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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Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Vortex95:
90. Well then you get a chilly day at least for you its chilly :P.

lol :)
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Quoting Patrap:
Did you make it to the Slidell event yesterday atmo..?


Yeah. Gotta go at the moment.

Check my blog comments.

One thing, we launched a balloon at 18 Z. They a lot of tornado stuff.

NDBC, FEMA, Army Corps, and others were there, too.
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how many different mid level swirls will we be watching this next week?????quite a few,I believe....
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970
Quoting WeatherStudent:


I agree, Pat. We're all on-baord with this being classfield an invest very soon, with the exception of TS.

It really should be classified as an invest
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
103. IKE
GFS 12Z trending further east...now 50-100 miles east of Florida in 60 hours. We might can all be spared.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
91. Agreed. Good post, Chuck.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:

Do you have any proof?
There is a swirl in the mid levels of the atmosphere and its under big time shear thus meaning the swirl will probably relocate to the lower levels of the atmosphere and more into the convection. Thats why i think we will have an invest 90L in the next 12 hours.
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pat right by this afternoon after 3 pm imo 90l will be label
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53570
Did you make it to the Slidell event yesterday atmo..?
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127835
Thanks atmoaggie
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Atlantic INVEST flag should go up this afternoon.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127835
Quoting canesrule1:
Invest 90L Very soon.


NOt even close to that...Maybe by Wednesday..if ever!
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
Quoting canesrule1:
Invest 90L Very soon.
not till after 5 pm it will be 36 hrs at 9 pm tonight
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53570
Quoting PanhandleChuck:
After being a member for the last two years, I've learned a lot but not enough to be considered an expert. For those of you who are new here, if you follow list of items below, you will not be made fun of and you will enjoy the blog.

1. Ask intelligent questions
2. Don't pick on people
3. Don't ask where a storm is going to make landfall when it is 5-7 day's out (pretty much impossible to pin point at that time.
4. Pay attention to the guys and gals that have been on here the longest -- they seem to have their "stuff" together (not gonna mention names because I would probably leave someone out and I wouldn't want to hurt their feelings)
5. Avoid arguments with fellow bloggers
6. Don't fly off the cuff and make crazy predictions, when you do not have the knowledge or skill set.

I did not follow these rules until late last year, but once I did it was a much better experience for me.


This needs to be posted somewhere more visible than the comments section so it isn't buried on page 12 in a few hours...well done.
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It's 74 degrees here in Kingston and that is not normal
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Quoting canesrule1:
Invest 90L Very soon.

Do you have any proof?
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Quoting nash28:
Yes, but not for the next two weeks. I am visiting my folks here in cloudy Summerville, SC:-)

Nash, good to see you. Was wondering when you were gonna surface! Hope all is well with you, friend.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good brunch,

The current disturbance has some weak to moderate divergence aloft and a weak convergence at lower levels... if this setup continues I won't be surprised to see some further organization with this system (definitely leaning towards a subtropical nature at a minimum). We shall see how the day evolves but don't expect it to have too much happening at this point due to the current environmental setup is on right now (e.g. shear, land proximity, etc...).
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Quoting Weather456:
Meteogram for Kingston, Jamaica, shwoing pressure about the same as this time yesterday





No trend, just diurnal cycle.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Invest 90L Very soon.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IKE:


Definitely a spin.


Ike the spin is in the VEry high Upper levels.....NOthing close to the surface YET! It will take a few days to organize if it even comes close.....I'm out everyone have a good day!
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
ah there is the much needed rain for South FloridaLink Seems like wind will not be a factor.
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NAM over 24 hrs
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127835
Fun fact- The NWS radar in Miami was hit by lightning 1 week before Hurricane Frances made landfall.
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
After being a member for the last two years, I've learned a lot but not enough to be considered an expert. For those of you who are new here, if you follow list of items below, you will not be made fun of and you will enjoy the blog.

1. Ask intelligent questions
2. Don't pick on people
3. Don't ask where a storm is going to make landfall when it is 5-7 day's out (pretty much impossible to pin point at that time.
4. Pay attention to the guys and gals that have been on here the longest -- they seem to have their "stuff" together (not gonna mention names because I would probably leave someone out and I wouldn't want to hurt their feelings)
5. Avoid arguments with fellow bloggers
6. Don't fly off the cuff and make crazy predictions, when you do not have the knowledge or skill set.

I did not follow these rules until late last year, but once I did it was a much better experience for me.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
77. IKE
12Z GFS @ 30 hours....

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting WeatherStudent:
Hey Nash, how you've been, buddy?


Good thanks. And you?
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Meteogram for Kingston, Jamaica, showing pressure about the same as this time yesterday



Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53570
NCEP/EMC Cyclogenesis Tracking Page

SREF Ensemble
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127835
72. IKE
Quoting Drakoen:


Definitely a spin.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting hurricane23:
Pressures have actually been rising as i mentioned earlier based on obs around the area.Nothing really out there near the surface.

Lakers game starts at 3.


Pressures rising since the sun came up? Diurnal...
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
its just sitting there expanding and dev it moved e se from its startng point but should pull nw over time then n

thanks
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Member Since: Posts: Comments:
66. IKE
I've got a thunderstorm outside.

72 degrees...inland Florida panhandle.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Although it looks like with all the predictions for 2009 it should be a slow year for South Florida for the tropical season, I am sure glad we might get a little rain down here this week!!! BY the way I am glad it is going to be a slow year for us in South Fla in 09!!!!
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Quoting WeatherStudent:


ADRIAN, how on God's green earth can pressures be raising inside of an ever expanding deep and cold ball of convection? Therefore, do pigs have wings and can they fly? LOL, ROFL.


Pressure drops as a LLC forms.......THERE IS NO LL cirulations.....NONE!
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
Quoting WPBHurricane05:
WPBT PBS 2 in South Florida has "Anatomy of a Hurricane" on now. They show what the NHC looks like during hurricane season.
Im watching it, LOL
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Quoting Weather456:


I'm thinking a pinhole eye.


Did ya have to say that out loud? Blog-blast is eminent. Look away when you see the bright lights.
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impact zone right now with this blob, key west to West palm beach, I live in MIami, right in the middle.
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Quoting weatherwatcher12:

Keeper what direcion do you think this is moving or is it stationary
its just sitting there expanding and dev it moved e se from its startng point but should pull nw over time then n
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53570

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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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