Tropical Storm Don forms in the Gulf of Mexico

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 9:29 PM GMT on July 27, 2011

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Tropical Storm Don, the fourth tropical cyclone of the 2011 season, has formed in the Gulf of Mexico just north of the Yucatan Peninsula. Hurricane Hunters began investigating the system earlier this afternoon and quickly found a closed surface circulation. As the mission continued to gather data from what was thought to be a tropical depression at the time, winds of around 39 mph were found, as well as a 1001 mb central pressure, bringing the system up to tropical storm strength.


Figure 1. Satellite loop of Tropical Storm Don. This loop will stay current.

The official forecast for Don agrees with what most of the models have been suggesting over the past 24 hours. Don will make its way toward the northwest over the next 48 hours before making landfall somewhere between Brownsville and Galveston. The statistical models tend to suggest a more southerly track toward Brownsville, and the dynamical models are forecasting anything from Corpus Christi to Galveston. They all tend to agree landfall will occur late on the 29th (Friday night). Whether or not Don will reach hurricane status is still in question. The Hurricane Center's initial forecast is that Don will remain a tropical storm until landfall. Today some models were intensifying Don to a strong tropical storm, but none crossed the hurricane threshold. Now that we have data from aircraft reconnaissance, the models will be able to get a better handle on potential intensity. The runs that occur later tonight and early tomorrow will have much less uncertainty than those from today.


Figure 2. Model forecast tracks for Tropical Storm Don as of Wednesday afternoon.

I believe Jeff will be back tomorrow for an update.

Angela

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Quoting aquak9:


it might be fun for you to watch, taz, but folks would lose things. Remember how mad you get when your computer is broken? we lose EVERYTHING. Sometimes we lose our families and our pets.

Please lets keep the big storms out in the ocean where they can't hurt us. We are your friends, remember?


Well said. Getting hit by two majors in one year makes your 'wishcasting' in the 'keep this a mild depression' vein. As I say, see how long you like living in a hotel because there's a telephone pole through your roof and the National Guard won't let you back on the barrier Island for a week.
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Quoting CatfishJones:


Tell that to Deep Blue, which humiliated Kasparov. Or Kurzweil's computer that composed a decent piece of music.


Or the computer that beat that guy on Jeopardy...
Member Since: September 3, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 527
Quoting Tazmanian:
i hop you guys dont mine me saying this but i would not mine a cat 2 or 3 storm right now am this starting too get a little sick of 60 too 65 mph storms we been geting and i want some in real too track


Well, as I said earlier, you obviously don't understand the implications of a Cat 3 churning through the gulf, and making landfall in the US. Storms like that are better if they are left for the fish.
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Quoting MississippiWx:


Wow, the amount of low shear across the entire MDR is crazy...If that persists into August/September, someone is in trouble.


Scary!!!
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Atmo (or anyone) - which set of model runs (0Z?) will have the info from the HH run today? Or will it not matter since they didn't run a G4 flight?
Member Since: September 3, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 527
The best tool for any forecaster as he gains experience is Analogue forecasting which is basically saying I've seen this setup before what happened then?..What scares me about modern day Meteorology is that we are not learning from our mistakes as forecasters. The models could be showing something for one setup and then the final result is not what we expected. Instead of saying, man when A is here and B is here this happened so let me not make that mistake again, were basically relying on these computers to not make the same mistake again and most likely we will. Computers have helped the ability to learn but also have hindered it
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Quoting MississippiWx:


I'd have a hard time believing anything further east than Houston. I think Houston has just as good of a chance as Corpus Christi. We'll have a really good idea tomorrow after the NOAA jets sample the atmosphere and put the info into the models.
Corpus Christi Bay...but dont quote me on that.
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Shear in ~35 hours (from GFS 12 Z):



Wow, the amount of low shear across the entire MDR is crazy...If that persists into August/September, someone is in trouble.
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765. MTWX
I always prep June 1st every year. then disassemble nov. 1st..... gotten to the point now that those dates are almost "holidays" in my family! LOL!
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Quoting BackwoodsTN:
TropicsWxAnalyst - SHIPS forecast indicates dry air, low rh mid-level and also increase in shear as he moves north. These will be great impediments to a small system. Will stay small and under hurricane strength.


The rh isn't very favorable, but shear really only jumps to 10-15kts...not significant but it could have some impact. Also gotta factor in that the heat content increases up to landfall though.
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ANARCHY, ANARCHY!
Quoting louisianaboy444:
I look at the pattern and all the possibilities that could ensue so many professional forecasters are getting so wiped by these models(most of you on here)...where's the gut feeling?...where's the experience...i can remember a conversation 2 nights ago when people acted like i was crazy when i said 90L still had a chance because "ooo the models show squat and La la la..let me tell you something that i think everyone is starting to see...our models need serious work because they are trash...I dont need a computer to tell me what's going to happen i can look at things myself and by my own experiences make an educated guess
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Quoting aquak9:


it might be fun for you to watch, taz, but folks would lose things. Remember how mad you get when your computer is broken? we lose EVERYTHING. Sometimes we lose our families and our pets.

