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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how to u post a pic
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This reminds me of a storm we tracked last year that seemed to have a mid level circulation for an eternity.
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what do you mean weatherstudent???
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Hey everyone im new here. I have been here reading comments for the past hurricane seasons though. I would like to thank this community for providing up to date info!
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I see this every year but just a reminder. An invest is not a tropical cyclone and thus does not have fit any criteria regarding such systems. An invest can be declared regardless of size, potential development and LLCC. In fact most invest declared never have a LLCC. They are just areas of interest assigned to get a better understanding by higher resolution models and data, i.e GFLD and microwave imagery.
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Just SE of Jamaica, Stormchaser.
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How do you post a pic, can someone please tell me, THANK YOU!!! PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Drak where would you place the mid-level low in this image?

Very nice image, looks like Tropical Storm Ana already in that pic
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There is not a mid-level low...its a mid-level trough...
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Quoting nishinigami:
I was wondering how they come up with the names for the invest? I have seen people say 90L 91L. Just curious why those numbers?


CC = Cyclone Number

Numbers 01 through 49 are reserved for tropical and subtropical cyclones. A cyclone number is assigned to each tropical or subtropical cyclone in each basin as it develops. The numbers are assigned in chronological order.

Numbers 50 through 79 are reserved for internal use by operational forecast centers.

Numbers 80 through 89 are reserved for training, exercises and testing.

Numbers 90 through 99 are reserved for tropical disturbances which have the potential to become tropical or subtropical cyclones. Although not required, the 90’s should be assigned sequentially and reused throughout the calendar year.

2009 National Hurricane Operations Plan
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Quoting scottsvb:
I dont think this is close to being a invest until a LLC is appearing..right now there is no W winds N winds S winds... just a slight turning to the east winds from 70-110dg.. I would think a invest might go up later monday maybe.
I think later today because, it will have an LLC very soon
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Drak where would you place the mid-level low in this image?

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Another interesting observation is the convection working independent of the duirnal cycle. I was expecting some decrease in convection during the day but I guess the upper level forcing is able to sustain that type of convection, which is induced.
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You can see the spin on the caribbean disturbance.

90L probably by today or tommorow.
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I dont think this is close to being a invest until a LLC is appearing..right now there is no W winds N winds S winds... just a slight turning to the east winds from 70-110dg.. I would think a invest might go up later monday maybe.
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Loop Eddy

Just for fun thought we might want to take a late look at the huge loop eddy spun off by the loop current. The loop is also running particularly far north to about 27n. Has been as high as 29n (if memory serves me), but 27 is pretty high, too. That eddy is huge, well over 200 sq miles. Could be a big factor into the season.
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nic


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Quoting Drakoen:
You can see a little bit of a mid level rotation within the convection:
I agree. Telling you We will have an Invest soon
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Here we go again!
As Buckminster Fuller said:
there has been no need to comment up to now
This site continues to be an access to the most current news.
Thanks
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125604
134. IKE
Quoting Drakoen:


You are so full of drama. Calm down.


LOL.
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You can see a little bit of a mid level rotation within the convection:
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Surprised I haven't heard this asked yet: "What are the chances this will close down (insert Florida county here) schools??"
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131. IKE
GFS seems more aggressive on this run. Aiming it into the GOM at 84 hours...what a track!
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Quoting WeatherStudent:


Ohh, isn't that dangerous, Drak? How will SST's and wind shear values be for our little critter by the time in makes it to the Bahamas?


You are so full of drama. Calm down.
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Approaching front - it seems now the system appears further east and south than previously thought, the frontal trough might catch it further east, maybe satisfying the UKMET and GFS solutions. Most, if not all, still take the system in the Gulf with some affects across FL. That seems to be the consensus.

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thanks stormjunkie :)
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Message Date: May 17 2009 15:36:32 SWITCHING KLIX TO VCP 121 TO MITIGATE PURPLE HAZE FOR LOW VALUED VELOCITIES. SUSPECT WATERSPOUT DEVELOPMENTS OVER THE TIDAL LAKES AND COASTAL WATERS. RR


NEXRAD Radar
New Orleans, Base Reflectivity 0.50 Degree Elevation Range 124 NMI
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125604
Invest 90L Before 9 PM (EST) for sure. Tropical Storm Ana I think will happen before this mid level low makes landfall in south florida.
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nishinigami - They start with 90 and go to 99; then back to 90. L designates it as an Atlantic system.
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I was wondering how they come up with the names for the invest? I have seen people say 90L 91L. Just curious why those numbers?
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Quoting weatherwatcher12:
It's 74 degrees here in Kingston and that is not normal
actually its perfect as long as the air temp is cooler than water temp it can feed from the sst content of the water and dev further
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 165 Comments: 52261
I would at least expect a floater to go up soon.
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Quoting stillwaiting:
how many different mid level swirls will we be watching this next week?????quite a few,I believe....


I would think that is a distinct possibility as this disturbance interacts with the front...Should be interesting to see what comes out of it.
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The GFS runs are having the system spending more time over the Bahamian waters.
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118. IKE
I see what the GFS is doing...similar to previous runs...now heading it back W or WNW toward JFV's...er, WeatherStudentJFV.
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Certainly in the realms of the pre-season games, the season opener is only days away. (To use the NFL metaphor.)

At least Florida might get some needed rain.
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Morning Adrian

Always been a fan of the RAP site, but have trouble loading the longer loops in FireFox...Any suggestions? Already increased java memory and storage...
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Hmm seems like most of the computer model datas take this into South FL and not the Panhandle this time. So anywhere north of Key West and south of West Palm Beach would certainly get a lot of rain which is good news.
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I like the bananas theory on channel 2
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107. atmoaggie

Sorry I couldnt make it over there yesterday.

Was way to Busy with today's Graduation loose ends.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125604
TROPICAL LAGNIAPPE is a quick access blog of regular WU bloggers for "a little something extra" from Dr. Master's blog with links to some of WU's respected and reliable, weather-casting members with good tropical information and links. Please visit their sites. I always learn something each time I visit them!
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"Anatomy of a Hurricane" is now showing the debate about whether Ivan regenerated or not in the Gulf of Mexico. It got really heated, but was kind of funny...reminded me of this blog.
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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.