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 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?
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Could also be that the low is still just that broad. Have to see if the vortex heads south soon.
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Quoting WhereIsTheStorm:
Quoting seriousman1:


NO DISRESPECT TO DRAKE ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!!!!!!!!levi and drake is like the siants playing tulane in the super bowl...no contest LEVI wins hands down...DRAKE has a lot more to learn before he competes with LEVI...my money is on levi i would rate the odds like this LEVI IS 1/9 AND DRAKE 99/1

I'm sorry; but this is disrespectfully. Both Levi and Drake respect each others opinions; both of them understand that this is not a contest. Both Levi and Drake make excellent points and Drake never said that this weather event would not go to TX. He stated that it was dependent on which front reached the GOM first.


He's pressureman or basti11 from last year (perhaps a circumvent of STORMTOP) ! and ignore... thanks!
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42070
the next 3 name storms up in line after D is E F and G storms
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


step back for classification?


It's not a defined or dominant LLC

There appears to appear to be two eddys orbiting each other

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15950
Quoting Tribucanes:
I hope if this goes west it doesn't tease Texas and dip south and hit Mexico instead. Mexico can get the next one. Both need it soi know r badly. Might take a
large cat. one or two hitting central Texas and really moving inland without rapid dissipation to make any real difference for you fine Texans.

I know we need rain but for us on the coast we don't want a big storm. Crystal Beach is still recovering from Ike
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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.

Edit: there we go, ticmarks fixed. They weren't dynamically changing spacing before.

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537. 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
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


step back for classification?


I think so...

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Quoting Hurricanes101:


step back for classification?


No. If it was indeed ejected a new low will form closer to the convection.
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


looks pretty moist to me

Quoting Hurricanes101:


looks pretty moist to me



Look at all the black areas over the US.

Most of the moisture is south of the storm...the area of black wrapped along that coast, thats all a high pressure that his been there for a few days now.

As the storm moves North it will suck in that air, and see you later.

This isn't real advanced science.
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GFS vs. All
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Seeing all that dry air to the west in the water vapor imagery, I kinda hope this storm goes west into Texas to give them some well-needed rain. I would hate to see them go through another hot torrid summer of drought conditions.
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530. jpsb
Quoting Tazmanian:




i even think we could see a hurricane watch has well

hmm, I certainly respect your opinion but it seems to me 96L has been doing the same thing for at least three days, spiting out 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.
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42070
What did GFS do on its last run?
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527. Skyepony (Mod)
Recon AF302 just left LA.. Flying at 10,000ft.
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Quoting ProgressivePulse:
Looking at the trajectory of the low level vortex, I'd say it was just ejected.


step back for classification?
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Quoting nola70119:
Its not even July.....96L looked better on Thursday. It didn't happen. Next.......


Oh, please....
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Quoting FSUCOOPman:
Totals at least have come down from figures up over the 20" range. Still a lot of wetness for Florida.



but...but...but I thought Florida was supposed to get NOTHING from this system.

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Looking at the trajectory of the low level vortex, I'd say it was just ejected.
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Totals at least have come down from figures up over the 20" range. Still a lot of wetness for Florida.

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Its not even July.....96L looked better on Thursday. It didn't happen. Next.......
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Quoting seriousman1:


NO DISRESPECT TO DRAKE ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!!!!!!!!levi and drake is like the siants playing tulane in the super bowl...no contest LEVI wins hands down...DRAKE has a lot more to learn before he competes with LEVI...my money is on levi i would rate the odds like this LEVI IS 1/9 AND DRAKE 99/1

I'm sorry; but this is disrespectfully. Both Levi and Drake respect each others opinions; both of them understand that this is not a contest. Both Levi and Drake make excellent points and Drake never said that this weather event would not go to TX. He stated that it was dependent on which front reached the GOM first.
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Quoting nola70119:
Sheer and dry air still inhibiting 96L. I can't see much more than a rain-maker for Florida, or really nothing for Louisiana or Texas (too much dry air.)


looks pretty moist to me
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Quoting AllStar17:


This??? Seems right on track so far!!! LOL.


That's even bigger than the accuweather cone! Lordy :)
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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.

