Dust forecast for the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 6:58 PM GMT on June 20, 2009

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There will be less African dust than usual over the tropical Atlantic during this year's hurricane season, according to a new experimental dust forecast issued by Dr. Amato Evan of the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Evan used a statistical model that correlated levels of dust activity in past years with rainfall over the Sahel region of Africa and a natural regional wind pattern known as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). He forecasts that dust levels over the Main Development Region (MDR, 8 - 20°N & 15 - 65°W) for Atlantic hurricanes during this year's hurricane season will be similar to last year's below-average levels, thanks in large part to plentiful rains over the Sahel region of Africa during the 2008 rainy season (Figure 1). However, the dust levels expected this year do not approach the record lows seen in 1994 and 2005. Dust forecasts made in May or June are skillful going out five months, with a skill 11 - 16% better than a "no-skill" forecast using climatology.


Figure 1. Rainfall over the Sahel region of Africa was generally 50 - 100 mm (2 - 4 inches) above average during the 2008 rainy season (about 20 - 80% above average). The heavy rains promoted vigorous vegetation growth in 2009, resulting in less bare ground capable of generating dust. Image credit: NOAA/Climate Prediction Center.

The Sahara and the Sahel: significant sources of dust
The summertime dust that affects Atlantic tropical storms originates over the southwestern Sahara (18° - 22° N) and the northwestern Sahel (15° - 18° N) (Figure 2). The dust that originates in the Southwest Sahara stays relatively constant from year to year. However, the dust from the northwestern Sahel varies significantly from year to year, and understanding this variation may be a key factor in improving our forecasts of seasonal hurricane activity in the Atlantic. The amount of dust that gets transported over the Atlantic depends on a mix of three main factors: the large scale and local scale weather patterns (windy weather transports more dust), how wet the current rainy season is (wet weather will wash out dust before it gets transported over the Atlantic), and how dry and drought-damaged the soil is. The level of drought experienced in the northwestern Sahel during the previous year's rainy season (June - October) is the key factor of the three in determining how much dust gets transported over the Atlantic during hurricane season, according to a January 2004 study published in Geophysical Research Letters published by C. Moulin and I. Chiapello. A dry rainy season the previous year will make an expanded area of loose soil which can create dust. It is also possible that the corresponding changes in vegetation can alter the regional weather patterns, causing more dust production.


Figure 2. Map of the mean summer dust optical thickness derived from satellite measurements between 1979 and 2000. Maximum dust amounts originate in the northern Sahel (15° to 18° N) and the Sahara (18° to 22° N). The Bodele depression in Chad is also an active dust source. Image credit: Evidence of the control of summer atmospheric transport of African dust over the Atlantic by Sahel sources from TOMS satellites (1979-2000) by C. Moulin and I. Chiapello, published in January 2004 in Geophysical Research Letters.

How dust suppresses hurricanes
Dust acts as a shield which keeps sunlight from reaching the surface. Thus, large amounts of dust can keep the sea surface temperatures up to 1°C cooler than average in the hurricane Main Development Region (MDR) off the coast of Africa, providing hurricanes with less energy to form and grow. Dust also affects the Saharan Air Layer (SAL), an layer of dry, dusty Saharan air that rides up over the low-level moist air over the tropical Atlantic. At the boundary between the SAL and low-level moist air where the trade winds blow is the trade wind inversion--a region of the atmosphere where the temperature increases with height. Since atmospheric temperature normally decreases with height, this "inversion" acts to but the brakes on any thunderstorms that try to punch through it. This happens because the air in a thunderstorm's updraft suddenly encounters a region where the updraft air is cooler and less buoyant than the surrounding air, and thus will not be able to keep moving upward. The dust in the SAL absorbs solar radiation, which heats the air in the trade wind inversion. This makes the inversion stronger, which inhibits the thunderstorms that power a hurricane. The dust may also act to interfere with the formation of cloud drops and rain drops that these thunderstorms need to grow, but little is known about such effects. It is possible that dust may act to help hurricanes by serving as "condensation nuclei"--centers around which raindrops can form and grow.

