97L a threat to become a tropical depression on Wednesday

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:31 PM GMT on July 20, 2010

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A tropical wave (Invest 97L) near the east coast of Puerto Rico has become more organized overnight and is a threat to develop into a tropical depression as early as Wednesday. The disturbance has brought heavy rains of 8+ inches to Culebra and Vieques islands over the past day (Figure 1), and all of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are under flash flood watches today. The storm could bring an additional 3 - 6 inches of rain to the islands over the next two days. The upper level low centered a few hundred miles north of the Dominican Republic is no longer bringing high levels of wind shear to 97L; wind shear has fallen to the moderate range, 10 - 20 knots, which may allow 97L to continue to develop today. Satellite images of 97L show a moderate area of disorganized thunderstorms, but no signs of a surface circulation, no low-level spiral banding, and no upper-level outflow. There is a large amount of dry air to the northwest of Puerto Rico that will interfere with development of 97L. Surface observations show only light winds over Puerto Rico, with no signs of a surface circulation. The Hurricane Hunters are on call to investigate 97L this afternoon, if necessary.


Figure 1. Total radar-estimated rainfall from Invest 97L.

Forecast for 97L
The storm is in a fairly straightforward steering current environment, and 97L should progress steadily to the west-northwest through Saturday. The rains from 97L's thunderstorms will bring the threat of flooding to the Dominican Republic today and Wednesday, and to Haiti on Wednesday and Thursday. Heavy rains from 97L will begin moving into eastern Cuba, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the eastern Bahamas on Wednesday, and South Florida can expect heavy rains to arrive as early as Thursday night. We do have several models developing 97L into a tropical depression or tropical storm. The GFS and HWRF both take 97L to tropical storm status over the Bahamas by Thursday, with the storm then tracking over South Florida on Friday and entering the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday. The NOGAPS is similar, but portrays a weaker system. All of these models foresee a threat to the oil spill region by Saturday night or Sunday, with the storm making a second landfall somewhere between the Florida Panhandle and Louisiana. One factor potentially aiding the storm will be the Madden-Julian oscillation, which currently favors upward motion over the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean. The Madden-Julian oscillation is a pattern of enhanced rainfall that travels along the Equator from west to east. The pattern has a wet phase with large-scale rising air and enhanced thunderstorm activity, followed by a dry phase with large-scale sinking air and suppressed thunderstorm activity. Each cycle lasts approximately 30 - 60 days. When the Madden-Julian oscillation is in its wet phase over a hurricane-prone region, the chances for tropical storm activity are greatly increased. Also in favor of development are the warm ocean temperatures of 29°C. The SHIPS model predicts shear will remain moderate, 10 - 20 knots, over the next 4 - 5 days, and I believe the primary detriment to development of 97L over the next two days will be the presence of dry, stable air in its path over the Bahamas, thanks to the upper-level low to the north of the Dominican Republic. NHC is giving 97L a 40% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Thursday, which is a reasonable forecast. I think there is a 60% chance 97L will eventually become Tropical Storm Bonnie, sometime in the next five days. Sudden rapid development today or on Wednesday is unlikely, due to the dry air over the Bahamas, and I put the odds of 97L making it to hurricane strength before reaching Florida at 10%. There is a better chance that 97L could attain hurricane strength in the Gulf of Mexico, perhaps 20%. These probabilities will depend heavily upon how long 97L (or Bonnie) spends over land or interacting with land over the next four days, which is very uncertain.

Time to cut the forecast numbers for the coming hurricane season?
Here are the number of Atlantic named storms, hurricanes, and intense hurricanes predicted by the various forecast groups in their late May or early June forecasts:

23 named storms: PSU statistical model
20 named storms: UKMET GloSea dynamical model
18.5 named storms, 11 hurricanes, 5 major hurricanes: NOAA hybrid statistical/dynamical model technique
18 named storms, 10 hurricanes, 5 intense hurricanes: CSU statistical model (Phil Klotzbach/Bill Gray)
17.7 named storms, 9.5 hurricanes, 4.4 intense hurricanes: Tropical Storm Risk (TSR), hybrid statistical/dynamical model technique (Note: TSR increased their numbers to 19.1, 10.4, and 4.8 with their July 6 forecast)
17 named storms, 10 hurricanes: FSU dynamical model
10 named storms, 6 hurricanes, 2 intense hurricanes: climatology

