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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Evening all

You said it SSIG....Hurry up and wait...

Sure wish we had better buoy coverage in that area...

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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.
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1208. IKE
The cold front has moved through the Florida panhandle.

Cooled off here to 65 degrees with a north wind.

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting TampaSpin:


I seen that but, i think thats just interaction with the Mountians....You see that often in Mountain terrian.

I was wondering because that vorticity wasn't there 6 hours ago.
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1205. IKE
Quoting weatherwatcher12:
Interesting the shear tendency is decreasing over our blob


It sure is.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting CatastrophicDL:

CIMSS is showing one at 850mb Link over central Cuba.

TS & Keeper, thanks I was beginning to feel invisible. :o)


I seen that but, i think thats just interaction with the Mountians....You see that often in Mountain terrian.
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Quoting TampaSpin:


I was looking at the Vorticity at all levels. The only spin is at the very high upper levels at 500mb. I just looked at all levels and at 500mb is the lowest spin found.....THAT IS VERY HIGH in the Atmosphere....


I was waiting for the 0 UTC plots, but in the 12 UTC upper air obs, the only level I would analyze as a low is at 500mb


(click for full size, required, really, to see the barbs in the Caribbean/S Florida)
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Quoting CatastrophicDL:
Do I need to change my name to WS to get someone to answer my posts? :o)

In a weak system that hasn't even developed yet....it's not uncommon to see centers trying to develop in various areas.
.
I hope that helps.
Of course I'm not a trained met, but nobody else here is one either...so take my(and all) opinions for what they're worth.
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Interesting the shear tendency is decreasing over our blob
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1200. IKE
Quoting CatastrophicDL:
Do I need to change my name to WS to get someone to answer my posts? :o)


You could be right....I don't see any added convection over Cuba though.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting WeatherStudent:


R.I.P. Between the Cuban land and the severe vertical wind shear to its immediate north, this critter is so as good as dead, that's for damn sure.


If you aren't JFV then im a grandmaw.
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Quoting TampaSpin:


I was looking at the Vorticity at all levels. The only spin is at the very high upper levels at 500mb. I just looked at all levels and at 500mb is the lowest spin found.....THAT IS VERY HIGH in the Atmosphere....

CIMSS is showing one at 850mb Link over central Cuba.

TS & Keeper, thanks I was beginning to feel invisible. :o)
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1197. sfla82
It sucks that this blob isn't going to make it up to South Fla. We need the rain. I know we will get our afternoon thunderstorms but with a below average chance of a hurricane coming our way, it seems like its going to be a slow year for us, do you guys still think we can make up this drought being that we most likely will only be getting the afternoon thunderstorms????
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Gang don't get caught up too looking at small little spins....Look at the big Picture.....This will drive you all crazy....as it does me.....LOL
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Quoting IKE:


Like he did last year.


Exactly.
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1194. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
sun is going down be back around 10
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Quoting CatastrophicDL:
Is it just me or does the weak LLC over Cuba seem to be gaining it's own convection? I personally think we are looking at two different areas of interest here. I don't think the current mid-level system we are all watching is the same one the models are developing. That's just my observation.


I was looking at the Vorticity at all levels. The only spin is at the very high upper levels at 500mb. I just looked at all levels and at 500mb is the lowest spin found.....THAT IS VERY HIGH in the Atmosphere....
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1192. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting CatastrophicDL:
Is it just me or does the weak LLC over Cuba seem to be gaining it's own convection? I personally think we are looking at two different areas of interest here. I don't think the current mid-level system we are all watching is the same one the models are developing. That's just my observation.

there is multi vortices
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1190. Walshy
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:


I still don't think this ever will be a tropical entity--I still only give it a 30% chance of becoming strong enough and tropical enough to be named.


Thats 20% more than Dr.Masters.
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1188. IKE
Quoting Stormchaser2007:


Are you going to bet your life?


