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: Angela Fritz , 5:25 PM GMT on June 14, 2012
Tropical Storm Carlotta has formed in the East Pacific, and is heading northwest toward the west coast of Mexico, where impacts are expected to begin on Friday. Carlotta has maximum sustained winds of 45 mph gusting to 55 mph. A hurricane hunter mission is tentatively scheduled for 2pm EDT on Friday. Carlotta's rain is visible on Puerto Ánoel's radar this afternoon. The storm appears to be well-vented, with high-level outflow apparent on satellite, and thunderstorms firing on all sides of the storm's center. The storm is currently in an area of low wind shear, however, shear will likely increase as the storm moves north. Sea surface temperature under Carlotta is slightly above average—around 30°C (86°F)—and is expected to remain around there for the next few days. These conditions are favorable for strengthening. Tropical Storm Carlotta is the 3rd tropical cyclone and named storm in the basin, and is the 5th earliest formation of the season's 3rd storm. The earliest 3rd storm formation on record is June 7th: a record tied by Hurricane Connie of 1974 and Tropical Storm Carlos of 1985.
Visible satellite image of Tropical Storm Carlotta taken at 11am EDT on Thursday.
Forecast for Carlotta
Tropical Storm Carlotta is expected to continue on its path northwest over the next few days, as it approaches the western coast of Mexico, near Acapulco. Most of the reliable track models agree with this (GFS, GFDL, HWRF, UKMET). The GFS ensemble members are basically in agreement with NHC track, however, some ensembles are still suggesting that Carlotta's energy could jump the gap and transfer into the Gulf of Mexico early next week, which is an unlikely solution. The National Hurricane Center is forecasting Carlotta to reach hurricane status on Friday. This intensification, though quick, will be short-lived as the cyclone interacts with land. Granted, the intensity of this system depends heavily on how close to the coast it gets. The mountains of western Mexico can tear apart a tropical storm or weak hurricane with ease. In any case, Carlotta is expected to bring heavy rain to an area prone to flash flooding and landslides.
Meanwhile, in the Atlantic
No tropical cyclone activity is expected in the next couple of days, though some models are suggesting an easterly wave could develop into a weak tropical cyclone in the western Caribbean or southern Gulf of Mexico next week.
Comments will take a few seconds to appear.