LOL...this almost sounds like a political campaign slogan...it might as well say "vote for GFS"...
Member Since: September 15, 2009 Posts: 539 Comments: 3712
Quoting FSUCOOPman:


Most fun I've ever had blogging on Wunderground, with 96L.

Everyone, keep your thoughts a coming.

I'm finding it really easy to respect anyone's idea with this system because it has so many possibilities.

I just hope this system does not pull an Alicia if it decides to go west.
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Member Since: March 22, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 723
Greetings All....looks like the board has more spin than the GOM.
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Sheer and dry air still inhibiting 96L. I can't see much more than a rain-maker for Florida, or really nothing for Louisiana or Texas (too much dry air.)
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AGain time to put in my thoughts

Landfall ultimately ends up near LA/TX border, but after this system moves NE towards NW Florida - North and West coasts of Florida see quite a bit of rain and some nasty conditions as it meanders near them, but ulimately it then heads back west towards LA

Very similar to an Elena track
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Quoting BrickellBreeze:


Flag and Minimize.

Flag, minimize AND ignore. Out of sight, out of mind...
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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.


I agree. Most likely NW or W but, you can't discount the GFS's past reliability and it's consistency. Just can't be ruled out 100%.
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Member Since: March 22, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 723
Quoting WxGeekVA:
Slightly off-topic, but I caught this picture of a rainbow while storm chasing with a friend yesterday. Didn't catch any severe storms but we did get good practice for the future!



Yeah... it was crazy yesterday. Was under a warning but passed to my north... and I was in a sunny hole with dark clouds all around me!
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Quoting pottery:
Exciting stuff and whatnot with 96L.

In the meantime, a small blob of heavy rain is still directly overhead here.
Good day for doing nothing....


Hello Sir Pot,
that is my goal for tomorrow! A lazy do nothing day for a change!!!
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Quoting tropicfreak:


It's gonna be one big cone just like the one you put out a day or two ago.

This is what you call a "hair-pulling" system. I don't know what solution to lean towards, same can be said between Drak and Levi... makes everything harder lol.

Things are going to get really interesting indeed.



NHC: "We've got years of experience and classified models that keep us safe."
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
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.
Member Since: March 22, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 723
Quoting BrickellBreeze:


Levi has been wrong before.. just saying.

They've both been wrong before but then again so has NHC.
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


Everyone thought the CMC was crazy back in 2008 when it showed that track for Fay that actually happened

I think it was the CMC anyway


Also the GFS seems to do pretty well with predicting multiple vorticies


If the GFS confirms and some sort of split of energy and LLC happens, I hail it the god of tropical models for developing systems.

That's IF it confirms. jury is still out.
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Quoting Seflhurricane:
Very likely we will see tropical storm debbie and tropical storm warnings are likely from morgan city louisiana to indian pass , florida




i even think we could see a hurricane watch has well
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Quoting tropicfreak:


It's gonna be one big cone just like the one you put out a day or two ago.

This is what you call a "hair-pulling" system. I don't know what solution to lean towards, same can be said between Drak and Levi... makes everything harder lol.

Things are going to get really interesting indeed.


This??? Seems right on track so far!!! LOL.
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How great to check in and see names I haven't seen in a while! Hi guys!
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Quoting Seflhurricane:
Very likely we will see tropical storm debbie and tropical storm warnings are likely from morgan city louisiana to indian pass , florida


I would think the west coast would get some sort of watch or warning considering the heavy convection is just offshore
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The last few runs kind of caught my eye with the GFS.. might it be already time to watch the CV for development? The GFS is showing a very strong MJO pulse over Africa during this time - might be something to watch. Still out in fantasy land so don't pay much attention to it. If anyone was around in 2008, you will remember that the GFS pegged Bertha's genesis weeks in advance while none of the other models showed anything.


(GFS 00z & GFS 06z 228 hrs)
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Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
These are feisty little storms
You bet. Squally, nasty, and rough out there to be sure.
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Quoting PackManWx:


They are going to Orlando... Supposed to drive down from NC on Tuesday (be there tuesday night) and stay through Sunday.

They have until Monday at 4PM to change their reservations, so they want to know by then.


It certainly looks like this weather event will decided by Sunday night unless it stalls. Having the ability to wait until Monday at 4PM is great for them. I'm sure they are biting there nails at this point; but they are just going to have to wait and see.
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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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