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 Wundermet:


It would be less significant, regardless if it develops. The southern quadrant is the weakest part in northern hemisphere tropical cyclone.


Most of the time. Ike's southern semicircle was far more intense, and strengthening, as the center was reaching land.

If the north were like the south, Houston would have had more wind damage than it did...
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Quoting StormJunkie:
Evening TCW, good to see you.


For those of you that may have missed it, Portlight Disaster Relief needs your help! It's easy and anyone can do it.


Evening SJ. Good to see you as well, how's it going?
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i don't think it'll get that strong ethier, i got that off accuweather
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Blog Update


Area of Interest #1


Area of Interest #2



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Quoting weatherwatcher12:

well still in terms of outer bands (If it develops any)


It would be less significant, regardless if it develops. The southern quadrant is the weakest part in northern hemisphere tropical cyclone.
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Quoting weatherwatcher12:

what would that mean for Jamaica


Rainy with breezy conditions.
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Quoting Wundermet:


lol, I meant west-northwest

well still in terms of outer bands (If it develops any)
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Quoting theFatherofNature:
The storm then the storm will gain tropical characteristics and strengthen into a possible 50-70 mph storm and strike anywhere from panama city beach to the louisiana/mississippi stateline

stormgeeks.com


Umm who says that its going to get to 70 mph?
The environment won't be conducive for that strong of a system.
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Quoting weatherwatcher12:

what would that mean for Jamaica


lol, I meant west-northwest
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Quoting Walshy:



Have you ever went looking for any gold over there in California?



i wish
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115454
Quoting Wundermet:
This system should continue its westward motion over the next 12hrs


what would that mean for Jamaica
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1299. Walshy
Quoting Tazmanian:
i would be care full of what you wish for you may or may not get them rain you may see in FL and it could all so turn in too a big Rain fall bust like it has a few times here in CA



Have you ever went looking for any gold over there in California?
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This system should continue its westward motion over the next 12hrs

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The storm is supposed to move up the east coast of Florida as a "nothing" or a weak subtropical depression, then stall out north of Miami, then swiftly move across the panhandle into the gulf, then the storm will gain tropical characteristics and strengthen into a possible 50-70 mph storm and strike anywhere from panama city beach to the louisiana/mississippi stateline

stormgeeks.com
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Quoting melwerle:


you are definitely not a grandmaw...

Heavy rain here this evening - almost in wierd bands.

ok - have to go keep an eye on the kids for a bit. Teens and b/f don't mix.


LOL...
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i would be care full of what you wish for you may or may not get them rain you may see in FL and it could all so turn in too a big Rain fall bust like it has a few times here in CA
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115454
That is what I was guessing as well Drak, going to be right on the line.
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Quoting cybergrump:
Looking at the guantanamo radar loop looks like center moving west and looks like an eye wall with some heavy thunderstorms.
Link

wow I see it. It's just north of jamaica
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Evening TCW, good to see you.


For those of you that may have missed it, Portlight Disaster Relief needs your help! It's easy and anyone can do it.
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1291. Drakoen
Quoting StormJunkie:
Not sure this Quickscat pass will hit it or not. Doubt it would see much of interest even if it does catch it.


It looks like it will catch part of it.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30825
Quoting cybergrump:
Looking at the guantanamo radar loop looks like center moving west and looks like an eye wall with some heavy thunderstorms.
Link

wow I see it too just north of jamaica
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Quoting TheCaneWhisperer:
Is the blog through the Diurnal Minimum?

AOI is starting to build some Convection again. Building tops around the COC.


The reason for that cooling is becuase the sun has set over it thus giving the appearance of colder cloud tops. We should really wait until 10am tomorrow to judge the system.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15950
Quoting CaneAddict:
My forecast is as follows..and I like it :)
Bay News 9 Forecast....
Monday 5/18 - 90% CHANCE
Tuesday 5/19 - 70% CHANCE
Wednesday 5/20 - 60% CHANCE
Thursday 5/21 - 60% CHANCE
Friday 5/22 - 50% CHANCE
Saturday 5/23 - 40% CHANCE
Sunday 5/24 - 40% CHANCE


This gets a big thumbs-up from me!! I'm glad to see so much rain coming to the area.
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A breezy, cool 70 in Pensacola - we had some light rain coming in from Mississippi earlier.
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Sorry all very rude of me i left to watch the Magic Game......Have a good evening everyone...
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The Big Picture.

