Caribbean disturbance slow to develop; 5 EF-5 tornadoes this year confirmed

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:33 PM GMT on June 03, 2011

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The tropical disturbance (Invest 93L) that crossed over Florida on Wednesday, bringing welcome rains of 1 - 3 inches, is now a naked swirl of low clouds over the central Gulf of Mexico. The disturbance is embedded in a large area of dry air associated with an upper level low pressure system, and this dry air is discouraging development. 93L is also moving into a region of moderate wind shear of 10 - 20 knots, and NHC is giving 93L a 0% chance of developing into a tropical depression before the storm makes landfall in Mexico south of Brownsville on Saturday. There are a few heavy thunderstorms trying to fire up near the center of 93L's fairly well-formed circulation, but I don't think this storm is going to bring more than 1 - 2 inches of rain to the coast on Saturday.


Figure 1. Morning satellite image of the Central Caribbean disturbance.

Central Caribbean disturbance 94L
Disorganized heavy thunderstorm activity continues in the region between Central America and Jamaica. Wind shear has fallen to the moderate range, 10 - 20 knots, and is predicted to continue to fall over the next two days. This should allow the disturbance, dubbed Invest 94L by NHC on Friday afternoon, to increase in organization, though it will take many days for it to approach tropical depression status, since it is so large and poorly organized. The last two runs of the NOGAPS model have developed the disturbance into a tropical depression or storm by early next week, with the system moving northwards into Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and eastern Cuba. The other major models do not show the disturbance developing during the coming week. NHC is giving the disturbance a 10% of developing into a tropical depression by Sunday. A surge of moisture accompanying a tropical wave may aid development when the wave arrives in the Western Caribbean on Sunday. Water temperatures in the Central Caribbean are about 1°C above average, 29°C, which is plenty warm enough to support development of a tropical storm. Residents of Jamaica, eastern Cuba, the Cayman Islands, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic should anticipate the possibility that heavy rains of 2 - 4 inches may affect them today through Sunday.

Five EF-5 tornadoes confirmed in 2011
The National Weather Service in Oklahoma City announced Wednesday that the violent tornado that hit Binger, El Reno, Peidmont, and Guthrie, Oklahoma on May 24, killing nine people, was an EF-5 with winds greater than 210 mph. The rating was given based on measurements made by a University of Oklahoma portable "Doppler on wheels" radar. The long track, large wedge tornado caused extensive damage, with well built houses cleanly swept from their foundation and trees debarked. This tornado brings the total number of EF-5 tornadoes this year to five, tying 2011 with 1953 for 2nd place for greatest number of these top-end tornadoes in one year. Only 1974 (six) had more. The EF-5 tornadoes of 2011:

1) The April 27, 2011 Neshoba/Kemper/Winston/Noxubee Counties, Mississippi tornado (3 killed, 29 mile path length.)

2) The April 27, 2011 Smithville, Mississippi tornado (22 killed, 15 mile path length.)

3) The April 27, 2011 Hackleburg, Alabama tornado (71 killed, 25 mile path length.)

4) The May 22, 2011 Joplin Missouri tornado (138 killed, 14 mile path length.)

5) The May 24, 2011 Binger-El Reno-Peidmont-Guthrie, Oklahoma tornado. (9 killed, 75 mile path length.)


Figure 2. Aerial view of damage from the May 22, 2011 Joplin, Missouri tornado. Image credit: Wikipedia.

A few other remarkable statistics on the tornado season of 2011, compiled from NOAA's official press release and Wikipedia's excellent tornado pages:

- The April 25 - 28 tornado outbreak, with 330 tornadoes, was the largest tornado outbreak of three days or less duration on record. The previous record was 148 tornadoes, set during the April 3 - 4, 1974 Super Outbreak.

- For April 27, 186 tornadoes have been confirmed. This is the largest 1-day tornado total on record, beating the 148 recorded in 24 hours on April 3 - 4, 1974.

- The April 14 - 16 tornado outbreak, with 162 confirmed tornadoes, ranks as the fourth largest tornado outbreak of three days or less duration on record.

