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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1410. 0741
Quoting Vortex95:
Could two tropical depressions collide? Not ts's or hurricanes but TD's.
that have never happen what i remember
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1407. 0741
what do nam show?
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PLEASE PRAY AND BRING RAIN TO SOUTH TEXAS,, WE ARE HAVING OUR WORST DROUGHT IN RECORDED HISTORY WITH MANY AREAS NOT GETTING ANY RAINFALL SINCE LAST SEPTEMBER.... THIS IS NOT A DESERT AREA! WE NORMALLY RECEIVE 30 INCHES OF RAIN A YEAR
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I think all this "snipping" at each other gives free license to those coming out of the woodwork to snipe at whoever they choose. Like it is completely acceptable in this blog. Maybe if the regular posters who we all look up and value their input (and is the only reason to come to this blog) would just ignore the offending comments, maybe the lurking trolls would stay lurking.

Sorry.. Just another uneducated observation.
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This looks so Sub-Tropical...

Member Since: September 7, 2008 Posts: 17 Comments: 1604
Quoting StormW:


Sounds like a busy time...C130...Great aircraft!



thats one of those orange and white planes always flying along my coast here in sarasota....very versatile aircraft I believe...I LOVE flying!!!!!!
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970
I think the 00Z NAM has a good handle of what may happen. Hopefully the other models will do the same in their 00Z runs.
Member Since: September 7, 2008 Posts: 17 Comments: 1604
Well I've enjoyed the posts today (while lurking), but gotta work for the next two days. Maybe there will be a more definitive forecast when I log back on Tuesday night.

Chuck
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1389. eyewall99 2:19 AM GMT on May 18, 2009

Incendiary, annoying, unnecessary, "-", poofed, and reported.

And all of the above will be applied where the shoe fits.
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1398. WxLogic
Quoting atmoaggie:
So the next model runs that will actually have upper air obs from the Caribbean will be the 12 UTC GFS. Crappy.

No cyclogenesis, nor extended model result is worth the time or brain cells without good initial conditions.

G'Nite.


Indeed... night.
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1397. Drakoen
Subtropical structure
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30565
1396. Ossqss
Rule of thumb #1

If you don't give someone the power to bother you, they can't.

In fact, the inverse occurs :)

It works!

Just my take as I exit. CUL8R ???
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
So the next model runs that will actually have upper air obs from the Caribbean will be the 12 UTC GFS. Crappy.

No cyclogenesis, nor extended model result is worth the time or brain cells without good initial conditions.

G'Nite.

Addendum: Went to FSL and specifically searched for the usual call signs...nope. No 0 UTC data. If FSL doesn't have it, GFS will not.
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Quoting Drakoen:


Don't bother with it. I thought Adrian was trying to get slick with me.


Not even man it was just a joke but its alright.
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guys whats play nic
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115244
how?
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dont start all
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115244
Quoting StormW:


'bout 5'8", 203lbs. (j/k)

Not much Adrian...gettin' ready to hit the pit soon. Up early tomorrow, then off to a school function with my oldest. How ya doin?


Iam alright about to hit the sack myself got a C130 landing at MIA tommorow.
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Quoting weatherman874:
so accuweather doesnt thinkthat the system will get into the gulf any thoughts?


Accuweather put thier forecast into a perspective to where they can't be wrong.
Member Since: September 7, 2008 Posts: 17 Comments: 1604
1381. WxLogic
Quoting atmoaggie:
Bummer. I was look forward to analyzing the 0 UTC radiosonde launches, but no one in the Caribbean (anywhere south of Key West) launched one...or they didn't share the data with UCAR.

Anyone see any upper air obs from the Caribbean for 0 UTC? If not, the models probably aren't going to perform all that well, either. Grrr.


None... from the data I've been able to pull. So indeed and like you said. The next 00Z runs might be having a little problem handling this one, unless they haven't processed the data and made it available to the public just yet.
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so accuweather doesnt thinkthat the system will get into the gulf any thoughts?
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Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115244
Hey Storm!

What are you up to?
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1377. Drakoen
Here's the rain you've been crying for Adrian:
NAM 00z
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30565
Quoting Drakoen:
I'm the last person you want to cross in this blog Adrian. Just know that.


What? Just a joke man chill out. That dude JFV guy or whatever his name was driving me crazy with his questions.
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Quoting GatorWX:
System certainly seems to have gotten its act together somewhat since yesterday at this time. Shear appears to have lessened allowing thunderstorms to persist, although they're dying out now. Imagine they'll flare up again by morning and during the day tomorrow. Should be interesting to see if quickscat gets it in, and if so, if there is more of a shift in direction. Earlier pass showed hardly any. Does look like the mid level circulation is fairly well defined at this point, maybe allowing the circulation to work its way down. Very much a wait and see with this one. Obviously wont amount to much whether its a TD or just a batch of thunderstorms, but it will get everyone posting and pumped up for the upcoming season. A lot of new faces around too, nice to meet y'all. I usually only post when something's going on. Been on here since '04, so I'm quite familiar with those who've been on here awhile as well.

Welcome Home!
Let's get through another year.
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FL not the olny ones that needs rain

Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115244
1372. Ossqss
Quoting StormW:
Where is this anticyclone?


Hi Storm, I found one of those in my living room after it was disclosed that there was a mandatory hockey game tomorrow night. The pressure went up considerably :)
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
I did find the San Juan one, but this is further from our interesting area than the S Florida ones.

Shear...


(Click for full size)
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I love how Accuweather is calling it a Major Storm...
Member Since: September 7, 2008 Posts: 17 Comments: 1604
1367. 0741
hi all i am back for hurr season 2009 it look like early start of season let hope not but we need rain here south fl miami area
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Quoting DestinJeff:
i think i just read my first "getting its act together" of 2009! i propose a new list of cliches for this season....although,if they are new then they wouldn't really be cliche.

best of luck to those of you in harms way this season.



If you are referring to my post you might want to read it again. And I am not new I've been a paid member for three years. Since I'm not trained in these things I was hoping for feedback from those here with better eyes. And if you were referring to my post I take offense at your comment.
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1365. Drakoen
Quoting hurricane23:


Dont you want your gail force winds?


Since when did I ever want to be hit with a system. I've always been one for objectivity. That's not even how you spell gale.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30565
1364. WxLogic
Quoting StormW:
Where is this anticyclone?


Well... is a weak one as you can see the anticyclonic pattern(s).
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1363. GBlet
Yes Taz, Greensburg is looking up everyday!
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Does anyone know how fast its moving? My local weather says there is a 90% chance of rain for tomorrow and the rest of the week is 50-70% chance
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Quoting Drakoen:
Accufail


Thats what I love to call them.
They are so biased its not even funny.
Member Since: September 7, 2008 Posts: 17 Comments: 1604
I got to go, see everybody tommorow!

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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.