For additional reading
Dr. Evan published a study in Science magazine this March showing that 69% of the increase in Atlantic sea surface temperatures over the past 26 years could be attributed to decreases in the amount of dust in the atmosphere.

Jeff Masters

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794. IKE
Quoting gulfcoastdweller:


yes!! we need to do a rain dance


Oh....kay....crank it up


Where did ya get the gun John?
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
south westerly shear is ripping apart what appeared to be a promising tropical wave east of the island chain
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Quoting extreme236:


He is talking about Andres

My bad. Sorry about that!

(mental note: caffiene is required before blog posting)
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the area to watch in the BOC is still over mexico right now drifting north and should be over water in 8-12hrs,thats when I believe we might see some development in the BOC,either later today or overnight,the main area of convergence is not the area of disturbed wx moving into tampico area,it is associated w/the area though!!!
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In regards the BOC region... this area has a nice low level vorticity signature associated with it but unfortunately its 500MB vorticity is displaced to the E close to the W coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. If these are to stack up... then there will be a chance that it will become and INVEST area in 24 to 48HR... assuming shear stays low which is currently at 10 to 15 kts and TS persist or increase since there's also currently not much of a decent amount of low level convergence to it (current TS cluster seems to be more associated with diurnal processes). I would expect this area to move W to WNW as it still going to be influenced by the DL High to its north... so basically more wet WX for Mexico.
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Quoting stillwaiting:



my call from yesterday!!!!,it may very well develop into a hurricane over the next 24hrs,IMO


Probably be a cane today- Link
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Quoting jeffs713:

Um... doesn't it have to actually form, first?

Patience is a virtue... especially with tropical storms. Please don't encourage mother nature, it's kinda like pulling a tiger's tail.


He is talking about Andres
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Quoting stillwaiting:



my call from yesterday!!!!,it may very well develop into a hurricane over the next 24hrs,IMO

Um... doesn't it have to actually form, first?

Patience is a virtue... especially with tropical storms. Please don't encourage mother nature, it's kinda like pulling a tiger's tail.
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latest hurr. floater image gom/carb/atl.
AOI GOM/BOC
MARK
22N/94W
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783. IKE
Quoting stillwaiting:


I'm thinking it'll "feel the pull" from a possible surface low that forms near the big bend area in about 36-48hrs,usually something in the BOC move west or NW,I'm thinking the troughyness over the eastern seaboard w/be enough to pull atleast the moisture to the NE....


I was thinking about that trough forcing it....
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Blobby looking day in the Atlantic:

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Tropical Storm Andres
CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
3.4 / 997.9mb/ 53.0kt


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Quoting TheCaneWhisperer:


Thanks for the info. I'll take anything at this point to close up hell's gate. Darned hot for June around here.


Indeed...
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The thing in the BOC isn't a moisture surge from Andres. There was an area of convection that was east of Andres, but not associated with it, yesterday that has surged northward into the BOC.
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Quoting WxLogic:
Atmospheric conditions across the FL Peninsula are indeed shaping up to be one that will enhance SVR WX potential... we have quite a bit of CAPE build up to occur later on today with a weak cap and decent lapse rates developing specially across CFL. Won't be surprised to see a repeat of the SRV we had last week with echos reaching easily reaching 50K with a lot of lightning and Wind.


Thanks for the info. I'll take anything at this point to close up hell's gate. Darned hot for June around here.
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Quoting scottsvb:


rain? thats about it

Rain is a big deal right now in the Gulf Coast area.
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Bahamas area would likely have more potential than the BOC area, but its worth watching, if only just for the lack of nothing else to watch in the Atlantic.
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Quoting hurricanemaniac123:
It looks like there is something to watch in the BOC today.


rain? thats about it
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It looks like there is something to watch in the BOC today.
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I'm in Louisiana and this weather is unbelieveable!!!!! Isn't this the 3rd week under this high pressure bubble? Forcast temps are 101 today...that's without the heat index...the index is 111.
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BOC is a moisture surge... its too close to Andres. This will slide WNW near Tampico in a day or so. Chance of development under 20%

Only area to watch would be along the front near the bahamas over the next 48hrs.