- The May 21 - 26 tornado outbreak, with 158 confirmed tornadoes, ranks as the 5th largest 6-day or shorter tornado outbreak on record. A May 2003 6-day outbreak had 289 tornadoes, and a May 2004 6-day outbreak had 229 tornadoes. The year 2011 now has three of the top five tornado outbreaks on record.

- April confirmed tornado total was 683, making it the busiest tornado month on record. The previous record was 542 tornadoes, set in May 2003. The previous April record was 267 tornadoes, which occurred in April 1974. The 30-year average for April tornadoes is 135.

- If the three deaths in Massachusetts from Wednesday's tornadoes are confirmed, this year's tornado death toll will be 522, beating 1953 as the deadliest tornado year since modern tornado records began. That year, 519 people died, and three heavily populated cities received direct hits by violent tornadoes. Waco, Texas (114 killed), Flint, Michigan (115 killed), and Worcester, Massachusetts (90 killed) all were hit by violent F-4 or F-5 tornadoes. A similar bad tornado year occurred in 1936, when violent tornadoes hit Tupelo Mississippi (216 killed), and Gainesville, Georgia (203 killed.) During that time period, the tornado death rate per million people was 60 - 70 times as great as in the year 2000 (Figure 4), implying that this year's tornadoes would have killed many thousands of people had we not had our modern tornado modern warning system.

- The May 22, 2011 Joplin, Missouri tornado killed 138 people and injured 1150, making it the deadliest U.S. tornado since 1947, and 8th deadliest in history. The $1 - $3 billion estimate of insured damage makes it the most expensive tornado in history.

- Damage from the April 25 - 28 super tornado outbreak was estimated at $3.5 - $6 billion, making it the most expensive tornado outbreak of all-time.

- The tornado that hit Springfield, Massachusetts on June 1 was at least an EF-3 with 136 - 165 mph winds. It was only the 9th EF-3 or stronger tornado to hit Massachusetts since 1950, and the third deadliest, with three deaths.

- The year 2011 now ranks in 3rd place behind 1974 and 1965 for highest number of strong to violent EF-3, EF-4, and EF-5 tornadoes (Figure 3.)


Figure 3. Number of strong to violent EF-3, EF-4 and EF-5 tornadoes from 1950 to 2011. The year 2011 now ranks in 3rd place behind 1974 and 1965. There is not a decades-long increasing trend in the numbers of these most dangerous of tornadoes. Image credit: NOAA/National Climatic Data Center (updated using stats for 2008 - 2011 from Wikipedia.)


Figure 4. Death rate per million people per year in U.S., 1875-2000. Thin line with dots is raw rate, curved thick line is death rate, filtered by 3-point median and 5-point running mean filter, and straight solid lines are least squares fit to filtered death rate for 1875-1925 and 1925-2000. Dashed lines are estimates of 10th and 90th percentile death rates from 1925-2000. The death rate fell from 8 per million to .12 per million between 1940 and 2000. Image credit: A Brief History of Deaths from Tornadoes in the United States, Harold Brooks and Charles Doswell III.

Joplin tornado the 7th U.S. billion-dollar weather disaster of 2011
The Joplin tornado is the 7th U.S. weather disaster of 2011 costing more than a billion dollars. With a major flooding disaster coming on the Missouri River, and hurricane season still to come, 2011 has an excellent chance of beating 2008's record of nine billion-dollar weather disasters. The billion dollar weather disasters of 2011 so far:

1) 2011 Groundhog Day's blizzard ($1- $4 billion)
2) April 3 -5 Southeast U.S. severe weather outbreak ($2 billion)
3) April 8 - 11 severe weather outbreak ($2.25 billion)
4) April 25 - 28 super tornado outbreak ($3.5 - $6 billion)
5) Mississippi River flood of 2011 ($9 billion)
6) Texas drought ($1.2 billion)
7) Joplin tornado ($1 - $3 billion)


Figure 5. River flood outlook for the U.S. Image credit: NOAA.

