Gulf of Mexico disturbance 96L close to tropical storm status

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:26 PM GMT on June 23, 2012

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An area of low pressure and heavy thunderstorms in the Central Gulf of Mexico (96L) is close to tropical depression or tropical storm status, and all interests along the Gulf of Mexico coast should pay attention to the progress of this disturbance. The disturbance has brought heavy rains to Western Cuba, South Florida, and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula over the past two days, but the disturbance's heaviest rains are located well offshore over the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, where heavy thunderstorms are generating winds near tropical storm-force. A buoy 243 miles east of Naples, FL measured sustained winds of 31 mph, gusting to 38 mph, with 10-foot waves, at 8 am EDT Saturday morning. Our wundermap for the surrounding ocean areas shows a large region of the northern and eastern Gulf of Mexico is experiencing winds of 20 - 30 mph. Satellite-based surface wind measurements taken at 7:22 am EDT Saturday from the newly-available Oceansat-2 scatterometer, courtesy of India, showed a broad, elongated surface circulation over the Central Gulf of Mexico that was not well defined. The satellite saw top surface winds of 30 - 40 mph over the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. Visible satellite loops show that the circulation of 96L has become more defined this morning, and the heavy thunderstorm activity is slowly expanding and growing more intense. Upper-level winds out of the west are creating a moderate 10 - 20 knots of wind shear over the region. Water vapor satellite loops show a modest region of dry air over the Central Gulf of Mexico, which is interfering with development and keeping the western side of 96L's circulation free of heavy thunderstorms. Ocean temperatures are about 28.5°C (83°F) in the Central Gulf of Mexico, which is about 1°F above average. A hurricane hunter mission is scheduled to investigate 96L this afternoon to see if a tropical depression or tropical storm has formed.


Figure 1. Saturday morning satellite image of tropical disturbance 96L in the Gulf of Mexico.


Figure 2. Radar-estimated precipitation for South Florida from tropical disturbance 96L.

Forecast for 96L
Wind shear is predicted to remain in the moderate range through Sunday night, which is likely low enough to allow 96L to develop into a tropical depression or tropical storm by Sunday; NHC gave 96L a 90% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Monday morning, in their 8am EDT Tropical Weather Outlook. The future path of 96L is still unclear. The disturbance will drift slowly northwards through Sunday night, which will likely bring heavy rains of 2 - 4 inches to the Gulf Coast from Central Louisiana to Central Florida. A storm surge of 1 - 3 feet is also likely along the Southeast Louisiana coast on Sunday; coastal flood advisories have already been posted there. By Monday, the majority of the reliable models, including the ECMWF, NOGAPS, HWRF, and UKMET, agree that a ridge of high pressure will build in over the Southern U.S., forcing 96L westwards across the Gulf of Mexico and into South Texas by Wednesday. However, the GFS model, which has been our 2nd most reliable track model over the past two years (behind the ECMWF), has consistently been predicting that 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 across Florida north of Tampa Bay on Monday. The GFDL model splits the difference between these extremes, taking 96L northwards to a landfall near the Alabama/Florida border on Tuesday. Given that the majority of the models predict a westward track to Texas, that should be viewed as the most probable path for 96L, but this is a low-confidence forecast. None of the models is predicting 96L will become a hurricane, and the SHIPS model is predicting just a 4% chance of rapid intensification for 96L. Given the moderate levels of wind shear and dry air over the Gulf, only slow to modest intensification of 96L is likely over the next few days.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting CybrTeddy:
One simple closer look at the satellite reveals that the 'swirl' we are seeing us not actually be the circulation, rather two eddye's rotating around eachother.

Loop this satellite image, you'll see what I'm talking about.
Did you get that from stormchaser2007?
Quoting Stormchaser2007:


It's not a defined or dominant LLC

There appears to appear to be two eddys orbiting each other

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Quoting BrickellBreeze:
Im going to go with the GFS, because of the consistency over and over again over the last five days.

While all the other models flip-flopped, the GFS has remained constant.

