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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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 40993
Quoting emguy:
Just had to put a quick blurb out that I'm really enjoying the weather discussion and everyone's comments and posts on here. I should have joined in the discussion much sooner. Just great to talk with others about similar interests in the weather and the tropics...okay...back to the good stuff now...96L! :)


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.
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Two eddys just west of the main circulation

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15946
recon is up
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115362
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


Wow! Harsh! No need for that. Who is Drake, anyway?
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5315
Quoting Hurricane1956:
Hello,if this the latest GFS run? if so can you provide a link to see the Model run,thank you!

Here you go

Link

84 hours... even further east/south

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Quoting Drakoen:


Pretty good. I still have two more years left, and am taking the core classes over the next Fall/Spring semesters.

Best of luck.
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Recon info now showing up on Google Earth.
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5315
Quoting Ameister12:
Morning, everybody!

As I would have expected, 96L is extremely close to becoming a TD/TS right now.


Isnt wannabe Debby well east of a lot of the model's position,when they did their runs?
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436. emguy
Just had to put a quick blurb out that I'm really enjoying the weather discussion and everyone's comments and posts on here. I should have joined in the discussion much sooner. Just great to talk with others about similar interests in the weather and the tropics...okay...back to the good stuff now...96L! :)
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Quoting ncstorm:
Levi vs Drake..east vs west..two very good forecasters..who shall prevail?


Levi has been wrong before.. just saying.
Member Since: March 22, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 723
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!

Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3476
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Great to see you Drak.

Hows school going?


Pretty good. I still have two more years left, and am taking the core classes over the next Fall/Spring semesters.
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Quoting seflagamma:
I did this on comment 199 on prev flip so reposting.



Good morning Again,

Thanks for the update Dr Jeff!

Some of you Florida folks that are still wanting rain, I am so sorry. I know truly in some areas it rains all around you but avoids your neighborhood.

There are still some dry places in the Panhandle and along the Gulf coast but m ost of the state looks good.
And when this updates this afternoon around 4pm it will have a lot of "blue" from yesterday/last night's rains.

Here in Broward county those folks that live East of 95 close to the beach rarely get rain
While I get tons of it out in the western Burbs of Sunrise, Plantation, Weston, etc.

My house rain gauges have reported this:

Monday morning (from Sat & Sun rains) 1"

Wed morning: 1.4"
Sat morning (this morning) 1.2"


So my neighborhood has had 3.6" of rain in last week! Our canals are up the rims and storm drains are full. Pools are overflowing and streets have a hard time finding a place for the water to drain.

Most of Florida is looking good these days.






We don't need another tropical system tromping across Florida.. this our 3rd rain maker this spring already! YIKES!!!
SWFloridians might disagree!!
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NHC has a nightmare on their hands
Member Since: March 22, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 723
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....


There is always a blob over you this time of year... you are going to start growing mold again this year.
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Quoting WhereIsTheStorm:


By Sunday night, there should be an indication as to where this weather event will possibly make landfall. You didn't indicate where is FL so please advise them that the FL Keys will be all clear.


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.
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Quoting PackManWx:
My in-laws are heading down to FL on Tuesday.

They are trying to figure out if it does go to FL, will it be out of there by Tuesday night?


By Sunday night, there should be an indication as to where this weather event will possibly make landfall. You didn't indicate where is FL so please advise them that the FL Keys will be all clear.
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Excluding date of origin and intensity, check out Hurricane Elena in 1985. She took a chill out in the GOM and redirected.
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Quoting ncstorm:
Levi vs Drake..east vs west..two very good forecasters..who shall prevail?


Very interesting times ahead.
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Quoting ncstorm:
Levi vs Drake..east vs west..two very good forecasters..who shall prevail?


Let's just hope no one gets shot outside of a mike tyson fight...lol..96 looking better.
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Quoting lazerpointernerd:
Is the google earth .kml file for the hurricane hunters still active? I havent seen mine update for a while...


yes
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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....
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A slow northward drift followed by a track towards the west seems likely with this system
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i think...just an opinion that landfall will occur some were between the way it looks right now maybe Corpus Christi and Brownsville Texas
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Quoting PackManWx:
drakoen, thanks for the analysis...

if the storm ends up getting knocked east over florida, what timeframe would that be? Thanks!