The next U.S. billion-dollar weather disaster: a Missouri River flood?
A great 100-year flood has arrived along the Missouri River and its tributaries from Montana to Nebraska. Record spring rains, combined with snow melt from record or near-record winter and spring snows, brought the Missouri River at Williston, North Dakota to 27.9' yesterday, just an inch short of the highest crest on record (28.0' on 4/01/1912.) Tributaries to the Missouri, such as the Souris River in North Dakota and the North Platte River in Nebraska, are already flooding at all-time record heights. With warm summer temperatures and additional rainfall expected over much of the area during the coming week, snow melt and rain runoff will swell area rivers even further, creating a damaging 100-year flood. Wunderground weather historian Christopher C. Burt has the details in his latest post, and I will be writing more on this latest epic flood next week.

I'll have a new post on Monday, or earlier if the Caribbean disturbance shows significant development.

Jeff Masters

Joplin Tornado Damage (thebige)
Joplin Tornado Damage
And Bigger.... (weatherfanatic2010)
Here it is turning into a monster.
And Bigger....

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Whats the difference between a Yellow 30% and an Orange 30%?
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15935
Quoting AussieStorm:

That don't make sense. It's June 4. not November 4.
What I meant to say of all the invest that we have seen so far this year.
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2072. Bitmap7
>
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Quoting Hurricanes101:
'

medium could be 30 or 40%, so there is a small chance that they upped it


Yep, my bet is 30% but might have grabbed 40%.
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2070. scott39
Why would 94L change from 30% at 2pm? Nothing has changed with it.
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Quoting NICycloneChaser:
The tropical discussion is out, it says 'medium chance', so it hasn't been lowered....
'

medium could be 30 or 40%, so there is a small chance that they upped it
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Also, in case anyone wasn't looking, I just realised there's a yellow circle, 20% in the EPAC.
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2067. IKE
12Z CMC @ 144 hours....

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
The tropical discussion is out, it says 'medium chance', so it hasn't been lowered....
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Wheather this system develops or not I will say it has the highest percentage of any storm this year of being Arleane

That don't make sense. It's June 4. not November 4.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15935
Quoting HimacaneBrees:
poll time...2pm NHC % on 94L..

A) Remains at 30%
B) 40%
C) 50% or higher
D) 20% or lower


A

If you look at the water vapor, Jedkins is absolutely right, it is not dry air that is inhibiting the left side of 94L. There just isn't any convection there either. IIRC, this happened with "Typhoon Alex" of last year as well in the first stages of development.

I don't see much stopping it right now, other than slow, monsoonal in nature, development. But I don't think it's organizing at the same clip today as yesterday. So it will probably just stay at 30%. I guess the NHC could go with 20 or 40, but I don't think there are enough changes to warrant either.
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2063. pottery
Looking at the visuals and the way things are right now, I would say A or B.
But taking the models into consideration, and the fact that recon was scrapped today, I think a D is on the cards.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24245
2062. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting washingtonian115:
This is the last I'll reply but FPSMDH.
dont quote it reponse to it acknowledge it in any way and it will just dissappear and fad away
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53548
Quoting AussieStorm:
I would say A but wouldn't be surprised with B or C.
Wheather this system develops or not I will say it has the highest percentage of any storm this year of being Arleane
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2059. Skyepony (Mod)
Dang... those fires in Canada around the oil sands, the one that was being blamed on the oil companies digging all that up, changing local climate. Fires been raging for a few weeks burnt down 1/3 a town.. Now it's turned on the oil companies..maybe this is the ultimate explosion chaos has been working up to the last few days.


