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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810. Wundermet
9:24 PM GMT on May 17, 2009
Quoting weatherwatcher12:

Can you tell me where the mid level circulation is


Check the Cuban Radar

809. canesrule1
9:24 PM GMT on May 17, 2009
Guantanamo, Cuba

Current Conditions

Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (Airport)
Light Rain Showers
78 °F
Light Showers Rain
Humidity: 79%
Dew Point: 71 °F
Wind: 10 mph from the East
Pressure: 29.88 in (Falling)
Visibility: 5.6 miles
UV: 2 out of 16
Clouds:
Mostly Cloudy 3000 ft
Mostly Cloudy 9000 ft
Overcast 25000 ft
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 56 ft
808. Cavin Rawlins
9:24 PM GMT on May 17, 2009
Quoting weatherwatcher12:

Can you tell me where the mid level circulation is


18.68N - 75.58W
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
807. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
9:23 PM GMT on May 17, 2009


another shot of the pin hole eye

lol
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
806. extreme236
9:22 PM GMT on May 17, 2009
THE DREADED PINHOLE EYE
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
805. Walshy
9:21 PM GMT on May 17, 2009
*14 Days for Atlantic Hurricane Season 2009 to start.
Member Since: May 17, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 904
804. weatherwatcher12
9:20 PM GMT on May 17, 2009
Quoting Weather456:
Now we wait and see if the mid-level circulation makes it to the surface. If heavy convection persist in association with this feature, the surface trough can then be amplified into a surface low, and consequently a LLCC.

Almost reminds of the genesis of Tropical Storm Olga in December 2007.

Can you tell me where the mid level circulation is
Member Since: May 16, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 1231
803. Stormchaser2007
9:20 PM GMT on May 17, 2009
**Shameless self promotion alert**
Ive started to update my PhotoBucket account again. Ill continue to update it throughout the season. Feel free to look through it.

Back on topic.

It appears that our disturbance has surrounded itself in a relatively moist environment.

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15776
802. canesrule1
9:19 PM GMT on May 17, 2009

Looks like both the front and the wave are going to crash
Quoting extreme236:


Increasing north of the actual blob mass.


I did not say it has established a well defined circulation yet. I was implying that the ambient vorticity values are increasing.
Quoting canesrule1:
let me try
i agree the convection is going down
Now we wait and see if the mid-level circulation makes it to the surface. If heavy convection persist in association with this feature, the surface trough can then be amplified into a surface low, and consequently a LLCC.

Almost reminds of the genesis of Tropical Storm Olga in December 2007.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
RAMSDIS loop shows it might be making a turn more towards the west.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29886
Quoting extreme236:


SSD Rainbow IR imagery would make a rain shower look good. Its misleading...use the AVN.
let me try
to me it looks like an eye is forming :-)
Quoting canesrule1:
i think convection is coming back


SSD Rainbow IR imagery would make a rain shower look good. Its misleading...use the AVN.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
Quoting Wundermet:
Vorticity at the lower levels seems to be increasing...




Increasing north of the actual blob mass.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
i think convection is coming back
Quoting Drakoen:
Pinhole eye??? Batten down the hatches. God help us all!!!


Sub-tropical storm Armageddon.

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15776
Vorticity at the lower levels seems to be increasing...


http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/flt/t1/rb-l.jpg
heres a zoom in of the pinhole eye

lol

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
LOL
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114719
This system is causing a feeling of nostalgia here lol

_Fay
784. IKE
Quoting Drakoen:
Pinhole eye??? Batten down the hatches. God help us all!!!


Where's Taz?

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Convection continues to die.

normal and in doing so will refire again later tonight or tomorrow
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting Stormchaser2007:


Well as Drak stated that isnt the circulation.


It's mid level circulation convectionally induced.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29886
This system looks much better than 24hrs ago, despite the absence of an LLC.

Link
Pinhole eye??? Batten down the hatches. God help us all!!!
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29886
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Convection continues to die.



Eck, not looking very good. We'll see I guess.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
Vertical Velocity from this morning - red updward motion and blue downward motion. Yellow arrows - Geostrophic wind

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting canesrule1:
yea, but the circulation look better


Well as Drak stated that isnt the circulation.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15776
Quoting canesrule1:
what the link to that pic

Link
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29886
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Convection continues to die.

yea, but the circulation look better
Convection continues to die.

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15776
772. IKE
Quoting gulfcoastdweller:


did you finish up your mowing today?


Yup...sure did...yard looks real nice now with about an inch+ of rain on it. I've got a big yard. Takes 3 hours to mow.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29886
Quoting Stormchaser2007:


Just download Firefox. I use Firefox for my Mac at work.
good idea.
Quoting extreme236:


The NHC have not declared this an invest. The SSD is just monitoring it as an invest.


Exactly. It's a good indicator, and warrants further investigation.

Look to the navy site first. It'll be up on wunderground main tropical page when it has been 'declared'. (I think I'm using the right term there'; there's always a debate about the right terminology.)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting canesrule1:
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH, darn u mac.


Just download Firefox. I use Firefox for my Mac at work.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15776
Quoting Drakoen:
SREF Ensembles:
what the link to that pic
765. IKE
It's been raining at my house, off and mostly on, for the last 5 hours. Cold front is crawling through here.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Oh forgot to mention you cant post images while your using safari.
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH, darn u mac.
we got an eye. looks like it LOL
SREF Ensembles:
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29886
Oh forgot to mention you cant post images while your using safari.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15776

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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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