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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Mid-level low over Central Cuba. It will probably take the frontal boundary and positive vorticity advection to really get things going.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30615
Quoting extreme236:


I dont think this is something I want to happen in the next 12 hours.


ROFL...I wouldnt think so.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15946
Quoting Tazmanian:
ok all step a way from your laptop take a brak and come back in 1hr and see how seen are then



What :)
Member Since: September 4, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 142
Quoting Drakoen:


I don't have a laptop what do I do?

Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
Quoting IpswichWeatherCenter:
http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/flt/t1/vis.jpg
Possible Pre-Season Subtropical System

Too be honest it is looking better organised and I would feel that a STD is due in the next 12 hours if it continues its present organisation increase.


I dont think this is something I want to happen in the next 12 hours.
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.
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115354
Hey CatastrophicDL,

What ever happenes i think south florida looks pretty wet most of the week.Hope you have a great sunday.

Playoff game starting...
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Quoting weatherblog:


What are you smoking?


Easy there. Admins been cracking down hard lately.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15946
Quoting Vortex95:
Is the shear level going up or down.


down, unfortunately.
Quoting Tazmanian:
ok all step a way from your laptop take a brak and come back in 1hr and see how seen are then


I don't have a laptop what do I do?
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30615
up down all a around
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115354
From what I've learned on here....we'd need a surface low for this to become tropical, correct?
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ok all step a way from your laptop take a brak and come back in 1hr and see how seen are then
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115354
Is the shear level going up or down.
Catas, if I'm not mistaken, I would tend to think that the GFS operates the best when it comes to wind shear tendencies. :) Smiles.
Quoting IpswichWeatherCenter:
http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/flt/t1/vis.jpg
Possible Pre-Season Subtropical System

Too be honest it is looking better organised and I would feel that a STD is due in the next 12 hours if it continues its present organisation increase.


What are you smoking?
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Quoting hurricane23:
Again i just dont see any kind of surface circulation close to were ssd has that floater up.

Hey Adrian, I agree still very mid to upper level. I do thing those levels are becoming more symmetrical. Maybe trying to get a little better organized? But looks like shear is trying to rip her apart.
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http://radar.weather.gov/ridge/radar_lite.php?rid=GMO&product=N0R&loop=no

check it out
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ATM drak and 23 are right.
There is absolutely nothing to indicate a Surface low. None of the surface OBS indicate any kind of surface circulation at ground level.
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Quoting Vortex95:
its a joke Hurricane.


Ahh...No probs iam just no sure why all get excited cause ssd put a floater up.My local NWS office seems to have a great handle on expected rainfall.
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downcasting wishcasting poofcasting weastcating ripcasting there all the same
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115354
Weather456 thanks for that link, I lost my cuban radar link from last year but this one is much better than the one I had
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Hi Storm. Good to see you.
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Drak, do your eyes hurt you? I'm going out and I'm inviting you! So come out your dark basement and lets hit the town.
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its a joke Hurricane.
Good afternoon Haha, WS and others.

Which forecast model is the best in regards to shear? And which level of shear should I be using? So how soon will shear be more conductive to development?

I think the GFS scenario will still be the best for drought stricken states. Hopefully the US will see some much needed rain.

Did you guys noticed the ECMWF has a nice low pressure system moving west to east in the Pacific>
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Quoting Vortex95:
Drak don't start downcasting now were near dmin :P.


Downcasting? There absolutely nothing down there ive looked at obs all around the area and all i can find is pressures on the way up with no surface circulation.The convection popping is likely probably due to an interaction with an old frontal boundary in the vicinity.
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78.5 16.5 coc
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check it... http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/tatl/rb.jpg
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well wait 12 hours and see if it recovers.
Its appears that the diurnal minimum is beginning to affect the disturbance.

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15946
Our "invest" is moving quickly along but so is our front.
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It's not a tropical system though.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30615
Drak don't start downcasting now were near dmin :P.
Afternoon all. Popped in cause strangely enough it's too cool to swim! No invest yet? I hope Florida gets some much needed rain soon...didn't realize how dry things were.
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Quoting Drakoen:


The convection is waning too.


Diurnal cycle?
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
Quoting hurricane23:
Again i just dont see any kind of surface circulation close to were ssd has that floater up.


The convection is waning too.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30615
Hey all...

Dripping wet Sunday on the Panhandle....

Hi ya HaHa!
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Again i just dont see any kind of surface circulation close to were ssd has that floater up.
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Long time lurker, first time poster. I am familiar with quite a few of you.. I have been reading and following along for 3 seasons now. Thanks to everyone for all the great info, and heres to a new season. I tend to have more questions then i do comments, but i am a good source for walking outside seeing what the weather is doing, then comming back and telling everyone. lol. fwiw i am in cape coral,fl which is next to Fort Myers, and have 1st hand knowledge of what a strong storm can do. I sat thru Charley and watched my roof fly off, and also went thru Andrew, albeit on the other side of the state as landfall.
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MARINE WEATHER DISCUSSION


THE LOW WILL MOVE INTO THE WESTERN PORTION OF THE ATLC ZONE BY EARLY MON NEAR THE NW BAHAMAS. GALE FORCE WINDS ARE POSSIBLE LATE TUE AND INTO WED N OF THE LOW...THEN DECREASE AS THE LOW MOVES W INTO THE GULF OF MEXICO THU AND FRI. BRISK ELY WINDS CONTINUE N OF AROUND 28N THROUGH THU THEN DECREASE FRI.

SURFACE TROUGH OVER THE NW CARIBBEAN FROM CENTRAL CUBA TO 15N81W. LOW EXPECTED TO DEVELOP S OF CUBA MON AND MOVE N OF THE CARIBBEAN MON NIGHT. THIS WILL CONTINUE TO DISRUPT TRADE WINDS W OF 75W WITH MOSTLY LIGHT WINDS. TRADES WILL REMAIN IN THE 15-20 KT RANGE OVER THE EASTERN CARIBBEAN THROUGH THE END OF THE WEEK.

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Possibly the models suggest the front will pull much stronger than you would think.
Here is a peek across the pond.

Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
Hey DL
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Quoting CatastrophicDL:

There's more than one word spelled wrong there!

Hi everyone!


Hey Catas!
still waiting for the nrlmry to call it an invest
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It'll be interesting. The models are trying to takes this thing towards central Cuba over the next 24hrs but the convection has been adamant about staying east of Jamaica.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30615
isn't that an illusion I remember sum1 talking about fake spins off near a coast of a land mass.
Now ALL The links have the invest on it.
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Quoting hahaguy:


Learn how to spell!!

There's more than one word spelled wrong there!

Hi everyone!
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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.