Gulf of Mexico disturbance may develop; Chris a hurricane; record Duluth flooding

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:03 PM GMT on June 21, 2012

Share this Blog
56
+

An area of low pressure and heavy thunderstorms entering the Southern Gulf of Mexico is bringing sporadic heavy rains to Western Cuba and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, and winds of 20 - 25 mph to surrounding ocean areas. This disturbance will need to be watched for development as it drifts slowly northward at about 5 mph into the Central Gulf of Mexico by Saturday. The disturbance is poorly organized, and has only a modest area of heavy thunderstorms. Wind shear is a moderate to high 15 - 25 knots over the region. Ocean temperatures are 81 - 83°F in the Western Caribbean and Southern Gulf of Mexico, which is about 1°F above average, and plenty warm to support formation of a tropical storm.


Figure 1. Morning satellite image of the tropical disturbance entering the Southern Gulf of Mexico.

Forecast for Gulf of Mexico disturbance
Wind shear is predicted to remain in the moderate to high range through Friday. Water vapor satellite loops show a region of dry air over the Northern Gulf of Mexico; this dry air is probably too far away to significantly interfere with development. I expect we will see an increase in the disturbance's heavy thunderstorm activity today as a result of less interference from dry air. By Saturday, our two top models, the European model (ECMWF) and GFS, predict that wind shear could fall to the moderate range, 10 - 20 knots, which would potentially allow the disturbance to approach tropical depression status by Sunday. A trough of low pressure pushing off of the U.S. East Coast will be capable of grabbing the disturbance and accelerating it to the northeast on Sunday, as predicted by the GFS model, which takes the disturbance across Florida on Sunday, and into the waters off the coast of South Carolina by Monday. The GFS does not develop the disturbance while it is in the Gulf of Mexico, but suggests it could develop into a tropical or subtropical depression off the coast of South Carolina Monday or Tuesday. The latest ECMWF model run (00 UTC) predicts that this through will not be strong enough to pull the disturbance northeastwards across Florida, and the disturbance will instead linger in the Gulf of Mexico for many days, giving it time to develop into a tropical depression next week. The UKMET and NOGAPS models predict a more westward drift, with the disturbance affecting the Mexico/Texas border region 6 - 7 days from now. At this point, we can't rule out any location in the Gulf being affected by this system, though the Gulf coast of Florida has the highest probability of seeing impacts. NHC is giving the disturbance a 30% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Saturday morning. This is a reasonable forecast, and the odds will probably rise by Friday, and I give the disturbance a 50% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Monday morning.


Figure 2. Morning satellite image of Hurricane Chris.

Chris reaches hurricane strength; not a threat to land
Hurricane Chris has managed to intensify and form an eye-like feature surrounded by intense thunderstorms with very cold tops, despite the fact the storm is over cool waters of 22°C. NHC puts Chris at hurricane strength with 75 mph winds making it the first hurricane of the 2012 hurricane season. Chris attained hurricane strength unusually far to the north (41.1°N) for a June storm; only Hurricane One of 1893 was a June hurricane at a more northernly point (44°N) than Chris. Chris is headed northeastwards, out to sea, and will not trouble any land areas. Only twice before, in 1887 and 1959, has the third storm of the season formed earlier than June 20. Formation of three tropical storms so early in the year is not necessarily a harbinger of an active season; 1959 was close to average, with 12 named storms, 7 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes (average is 11 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes.) Unusual levels of early season activity in the Caribbean and between Africa and the Lesser Antilles usually portends a very active hurricane season, but this year's storms have not formed in this region. Alberto, Beryl, and Chris all formed off the U.S. East Coast.


Figure 3. The St. Louis river upstream from Duluth, Minnesota reached its highest flood height on record this morning, 6.1' above flood stage. The river rose over ten feet in 24 hours. Image credit: NOAA.

Record flooding in Duluth, Minnesota
Flood waters have crested in Duluth, Minnesota this Thursday morning, and are slowly falling, in the wake of the city's all-time record 24-hour rainstorm. A series of "training" thunderstorms that followed the same path passed over a wide swath of Northern Minnesota between noon Tuesday and noon Wednesday, dropping 7.20" of rain on the city. According to wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt, this far surpasses the previous 24-hour record rainfall for Duluth, the 5.79" that fell on August 22 - 23, 1978. Two rivers in the Duluth area, the Nemadji and St. Louis, hit their highest flood heights on record Thursday morning, causing destructive flooding. Sadly, major flooding occurred at the Duluth zoo, washing a seal into a neighboring street, and killing at least eleven zoo animals.