The group forecasting the lowest activity was the Florida State University group led by Dr. Tim LaRow. They use a new dynamical forecast model called COAPS, which is funded by a 5-year, $6.2 million grant from NOAA. This year's June forecast by the COAPS model called for 17 named storms and 10 hurricanes. However, Dr. LaRow emailed me yesterday to say that the COAPS model is now calling for reduced activity. Using the state of the atmosphere and ocean as of July 15, a new run of the COAPS model was performed over the weekend. The new forecast is now calling for two fewer hurricanes--a total of 15 named storms and 8 hurricanes (including Alex.) The COAPS model generated an "ensemble" of five different forecasts, done by varying the initial sea surface temperatures by a few percent at the beginning of the model run. These five forecasts came up with a range of 12 - 16 named storms (including Alex), and 7 - 10 hurricanes. It will be interesting to see when CSU issues its August 4 forecast if they also cut their numbers. With only one named storm (Alex) thus far this year, it's getting pretty hard to have a season with 19 or 20 named storms. Only four hurricane seasons since 1851 have had as many as nineteen named storms. These four seasons--1887, 1933, 1995, and 2005--all had at least three named storms by July 20.

"Hurricane Haven" airing again this afternoon
Tune into another airing of my live Internet radio show, "Hurricane Haven", at 4pm EDT today. Listeners will be able to call in and ask questions. The call in number is 415-983-2634, or you can post a question in the comments area on my blog during the show. You can also email the questions to me today before the show: jmasters@wunderground.com. Be sure to include "Hurricane Haven question" in the subject line. Some topics I'll cover today on the show:

1) Invest 97
2) A look ahead at the coming two weeks

Today's show will be about 45 minutes, and you can tune in at http://www.wunderground.com/wxradio/wubroadcast.h tml. The show will be recorded and stored as a podcast.

Jeff Masters

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1338. weathernerdcc
10:10 PM GMT on July 20, 2010



Trying again.... Sarcasm Flag
Member Since: July 22, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 25
1337. KeyWestwx
10:10 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
Great update! thanks!
Steve in Key West
Quoting unf97:
NWS, Key West, FL

Long Term Discussion

ATTENTION THEN SHIFTS TO WHAT IS CURRENTLY A BROAD TROPICAL WAVE
NEAR THE NORTHERN LEEWARD ISLANDS WITH SHOWERS/TSTMS EXTENDING AS
FAR WESTWARD AS HISPANIOLA. SHORT TO MEDIUM RANGE MODEL GUIDANCE ARE
NOT IN EXACT AGREEMENT WITH THE EVOLUTION OF THIS SYSTEM OVER THE
NEXT 3 TO 5 DAY...BUT THEY ARE AT LEAST MORE IN LINE THAN WHAT WAS
BEING DEPICTED 24 HOURS AGO. MOST IF NOT ALL ARE NOW SHOWING A CLOSED
SURFACE CIRCULATION APPROACHING FLORIDA EITHER ACROSS THE BAHAMAS
LATE THURSDAY...OR CLOSER TO THE CUBAN COAST WHILE LAGGING A LITTLE
IN TIME. A LOW CONFIDENCE FORECAST EXISTS THROUGH LATE THIS WEEK
THANKS TO THIS SYSTEM. AN UPPER LEVEL LOW THAT HAS BEEN MEANDERING
EAST OF THE BAHAMAS COMPLICATES THE FORECAST SINCE IT IS ANTICIPATED
TO SLIDE TO THE WEST/SOUTHWEST OVER THE NEXT 36 TO 48 HOURS. AT THIS
POINT...WILL GO AHEAD AND MAKE SOME WIND ADJUSTMENTS IN THE GRIDS.
THIS IS MORE IN REGARDS TO DIRECTIONAL CHANGES THAN TO INCREASING WIND
SPEEDS. PLAN TO BACK THE WINDS STEADILY FROM LATE THURSDAY THROUGH
LATE FRIDAY AS THE LOW LEVEL CIRCULATION IS EXPECTED TO APPROACH
SOUTHEAST FLORIDA. AT THIS POINT...HIGHER WIND SPEEDS AND POSSIBLY
HIGHER RAIN CHANCES MAY FOCUS NORTH OF THE FLORIDA KEYS. THAT IS NOT
TO DOWNPLAY EITHER SENSIBLE ELEMENTS LOCALLY. INDEED...WILL CONTINUE
TO RAMP UP THE CHANCE POPS FROM LATE THURSDAY AND THURSDAY NIGHT AND
HAVE A HIGH CHANCE FROM FRIDAY THROUGH AT LEAST SATURDAY. AIRBORNE
INVESTIGATION OF THIS SYSTEM IS SLATED FOR WEDNESDAY...
Member Since: September 20, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 270
1336. weathernerdcc
10:03 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
Quoting Baybuddy:


Ok...