Moisture surge (like the GOM area) will move north in the carribean later this week. Wayyy to early to guess if anything will develop or "IF" the surge even happens. Dont buy into the GFS-Nogaps until something is there to want to form.. We seen this 2 times already with these 2 models.
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Quoting stillwaiting:


I've been watching that area on the models, and for a few days the gfs has consistantly had some sort of disturbed wx in the BOC best bet is the area festers for the next 24-36hrs before getting drawn either North or NE into the eastern GOM...


I noticed that, myself, while taking a quick look at the models. On the GFS model it falls apart before it gets to land in the Northern GOM. By the way, hi everybody. I'm back for the summer. LOL. Hope this season is a good season. Lots of excitement with minimal damage.
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Quoting weathermanwannabe:
Any rain in North Florida/Panhandle to cool us off and keep that plants/grass alive would be most welcome; the earlier the better..


Good morning everyone! Yes I have to agree we seriously need some rain, that High is still sitting over the GOM blocking most of our chances of rain. The High seems to be moving West so maybe if we're lucky it will keep moving and open up a chance for some rain!
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3010
Finally some blobs to watch in the Atlantic...
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915 AM EDT MON JUN 22 2009

THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA.

.DAY ONE...TODAY AND TONIGHT.

...THUNDERSTORM IMPACT...
A FRONTAL BOUNDARY WILL MOVE INTO THE STATE LATER THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING...COOLING TEMPERATURES IN THE MID AND UPPER LEVELS. THIS...IN COMBINATION WITH THE VERY HOT TEMPERATURES AT THE SURFACE WILL LEAD TO SCATTERED LIGHTNING STORM DEVELOPMENT IN THE LATE AFTERNOON AND EVENING. ANY STORMS THAT FORM MAY HAVE THE POSSIBILITY OF BECOMING STRONG TO SEVERE. SOME OF SOME STORMS ARE EXPECTED TO PERSIST THROUGH THE NIGHT AS ADDITIONAL UPPER LEVEL DISTURBANCES MOVES THROUGH THE REGION.

AS THE STORMS MOVE NORTH TO SOUTH DOWN THE PENINSULA...THEY WILL BE CAPABLE OF PRODUCING FREQUENT TO EXCESSIVE LIGHTNING AND DAMAGING WIND GUSTS. SMALL HAIL WILL ALSO BE POSSIBLE IN THE STRONGER STORMS.

...EXCESSIVE HEAT IMPACT...
THE COMBINATION OF MAXIMUM TEMPERATURES IN THE MIDDLE AND UPPER 90S AND DEW POINT TEMPERATURES IN THE 70S WILL PRODUCE HEAT INDICES BETWEEN 105 AND 110 THIS AFTERNOON. AVOID STRENUOUS OUTDOOR EXERCISE OR ACTIVITY DURING THE AFTERNOON HOURS. IF POSSIBLE...CONDUCT ANY OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES EARLY IN THE MORNING OR LATE IN THE EVENING WHEN TEMPERATURES ARE COOLER. DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS...STAY IN AN AIR-CONDITIONED ROOM...STAY OUT OF THE SUN...AND CHECK UP ON RELATIVES...NEIGHBORS AND PETS.

...RIP CURRENT IMPACT...
A SMALL...LONG PERIOD EASTERLY SWELL WILL BE CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A MODERATE RISK OF RIP CURRENTS AT AREA BEACHES.