Jeff Masters

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 300 - 250

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60Blog Index

Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Hmmm is right!

*Goes to check ATCF file*


Lol. Was hoping someone would do that. I don't have that link. :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Eastern Pacific.

TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
1100 AM PDT THU JUN 21 2012

FOR THE EASTERN NORTH PACIFIC...EAST OF 140 DEGREES WEST LONGITUDE..

TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER BROWN
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
GOES-E satellite loop shows what y'all are seeing, the circulation is developing over the Yucatan as the system as a whole is beginning to take shape, you can really tell that something wants to get started.
Link
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24484
Anyone notice the very large ULL off the east coast of Florida? I wonder how this will affect the system



An animated link below:



Link
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26889
Drought's making it's way into Ohio. I'm under an Abnormally Dry area currently and if we don't get rain soon it's bound to get worse here.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AtHomeInTX:
Hmmm...

Hurricane Season 2012: System 96L (Atlantic Ocean/Caribbean Sea)
06.21.12

AIRS captured this infrared image of a low in the southern Gulf of Mexico on June 21 at 3:29 a.m. EDT. › View larger image
NASA's Aqua satellite AIRS instrument captured this infrared image of a low in the southern Gulf of Mexico on June 21 at 3:29 a.m. EDT. The strongest thunderstorms (purple) have high, cold cloud tops (of -63F/-52C)located southwest and southeast of the center.
Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen NASA Eyeing Southern Gulf of Mexico Low for Tropical Trouble

Link

Hmmm is right!

*Goes to check ATCF file*
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
"The evolution of forecasting in a blog":

1. Its coming my way base on this/that/chickenfat model.
2. Well such and such made an unexpected influence, so now it MAY go towards you.
3. You guys better watch out and be ready because its bearing down on you now!


disclosure: read the blog for 5+ years, have first hand experience of 40+ years of Houston hurrucanes, enjoy poking fun at blog emotions.....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
50% on the poll.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hmmm...

Hurricane Season 2012: System 96L (Atlantic Ocean/Caribbean Sea)
06.21.12

AIRS captured this infrared image of a low in the southern Gulf of Mexico on June 21 at 3:29 a.m. EDT. › View larger image
NASA's Aqua satellite AIRS instrument captured this infrared image of a low in the southern Gulf of Mexico on June 21 at 3:29 a.m. EDT. The strongest thunderstorms (purple) have high, cold cloud tops (of -63F/-52C)located southwest and southeast of the center.
Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen NASA Eyeing Southern Gulf of Mexico Low for Tropical Trouble

Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ProgressivePulse:
LLC is @ 20N 88W inland IMO
I see it on the coast closer to 89˚W. In the same general vicinity though.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
With massive high pressure parked overhead next week, how are we supposed to even get rain in the area let alone anything tropical in nature??? I didn't think anything could penetrate the Texas Death Ridge.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Keeping it at 30%. Unless Stewart's in the building.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Is modiki el nino still on the forecast?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting OracleDeAtlantis:
Actually, I just had to look for it. Here's the expert on this subject, and indeed global warming is cooling the upper atmosphere, it is believed.

Global Warming Causes Stratospheric Cooling - Dr. Masters

This may help explain how we can get a "Chris" in the North Atlantic, in June.



I've mentioned this before. If more outgoing infrared radiation is being trapped at lower levels by greenhouse gases, the upper atmosphere will cool, and the SST threshold that supports cyclogenesis is likely to fall.

So global warming produces a 'double whammy' for cyclogenesis - increasing SSTs, combined with lower temperatures in the upper atmosphere, further enhancing convection.

Not sure how wind shear will be affected in the hurricane zone, though. Since polar regions will warm more than the tropics, the temperature differential between the two regions will diminish. There should therefore be fewer gales, since gales in temperate latitudes are caused by the difference in temperature between southern and northern air masses.

Would this reduction in temperature differential have a moderating effect on wind shear in the hurricane zone? Not sure, but it might turn out to be a 'triple whammy'.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
286. Gorty
Does anyone have some nice forecast models for me so I cna favorite that? Tropical or non-tropical models?

Thanks in advance.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
12Z CMC:



About 10mb weaker than the last run; interesting that it keeps bringing it westward under the southern periphery of the ridging though.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
What will our Gulf disturbance receive at the 2PM TWO?

A. Yellow Circle - ~0%-20%
B. Orange Circle - 30%-50%
C. Red Circle - >50%
D. Designation as a Tropical Depression/Storm

Feel free to add your specific percentage. I'm going to go with B.) 40%.

