Western Caribbean disturbance 96L growing more organized

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:14 PM GMT on October 21, 2011

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A region of disturbed weather in the Western Caribbean (Invest 96L) is bringing heavy rains to coastal Nicaragua, and has the potential to develop into a tropical depression this weekend. Visible satellite loops show that 96L is beginning to show signs of organization. Some rotation is apparent, and the upper-level cirrus clouds streaming away from the center indicate that 96L is establishing an upper-level outflow channel to the east. The heavy thunderstorm activity is quite limited at present, because a large region of dry air to the east of 96L is interfering with development, as seen on water vapor satellite loops. An ASCAT pass at 11:05 am EDT showed no signs of a surface circulation, with surface winds in the 25 - 30 mph range. Surface pressures are slowly falling at San Andres Island, near the center of 96L. Wind shear is a moderate 10 - 20 knots in the region, and is expected remain in the moderate range through Monday. Water temperatures are very warm, 29 - 30°C, and these warm waters extend to great depth.


Figure 1. Afternoon satellite image of 96L.

Forecast for 96L
The moderate wind shear and warm waters should allow some modest development of 96L over the next few days, though this will be slowed by the dry air to the storm's east. The models are quite enthusiastic about developing 96L into a tropical depression, and our top four reliable models for forecasting genesis--the ECMWF, GFS, UKMET, and NOGAPS--have all been predicting formation of a tropical depression by Monday in one or more of their runs over the past day. 96L is in an area of weak steering currents, and will move little over the next three days. On Tuesday and Wednesday, a strong trough of low pressure will be passing over the Eastern U.S., and this trough has the potential to turn 96L northwards into Cuba. This is more likely to happen if 96L is stronger and deeper, and thus able to "feel" the upper-level winds the trough will bring. The 12Z run of the GFS model and 00Z runs of the ECMWF and UKMET models predict 96L will develop into a tropical storm that hits Western Cuba on Wednesday or Thursday, and potentially affecting the Cayman Islands, South Florida, and the Bahamas as well. If 96L remains a weak and shallow system, it is more likely to stay trapped in the Western Caribbean and make landfall in Nicaragua. This is the solution of the NOGAPS model, which has 96L moving ashore on Tuesday over Nicaragua as a weak system. NHC gave 96L a 30% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Sunday in their 8 am Tropical Weather Outlook. A hurricane hunter mission is scheduled to investigate 96L Saturday afternoon.

I'll have a new post on Saturday, but might wait until the afternoon, when the hurricane hunter data becomes available.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
Does anyone has a loop to see how 96L is moving if is moving at all? I ask because if it moves west,it will be buried in CA and it will be over.

Its not really moving right now, but should drift northward as we head into the weekend.
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Quoting Sfloridacat5:
Here's a slow motion radar loop of Hurricane Charley approaching S.W. Fl.
As you can see, Charley had her eyes set of Ft. Myers and then jogged at the last minute to the north.
The eye comes into frame at about 1 minute mark.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWuXXt47Ptk

Thanks and also to Patrap - gives me chills to watch.
Member Since: July 24, 2007 Posts: 2 Comments: 927
Looks like if the models are correct we'll be adding to the number of hurricanes to(hopefully not anything major)
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Does anyone has a loop to see how 96L is moving if is moving at all? I ask because if it moves west,it will be buried in CA and is game over.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14326
After Charlie the only laugh at Port Charlotte was one day a convenience market got orders to dump all its beer in the dumpster. Word somehow got out and trucks came from everywhere. Police presence was required. In all that desolation and damage it was a light spot.
Member Since: July 24, 2007 Posts: 2 Comments: 927
Quoting luvtogolf:



2004. I certainly don't expect 2 hurricanes to threaten Florida this year.


If you were to refer to the model runs at the moment, it appears that we will have at least one nearby and one tropical mess from 97 off the coast or south of us. If that were to happen, we might be looking at a landfalling hurricane. 96L would be blocked by 97 to the south and would only have one option if this truly does play out, and that is to do a Wilma style landfall.

We all have to remember, nothing has tapped into the water in and around the Florida region, including the gulfstream, and Florida Straits. If either of these systems head this way, batten down the hatches.
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..right turn Clyde, er, "Charley", yeah, datz da ticket !



