W, NW or N !.

In Jamaica we have a flash flood watch up
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W456 link?
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30563
Quoting stormpetrol:
Pressure Grand Cayman 1010.4mb & falling,looks like the system is making swing back to WNW/NW.


Hi There SP

Pressure on my station now is 1009.8 and falling. I hit the " forecast " button and it said precip coming, windy with possible wind shift to the W, NW or N !.
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There's already microwave imagery available.

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Stormchaser made a good point that the environment has become more moist.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30563
Quoting weatherwatcher12:


true west or west north west


NW
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Quoting canesrule1:

Looks very impressive.


Your right, if it continues to spin at mid level, maybe it will be surface low soon.
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Quoting Vortex95:
its definatly starting to head west.


true west or west north west
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Quoting Drakoen:
If it keeps moving west we'll be able to get microwave images on it.


Yeah. I like the new products SSD has added for the Gulf. They should prove pretty useful this season.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15921
Quoting jrweatherman:
I just spoke with a very reliable weather source and he believes that this system will not be much more than a weak non-tropical low but Florida should get some good rains from the cold front that will move down the state.



Impacts should be similar even if it gets a name. Heavy rains for the south-eastern US.
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Quoting Drakoen:


How did you get back here, JFV?



now thats the ? i was wanting too no how did he get pass the ban you no JFV geting pass a ban is a Big NO NO right??
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115241
If it keeps moving west we'll be able to get microwave images on it.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30563
Quoting WeatherStudent:


RIGHT! A ''reliable weather source''. LOL


can u just leave?
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Pressure Grand Cayman 1010.4mb & falling,looks like the system is making swing back to WNW/NW.
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Quoting WeatherStudent:
An ''eye'', yeah right folks, please, LOL, ROFL.


How did you get back here, JFV?
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30563
EYE?
Hey wait! dont u see me in my lounge chair sipping a ice cold bud
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815. Skyepony (Mod)
Looks impressive on the RGB loop. GFS needs to quit hitting my house with it. I'm trying to pack for vacation...
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I just spoke with a very reliable weather source and he believes that this system will not be much more than a weak non-tropical low but Florida should get some good rains from the cold front that will move down the state.
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12 Model Runs


Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting WeatherStudent:
An ''eye'', yeah right folks, please, LOL, ROFL.


Its a joke.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15921
Quoting weatherwatcher12:

Can you tell me where the mid level circulation is


Check the Cuban Radar

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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.