Wildfires burning north of Fort McMurray have forced a partial evacuation of an oilsands site. Shell has evacuated all non-essential workers from its Albian Sands site located 75 kilometres north of Fort McMurray. The potential for strong winds to blow heavy smoke from the Richardson back country fire is behind the move to evacuate the workers. "It drives the fire its oxygen feeding into the fire and it can push those flames very fast," said Duncan MacDonnell with Sustainable Resource Development. Shell stresses that its operations are not affected by the move to evacuate non-essential staff. This is the latest evacuation in the region. Some CNRL employees were forced from a site last month and Imperial Oil's Kearl Oilsands plant has been notified the smoke situation could get worse for workers. Shell officials say there is concern for health and well being of the workers having to breathe in the heavier smoke. Four separate fires have now burned up more than 300,000 hectares of land north of Fort McMurray. "Got back from Slave Lake and a couple days later we were requested to have the mobile air monitoring lab up in Fort McKay," said Tom Bourque, who monitors air quality for the province. He just returned from the Fort McKay area and says changing winds have made the situation there much worse. "Yesterday I think it was about four in the afternoon the wind changed directions and the smoke in Fort McKay was heavy." Currently, 400 firefighters are on the ground. Dozens of choppers and waterbombers are in the air, with a big addition coming Friday night. The Martin Mars waterbomber, which is the largest in the world, is now enroute to the fire zone after fighting a blaze in northern Mexico. "We're happy to have the plane here, it just reinforces our commitment to protect this community and get the most and the best equipment we can fighting this fire," said MacDonnell.

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Quoting Bitmap7:
The chances of them letting out a 40% chance were high when there was tcfa page on 94l. They removed it meaning that a tropical cyclone from this system is not likely anytime soon so it will stay at 30%. Some might be betting below 30% because the recon was canceled. Remember they said 'pending resources' , since 94l so far has not put on a show it would be pointless to risk wasting resources only to find out what you have already speculated. It was a smart move on the nhc's part to lay of the recon and see what the system does.

Agree
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15935
2057. Bitmap7
The chances of them letting out a 40% chance were high when there was tcfa page on 94l. They removed it meaning that a tropical cyclone from this system is not likely anytime soon so it will stay at 30%. Some might be betting below 30% because the recon was canceled. Remember they said 'pending resources' , since 94l so far has not put on a show it would be pointless to risk wasting resources only to find out what you have already speculated. It was a smart move on the nhc's part to lay off the recon and see what the system does.
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Quoting HimacaneBrees:
poll time...2pm NHC % on 94L..

A) Remains at 30%
B) 40%
C) 50% or higher
D) 20% or lower
I would say A but wouldn't be surprised with B or C.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15935
2055. txjac
Quoting EYEStoSEA:
This is the site I stare at the most....may just be my favorite....:)Link


Thanks eyes, I like that
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Quoting JFVStalker:
I love the NGP run, come on, ridge, keep on pumping on. may it be a horrific CV season for the conus, ^_^. please lord.
This is the last I'll reply but FPSMDH.
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2053. Skyepony (Mod)
Jed~ That was well put..PW loop & convergance map really backs it up.

Looking at the rest of the world..the high tendency toward explosions we've seen the last few days continues..so be extra careful with those fuel filled tankers & such..

For extreme weather..

The strong dust winds that the country experienced yesterday are expected to continue today, as a result of the massive sandstorm which struck Southern Iraq and Kuwait , according to the Meteorology Department. “These winds will continue today but with less effect,” said an official of the forecast and analysis section at the meteorological department. “This is due to the high pressure over southern Iraq and Kuwait. The northwestern wind has brought the dust storm to the country,” he further said. The official also explained that the strong dust winds are likely to hit all open areas of the country creating low visibility. Many areas of the country were badly hit by strong dust winds, especially in the evening, yesterday. Roads of Doha and its adjoining areas were completely clogged with dust by last evening. The sandstorm, which was followed by light precipitation dropped visibility in some parts of the city, forcing the people to remain indoors. “Surprisingly, the streets are empty even it is Friday. I guess the sandstorm has something to do with,” said a tweet of Doha resident.