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Looks like the tropics are heating up.We could still beat last year's number in terms of name storms.IMO.
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Here's a slow motion radar loop of Hurricane Charley approaching S.W. Fl.
As you can see, Charley had her eyes set of Ft. Myers and then jogged at the last minute to the north.
The eye comes into frame at about 1 minute mark.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWuXXt47Ptk
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Quoting Sfloridacat5:


Yes, a major hurricane hitting Tampa would be extremely dangerous.

Luckily because Charley was moving quickly and didn't spend all that much time over the GOM, it didn't generate too much of a storm surge.

I stayed up all night that night before Charley hit just watching Charley on radar. In the early morning hours (before the sun came up), Charly was heading straight towards the Ft. Myers area. Anyone watching the radar could see that Ft. Myers/Captiva/Port Charlotte was in trouble hours before landfall.


I was sent to work in Port Charlotte right after the storm - worst daily weather I've worked in. Massive thunderstorms every night at dark - just when I hit the highway. No housing in Port Charlotte - had to drive to Bradenton morning and night. No street signs, few restaurants, stores were closed. Can only imagine if that had been Tampa.
Member Since: July 24, 2007 Posts: 2 Comments: 927
Quoting BaltimoreBrian:


True. But that also holds intensity down. Those cold snaps cooling shelf waters are not good for major hurricanes making landfall.

Kate in 1985 was a real outlier. She hit the panhandle as the strongest November hurricane to make landfall in our records. Kate would have made landfall as a major if she had been shoved east into the peninsula. November 1985 was a very warm month however, without strong cold snaps.

And a Cat 2 can cause a lot of problems obviously. A hurricane doesn't have to be a major to be dangerous.


November of 1985 was excessively warm. I remember it well as I was working outdoors that year and wondered when the awful heat and humidity was ever going to end. It was honestly, literally just like summer that year. The records for Florida show quite a few daily high temperature records for that specific month and I believe at least one or two all time highs for the month as well.

Kate went into the Gulf on a path to take full advantage of the loop current and then shot like a beeline straight north to Appalachicola, FL, where it hit as a small and weakening Cat 3 storm. And as was mentioned, it was a record-breaker for being so late in the season.

For this season, October in the SE US, including Florida, has been significantly cooler than that long above normal period was in November of '85. In order to get a major hurricane to hit the West Coast of Florida in late October, circumstances must be nearly ideal. Three significant cold blasts over the previous three weeks (with a fourth waiting in the pipeline and to arrive around the time the storm is progged to be approaching) does not represent ideal circumstances. The TCHP already looks weak in the Gulf though it was still strong even just a couple of weeks ago. That is what being in the zone of potential cold front invasions will do for you.

The Caribbean is a whole different story. Time and again major hurricanes have struck in the Caribbean Sea in both October and November. But everything is different there from what it is in the Gulf and the Atlantic off of the SE US.
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Quoting TropicTraveler:

Got my geography a little mixed. Was thinking of that great shallow bay as a dangerous place for a storm to hit. Still scary.


Yes, a major hurricane hitting Tampa would be extremely dangerous.

Luckily because Charley was moving quickly and didn't spend all that much time over the GOM, it didn't generate too much of a storm surge.

I stayed up all night that night before Charley hit just watching Charley on radar. In the early morning hours (before the sun came up), Charly was heading straight towards the Ft. Myers area. Anyone watching the radar could see that Ft. Myers/Captiva/Port Charlotte was in trouble hours before landfall.

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Quoting Greenizz:
Love it when talk of Tampa this far out...that means we are getting nothing. I only get nervous when Tampa is not even mentioned.
LOL Tampa shields being readied
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39221
119. 7544
intresting post here could this be another wilma not in strenght but in path
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Quoting plywoodstatenative:
When was the last time we had two storms threatening the Florida region, from two different basins?



2004. I certainly don't expect 2 hurricanes to threaten Florida this year.
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Quoting Sfloridacat5:


The forecast was originally just north of Tampa, but for many hours prior to landfall, it looked like Charley was actually going to make a direct hit on Fort Myers. Then just before landfall Charley jogged slightly to the North and came ashore on North Captiva Island.