Green Flag = Safe Surf Conditions

Yellow Flag = Use Caution

Purple Flag = Dangerous Marine Life Present

Red Flag = Dangerous Surf Conditions

Double Red Flags = Hurricane

My question... What does the sarcasm flag look like?



Here's your flag....

Member Since: July 22, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 25
1335. cg2916
8:10 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
NEW BLOG!!!
Member Since: December 21, 2007 Posts: 13 Comments: 3026
1334. WINDSMURF
8:03 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
The blog has slowed down during the last half hour?????
Member Since: August 10, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 163
1333. StonedCrab
8:02 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
Quoting Baybuddy:


Ok...

Green Flag = Safe Surf Conditions

Yellow Flag = Use Caution

Purple Flag = Dangerous Marine Life Present

Red Flag = Dangerous Surf Conditions

Double Red Flags = Hurricane

My question... What does the sarcasm flag look like?



Member Since: October 30, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 270
1332. louisianaboy444
7:57 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
We all remember the Initial Track on Ike Don't we Guys....South Florida could be a good bet but anything else after that is all speculation
Member Since: August 29, 2006 Posts: 22 Comments: 1339
1331. markinthedark
7:55 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
IMO until a storm is classified as such most models only slightly handle track about 12 hours out on intensity out any further than that is a crap shoot,,, WAITING
Member Since: August 20, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 23
1330. Baybuddy
7:54 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
Quoting Floodman:


Awwww...you take all the fun out of it...**sarcasm flag is up**


Ok...

Green Flag = Safe Surf Conditions

Yellow Flag = Use Caution

Purple Flag = Dangerous Marine Life Present

Red Flag = Dangerous Surf Conditions

Double Red Flags = Hurricane

My question... What does the sarcasm flag look like?

Member Since: June 26, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1115
1329. markinthedark
7:51 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
Quoting WINDSMURF:
I think that it is too early to settle on a specific track. I think that we should wait until later tonight or tomorrow morning to evaluate the most likely scenario
Member Since: August 20, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 23
1328. WINDSMURF
7:41 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
I think that it is too early to settle on a specific track. I think that we should wait until later tonight or tomorrow morning to evaluate the most likely scenario
Member Since: August 10, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 163
1327. PensacolaDoug
7:35 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
Quoting mikatnight:


There's a lot of shift being tossed around on the blog all the sudden. I think everyone should just take a deep breath and get their shift together.




What shifty thing to say!
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 519
1326. Patrap
7:26 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
"Hurricane Haven" airing again this afternoon
Tune into another airing of my live Internet radio show, "Hurricane Haven", at 4pm EDT today. Listeners will be able to call in and ask questions. The call in number is 415-983-2634, or you can post a question in the comments area on my blog during the show. You can also email the questions to me today before the show: jmasters@wunderground.com. Be sure to include "Hurricane Haven question" in the subject line. Some topics I'll cover today on the show:

1) Invest 97
2) A look ahead at the coming two weeks

Today's show will be about 45 minutes, and you can tune in at http://www.wunderground.com/wxradio/wubroadcast.html.

The show will be recorded and stored as a podcast.

Jeff Masters
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125476
1325. Patrap
7:24 PM GMT on July 20, 2010

18z Early Cycle NHC model tracks
Invest97
Statistical/Simple Models (CLIPER,BAMs,LBAR,other Statistical Models)





Dynamic Models (More sophisticated models)





Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125476
1324. louisianaweatherguy
7:23 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
will this one be a 1998 Hurricane Georges track?? if so, it could scare the crap out of New orleans and then plow into MS/AL...
Member Since: July 9, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 692
1323. StonedCrab
7:20 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
Quoting FLdewey:


Some counties (Like Brevard) will do an evac of low lying areas and manufactured homes for some tropical storms. If you were in a mandatory evac area for a cat 1 I would assume it would be for flood concerns or manufactured homes.

Except for the flood threat I think the "mandatory" evacuations for cat 1's are overblown.


I don't even put up shutters for a Cat 1.
Member Since: October 30, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 270
1322. patrikdude2
7:20 PM GMT on July 20, 2010


North shift in track.
Member Since: July 20, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 225
1321. TexasHurricane
7:19 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
so is it more like this or more east and north?