It's got a lot more on the plus side compared to 24hrs ago.
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looking forword too the ENSO on monday
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115454
Not sure this Quickscat pass will hit it or not. Doubt it would see much of interest even if it does catch it.
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Looking at the guantanamo radar loop looks like center moving west and looks like an eye wall with some heavy thunderstorms.
Link
Member Since: September 17, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 434
Is the blog through the Diurnal Minimum?

AOI is starting to build some Convection again. Building tops around the COC.
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You know what this invest has reminded me of?

Remember tropical storm Beryl from a few years ago? The morning she developed everyone said she was dead. I believe even Dr. Masters did also. She had done good a couple nights before but was still frontal in nature. That day she began to die out and by 11pm was gone or so we thought. By 11am the next day we had a td.

My lesson is this. Don't judge an invest by how it's acting at the moment. Give it a while and check all the facts.

Using that with this invest I believe we need to wait and see what makes it over Cuba and into the bahamas. Plus with the fact that convection is beginning to refire in the Windward passage (I remembered it LOL) it's not dead yet.
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1279. Drakoen
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30825
My forecast is as follows..and I like it :)
Bay News 9 Forecast....
Monday 5/18 - 90% CHANCE
Tuesday 5/19 - 70% CHANCE
Wednesday 5/20 - 60% CHANCE
Thursday 5/21 - 60% CHANCE
Friday 5/22 - 50% CHANCE
Saturday 5/23 - 40% CHANCE
Sunday 5/24 - 40% CHANCE
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Still in a moist environment, thus it has potential.

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15950
Hey Walshy

Love that area you are in...Always been a fan of the W NC mountains.

Hopefully it won't get that cold for any extended period of time.
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1271. Walshy
Quoting StormJunkie:
I hear you atmo, looking forward to the cool air hear in Charleston as well.



Im not. I live in north-western NC and they are calling for frost for 3days and my plants might die. : ( Hopefully WU is wrong and the other site showing lows in the upper 30s is right. I usually minus 5degrees since I do not live in the city.

Link
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Quoting weatherwatcher12:

Do you think any of those spiral bands will drench Jamaica


Well they aren't really spiral bands as much as sheared convection. I dont think they'll drench Jamaica, but certainly keep it wet until late Monday.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15950
Quoting StormJunkie:
I hear you atmo, looking forward to the cool air hear in Charleston as well.


Hi, SJ.

Hah! Showed my 4-year-old the satellite loop. He said we will be able to see the starts soon and it will be sunny tomorrow.

He loved the NWS open house at our WFO, BTW.
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1268. geepy86
I would welcome some rain right now.
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Quoting hahaguy:


Ya I like my forecast for PSL this week. =)


Unfortunately it doesn't look like ill cool down though.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15950
Quoting sporteguy03:
Not sure why some are so caught up in expecting this disturbance to develop today if you read the NWS discussions and look at the models it is not expected for a few more days, right now it is not even a big deal and we have some calling for its demise when it wasn't anything but showers to begin with...give it time we have 6 months of invests to go, look at the long term not short term prospects.


Precisely. The big excitement should be that Florida is expected to get some much-needed rain from this system.

Hey, everyone. It's good to see everyone again.
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I hear you atmo, looking forward to the cool air here in Charleston as well.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:

Do you think any of those spiral bands will drench Jamaica
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Quoting Vortex95:
I guess this shall be a very wet front for my area. And by the looks of it by 5 am rain should start coming in from the coast.


Zilch from it along the Lake P northshore. Nada.
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Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15950
1261. hahaguy
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Im liking my forecast...

WPB's forecast for next week.



Ya I like my forecast for PSL this week. =)
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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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