Like he did last year.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Tazzz that's alot of bust
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Do I need to change my name to WS to get someone to answer my posts? :o)
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1185. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting WeatherStudent:


R.I.P. Between the Cuban land and the severe vertical wind shear to its immediate north, this critter is so as good as dead, that's for damn sure.
i was wondering do ya want to bet yer life on it
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Was any Troll Juice used today....hehehehe
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Aren't extra/sub-tropical systems much less affected by land than their tropical counterparts (especially extratropical)? If so, Cuba might not do much to it. As invests go, this is actually very exciting since we are right in the bullseye. Bring on the rain.
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Quoting WeatherStudent:


R.I.P. Between the Cuban land and the severe vertical wind shear to its immediate north, this critter is so as good as dead, that's for damn sure.


Are you going to bet your life?
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Quoting TampaSpin:


Yes i do see a very wide spread rain event across the State....
\
thanks! That's all I want to know!
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Quoting keywestbrat:

hey tampa, I think I may have a laugh, this morning I said, this is not scientific but the blob was going to the DR because my boss with really bad weather karma flew there today, and was going diving in samana bay on the south side tommorrow, bad weather follows him, holey moley what if that really happens, LOL I have it all worked out, just ask me were the boss is and stear clear LOL


LOL that is some darn good science.....
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Keeper, see 1172, what do you think of my observation?
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Quoting RMM34667:


So Tampa do you think we will get any significant rain out of this in Tampa Bay?


Yes i do see a very wide spread rain event across the State....
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1176. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
AOI/00/00L
19N/75.5W





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94L had a good run last year
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Quoting stormhank:
I wonder will this blob ever be officially declared an invest?? If so that means hello GFDL output!!


Nope, don't believe that will ever happen..
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well whats see how many oh said RIP on some in last year



round 1

90L be came ARTHUR

91L bust

92L be came BERTHA

93L bust

94L be came DOLLY

95L bust

96L be came CRISTOBAL

97L bust

98L bust

99L bust


round 2

90L bust

91L be came ED

92L be comes Fay

93L bust

94L be comes Gustav

95L be comes HANNA

96L bust

97L be comes IKE

98L bust

99L be comes JOSEPHINE


round 3


90L bust

91L bust

92L bust

93L be comes KYLE

94L bust ???

95L be comes LAURA

96L be comes Marco

97L be comes NANA

98L be comes OMAR

99L be comes TD 16


round 4

90L bust

91L bust

92L bust

93L be comes PALOMA

94L bust

95L bust

96L bust

97L bust
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Is it just me or does the weak LLC over Cuba seem to be gaining it's own convection? I personally think we are looking at two different areas of interest here. I don't think the current mid-level system we are all watching is the same one the models are developing. That's just my observation.
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Quoting TampaSpin:
I tried telling you all this morning that nothing would happen with this blob..


So Tampa do you think we will get any significant rain out of this in Tampa Bay?
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I wonder will this blob ever be officially declared an invest?? If so that means hello GFDL output!!
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Quoting weatherwatcher12:
Didn't we say that Gustav was R.I.P then it developed and hit Jamaica and strengthened from there.


I'm pretty sure every single system that has ever developed someone said that it was R.I.P. Its just a fact of life here on Weather Underground, and its one you get used to.
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Didn't we say that Gustav was R.I.P then it developed and hit Jamaica and strengthened from there.
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1166. Drakoen
Models aren't expecting a surface low to develop until late Monday.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30563
and a big Rain bust for FL


here what the nhc said about that at 8:05pm


MODELS ARE SHOWING LOW PRESSURE DEVELOPING OVER
THE N CENTRAL CARIBBEAN...EITHER EXTRATROPICAL OR SUBTROPICAL...
AND MOVING GENERALLY N INTO THE SW NORTH ATLC
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Quoting Drakoen:


patience is a virtue.


Yes it is and Vallium for some......LOL
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Quoting Drakoen:


patience is a virtue.
correct. models don't do anything with it for 24-48 hours when the activity should be around the Bahamas or in the GOM.
Member Since: August 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 693
Quoting Vortex95:
Question how do post a pic for my handle

Vortex, use your quickmenu at the top. Go to My photos and click upload PORTRAIT.
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I think this system is dead it had a good run but it is under a lot of shear, it looks like it will hit cuba which will stop any development and I don't think it ever developed a LLC. Maybe the next blob will be more exciting.
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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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