Member Since: July 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2811
1320. earthlydragonfly
7:18 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
Quoting Floodman:


Awwww...you take all the fun out of it...**sarcasm flag is up**

Again.. that is a Sar-Caster (taps mic... is this thing even on... check one two.. check one two)
Member Since: July 1, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 1681
1319. Joanie38
7:17 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
Quoting FLdewey:


HAHAHA... that one made me shift a brick.


ROFL !! That was funny!!! Hi everyone..Hi StormW !! :)
Member Since: June 16, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 505
1318. Floodman
7:16 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
Quoting moonlightcowboy:
That's fine, Drak. Maybe so. I guess that's why the models are still hopping around, huh? ;P It's the cyclo phase still and LLC or not, modeling will hardly be reliable with track or intensity. They're a tool, sure, but way overused and expectations held by many at this stage.

Let's get a bonified system, plz all, before folks start yacking CAT 5 doom for NOLA. LOL!


Awwww...you take all the fun out of it...**sarcasm flag is up**
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
1317. ElConando
7:15 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Did you know see Drak's post? 97L has an LLC that is stacked through the 700mb level. Models are and should be doing a good job with 97L by now.


Sometimes I wonder if he has any idea what is going on.
Member Since: September 6, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 3709
1316. earthlydragonfly
7:15 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
Quoting DestinJeff:


oh now that is a beauty!


TY I think its my fav so far
Member Since: July 1, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 1681
1315. patrikdude2
7:15 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
NEW MODEL update!


Member Since: July 20, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 225
1314. MiamiHurricanes09
7:14 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
NEW BLOG!!!
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
1312. smmcdavid
7:14 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
Hey mlc... long time, no see.
Member Since: September 20, 2005 Posts: 31 Comments: 2309
1310. moonlightcowboy
7:12 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
That's fine, Drak. Maybe so. I guess that's why the models are still hopping around, huh? ;P It's the cyclo phase still and LLC or not, modeling will hardly be reliable with track or intensity. They're a tool, sure, but way overused and expectations held by many at this stage.

Let's get a bonified system, plz all, before folks start yacking CAT 5 doom for NOLA. LOL!
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29594
1309. sailingallover
7:12 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
Track is a toss right now..anywhere from north coast of Cuba to Mid FL more likely depending on how much it develops and how fast it starts moving and the trough high combo coming off the East Coast later in the week. I'd favor South FL right unless it really strengthens
Member Since: September 1, 2009 Posts: 23 Comments: 1005
1307. MiamiHurricanes09
7:12 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
Quoting reedzone:
Until we have an established area of low pressure, the track remains uncertain.
Did you know see Drak's post? 97L has an LLC that is stacked through the 700mb level. Models are and should be doing a good job with 97L by now.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
1306. patrikdude2
7:11 PM GMT on July 20, 2010







I believe a T.D. is bound to form later this evening.
Member Since: July 20, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 225
1304. gator23
7:11 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
Quoting StormW:


Ok...thought he meant longer term. Was that the 18Z run?

the lastest run, of the GFDL has landfall near the Titusville area.
Member Since: August 26, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2162
1303. NoNamePub
7:10 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
Aloha Gang -

Looks like I better get a fresh coat of Rubber paint on my Old House in florida....
Rain Rain Go away!
Member Since: July 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 518
1301. BadHurricane
7:10 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
Member Since: December 5, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 59
1300. smmcdavid
7:10 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
Quoting reedzone:
Until we have an established area of low pressure, the track remains uncertain.


I'm pretty sure that there is always some uncertainty in the track. :)
Member Since: September 20, 2005 Posts: 31 Comments: 2309
1299. unf97
7:10 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
NWS, Key West, FL