“The roads were invisible while I was driving from the Madinat Khalifa in the afternoon,” said an employee in Doha. Another resident of the Al Duhail area said, “Usually our area gets hit by the sand winds and last afternoon was extremely bad.” While, many people allergetic to dust and asthmatic patients have been affected by the sand winds and they have been advised by the health experts to take proper precautions. “We stepped out of the house only to get into the car but the heat and dust were very strong and my four-year-old daughter has developed a cough” said a house wife. However, some enthusiastic cricket players in Doha braved the dust storm. Many of them were seen playing despite of the heat and dust in different places of the city. The weather forecast report released by the Department of Metrology for today warns of low visibility and high temperature with dust haze and some clouds. Reports also said that the a dense sandstorm has hit Baghdad, clogging people’s throats, blocking their vision and sending many Iraqis, particularly asthma sufferers, to the hospital. In early March also the high pressure resulted north-western wind over the northern part of the gulf which hit Kuwait has created strong dust winds.
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This is the site I stare at the most....may just be my favorite....:)Link
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Quoting AllStar17:


A.
D
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Quoting blsealevel:
Link

interesting"


Man do I hate satellite rain rate estimates, much of the convective cores with 94L will be producing 2 to 4 inch per hour rain rates, not 15 mm/r max.

I guess satellite is good for estimating the cores of thunderstorm complexes. But be warned, its estimation of rain rate is extremely poor and it always massively undershoots rainfall rates in tropical convection.
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2048. scott39
Per Tropical Atlantic.... 94L 16.2N 77.8W Stationary 1007mb 25nts. 94L moved briefly to the S. Its position before was 16.3N 77.8W. I would say it stays at 30%. No real change either way IMO.
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Why are the models so consistant on forming another storm in the centeral atlantic?.Anyway I do belive that the system in the carribean has potential to develop.Hopefully rain will come to areas that need it from this.
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Quoting HimacaneBrees:
poll time...2pm NHC % on 94L..

A) Remains at 30%
B) 40%
C) 50% or higher
D) 20% or lower

A, but could be B. But mostly A.
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2043. Bitmap7
Quoting HimacaneBrees:
poll time...2pm NHC % on 94L..

A) Remains at 30%
B) 40%
C) 50% or higher
D) 20% or lower


A
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2042. pottery
Quoting Hurricanes12:
I doubt the NHC will up the chances of this forming within the next 48 hours. Why would they cancel their investigation flight then?

It'll most likely remain at 30% or be lowered.

Exactly!
I was saying this earlier.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24245
Quoting HimacaneBrees:
poll time...2pm NHC % on 94L..

A) Remains at 30%
B) 40%
C) 50% or higher
D) 20% or lower


A.
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Quoting Bitmap7:


Brilliantly put.


I don't know about brilliant, just trying my best help people understand how the weather works!
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poll time...2pm NHC % on 94L..

A) Remains at 30%
B) 40%
C) 50% or higher
D) 20% or lower
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Link

interesting"
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I doubt the NHC will up the chances of this forming within the next 48 hours. Why would they cancel their investigation flight then?

It'll most likely remain at 30% or be lowered.
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2036. Bitmap7
Quoting Jedkins01:
94L isn't developing because it is a very large and disorganized area of low pressure early in the season, or for other various reasons. But dry air is certainly not an issue, if you think I'm wrong ask any real meteorologist and they will agree, I am in college for meteorology and we go through this often. Its simple science, if you want to get an accurate understanding of moisture, use the Precipitable Water product, which will tell you overall moisture through the column. 94L is full of deep tropical moisture, and very little dry is present anywhere. There is some drier mid level air on the left side, but that's due to disorganization. If 94L organizes, it will have no problem wrapping high moisture and lift at efficient distribution.


People commonly mistake an area of tropical cyclone that is lacking in convection as just dry air, which many times is just a misunderstanding. Low pressure systems are very complicated and there are many things that make them tick. It takes way more than just moisture to cause those rain bands to develop. Low pressure systems when they are disorganized often have lopsided regions of lift, forcing, and convergence. As a tropical cyclone intensifies, more and more of the core part of system produces efficiently distributed ares of convergence and lift, thus producing more widespread bands in all quadrants. Thunderstorms don't just form because there is high moisture, or don't form because there isn't. Its based on many other factors.