Please lets keep the big storms out in the ocean where they can't hurt us. We are your friends, remember?



oh ok
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115235
HH Plan of the Day

000
NOUS42 KNHC 271415
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
1015 AM EDT WED 27 JULY 2011
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
VALID 28/1100Z TO 29/1100Z JULY 2011
TCPOD NUMBER.....11-057

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. SUSPECT AREA
FLIGHT ONE - TEAL 71 FLIGHT TWO - NOAA 49
A. 28/1200,1800Z A. 29/0000Z
B. AFXXX 0204A CYCLONE B. NOAA9 0304A CYCLONE
C. 28/1000Z C. 28/1730Z
D. 23.9N 90.2W D. NA
E. 28/1130Z TO 28/1800Z E. NA
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT F. 41,000 TO 45,000 FT
FLIGHT THREE - NOAA 42 FLIGHT FOUR - TEAL 72
A. 29/0000Z A. 29/0000,0600Z
B. NOAA2 0404A CYCLONE B. AFXXX 0504A CYCLONE
C. 28/2000Z C. 28/2215Z
D. 25.1N 92.3W D. 25.1N 92.3W
E. 28/2200 TO 29/0230Z E. 28/2330Z TO 29/0600Z
F. SFC TO 15,000 FT F. SFC TO 15,000 FT
FLIGHT FIVE - NOAA 42
A. 29/1200Z
B. NOAA2 0604A CYCLONE
C. 29/0800Z
D. 26.4N 94.3W
E. 29/1030Z TO 29/1430Z
F. SFC TO 15,000 FT
2. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY: POSSIBLE 3-HRLY FIXES.

II. PACIFIC REQUIREMENTS....NEGATIVE/ JWP

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128645
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


Not true. The highest wind shear that Don will have to endure is 20 knots, and that's an absolute max.
I don't think I have ever heard any meteorologist (including even the proudest of my professors) say "and that's an absolute max" or anything approaching any absolute certainty involved in forecasting.

Unexpected perturbations in baroclinicity happen all the time; WU bloggers know all about how imperfect forecasting can be.

You never know for sure.
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Quoting louisianaboy444:
I look at the pattern and all the possibilities that could ensue so many professional forecasters are getting so wiped by these models(most of you on here)...where's the gut feeling?...where's the experience...i can remember a conversation 2 nights ago when people acted like i was crazy when i said 90L still had a chance because "ooo the models show squat and La la la..let me tell you something that i think everyone is starting to see...our models need serious work because they are trash...I dont need a computer to tell me what's going to happen i can look at things myself and by my own experiences make an educated guess


Professional forecasters can't really go on gut. They have to rely on the science. The models are not good at predicting development. Every experienced forecaster knows this. The models are very good at tracking developed systems, and the NHC is excellent at interpreting the information the models provide them.
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Shear in ~35 hours (from GFS 12 Z):

If that were to occur in the middle of September = apocalypse.
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Quoting atmoaggie:
*scratches head*

The only way I can see any further east than Houston-area is if Don gets really broad. Strong or weak, continue NW-ish.

(Beta effect - poleward pull - depends on system size, not intensity).

Additionally, if this system grows significantly in size, I think It'd have to stay a TS, not a 'cane.


You know anything about the data going into the models from the Air Force Hurricane Hunters?

From what I am seeing, very little data goes into the models. From this afternoon, 1 dropsonde and 8 flight level observations. I don't see any of the HDOB data.
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Quoting atmoaggie:
*scratches head*

The only way I can see any further east than Houston-area is if Don gets really broad. Strong or weak, continue NW-ish.

(Beta effect - poleward pull - depends on system size, not intensity).


Kinda like Floyd hittin the brakes at the FL coastline, hairpin turn. I know different scenario. I'm def thinkin the Houston/Galveston area is at the northern edge of the track unless we have some serious retrograding of the High.
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Quoting Tazmanian:
i hop you guys dont mine me saying this but i would not mine a cat 2 or 3 storm right now am this starting too get a little sick of 60 too 65 mph storms we been geting and i want some in real too track


it might be fun for you to watch, taz, but folks would lose things. Remember how mad you get when your computer is broken? we lose EVERYTHING. Sometimes we lose our families and our pets.

Please lets keep the big storms out in the ocean where they can't hurt us. We are your friends, remember?
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Quoting louisianaboy444:
I'm very old school i guess..a computer cannot beat human intuition period


Tell that to Deep Blue, which humiliated Kasparov. Or Kurzweil's computer that composed a decent piece of music.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


The big ones will manifest themselves soon enough. Perhaps with Don (unlikely to me, though), perhaps not. Either way, they will come.



but still i want some in real too track
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115235
You will have a situation that especially if don tracks more right then predicted that coastal flooding will start as soon as tommorow night. Not much time to evacuate then. also with the forward speed that don is moving the rain for texas or LA should not be as much concern as the likely potential for damage further inland, especially if don strengthens. The bad outweighs the good here.
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Quoting JoltyJacob:
Hi trev.