...MARINE THUNDERSTORM GUST IMPACT...
THUNDERSTORMS LATER THIS AFTERNOON WILL MOVE NORTH TO SOUTH OVER THE PENINSULA...AND INTO THE COASTAL WATERS MAINLY SOUTH OF THE CAPE.
ANY STORMS WILL HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO PRODUCE WIND GUSTS OVER 30 KNOTS AND FREQUENT LIGHTNING THIS AFTERNOON AND TONIGHT. BOATERS ON INLAND LAKES AS WELL AS OVER THE INTRACOASTAL AND ATLANTIC WATERS SHOULD ALWAYS BE AWARE OF APPROACHING WEATHER AND BE PREPARED TO SEEK SAFE HARBOR IN ADVANCE OF THREATENING CONDITIONS.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...TUESDAY THROUGH SUNDAY.
A BOUNDARY MOVING INTO THE REGION WILL BRING SLIGHTLY COOLER TEMPERATURES THROUGH THE REMAINDER OF THE WEEK. THERE WILL BE A CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS EACH DAY DURING THE AFTERNOON AND EARLY EVENING HOURS.

.SPOTTER INFORMATION STATEMENT...

SPOTTERS ARE REQUESTED TO MONITOR THE WEATHER AND SELF ACTIVATE IF NEEDED
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Mornin


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Any rain in North Florida/Panhandle to cool us off and keep that plants/grass alive would be most welcome; the earlier the better..
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 8785
good morning...it's another hot one here, too.
9:15 a.m. and it's already 87.6 F in
Daytona Beach (Ponce Inlet), FL,PWS)
Haze
Humidity: 75%
Dew Point: 79 F
Wind: 3.0 mphfrom the SW
Wind Gust: 8.0 mph
Pressure: 29.76 in (Steady)
Heat Index: 102 F
Visibility: 6.0 miles
UV: 3 out of 16
Clouds: Clear -
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 12 ft

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Greetings from the sizzling Lowcountry...

Stormjunkie is spending the week at the beach...

I hate him...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10479
Looks like the GFS is trying to develop something between Cuba and the Cayman Islands around the 25/26 June. Am I understanding the model correctly ?
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Atmospheric conditions across the FL Peninsula are indeed shaping up to be one that will enhance SVR WX potential... we have quite a bit of CAPE build up to occur later on today with a weak cap and decent lapse rates developing specially across CFL. Won't be surprised to see a repeat of the SRV we had last week with echoes easily reaching 50K with a lot of lightning and Wind.
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Good Morning...
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evaporation=cooling
condinsation=warming/energy released into the atmosphere


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Quoting IKE:


That would be unusual...if it was starting down there(BOC)...and heading NE.

Not saying it can't happen or disagreeing with you.


I'm thinking it'll "feel the pull" from a possible surface low that forms near the big bend area in about 36-48hrs,usually something in the BOC move west or NW,I'm thinking the troughyness over the eastern seaboard w/be enough to pull atleast the moisture to the NE....
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Link

Interesting article on storm surge and what one city is doing in Central Florida to make residents aware
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756. USCAV
If ElNino set in the Pacific in July, wouldnt it take a couple of months for the Atlantic to feel the conditions, or would the affects be immediate.
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Quoting stillwaiting:



this could very well be the first hurricane of the 2009 season for either basin,IMO



my call from yesterday!!!!,it may very well develop into a hurricane over the next 24hrs,IMO
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754. IKE
Quoting stillwaiting:


I've been watching that area on the models, and for a few days the gfs has consistantly had some sort of disturbed wx in the BOC best bet is the area festers for the next 24-36hrs before getting drawn either North or NE into the eastern GOM...


That would be unusual...if it was starting down there(BOC)...and heading NE.

Not saying it can't happen or disagreeing with you.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
753. IKE
Quoting vortfix:
Tallahasse makes mention of the area as well this morning:


THE GFS IS ALSO SHOWING A TROPICAL WAVE (MAYBE MORE?) MOVING
INTO THE SOUTHEASTERN GULF ON SATURDAY AFTERNOON. THE 22/00Z EURO
JUST IN IS SHOWING A SIMILAR FEATURE A LITTLE FURTHER SOUTH...OVER
THE YUCATAN PENINSULA ON SATURDAY AFTERNOON. OF COURSE...CONFIDENCE
THIS FAR OUT IS LOW...BUT IT LOOKS AS THOUGH AN INFLUX OF ADDITIONAL
TROPICAL MOISTURE WILL RETURN TO OUR REGION ON SUNDAY AND THIS WILL
KEEP POPS ABOVE CLIMATOLOGY THROUGHOUT THE REMAINDER OF THE PERIOD.



