Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 9:33 PM GMT on July 17, 2011
Tropical Depression Two (TD2) formed from Invest 98L this afternoon. Hurricane Hunters flew into the suspect area and found a surface circulation north of the Bahamas, with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph. They also determined the system had become warm core—a characteristic that must be present in order to declare a tropical cyclone. Satellite imagery continues to show the system is becoming more organized with a stronger circulation. Wind shear is forecast to remain favorable for the system until Tuesday or Wednesday when higher shear will slide in from the north. Sea surface temperatures are warm enough to sustain a tropical storm.
Figure 1. Satellite imagery of Tropical Depression Two in the Atlantic, east of Florida. This graphic will update to the current satellite imagery.
Figure 2. Official 5-day forecast for Tropical Depression Two. This graphic will remain current.
Forecast for TD2
The models are coming into better agreement as TD2 has become more organized. In terms of dynamical forecast models, the HWRF and GFS both forecast TD2 to max out just above tropical storm strenth. HWRF intensifies TD2 to around 47 mph in the next 24 hours, whereas GFS is a bit slower to bring the system up to tropical storm status. Two statistical models, the DSHP (SHIPS model that includes land interaction) and the LGEM (Logistical Growth Equation Model) both intensify TD2 to a moderate tropical storm over the next 2-3 days.
There tends to be a lot of uncertainty involved with tropical cyclones that form under these circumstances, but our forecast remains in line with the National Hurricane Center and the reliable forecast models. TD2 will move slowly to the northeast in weak steering currents over the next few days before eventually becoming an extratropical storm. There is minimal chance that this system will cross over Florida into the Gulf of Mexico. Timing and path depend heavily on how intense the cyclone gets, as Jeff mentioned in his blog earlier today. A weaker storm will tend to stay south, whereas a stronger storm will grow taller in the atmosphere and winds at higher levels will influence it and steer it northeast.
None of the reliable models predict tropical cyclone development over the remainder of the Atlantic through July 23.
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