Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:10 PM GMT on November 13, 2010
An area of disturbed weather (Invest 94L) in the southern Caribbean off the coast of Colombia has changed little this morning, but has the potential to develop into a tropical depression on Monday or Tuesday. Satellite images show that 94L has a limited amount of heavy thunderstorms, but the activity is showing signs of organization, with several curved bands trying to form, and a bit of upper-level outflow to the north and west. Water vapor satellite images show a large amount of dry air lies to the north over the northern Caribbean, and this dry air may be slowing development. SSTs are warm, 29°C, and wind shear as analyzed by the University of Wisconsin CIMSS group is a moderate 10 - 15 knots. An ASCAT pass from last night showed 94L had a nearly complete surface circulation, but there is no sign of a closed circulation on satellite imagery this morning.
Figure 1. Morning satellite image of 94L.
Forecast for 94L
The latest SHIPS model forecast predicts that wind shear will remain in the moderate range, 10 - 20 knots, through Monday morning, then rise to the high range, 20 - 25 knots, Tuesday through Thursday next week. The modest shear, warm SSTs, and relatively moist atmosphere should allow for some slow organization of 94L through Monday. The models predict that the steering currents in the southern Caribbean will keep 94L moving generally west-northwestward at about 5 mph for the next five days, which would bring the storm ashore over Nicaragua or northeast Honduras as early as Tuesday night. Both the GFS and NOGAPS models show some modest development of 94L, and NHC is giving the system a 40% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Monday. The Hurricane Hunters are on call to investigate 94L on Monday afternoon. At this time, it appears that 94L will stay confined to the Caribbean, and will not by drawn northwards across Cuba towards Florida and the Bahamas.
I'll have an update Sunday by noon EST.
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