I've noticed that moisture increase on models.

I'm 120 miles west Of Tallahassee...we already have a 50% chance of rain Friday and Saturday..... 4-5 days out, that's about as high as the NWS will go....most of the time.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting IKE:


I notice the NOGAPS keeps spinning up a low and aiming it toward the central GOM..from the Yucatan peninsula....GFS latest shows a low near the Yucatan channel and then losses it.

NAM shows that moisture in the BOC going into Mexico.


I've been watching that area on the models, and for a few days the gfs has consistantly had some sort of disturbed wx in the BOC best bet is the area festers for the next 24-36hrs before getting drawn either North or NE into the eastern GOM...
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Tallahasse makes mention of the area as well this morning:


THE GFS IS ALSO SHOWING A TROPICAL WAVE (MAYBE MORE?) MOVING
INTO THE SOUTHEASTERN GULF ON SATURDAY AFTERNOON. THE 22/00Z EURO
JUST IN IS SHOWING A SIMILAR FEATURE A LITTLE FURTHER SOUTH...OVER
THE YUCATAN PENINSULA ON SATURDAY AFTERNOON. OF COURSE...CONFIDENCE
THIS FAR OUT IS LOW...BUT IT LOOKS AS THOUGH AN INFLUX OF ADDITIONAL
TROPICAL MOISTURE WILL RETURN TO OUR REGION ON SUNDAY AND THIS WILL
KEEP POPS ABOVE CLIMATOLOGY THROUGHOUT THE REMAINDER OF THE PERIOD.

Member Since: October 29, 2007 Posts: 135 Comments: 46068
would have been nice if some of that energy over the bahamas was over the FL peninsula,I do expect some of the energy to make it over the peninsula as more energy dives to the south east and the area expands west,IMO
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749. IKE
Quoting stillwaiting:
morning everyone!!!,did you know that andres was once a t-wave that moved thru the west carib about 7-10 days ago!!!!,Keep watching the BOC,might be our next invest forming in the next 36hrs,IMO,the area is primed for a disturbance w/the high moving to it's north and andres to its WNW,could lead to mass divergence aloft....


I notice the NOGAPS keeps spinning up a low and aiming it toward the central GOM..from the Yucatan peninsula....GFS latest shows a low near the Yucatan channel and then losses it.

NAM shows that moisture in the BOC going into Mexico.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
morning everyone!!!,did you know that andres was once a t-wave that moved thru the west carib about 7-10 days ago!!!!,Keep watching the BOC,might be our next invest forming in the next 36hrs,IMO,the area is primed for a disturbance w/the high moving to it's north and andres to its WNW,could lead to mass divergence aloft....
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latest hurr. floater image gom/carb/atl.
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latest surface anal. 1100 jun 22 09
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ENHANCED INFRARED SATELLITE IMAGES SHOW VERY COLD CLOUD TOPS...WITH

SOME BANDING FEATURES OVER THE SOUTHERN AND WESTERN SEMICIRCLES OF

THE TROPICAL STORM. CURRENT INTENSITY IS SET AT 45 KT IN

ACCORDANCE WITH THE LATEST DVORAK ESTIMATE FROM TAFB. THIS IS ALSO

IN AGREEMENT WITH A QUIKSCAT PASS FROM SEVERAL HOURS AGO WHICH

SHOWED AT LEAST ONE BELIEVABLE WIND VECTOR IN THE 40 TO 45 KT

RANGE. ANDRES IS EXPECTED TO REMAIN OVER VERY WARM WATER FOR AT

LEAST THE NEXT 36 HOURS...HOWEVER THE SHIPS MODEL PROJECTS 20 TO 25

KT OF EAST-NORTHEASTERLY SHEAR TO AFFECT THE TROPICAL CYCLONE

WITHIN THE NEXT DAY OR SO. IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT THE SHIPS

OUTPUT SHOWS THAT THIS DIRECTION OF THE VERTICAL SHEAR VECTOR IS

LESS UNFAVORABLE THAN SHEAR FROM SOME OTHER DIRECTIONS. GIVEN THIS

AND OTHER FAVORABLE ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS SUCH AS ABUNDANT LOW- TO

MID-LEVEL MOISTURE AND AN ENVIRONMENT OF LOW-LEVEL CYCLONIC

VORTICITY...BOTH THE SHIPS AND LGEM PREDICT THAT ANDRES WILL BECOME

A HURRICANE IN 24 TO 36 HOURS
. THE OFFICIAL FORECAST FOLLOWS SUIT.