\


B.) 40%
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


llc is just west of the blob by the yucatan coast under that n-s thin streak of clouds

broad cyclonic rotation is occuring across the whole eastern gulf
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
LLC is @ 20N 88W inland IMO
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting canehater1:
Kudos to reedzone, et. al. who called Chris a Hurricane late last night.....


He called him a Hurricane when there was just clouds also.. everything to him looks like a hurricane, I've known him 10 years
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting LargoFl:
do you guess..this will be a rather powerful storm once it developes?


Not my place to say for sure.

Strength of damages of a storm does not really correlate well to early development conditions. A large, weak winds, but heavy rains and slow movement could be as bad or worse for damage as say a strong wind event in some locations.

Allison was pretty insignificant for winds, but was retired for rainfall, which was over 30 inches in some places, much like Irene from last year.

Lee was almost like that, but thankfully it finally did start moving, plus Louisiana had been in a drought ahead of time, so we could soak some of the rain, but if it had been like another 5 inches or so, then some locations would have started getting into trouble from inland river and creek flooding. As it was, we got 14 to 15 inches, but like I said the rivers were way below normal, except maybe the Mississippi from the midwest stuff earlier in the year.

Anyway, I'm kinda getting off topic.

The point is, every storm is different and really depends on the unique structure of that storm, it's track, and the topography and population of where it hits, forward movement speed, previous rain or drought conditions, foliage and deforestation(Haiti,) etc.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
279. 7544
ok ill say 96l by 2pm today its ready now imo
Member Since: May 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6874
Quoting cheaterwon:
I think that the low over the Yucatan just got sucked into that big blob in the straights. Does it look that way to all of you?
Link


Nope. It's still just offshore the northern tip of the Yucatan. Look very closely at just the last few frames of the GOM vis loop right at tip of the Yucatan.
Member Since: May 31, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1208

Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
It appears to me, based on the Gulf of Mexico RGB False color loop, that the area of low pressure on the NW tip of the Yucatan Peninsula is being "pulled" towards the convection in the Yucatan Channel.
It's drifting east, or at least it's showing a bias to the east.  Still almost 100 miles away from that trough.  I really don't think we are going to see anything of this disturbance yet for a couple of days.  It's just to strung out along that trough.  Too much competition.
Member Since: February 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1535
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
What will our Gulf disturbance receive at the 2PM TWO?

A. Yellow Circle - ~0%-20%
B. Orange Circle - 30%-50%
C. Red Circle - >50%
D. Designation as a Tropical Depression/Storm

Feel free to add your specific percentage. I'm going to go with B.) 40%.


B 50%
the llc is well defined as you saw on 10m surface winds and they are running out of time to get the percentages up, some models have a td/ts in 2 days.
It will stay near 50% for a while though, before we get the red crayon again.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Sorry to go on the Accuweather Tangent, but they really get under my skin.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Chris is becoming extratropical.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
B. 40%
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
It appears to me, based on the Gulf of Mexico RGB False color loop, that the area of low pressure on the NW tip of the Yucatan Peninsula is being "pulled" towards the convection in the Yucatan Channel.


Certainly an impressive area of convection that could be capable of consolidating the area of low pressure. Needs to sustain itself for that to happen, however.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Kudos to reedzone, et. al. who called Chris a Hurricane late last night.....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
It would be a big step forward if the Yucatan circulation could wrap some of the intense thunderstorms around the center.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4 days till we could have a hurricane and all the models are sticking to their guns.
uggh

And in regards to what people say about what the government wants you to know, if you became the head of noaa or the nws, you would possibly become knowledgeable about thinks like missle and laser/satellite defense systems that require weather forecasting to be implemented, but noone else would be given the security clearance to know about such things.
They will set up decoys so that people dont ask questions, like that last rocket went to the iss, while the real rocket went elsewhere. Which is cool, because then heading a group like noaa is part national security, in addition to the weather things.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Looking at canefever links it appears the 850 vorticity is present from the North Yucatan to the central Gulf a little stronger in central Gulf. But the 500 and 700 are clearly on the NW coast of the Yucatan.With convergence and divergence being centered between Cuba and the Yucatan, that's why all the weather is there at present. It's looks as if the storm will form on the North coast of the Yucatan where the shear is lowest.Until the heavy shear north of the Yucatan relaxes this looks like the same scenario we have had with all these systems the last few years, hostile upper level conditions hurting formation predictions and tracking.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
What will our Gulf disturbance receive at the 2PM TWO?

