TD 3 growing more organized

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8:01 PM GMT on July 22, 2010

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Tropical Depression Three is steadily organizing, and appears poised to become a much stronger storm than was forecast. Water vapor satellite loops show that the upper level low to the west of TD 3 that has been bringing high levels of wind shear to the storm is now moving faster to the west than predicted. This faster motion has resulted in a reduction in wind shear over TD 3, to a moderate 10 knots. Satellite images of TD 3 show that the storm is taking advantage of the lower shear by developing several low-level spiral bands to the north and east of the center. However, the center of circulation is still exposed to view, and dry air is still getting injected into the core of the storm from the southwest. The storm's heavy thunderstorms have not increased in intensity this afternoon, and the amount of heavy thunderstorm activity near the core of the storm is still limited. TD 3 will need to build more intense thunderstorms near its center before significant intensification can occur. TD 3 is a small storm, and surface observations in the Bahamas do not show the circulation very well. An outer rain band of TD 3 is now visible on Miami long-range radar, and a flood watch has been issued for all of South Florida. The Hurricane Hunters are in the storm at present, and have found top surface winds of 35 - 40 mph.


Figure 1. Afternoon satellite image of TD 3.

Track Forecast for TD 3
The storm is in a straightforward steering current environment, and TD 3 should progress steadily to the west-northwest through Sunday. This will bring the storm ashore over the Florida Keys or South Florida on Friday, and into the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday. The latest set of model runs from 8am EDT (12Z) foresee a track more to the north than the previous set of model runs. This increases the threat to the oil spill region, and I give a 40% chance that the oil spill region will see tropical storm force winds of 39 mph or higher this weekend. Oil recovery and relief well drilling operations should cease. If TD 3 makes a direct hit on the oil spill region as a tropical storm with 50 - 60 mph winds, it will likely drive a storm surge of 3 - 6 feet with high waves on top into the Louisiana marshlands, fouling a large area with oil. Oil would also penetrate into Lake Pontchartrain, which lies just two feet above sea level. However, the wave action of the storm will dilute the oil to some degree, which may limit the damage to the marshlands.

If you are wondering about the specific probabilities of receiving tropical storm force winds at your location, I recommend the wind probability product from NHC. The latest 5 pm probabilities of various locations getting tropical storm force winds, 39 mph or higher:

Marathon 55%
Marco Island 43%
Miami 34%
New Orleans 33%
Galveston 13%

Intensity Forecast for TD 3
The primary detriment to development of TD 3 for the next three days will be the presence of the large upper-level low to its west. If the low remains in its present location, relative to TD 3, it will bring wind shear of about 10 knots to the storm. This will allow for steady intensification of perhaps 20 mph per day, and TD 3 could be a hurricane by Sunday at that pace. However, if the upper-level low slows down a bit, relative to TD 3, more shear and dry air will affect the storm, potentially weakening it. None of the computer models is calling for TD 3 to strengthen into a hurricane, but if the shear continues at 10 knots, I expect TD 3 will become a hurricane. My low-confidence intensity forecast gives TD 3 a 40% chance of becoming a hurricane. NHC is putting the odds of TD 3 being a hurricane at 2 pm Sunday at 15% with their 5pm advisory.

98L
An area of disturbed weather (98L) has developed in the Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche. This system is under a low amount of shear, 5 - 10 knots, and probably does not have enough time to organize into a tropical depression before making landfall along the Mexican coast a few hundred miles south of the Texas border on Friday.

Resources for the BP oil disaster
Map of oil spill location from the NOAA Satellite Services Division
My post, What a hurricane would do the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
My post on the Southwest Florida "Forbidden Zone" where surface oil will rarely go
My post on what oil might do to a hurricane
NOAA's interactive mapping tool to overlay wind and ocean current forecasts, oil locations, etc.
Gulf Oil Blog from the UGA Department of Marine Sciences
Oil Spill Academic Task Force
University of South Florida Ocean Circulation Group oil spill forecasts
ROFFS Deepwater Horizon page
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery from the University of Miami

Next update
I'll have an update in the morning. ABC World News Tonight will probably show a sound bite I did for them today, on their 6:30pm broadcast.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting Levi32:


Well, if it (TD3) doesn't get any stronger than this and weakens in the gulf, it (the European model) won't have done too awful badly.