Its been consistent or persistent for a month
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The shear 96L is under will keep it a one sided storm exposed to the west and all the precip to the east and south.
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The Upper Level Low in the Atlantic has fired up nicely today, any chance that it will develop?
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Product: Air Force Tropical RECCO Message (URNT11 KNHC)
Transmitted: 23rd day of the month at 16:40Z
Aircraft: Air Force Aircraft (Last 3 digits of the tail number are 302)
Mission Purpose: Investigate first suspect area (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 1
Observation Number: 03

Mandatory Data...

Observation Time: Saturday, 16:38Z
Radar Capability: Yes
Aircraft Altitude: Below 10,000 meters
Coordinates: 27.3N 89.2W
Location: 192 miles (309 km) to the SSE (164°) from New Orleans, LA, USA.
Turbulence: None
Conditions Along Flight Route: In the clear
Pressure Altitude: 390 meters
Flight Level Wind: From 60° at 24 knots (From the ENE at ~ 27.6 mph)
- The above is a spot wind.
- Winds were obtained using doppler radar or inertial systems.
Flight Level Temperature: 23°C
Flight Level Dew Point: 22°C
Weather (within 30 nautical miles): Shower(s) (continuous or intermittent precipitation - from cumuliform clouds)
Mean Sea Level Pressure (MSLP): 1008 mb (extrapolated)

Optional Data...

Estimated Surface Wind: From 50° at 30 knots (From the NE at ~ 34.5 mph)

Remarks Section...

Surface Wind Speed (likely by SFMR): 22 knots (~ 25.3mph)
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Please recon go faster so we know were the center is so the battles stop
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Quoting AllStar17:
I can just picture it now...the NHC issuing advisories for the entire Gulf coast. LOL.


LOL! I remember Tropical Storm Frances of 1998 there were Tropical Storm Warnings from Tampico, Mexico all the way around to the Pearl River on the Louisiana/Mississippi border.
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UBJ/TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION ALERT//
WTNT21 KNGU 231600
REF/A/MSG/FLEWEACEN NORFOLK VA/221600Z JUN 12//
AMPN/TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION ALERT (WTNT21 KNGU 221600)//
RMKS/1. THIS MESSAGE SUPERSEDES REF A.
2. FORMATION OF A SIGNIFICANT TROPICAL CYCLONE IS POSSIBLE WITHIN
100 NM EITHER SIDE OF A LINE FROM 22.6N 88.3W TO 26.0N 88.3W
OVER THE NEXT 24 HOURS. AVAILABLE DATA DOES NOT JUSTIFY
ISSUANCE OF NUMBERED TROPICAL CYCLONE WARNINGS AT THIS TIME.
BUOY AND SHIP OBSERVATIONS IN THE AREA INDICATE SURFACE WINDS OF
25 TO 30 KNOTS, MAINLY OVER THE NORTHERN AND EASTERN PORTIONS
OF THE GULF OF MEXICO. METSAT IMAGERY AT 231445Z INDICATES THAT A
CIRCULATION CENTER IS LOCATED NEAR 25.9N 87.4W. THE SYSTEM IS
MOVING NORTHWARD AT 02 KNOTS.
3. REMARKS: CURRENT FORECAST GUIDANCE IS DEPICTING GRADUAL
INTENSIFICATION OF THIS LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM. AT 231445Z, VISIBLE
SATELLITE IMAGERY INDICATED A BROAD AREA OF SHOWERS/THUNDERSTORMS
THAT HAS PERSISTED OVER THE LAST 36 HOURS. FAVORABLE SEA SURFACE
TEMPERATURES OF 82 TO 84 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT IN CONJUNCTION WITH
A GRADUALLY IMPROVING UPPER LEVEL ENVIRONMENT MAY ENHANCE
DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM INTO A TROPICAL CYCLONE. AERIAL
RECONNAISSANCE WILL BE INVESTIGATING THIS SYSTEM BY 23/2100Z.
4. THIS ALERT WILL BE REISSUED, UPGRADED TO WARNING OR CANCELLED
BY 241600Z.//
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 37042
Quoting Hurricanes101:
yea conditions are not as favorable as first thought obviously, I agree that if it heads more west, it may be nothing more than a weak TS

it actually has a better chance of being stronger if it makes landfall in the Eastern half of the Gulf

Conditions will gradually improve the longer it sits with a building anticyclone that moves west with the storm.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31537
Quoting MoeWest:


Don't the NOP storms come after the M storm?