A. Yellow Circle - ~0%-20%
B. Orange Circle - 30%-50%
C. Red Circle - >50%
D. Designation as a Tropical Depression/Storm

Feel free to add your specific percentage. I'm going to go with B.) 40%.
B. 30%
Member Since: February 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1535
Not as round as before.

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26889
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
12Z CMC:



That would be interesting. A Cat 1/2 grinding the coast.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
From the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, their update has ENSO 0.1C shy of El Nino threshold.


Previous /Current/ Change(2 weeks)

NINO3 0.4 / 0.7 / 0.3 C warmer
NINO3.4 0.2 / 0.4 / 0.2 C warmer
NINO4 0.0 / 0.1 / 0.1 C warmer
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Gorty:
When will the plane be out there?


Tomorrow afternoon.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Gorty:
When will the plane be out there?

Tomorrow at 1800 UTC (2PM EDT/1PM CDT/11AM PDT).

000
NOUS42 KNHC 211400
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
1000 AM EDT THU JUN 21 2012
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
VALID 22/1100Z TO 23/1100Z JUN 2012
TCPOD NUMBER.....12-034

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. SUSPECT AREA (GULF OF MEXICO)
FLIGHT ONE -- TEAL 70 --
A. 22/1800Z
B. AFXXX 01AAA INVEST
C. 22/1600Z
D. 23.0N 89.0W
E. 22/1730Z TO 22/2130Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT

2. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY: A MISSION
AT 23/1800Z NEAR 24.5N 89.0W

II. PACIFIC REQUIREMENTS
1. NEGATIVE RECONNAISSANCE REQUIREMENTS.
2. SUCCEEDING DAY OUTLOOK.....NEGATIVE.
JWP
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
It appears to me, based on the Gulf of Mexico RGB False color loop, that the area of low pressure on the NW tip of the Yucatan Peninsula is being "pulled" towards the convection in the Yucatan Channel.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
259. Gorty
When will the plane be out there?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting OracleDeAtlantis:
If we can get a hurricane in the North Atlantic this time of the year, with sea surface temperatures far below the threshold normally considered necessary to support a system like this, the upper atmosphere must be colder by contrast.


Is this the kind of information that you are looking for?

http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/PS/TROP/TCFP/data/current /geecoins.png
http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/PS/TROP/TCFP/data/current /gesatins.png
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The low that was off the west coast of Florida has moved to the central gulf. It's weaker than it was yesterday, but it's still there. This circulation is interfering with the circulation on the tip of the Yucatan, which I still believe will win out in the long run. Until then........
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Asrock:


South Carolina would gladly give up that land that South of the Boarder sites on to North Carolina. We can rename it North of the Border and you guys can have it. LOL


When you see billboard signs 200 miles away from South of the Border on I 95... you KNOW it's a tourist trap. Just like JR near Raliegh.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
What will our Gulf disturbance receive at the 2PM TWO?

A. Yellow Circle - ~0%-20%
B. Orange Circle - 30%-50%
C. Red Circle - >50%
D. Designation as a Tropical Depression/Storm

Feel free to add your specific percentage. I'm going to go with B.) 40%.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting OracleDeAtlantis:
If we can get a hurricane in the North Atlantic this time of the year, with sea surface temperatures far below the threshold normally considered necessary to support a system like this, the upper atmosphere must be colder by contrast.

Has anyone done an analysis as to what the upper atmosphere is doing this year? Is it colder up there, and is there a greater contrast, that might support tropical systems more broadly?

We heard here earlier in the year, I believe it was Dr. Masters say something about this, as a reason for why we can see this sort of development over colder waters.

I wish someone, Dr. Masters perhaps, would comment on this phenomena generally, because I wouldn't of expected to see a system this early in the season in the North Atlantic.


Read this paper.

Limits on Intensity

The graphics were removed, but if you search on the internet you can find them.

In simple terms, the temperature and other characteristics of the atmosphere can affect intensity as much or even far more than water temperature.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
I think that the low over the Yucatan just got sucked into that big blob in the straights. Does it look that way to all of you?
Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting STXHurricanes2012:
12z ukmet continues with a south tx hit this time 998 mb!

CMC also takes it West too, GFS continues East, and I wonder if the ECMWF will keep the model camp divided?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting redwagon:

They're in the front right pocket of the jeans you had on last night.
they were not jeans thats those new huggies that look like jeans with the painted on pockets
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 300 - 250

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

Local Weather

Overcast
47 °F
Overcast