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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Upper Level Divergence:


Lower Level Convergence:
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15947
Quoting Vortex95:
694. The "blob" is losing convection as we speak.



Wait till darkness approaches.
Member Since: May 17, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 904
imo the way the disturbance looks gives the illusion of a few features seen of a TD. Happens on occation.
Quoting Vortex95:
694. The "blob" is losing convection as we speak.


But at the same time, the ''blob'' is becoming better defined physically as well speak.
Quoting Vortex95:
694. The "blob" is losing convection as we speak.


-looks at watch, sees its 4:30-
Oh, isn't that DMIN?
It blew up last night during DMAX.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
700. Its been known for a while still unofficial though.
Quoting charlottefl:
NHC Floater satellite is labeled "invest"




we no
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115430
Lakers look to have game 7 won.
Quoting Vortex95:
pressures naturally rise and fall. You will just have to see if it starts falling quicker than normal.
True, this is a little faster than normal though
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Freeport, Florida back here for the 2009 hurricane season. Approx. 13 miles from the Gulf of Mexico up 109 ft. elevation. 1st high ground from the Gulf of Mexico...with a front row seat to the weather excitement.

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NHC Floater satellite is labeled "invest" (Thought I'd open the can of worms) ;)
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694. The "blob" is losing convection as we speak.
Low level vorticity increasing over Cuba. Link
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pressures naturally rise and fall. You will just have to see if it starts falling quicker than normal.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30670
Quoting stormpetrol:
About 350miles W of the main area of convection, but it tells me that pressures are starting to fall in the NW Caribbean.
yup
Extratropical, subtropical whatever!Is it okay to just call it tropical.Dude like are they blind!Look at the thing for Pete's sake. The "blob" as they call it is already starting to take form like outer bands!This has to be an invest already.
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Just started raining here in Tallahassee....See everyone tommorow afteroon..WW
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now im not saying it will never develop an LLC but, come on!
Satellite Imagery
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About 350miles W of the main area of convection, but it tells me that pressures are starting to fall in the NW Caribbean.
Quoting canesrule1:
really, but grand cayman is far?
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Rain is a good sight to see


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Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30670
Quoting billy305:
Looking at the latest frame of the Satellite imagery you can see what seems to be a circulation moving west just east of Jamaica. Check it out.
yea, its around 76 and 18
Quoting stormpetrol:
Grand Cayman pressure 1011mb and falling.
really, but grand cayman is far?
Looking at the latest frame of the Satellite imagery you can see what seems to be a circulation moving west just east of Jamaica. Check it out.
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Grand Cayman pressure 1011mb and falling.
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in the upper levels of the atmosphere there is a circle aound the system next to cuba
Quoting extreme236:


LOL

Another Astley in Britain had a good song. Jon Astley - Put this love to the test. Check it out.
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Quoting CatastrophicDL:

Extreme, great pipes huh?


LOL
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Quoting Drakoen:


There is no sfc circulation
Oh, seeing the Quickstat I see what you mean. My bad. But i do see some circulation, may it be a MLC and what not.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Its starting to look like an Anti-Cyclone is developing over Possible 90L.

Cybr, looks like it, but is it more mid-level? Link
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yep 670 posts in one day in May.
We're back to Hurricane season!
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Quoting billy305:
Hello everyone! Nice to start a new hurricane season. Time to get some life in this blog. lol
Well, just stopped into say that the NHC has labeled our little rainmaker here an invest, and looking at the satellite loop I can see some signs of outflow, and an apparent LLC trying to form SE of Jamaica
Check it out- http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/flt/t1/loop-vis.html
*Back to lurking*
LOL


There is no sfc circulation
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30670
Quoting cchsweatherman:


Could this be the beginning for some development? Will be watching the updates from the CIMSS regarding vorticity and shear as they come in throughout the day and tonight to see if these trends continue.


Things are on the up and up with this AOI. Seems to have gained some substantial ground today both physically and in regards to it's enviornment.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hello everyone! Nice to start a new hurricane season. Time to get some life in this blog. lol
Well, just stopped into say that the NHC has labeled our little rainmaker here an invest, and looking at the satellite loop I can see some signs of outflow, and an apparent LLC trying to form SE of Jamaica
Check it out- http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/flt/t1/loop-vis.html
*Back to lurking*
LOL
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Quoting StormW:





Yea...the time on the top does confuse one. But the time of the pass is normally at the bottom. The time above is the process time.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
tropicalamanda didn't know who rick A was either
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Quoting canesrule1:
this system is not looking better its looking worst, its losing some of its convection which is not good because us here in south florida need the rain due to our terrible drought.


Us here in North Brevard County need the rain too. Our whole state looks like we picked up and moved to Arizona.LOL
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Quoting extreme236:
Actually there is one very interesting thing I noticed about this system...may have to keep an eye on this. Link

Extreme, great pipes huh?
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Quoting StormW:


You got it my friend.

BTW, once I find out how much postage is gonna cost, I'll send that package.


Thanks alot...Hope it doesn't cost you much.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
ok WeatherStudent JFV/PE where do you live???

Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115430
Quoting WeatherStudent:


Those folks are a full-fledge joke, that's for damn sure.



What do you disagree with them about? I just scanned that and it looks almost exactly what we are talking about.
Member Since: May 17, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 904
circulation at 75.9 and 18
Its starting to look like an Anti-Cyclone is developing over Possible 90L.
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Quoting WeatherStudent:


Those folks are a full-fledge joke, that's for damn sure.

LOL you have no idea what your talking about.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15947
Afternoon Folks and question (been out all day).....To what degree is the ULL in the mid-Atlantic affecting the area around Cuba and would we need a little more "separation" between the two, in addition to the lessend shear, for the possibility of a sub-tropical development?....(not the menton the uncertainly of the effect of the forthcoming trof on the whole thing).....It's pretty complex set-up and may just end up as a rain evet as suggested by Dr. M........Thanks
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Quoting StormW:


Not yet...that set was at 13:42 UTC


yea which is 9:42 EDT/AST...post the pass let me see.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting TheCaneWhisperer:
850 Vort Now Present

Shear dropping over the center


Could this be the beginning for some development? Will be watching the updates from the CIMSS regarding vorticity and shear as they come in throughout the day and tonight to see if these trends continue.
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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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