Long Term Discussion

ATTENTION THEN SHIFTS TO WHAT IS CURRENTLY A BROAD TROPICAL WAVE
NEAR THE NORTHERN LEEWARD ISLANDS WITH SHOWERS/TSTMS EXTENDING AS
FAR WESTWARD AS HISPANIOLA. SHORT TO MEDIUM RANGE MODEL GUIDANCE ARE
NOT IN EXACT AGREEMENT WITH THE EVOLUTION OF THIS SYSTEM OVER THE
NEXT 3 TO 5 DAY...BUT THEY ARE AT LEAST MORE IN LINE THAN WHAT WAS
BEING DEPICTED 24 HOURS AGO. MOST IF NOT ALL ARE NOW SHOWING A CLOSED
SURFACE CIRCULATION APPROACHING FLORIDA EITHER ACROSS THE BAHAMAS
LATE THURSDAY...OR CLOSER TO THE CUBAN COAST WHILE LAGGING A LITTLE
IN TIME. A LOW CONFIDENCE FORECAST EXISTS THROUGH LATE THIS WEEK
THANKS TO THIS SYSTEM. AN UPPER LEVEL LOW THAT HAS BEEN MEANDERING
EAST OF THE BAHAMAS COMPLICATES THE FORECAST SINCE IT IS ANTICIPATED
TO SLIDE TO THE WEST/SOUTHWEST OVER THE NEXT 36 TO 48 HOURS. AT THIS
POINT...WILL GO AHEAD AND MAKE SOME WIND ADJUSTMENTS IN THE GRIDS.
THIS IS MORE IN REGARDS TO DIRECTIONAL CHANGES THAN TO INCREASING WIND
SPEEDS. PLAN TO BACK THE WINDS STEADILY FROM LATE THURSDAY THROUGH
LATE FRIDAY AS THE LOW LEVEL CIRCULATION IS EXPECTED TO APPROACH
SOUTHEAST FLORIDA. AT THIS POINT...HIGHER WIND SPEEDS AND POSSIBLY
HIGHER RAIN CHANCES MAY FOCUS NORTH OF THE FLORIDA KEYS. THAT IS NOT
TO DOWNPLAY EITHER SENSIBLE ELEMENTS LOCALLY. INDEED...WILL CONTINUE
TO RAMP UP THE CHANCE POPS FROM LATE THURSDAY AND THURSDAY NIGHT AND
HAVE A HIGH CHANCE FROM FRIDAY THROUGH AT LEAST SATURDAY. AIRBORNE
INVESTIGATION OF THIS SYSTEM IS SLATED FOR WEDNESDAY...
Member Since: September 25, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1193
1298. WatchingThisOne
7:10 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
97L 18Z SHIPS Text, track from OFCI.


I'll be watching those cloud top temps ... seems to be a significant limiting factor ... only -52 toward the end of the run.
Member Since: July 15, 2005 Posts: 3 Comments: 1259
1297. Seflhurricane
7:09 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
Quoting leelee75k:
oh hell no!!! should I expect tropical storm conditions Friday night in South Florida or just a rain event? I need to make sure flight plans will not be affected :(
make plans for a rough weekend but it appers we may have a tropical system. it could be a depression storm or hurricane in the general area.
Member Since: July 14, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2990
1296. teammc
7:09 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
StormW, are you going to update your blog soon?
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 106
1295. reedzone
7:09 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
Until we have an established area of low pressure, the track remains uncertain.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7334
1294. earthlydragonfly
7:08 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
Quoting gator23:

oh sorry i forgot my sarcasm flag, Sarcasm flag up.



That would be a Sar-Caster

Member Since: July 1, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 1681
1293. Skyepony (Mod)
7:08 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
Interesting... 12Z brought a shift north hitting most of SEFL. The GFDL model was even a little more north nailing me with the eye at 78hrs. gfs shifted a little south, may see a little more shift overall to the north but probably not a whole lot. It looks gamely..like a deepening inverted trough with bad intentions. Upper Divergence is excellent (40), lower convergence is pretty good (20). I'm seeing varying values for sheer depending on source Somewhere between 0-20kts..maybe, more in the most northern reaches. Looks to have decreased slightly the last few satellite frames.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 156 Comments: 36058
1291. MiamiHurricanes09
7:08 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
Quoting MississippiWx:


He's incorrect. You can have a surface low without having a closed circulation.
I understand that, I just wanted him to know that there is an obvious area of low pressure. Also, a circulation is the center of the system, depending on what level it reaches to is how it is called. Obviously, there's an area of low pressure, 97L has an LLC. Yeah, a surface low is a surface low regardless of being open, closed, etc, etc...Lol.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
1290. TheDawnAwakening2
7:07 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
Band on the southern side of the circulation is developing. Circulation near 20N/67W.
Member Since: December 4, 2009 Posts: 24 Comments: 251
1289. louisianaweatherguy
7:07 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
Quoting Drakoen:
You can see the circulation on radar north of the eastern tip of Hispaniola


you can finally see some of the storms just North of DR starting to drift west... A western direction is setting up now
Member Since: July 9, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 692
1288. leelee75k
7:07 PM GMT on July 20, 2010
oh hell no!!! should I expect tropical storm conditions Friday night in South Florida or just a rain event? I need to make sure flight plans will not be affected :(
Member Since: September 9, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 557

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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.