Got my geography a little mixed. Was thinking of that great shallow bay as a dangerous place for a storm to hit. Still scary.
Member Since: July 24, 2007 Posts: 2 Comments: 927
000
NOUS42 KNHC 211430
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
1030 AM EDT FRI 21 OCTOBER 2011
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
VALID 22/1100Z TO 23/1100Z OCTOBER 2011
TCPOD NUMBER.....11-143

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. SUSPECT AREA (WESTERN CARIBBEAN)
FLIGHT ONE --TEAL 70--
A. 22/2000Z
B. AFXXX 01KKA INVEST
C. 22/1530Z
D. 13.5N 80.0W
E. 22/1930Z TO 22/2230Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT

2. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY: FIX SYSTEM AT 23/1800Z
NEAR 14.5N 80.5W.

II. PACIFIC REQUIREMENTS
1. NEGATIVE RECONNAISSANCE REQUIREMENTS.
2. SUCCEEDING DAY OUTLOOK....NEGATIVE.
JWP
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When was the last time we had two storms threatening the Florida region, from two different basins?
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Quoting TropicTraveler:
I seem to remember Hurricane Charley was headed straight for Tampa then changed course at the last minute and headed for Port Charlotte. At the time I thought had it hit Tampa it would have been much more damaging and possibly loss of lives would have been greater.


The forecast was originally just north of Tampa, but for many hours prior to landfall, it looked like Charley was actually going to make a direct hit on Fort Myers. Then just before landfall Charley jogged slightly to the North and came ashore on North Captiva Island.


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2 Hurricanes possible in the next week...WOW. Didnt see that coming.
Member Since: July 19, 2011 Posts: 12 Comments: 2455
Quoting BaltimoreBrian:
Naples water temp is a bit warmer between 76 and 77. As it gets warmer the water temp may recover there as well. However even if the system becomes a major in the NW Caribbean and Gulf, it will probably be on a weakening trend if it hits Naples as well.

I wouldn't say that a major hitting FL after October 25 is impossible just because that is the record. But long duration records are difficult to break. If there hadn't been a strong cold snap this week I would say a major making landfall in FL is a decent possibility. But the cool shelf waters after the cold snap will make that difficult now.
The 1921 Tampa storm was large and destructive. Likely much worse than depicted on Wiki and other sources....The storm was observed on October 21 while several hundred miles southwest of Jamaica. Its origin is unknown, though it possibly developed from an extratropical storm over Panama a day earlier. A high pressure system over Bermuda caused a north-northwest motion, allowing for the storm to intensify over favorable conditions. On October 22, the storm attained hurricane status shortly after passing 10 miles (16 km) east of the Swan Islands. On October 23, the hurricane entered the Yucatán Channel, with its eastern side brushing Cuba.

As it turned to the north in the Gulf of Mexico, the hurricane continued to strengthen, and reached a peak of 140 mph (225 km/h) on October 24. It slowly weakened as it headed to the northeast, and made landfall as a Category 3 hurricane near Tarpon Springs, Florida on the 25th with 115 mph (185 km/h) winds. The hurricane quickly crossed Central Florida before entering the Atlantic, weakening to a minimal hurricane over land. It accelerated to the southeast, briefly strengthening to a Category 2 hurricane before becoming extratropical on October 28 to the southwest of Bermuda.[2]

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I seem to remember Hurricane Charley was headed straight for Tampa then changed course at the last minute and headed for Port Charlotte. At the time I thought had it hit Tampa it would have been much more damaging and possibly loss of lives would have been greater.
Member Since: July 24, 2007 Posts: 2 Comments: 927
wow 96L and 97L wow :O now the euro shows a hurricane over florida! so does the GFS! although mostly over cuba :O wow didnt see that coming
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Love it when talk of Tampa this far out...that means we are getting nothing. I only get nervous when Tampa is not even mentioned.
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:

Good grief! That hardly has any good tracks!
Member Since: July 24, 2007 Posts: 2 Comments: 927
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

97L.


The image I quoted was of intensity forecasts for 96L
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Quoting wn1995:


Wow looks like the majority of models are strengthening this into a CAT 1!

97L.
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Another thing to keep in mind if the system is moving fast (regardless of where it is) and it transitioning from very warm waters to cooler waters it's not going to weaken as quickly. Angle of approach is everything with these storms.
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Quoting Bergeron:


Wow looks like the majority of models are strengthening this into a CAT 1!
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My article on invest 96, if anyone is interested in reading

Didn't go into incredible detail with this, but I will have another post late tonight or tomorrow with more details.
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Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11272
Quoting interstatelover7165:
Why?