LOL
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One simple closer look at the satellite reveals that the 'swirl' we are seeing us not actually be the circulation, rather two eddye's rotating around eachother.

Loop this satellite image, you'll see what I'm talking about.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23619
Quoting MississippiWx:


It's not going to move quickly towards any direction anytime soon. Upper level conditions will be slowly improving the entire time of its life.

It's possible it could end up struggling with upwelling.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 82 Comments: 7636
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 37042
Quoting Hurricanes101:
yea conditions are not as favorable as first thought obviously, I agree that if it heads more west, it may be nothing more than a weak TS

it actually has a better chance of being stronger if it makes landfall in the Eastern half of the Gulf


It's not going to move quickly towards any direction anytime soon. Upper level conditions will be slowly improving the entire time of its life.
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U have it flip flopped better conditions west
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Quoting Tazmanian:



nop


Don't the NOP storms come after the M storm?
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Quoting Tazmanian:
the next 3 name storms up in line after D is E F and G storms


I tried to suppress the laughter, but failed...
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Quoting tropicfreak:


He's pressureman or basti11 from last year (perhaps a circumvent of STORMTOP) ! and ignore... thanks!


I understand. That was my last post back to this person. The post was more for the two guys, so they didn't have to try and address nonsense.
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Recon should be quick, not far to go.
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Quoting TropicalTony:
When 96L does start to move towards Texas it might be a naked swirl There is a lot of dry air over the western Gulf.




it is vary moist in the gulf
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Quoting HurricaneDean07:
00Z/06Z model rundown.

Extreme East:(Amps the Trough)
GFS

East-Central:
GFDL

West:
EMCWF
CMC(Slightly east, but still westerly model)
Ukmet

Extreme West:(Amps the Ridge)
Nogaps
\

CMC and GFDL are pretty much in line with each other
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Is there a way to watch the hurricane hunters flight from an iPhone?
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Quoting MoeWest:


Great analysis! Do you als happen to know which storms will come after those? ;)



nop
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Good recon is going in.We can get some real data from people that know what there doing and find were it is
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yea conditions are not as favorable as first thought obviously, I agree that if it heads more west, it may be nothing more than a weak TS

it actually has a better chance of being stronger if it makes landfall in the Eastern half of the Gulf
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Cloud motions do not support a "new low" forming under the convection. The exposed center is just that, exposed. Wind shear has been a problem the entire time and is no different right now. The current location of the exposed center is the exact area that the European, CMC, UKM, etc. have been showing consolidation and cyclogenesis.



ULL is moving SW to maybe SSW right now, so we should see some development on the N and NE parts of the circulation over the next 6 to 12 hours.
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00Z/06Z model rundown.

Extreme East:(Amps the Trough)
GFS

East-Central:
GFDL

West:
EMCWF
CMC(Slightly east, but still westerly model)
Ukmet

Extreme West:(Amps the Ridge)
Nogaps
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When 96L does start to move towards Texas it might be a naked swirl There is a lot of dry air over the western Gulf.
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Quoting LargoFl:


ugh
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Quoting Tazmanian:
the next 3 name storms up in line after D is E F and G storms


Great analysis! Do you als happen to know which storms will come after those? ;)
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Quoting Levi32:


Yes, shortly, just making sure my recon page doesn't blow up on its first live test before I record it though.

thanks levi. is there any particular reason why the GFS is showing 2 tropical storms 1 in the gulf and 1 off the east coast? its been showing this for the past 3 runs
Member Since: August 23, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1368
Quoting Orcasystems:


It looks good, but all of the raw data is going to drive up your page costs, if you pay by bandwidth


"Unlimited bandwidth"...from shared hosting, which we all know isn't really unlimited, but it doesn't cost me more to provide data.
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Quoting ProgressivePulse:
Could also be that the low is still just that broad. Have to see if the vortex heads south soon.