LATER IN THE FORECAST PERIOD...INCREASINGLY LESS CONDUCIVE

ATMOSPHERIC AND OCEANIC CONDITIONS SHOULD INDUCE WEAKENING.



INITIAL MOTION IS A SOMEWHAT UNCERTAIN 300/3 AS THE CENTER IS

DIFFICULT TO TRACK USING NIGHTTIME SATELLITE IMAGES. THE TRACK

FORECAST CONTINUES TO PRESENT A CHALLENGE. MUCH OF THE DYNAMICAL

MODEL GUIDANCE SHOW ANDRES MOVING NEAR OR OVER THE SOUTHWEST COAST

OF MEXICO. THIS MOTION WOULD APPARENTLY BE THE RESULT OF ANDRES

ROTATING AROUND THE EASTERN SIDE OF A BROAD LOW-LEVEL CYCLONIC GYRE

WITHIN WHICH IT IS EMBEDDED. HOWEVER THE DYNAMICAL MODEL FORECASTS

ALSO SHOW PRONOUNCED MID- TO UPPER- TROPOSPHERIC RIDGING OVER

MEXICO...WHICH WOULD TEND TO DRIVE THE TROPICAL CYCLONE ON A MORE

WESTWARD TRACK...OR AT LEAST PARALLEL TO THE COAST. THE OFFICIAL

FORECAST IS NUDGED A LITTLE TO THE RIGHT OF THE PREVIOUS ONE BUT

STILL LIES TO THE LEFT OF THE MODEL CONSENSUS. IN 4 TO 5 DAYS IT

IS LIKELY THAT ANDRES WILL BE A WEAKENING SYSTEM BEING STEERED

MAINLY BY THE LOWER-LEVEL FLOW.



ALTHOUGH THE OFFICIAL FORECAST TRACK STILL DOES NOT EXPLICITLY

INDICATE LANDFALL...IT IS NONETHELESS CLOSE ENOUGH TO THE COAST SO

THAT A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MAY BE REQUIRED FOR A PORTION OF THE

SOUTHWEST COAST OF MEXICO LATER TODAY.
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ATTENTION...NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER



NCEP COUPLED GFDL HURRICANE MODEL FORECAST MADE FOR



TROPICAL STORM ANDRES 02E



INITIAL TIME 6Z JUN 22



DISCLAIMER ... THIS INFORMATION IS PROVIDED AS GUIDANCE. IT

REQUIRES INTERPRETATION BY HURRICANE SPECIALISTS AND SHOULD

NOT BE CONSIDERED AS A FINAL PRODUCT. PLEASE SEE THE TPC/NHC

OFFICIAL FORECAST.





FORECAST STORM POSITION



HOUR LATITUDE LONGITUDE HEADING/SPEED(KT)



0 15.0 102.2 290./ 4.1

6 15.4 101.8 44./ 6.1

12 16.2 101.7 6./ 7.6

18 17.2 102.0 346./10.3

24 17.9 102.8 309./10.7

30 18.4 103.9 295./11.9

36 19.3 105.3 302./15.6

42 21.3 106.0 341./20.8

48 21.9 106.0 356./ 6.0

54 22.1 106.4 304./ 4.1

60 22.3 106.8 297./ 4.1

66 22.9 107.3 319./ 7.5

72 23.1 107.5 324./ 2.6

78 23.1 107.6 256./ 1.5

84 23.0 107.6 189./ .6

90 23.0 107.6 0./ .0



STORM DISSIPATED AT 90 HRS AT THE ABOVE PSN.


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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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