If a low pressure system has strong enough forcing and dynamics, it can produce very strong thunderstorms even in dry and harsh environments, their rain rates will be low, but even if large scale lift is high enough, high rain amounts can still fall in what is relatively dry air compared to the tropics. But that is because mid latitude storms form differently.

Tropical systems need extremely moist environments to produce convection efficiently, unlike mid latitude systems, which is too long to explain right now. But even with such high moisture, it doesn't matter how high the moisture, if there isn't enough lift, convergence or dynamics present in one area of the cyclone, there won't be much thunderstorm activity, its as simple as that.

That is why I stress you can't blame a disorganized system lacking rain in one part to just be dry air, sometimes it is why, but many times there is plenty of moisture, just not enough organization.


Brilliantly put.

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Quoting xcool:


As you can see, 94L is full of very high tropical moisture, with no dry air being wrapped in at all, its just too weak and disorganized to develop any convection on the western side.

Very broad low pressure areas commonly struggle to develop, especially early in the season.
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2034. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
WindSAT is very unreliable when it comes to measuring surface winds. I'd stick to Recon for that (and ASCAT/Satellite Estimates when necessary).


Windsat is less dependable if you are going to get a pass but looking at happen passes close to time in the same area between Windsat & ASCAT they tend to be very similar especially if your viewing them from the same data source like STAR. I don't see Windsat data as unreliable.
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Quoting stormpetrol:
could be40-50% at 2pm

30% or 40%. 50% seems a little high. But who knows what they'll put...
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2032. xcool
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I doubt it will go up to 40% at 2pm. 30% is likely to remain.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23892
94L isn't developing because it is a very large and disorganized area of low pressure early in the season, or for other various reasons. But dry air is certainly not an issue, if you think I'm wrong ask any real meteorologist and they will agree, I am in college for meteorology and we go through this often. Its simple science, if you want to get an accurate understanding of moisture, use the Precipitable Water product, which will tell you overall moisture through the column. 94L is full of deep tropical moisture, and very little dry is present anywhere. There is some drier mid level air on the left side, but that's due to disorganization. If 94L organizes, it will have no problem wrapping high moisture and lift at efficient distribution.


People commonly mistake an area of tropical cyclone that is lacking in convection as just dry air, which many times is just a misunderstanding. Low pressure systems are very complicated and there are many things that make them tick. It takes way more than just moisture to cause those rain bands to develop. Low pressure systems when they are disorganized often have lopsided regions of lift, forcing, and convergence. As a tropical cyclone intensifies, more and more of the core part of system produces efficiently distributed ares of convergence and lift, thus producing more widespread bands in all quadrants. Thunderstorms don't just form because there is high moisture, or don't form because there isn't. Its based on many other factors.

If a low pressure system has strong enough forcing and dynamics, it can produce very strong thunderstorms even in dry and harsh environments, their rain rates will be low, but even if large scale lift is high enough, high rain amounts can still fall in what is relatively dry air compared to the tropics. But that is because mid latitude storms form differently.

Tropical systems need extremely moist environments to produce convection efficiently, unlike mid latitude systems, which is too long to explain right now. But even with such high moisture, it doesn't matter how high the moisture, if there isn't enough lift, convergence or dynamics present in one area of the cyclone, there won't be much thunderstorm activity, its as simple as that.

That is why I stress you can't blame a disorganized system lacking rain in one part to just be dry air, sometimes it is why, but many times there is plenty of moisture, just not enough organization.
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Convection is beginning to broaden, especially on the SW side, and there, it is wrapping around on the western side, really beginning to get organized.


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could be40-50% at 2pm
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2026. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting IKE:
Latest NOGAPS says....

https://www.fnmoc.navy.mil/wxmap_cgi/index.html


I could see that. There's so much in a little space, so much energy, two storms is not so out of the question. Both paths seem likely.
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2025. pottery
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
i made the same forcast last evening and the day before as well its keeping with what i am thinking so far lets see

Yeah.
Well you could be nailing it.
Good call, if you do!
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24245

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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.