Whenever they go out they fly a clover pattern through the suspected LLC, so if they find something lower or stronger they'll pick up on it anyway. It should be pretty easy to find the best fix once they get out there, as they could obviously fly right through both suspected areas and problem solved either way.
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 37042
What a strange storm
We not get an active season but if what has happened so far is any indication we will have one that is weird as hell.
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Cloud motions do not support a "new low" forming under the convection. The exposed center is just that, exposed. Wind shear has been a problem the entire time and is no different right now. The current location of the exposed center is the exact area that the European, CMC, UKM, etc. have been showing consolidation and cyclogenesis.



Yes. Once shear lessens it should be all set for strengthening.
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5300
Quoting Levi32:


Yes, shortly, just making sure my recon page doesn't blow up on its first live test before I record it though.


It looks good, but all of the raw data is going to drive up your page costs, if you pay by bandwidth
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Quoting RTSplayer:


The hurricane hunters and NHC will center fix on the area of lowest surface pressures, although that is calculated via an extrapolation from the Dropsonde.

So what they put out will be what's really there.
a ship reported a 35knot wind
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 37042
Cloud motions do not support a "new low" forming under the convection. The exposed center is just that, exposed. Wind shear has been a problem the entire time and is no different right now. The current location of the exposed center is the exact area that the European, CMC, UKM, etc. have been showing consolidation and cyclogenesis.

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Quoting RTSplayer:


The hurricane hunters and NHC will center fix on the area of lowest surface pressures, although that is calculated via an extrapolation from the Dropsonde.

So what they put out will be what's really there.


Yep.
Member Since: September 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6188
I am using scientific stuff now here people

96L goes to Florida because everyone who says its going to Texas keeps spelling the next named storms name wrong..Its Debby not Debbie lol
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Quoting wunderweatherman123:
will you have a tropical tidbit today?


Yes, shortly, just making sure my recon page doesn't blow up on its first live test before I record it though.
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Quoting 7544:
imo the hh will relocate this whole thing furter east under that little ball of convetion forming at this hour and would verify with the gfs


The hurricane hunters and NHC will center fix on the area of lowest surface pressures, although that is calculated via an extrapolation from the Dropsonde.

So what they put out will be what's really there.
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Holy cow! A Drakoen sighting! All the rain seems to be staying just offshore of us in Fort Myers. We've only seen a whopping .25 inch thus far in this "rain event". 96L is keeping us guessing, that's for sure.
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Quoting jpsb:

hmm, I certainly respect your opinion but it seems to me 96L has been doing the same thing for at least three days, spiting one llc after another. So what makes you think a new pattern is going to emerge any time soon?

I think it is 50-50 that 96L just stays a big blob today.






96L is likey a TS right now
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If Debbie goes west she'll have a lot of hot dry air sitting just to her north. They should rename it 'drunk debbie' 'cuz she don't know where she wants to go. burp!
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Hello everyone!! Good to see yall here once again for this hurricane season..:)

I live in Louisiana,(Central) do yall think there will be any impacts here? I noticed Dr. Masters mentioned about central Louisiana....any thoughts on this???
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Quoting LargoFl:
gfs has it crossing florida into the atlantic...so far anyway
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 37042
Quoting ProgressivePulse:


No. If it was indeed ejected a new low will form closer to the convection.


I didnt think about it that way, sometimes ejecting lows is like a defense mechanism for developing systems...if they do not think the low is strong enough, kick em out lol
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Quoting Levi32:
Tic marks on the x-axis will be fixed shortly, but you can see the plane taking off and now cruising at the 700mb level, with the corresponding drop in temperature after take-off.

will you have a tropical tidbit today?
Member Since: August 23, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1368

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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.