Hey...
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Quoting louisianaboy444:
I'm very old school i guess..a computer cannot beat human intuition period


+10
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Quoting TxHurricanedude11:

those people might be getting ahead of themselves


Dude, how can you say that. Just belonging or posting to this blog you should know to expect the unexpected. Every one should be prepared.
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We're all just hoping a rainmaker for drought-stricken Texas. I'm glad to see it's a TS and headed that way. goodnight.
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Shear in ~35 hours (from GFS 12 Z):




holy we crap
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115235
Quoting Tazmanian:
i hop you guys dont mine me saying this but i would not mine a cat 2 or 3 storm right now am this starting too get a little sick of 60 too 65 mph storms we been geting and i want some in real too track


The big ones will manifest themselves soon enough. Perhaps with Don (unlikely to me, though), perhaps not. Either way, they will come.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 583 Comments: 20821
Quoting atmoaggie:
*scratches head*

The only way I can see any further east than Houston-area is if Don gets really broad. Strong or weak, continue NW-ish.

(Beta effect - poleward pull - depends on system size, not intensity).


I'd have a hard time believing anything further east than Houston. I think Houston has just as good of a chance as Corpus Christi. We'll have a really good idea tomorrow after the NOAA jets sample the atmosphere and put the info into the models.
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Shear in ~35 hours (from GFS 12 Z):

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Quoting cloudburst2011:




all this talk well the only place DON can go is texas it cant come to la there is strong shear over the northern gulf and the high is going to building over the northern gom ...the furthest north this can come is tex la border and then you are going to have a much weaker storm..the more north it goes the more shear it will have to endure 30-40kts
kool cuz they need the rain to texas big time
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Quoting BackwoodsTN:
TropicsWxAnalyst - SHIPS forecast indicates dry air, low rh mid-level and also increase in shear as he moves north. These will be great impediments to a small system. Will stay small and under hurricane strength.




what maps you looking at wind shear is low dry air will be likey gone by thusday this storm has a lot of time this may even stall
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115235
I wish we knew the inputs for these models, if they were utilizing HH data or not, or if they took into account satellite estimates etc. etc. It could be the 3-4 models now showing a TX/LA landfall are using old data, or if they might actually be the most recent.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
I'm very old school i guess..a computer cannot beat human intuition period
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732. Tygor
I mostly lurk on this blog to learn and study exactly what is going on. The blog today has been absolutely ridiculous in terms of people simply guessing what is going to happen and "remember I said this". Guessing is fine and all, but nobody has any evidence to back up what they are thinking except really Levi and select others.
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Quoting Hurricanejer95:

Dry air not a problem for Don, will expect to endure 20-30kt shear


That Wind shear map seems to be a little old. Use the one that shows the entire Atlantic basin. 20 knots at the maximum.
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Wave hight model shows Don, Low S of RD and Big Wave C Atlantic...

Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9821
Quoting louisianaboy444:
My Meteorological knowledge says South to Central Texas but in the back of my head i can still remember as a 15 year old kid the models for Hurricane Rita being on the central Texas coast as well and then all of a sudden the models kept going north, and north, and north...Guess sometimes even though you know something has the best chance of happening little things like that still tell you not to let your guard down


Hi everyone!! Louisianaboy, I was thing the EXACT SAME thing before I saw your post!! :) I hope all is doing well and it's good to see everyone! :)
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Quoting louisianaboy444:
I look at the pattern and all the possibilities that could ensue so many professional forecasters are getting so wiped by these models(most of you on here)...where's the gut feeling?...where's the experience...i can remember a conversation 2 nights ago when people acted like i was crazy when i said 90L still had a chance because "ooo the models show squat and La la la..let me tell you something that i think everyone is starting to see...our models need serious work because they are trash...I dont need a computer to tell me what's going to happen i can look at things myself and by my own experiences make an educated guess


Yeah i know what your saying earlier this week when i was trying to sign up for this blog i was getting a little concerned for the RIP people because there was a ton of oppurtunity for "now" Don and they were hatin' on him and look where he's at now
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Quoting wolftribe2009:
If this becomes a CAT2 or greater it is going to be a nightmare along the Texas Coast. They have little time to evacuate. I remember Hurricane Rita. I pray it doesn't get that bad but people in Texas need to start getting prepared NOW! Better to be safe than sorry.
Unless hits between Bownsville and Corpus, the King ranch area. For you non Texans it is no normal ranch size. 1,289 sq mi
Member Since: August 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 3260

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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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