Deep warm water contains more heat energy.
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Very interesting we could have a tropical system near or over south Florida for Halloween
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Miami NWS Discussion

IN THE EXTENDED FORECAST...THE EXTENDED PERIODS IN SOME OF THE
COMPUTER MODELS ARE INDICATING AN AREA OF LOW PRESSURE FORMING IN
THE SOUTHWEST CARIBBEAN EARLY NEXT WEEK WHICH MAY MOVE NORTHWARD
BY MID-WEEK. ITS OBVIOUSLY TOO EARLY TO KNOW WHAT IF ANY EFFECTS
THIS MAY HAVE ON THE REGION...AND IF ANY IT MAY NOT BE UNTIL LATE
NEXT WEEK SO WILL HAVE TO MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF THIS SYNOPTIC
FEATURE.

Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11272
Quoting strong2011storm:
the waters in the caribean are warm and this warm waters extend to great deep, it coul be a hurricane by monday but what worries me is 97 l
Why?
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not looking good for forida
Member Since: July 21, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1177
Wow, there has been a lot of change in the tropics since this morning. I see that we now have Invest 96L, and it is up to 60%. We also have 97L, which is up to 20%. Invest 96L has a favorable environment ahead, and has the potential to be a significant hurricane in a few days. Invest 97L also has the potential to develop too.
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..I cant believe they didnt..
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96l going through growing pains atm
Member Since: July 21, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1177
Hello? Blogs quiet again for a red alert.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24179
Thanks Brian, take care!
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Looking at the wv image of 97L, it does look as if it being influenced by an ULL to it's north.
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My late lunch is over. We'll all see what happens next week. I think it will be interesting but hopefully not too interesting! Hope everyone down there has been enjoying the nice fall weather.
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Quoting Bergeron:


97L could potentially pose some problems too for the islands. Virtually no model support for it, but it reminds me slightly of Tomas in that regards, I don't recall the models saying Tomas was going to develop, but it did and became a Category 2 hurricane.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24179
on the euro it shows a strong cold front coming down fl when the storm comes so it could get really cold
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Quoting BaltimoreBrian:


True. But that also holds intensity down. Those cold snaps cooling shelf waters are not good for major hurricanes making landfall.

Kate in 1985 was a real outlier. She hit the panhandle as the strongest November hurricane to make landfall in our records. Kate would have made landfall as a major if she had been shoved east into the peninsula. November 1985 was a very warm month however, without strong cold snaps.

And a Cat 2 can cause a lot of problems obviously. A hurricane doesn't have to be a major to be dangerous.


Those cooling shelf waters are definitely a good thing... but the amount a storm weakens over those waters will be highly dependant on what speed the hurricane will be travelling at that point too. And it is not like it is the North Atlantic where the water temps go from low 80s in Gulf Stream to 50s very abruptly, either. The airmass will be able to have some time to modify a little bit before that point, therefore, I don't expect to see water temps drop too much more in the next few days, as we will have almost near full sunshine through the weekend, so it will help offset some of that cooling. JMO
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Quoting BaltimoreBrian:


True. But that also holds intensity down. Those cold snaps cooling shelf waters are not good for major hurricanes making landfall.

Kate in 1985 was a real outlier. She hit the panhandle as the strongest November hurricane to make landfall in our records. Kate would have made landfall as a major if she had been shoved east into the peninsula. November 1985 was a very warm month however, without strong cold snaps.

And a Cat 2 can cause a lot of problems obviously. A hurricane doesn't have to be a major to be dangerous.


For example, look at the problems Tampa Bay has even with a cat 1.
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Quoting Levi32:


Most of the time there is a cold snap during the formation of late-season Florida, Cuba, and Bahamas hurricanes.



True. But that also holds intensity down. Those cold snaps cooling shelf waters are not good for major hurricanes making landfall.

Kate in 1985 was a real outlier. She hit the panhandle as the strongest November hurricane to make landfall in our records. Kate would have made landfall as a major if she had been shoved east into the peninsula. November 1985 was a very warm month however, without strong cold snaps.

And a Cat 2 can cause a lot of problems obviously. A hurricane doesn't have to be a major to be dangerous.
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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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