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 hahaguy:


Learn how to spell!!

There's more than one word spelled wrong there!

Hi everyone!
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there is circulation just east of the tip of jamaica.
Well I see we have an unofficial invest. Interesting.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15776
GFS Ensemble Mean over SFL
UKMET
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29888
"invest" on NHC site. Couple of the links have Possible 90L on it.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23574
post 424, I thought the exact same thing! Boy do we need the rain.
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Quoting Weather456:
Hope it does not persist for long over Haiti

I agree the place is not looking good
Model tracks:
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29888
There is upper level divergence but no rotation at the 5000 ft level

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Hope it does not persist for long over Haiti

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Per the ECMWF, this would definitely help the drought issue in FL.
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Quoting kmanislander:


Also no 850 mb signature


There is a mid level circulation on satellite.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29888
I live in boynton beach and we got a wind of gust of 129MPH just down the street from my house during wilma
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Quoting kmanislander:
524. atmoaggie 6:58 PM GMT on May 17, 2009

Thanks for the link


No prob, but with our current Speaker of the House, I'd write it down in pencil...or washable crayon.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
Quoting Drakoen:
There is no sfc circulation. You can see the low level clouds traveling from east to west.


Also no 850 mb signature
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Interesting, some sites have referenced this has a better grasp on the senario. I guess time will tell

Link
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8185
539. IKE
Quoting Drakoen:
ECMWF thru FL straits
Over panhandle


That's a better display vs. what I linked.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
There is no sfc circulation. You can see the low level clouds traveling from east to west.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29888
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.
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Wilma does count, JFV. I live near Fort Lauderdale and we got sustained winds of 100 mph with gusts higher.
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524. atmoaggie 6:58 PM GMT on May 17, 2009

Thanks for the link
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Quoting Drakoen:
ECMWF thru FL straits
Over panhandle


Try finding Florida in that first link.
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
Quoting WeatherStudent:


True that.

But if you look on http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/satellite.shtml you I'll see it is.
Quoting extreme236:


Not an official invest, and its no big deal if it was one, you can calm down a bit lol


LOOL AGAIN, PLEASE !!!
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Our first unoffical invest of the year lol.


Yep lol
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Possible Pre-Season Subtropical System?
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Now there's an invest!

I give the invest a 70% chance of becoming a Subtropical or tropical depression, and a 30% chance of becoming a subtropical or tropical storm.
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ECMWF thru FL straits
Over panhandle
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29888
Our first unoffical invest of the year lol.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23574
Quoting kmanislander:
Cuban radar site down at the moment

Link


Not the one at Guantanamo Bay: http://radar.weather.gov/ridge/radar_lite.php?rid=gmo&product=N0R&loop=yes
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
When NRL says its a INVEST..it will be.

Till then,all is foo-foo,fluff.
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Quoting StormW:


Thanks 456, and hurricanealley


LINK
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
520. IKE
12Z ECMWF
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114728
Storm you can get Domestic and International Radars from my the section at the bottom of my links page.
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516. unf97
Good afternoon everyone. Well, it is good to be back with all in the WU community. I have to admit that the area of disturbed weather midway between Cuba and Jamaica looks rather intriguing on both visible and IR imagery. The birth of our gale center just may be in the making.

This will make for an intersting next several days across the FL, SEUS Coast and possibly the Eastern GOM next several days. The models will of course keep shifting around with this feature, but obviously we have something to observe just before the official beginning of the hurricane season.
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Oh Lord...I hope none of us get banned!

Hopefully some of that rain over the Bahamas scoots its way further west. Link
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
Cuban radar site down at the moment

Link
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Quoting WeatherStudent:


Does Wilam count?


I assume you meant Wilma, and it kinda counts. You were on the SE quadrant, and per the NOAA, got max sustained winds at about 65kt, and gusts around 80kt.
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Quoting atmoaggie:


And the NHC satellite page says Invest under Atlantic Floater 1, but for mow the images are for the southern plains...


Now active on our invest.

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/satellite.shtml
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
I don't really care if it's an invest or not I think it's impressive for mid-May
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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.