Now that is what we call an "understatement".
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Max Mayfield on news now. Saying not expecting a big deal and looking at a 50 mph winds when it goes thru SFL (which includes keys).
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


StormTop's a girl?


Stormtop is not a girl, it is an old goofy man who talks loud and never listens from the 2005 season.. his claim to fame is he "nailed" the Katrina forcast to hit NO......but even a broken clock is right twice a day...
He has so many handles since STORMTOP because he keeps getting banned and ignored by others here ......

that is your WU history lesson for today.
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wouldnt tornadoes be an issue on the north and east side of the curculation?
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It's a good thing for us here in SE Fla Bonnie isnt over the Turks & Cakos right now so it's not gonna have too much time for ri before the center crosses the coastline
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763. xcool
cmc get better
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Could be Taz.
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Quoting TexasHurricane:


I'm out of town right now....won't be able to see. :(


Oh ok. I'll try to post what he says.
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The center is still north of the forecast track..
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Quoting Drakoen:
It is rather disappointing that the ECMWF model did not pick up on this system.


It has been unusually conservative this year.
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Quoting tkeith:

worth repeating...!--


only if you wish to create unneccessary and unforecasted panic.
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


CMC deserves big props for hitting on this one



Even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes.
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Quoting tropicfreak:
Do we have bonnie? Because some of us on this blog are still saying TD 3.


No we don't have bonnie.
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The core is starting to consolidate quite a bit more, she's definitely trying to put on a show.
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If the NHC is going to release a special advisory based on the vortex, it may take some time as they will like to analyze the information.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Evening Levi, don't post much anymore but I appreciate your posts.

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Quoting Drakoen:
It is rather disappointing that the ECMWF model did not pick up on this system.


Well, if it doesn't get any stronger than this and weakens in the gulf, it won't have done too awful badly.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
I remember posting the CMC a week ago when it had that large wave north of the CV (now Bonnie) developing in the Bahamas and making landfall in the Gulf.

Im amazed that its actually happening.
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Quoting tropicfreak:
Do we have bonnie? Because some of us on this blog are still saying TD 3.


Not officially yet, but vortex showed 45 knots.. so 50 mph TS.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
If the 8PM advisory does show 50mph, a category 1 is very likely. Well time to head to Home Depot...! LOL.


Just don't drive yourself, you are too young!
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Do we have bonnie? Because some of us on this blog are still saying TD 3.
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What about the high to the north? How will it play in the equation, atmos?

Quoting atmosweather:


The quick W-ward movement of the ULL is providing great ventilation...dry air is still a problem but shear is dropping fast and upper level ridging is building in over the top of it. This has a good chance of ramping up very quickly.
Quoting atmosweather:


A lot of people were thinking the same way...a few of us were here until early this morning and were seeing the decoupled LLC crash towards Cuba well W of the mid level energy. Then the surface center reformed under the developing convection, the ULL trekked quickly W-ward and this is what you get.
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Let it be known that I am preparing for possible Bonnie here in Tampa. I will eat the rest of the ice cream just in the outside chance that a feeder band come through and knock out my power. LOL
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a hurricane watch may bee needed soon for the lower and upper FL keys and S FL
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115454
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
12 hours ago this was a sheared tropical disturbance with a 40% chance of developing.

Now its a 50mph TS.


Yup. Surprise awaits
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Then these are wrong:

211800 2247N 07520W 9875 00159 0056 +251 +216 356004 007 020 003 00


One is decimal degrees, the other is degrees and minutes.
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Quoting omgonozohshite:


PICS or GTFO man, lets see this imagery. Im a newbie and am not good at finding this stuff online


RGB Satellite Loop
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Quoting Drakoen:
It is rather disappointing that the ECMWF model did not pick up on this system.


CMC deserves big props for hitting on this one
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Quoting Levi32:
Afternoon all.



hi
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115454
Quoting homelesswanderer:


Yeah me too. But usually the NHC will say something about track errors being so many miles off at like 72hrs. Haven't seen that yet on this one. Don't forget ch 6 is showing their new weather program thing at 5,6 &10.


I'm out of town right now....won't be able to see. :(
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Quoting BiloxiGirl:
Ok so I am 37 weeks pregnant..... when is this storm planning on being in the N. Gulf of Mexico? I know the low pressure can play a part in inducing labor. Just curious.


Sunday morning, pack your bag. My daughter was born in 97 during TS Daniel, so i do believe.
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Quoting StormW:


Not in this case.

Could you elaborate a little why in this case. Tia
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It is rather disappointing that the ECMWF model did not pick up on this system.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
IN BUT A BLINK OF AN EYE THINGS CHANGE


nothing really has changed. Just as NHC forecast.

A minimal Tropical Storm Passing close to SFlorida.
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732. unf97
Quoting cchsweatherman:


To be honest, that can't be ruled out.


Well, considering that the cyclone is about to move over even warmer SSTs and more deeper waters of the Gulf Stream, most certainly the possibility of intensification is there. Plus, shear has relaxed even more over the system as the ULL has moved farther away today.

Hopefully, folks down in extreme SE FL will keep monitoring the situation closely and not get caught by surprise hopefully. These tropical cyclones often do have a mind of their own and can spring the art of surprise!
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Afternoon all.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Tampa met now saying possible TS Bonnie has formed, but will be nothing more than a breeze.
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Quoting FLdewey:


*dramatic music

I hope OZ has his suit on... I pray that he has enough duct tape to survive!


I want to see Oz and Roker have a Summo match on Miami Beach tomorrow. Now that would be worth watching.
Member Since: May 31, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1210
Quoting CybrTeddy:


Not surprising.. giving that they said this morning that 97L was I quote said 'a weak wave that will likely be torn apart by high wind shear before the day is out..'


A lot of people were thinking the same way...a few of us were here until early this morning and were seeing the decoupled LLC crash towards Cuba well W of the mid level energy. Then the surface center reformed under the developing convection, the ULL trekked quickly W-ward and this is what you get.
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Quoting TexasHurricane:


I think I am going to see if this track continues before I rule us out for good. I think it is suppose to take a more WNW track again down the road.....


Yeah me too. But usually the NHC will say something about track errors being so many miles off at like 72hrs. Haven't seen that yet on this one. Don't forget ch 6 is showing their new weather program thing at 5,6 &10.
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726. redUK
The vortex message puts the centre of Bonnie just to the south-west of Long Island and away from the heaviest convection.
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Quoting zoomiami:
Drak is being very reasonable given the conditions. Planning for at least one category above what is forecasted just makes good sense. Everything you read tells you that the intensity is the part of the forecast that is most difficult, and the part that has the least accuracy.


worth repeating...
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
12 hours ago this was a sheared tropical disturbance with a 40% chance of developing.

Now its a 50mph TS.




heh like i all way say nevere RIP a storm or the storm may come right back at you
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115454
Quoting cchsweatherman:


To be honest, that can't be ruled out.


shear is dropping, anticylclone is developing, the system is still moving NW, dry air is fading, it's beginning to explode as the sun goes down.. pressure is steadily dropping.

I see no reason why it can't become a hurricane in 24 hours.
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Quoting zoomiami:
Grothar or Storm: what model runs will have the information the hurricane hunters are currently gathering?

Could someone post a graphic that shows how the ull is pulling away? I understand the concept but am not seeing it on the pics.


Check the movement over Florida. That will give you an idea of what they are talking about. A low follows a low. That is what has been disrupting the system. It may move out faster than expected.



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Quoting StormW:


Not in this case.


Storm can you elaborate on this some?
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Quoting ElConando:


Have accoridan(sic.) shutters all around and plenty of batteries and a generator.
*Larry the cableguy voice*: Looks like itsa time to put da plywood up! Ok all jokes aside, we really have to watch this for the possibility of a stronger system than what is currently anticipated. In truth, the NHC only thought that 03L was going to reach 45 knots before the Florida landfall, unfortunately, it achieved that way too early according to the vortex.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194

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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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