When would it be out of florida, in other words


There is a large time frame for that which also depends on where in Florida. Anywhere from Tuesday to Thursday.
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 40993
Levi vs Drake..east vs west..two very good forecasters..who shall prevail?
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416. emguy
Will say this for the current GFS run...it looks like it initialized about 2 degrees to the south, but more segnificantly...about 2 degrees too far to the west. It's close enough though...considering the system is already further north and east of the initialization...it only makes the outcome more plausable of this crossing Florida as a Tropical Storm. What it dumps behind is convective feedback. There already is and will continue to be a gradient along the north gulf coast. Since wind is a function of pressure, I continue to believe this model is reconciling this pressure gradient as a dump off low (the feedback)...from there the model just takes it's time in spinning the feedback low down (so it appears as a stationary something it is not). Otherwise, what you see leaving Florida into the Atlantic is 96L.
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My thinking is a blend of the models. Remember Elena in 1985? I think this systems goes east and approaches the west coast of Florida before turning back west.
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Great to see you Drak.

Hows school going?
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15946
drakoen, thanks for the analysis...

if the storm ends up getting knocked east over florida, what timeframe would that be? Thanks!

When would it be out of florida, in other words
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 40993
An observation: It seems that we have been consistently underestimating things. Chris was not supposed to get to hurricane - it did. Duluth was worse than forecast. Locally (Kansas) the actual high temps are consistently higher than predicted. I think this is all a part of the 'new normal' and we have not fully accepted it. Based on that I will jump in with my own prediction: Debby will reach hurricane status before landfall; not just the TS predicted by the models right now.
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Quoting Drakoen:
Thanks for all the greetings everyone!

We definitely have an interesting system to track. 96L currently has an asymmetric convective pattern, due to the upper level low to its west. This upper level low is forecast to move to the south and west which will allow 96L to develop its western side.This process, as depicted in the model precipitation fields, will be slow to occur- roughly 24 to 48 hours as the system moves slowly to the north.

As far as the track is concerned, the general agreed motion is that the system will move to the north over the next 2 days. A series of shortwaves is forecast to move through the northern stream. The intial shortwave is currently over New York as indicated on the 500mb charts from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis. This shortwave is helping to erode the eastern extent of a large ridge of high pressure centered over the southern Plains.As this shortwave moves up into the Canadian Maritimes, high pressure ridging will attempt to build back eastward, which may cause some erratic motion of 96L in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Model differences occur in exactly how much and how strong this ridge will build in before another shortwave drops down from eastern Canada. The models that take 96L westward, have 96L succumbing to the ridge before the shortwave can eject it eastward. The models that pull 96L eastward, have the system meandering somewhat in the northern Gulf of Mexico before getting pulled off to the north and east by the aforementioned shortwave.

I do not see why either solution is not plausible; however, I am siding with the latter camp (central or eastern Gulf of Mexico). The passing of the intial shortwave and the building of the high pressure ridging will cause both the steering motion to be slow and the steering currents to be ill-defined. The 582dm 500mb height contour is slightly further south than what the models (primarily in reference to the GFS and ECMWF) show, although they both depict the southern Plain ridge quite well.This dip should lock 96L in a general northward motion with some motions to the west or east.

Just as a note: It appears that 96L defined circulation has a cycloidal motion within a broader cyclonic circulation.



Ha, its funny because you're thinking is almost identical to mine regarding 96L, I just didn't feel like writing a post quite that descriptive :)
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Quoting weatherlover94:
some of the models take it west and then west south west into Mexico ....hmm


Most notably the NAM, but quite a few other ensemble members.



Still a few strays going to Florida or other parts.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
96L is being sheared some right now, but conditions should continue to improve for it as an upper-level anticyclone develops across the east Gulf and expands. This won't be an asymmetric tropical storm forever..


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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 40993
Is the google earth .kml file for the hurricane hunters still active? I havent seen mine update for a while...
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BTW, the center of circulation is beginning to stall, or loop, either that or its getting stuck before it goes either west or east, or the energy will go east, a new surface low will develop with it bringing mainly just torrential rain to Florida and the main low west. Those are probably the possible solutions involved here.
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Thanks for all the greetings everyone!

We definitely have an interesting system to track. 96L currently has an asymmetric convective pattern, due to the upper level low to its west. This upper level low is forecast to move to the south and west which will allow 96L to develop its western side.This process, as depicted in the model precipitation fields, will be slow to occur- roughly 24 to 48 hours as the system moves slowly to the north.

As far as the track is concerned, the general agreed motion is that the system will move to the north over the next 2 days. A series of shortwaves is forecast to move through the northern stream. The intial shortwave is currently over New York as indicated on the 500mb charts from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis. This shortwave is helping to erode the eastern extent of a large ridge of high pressure centered over the southern Plains.As this shortwave moves up into the Canadian Maritimes, high pressure ridging will attempt to build back eastward, which may cause some erratic motion of 96L in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Model differences occur in exactly how much and how strong this ridge will build in before another shortwave drops down from eastern Canada. The models that take 96L westward, have 96L succumbing to the ridge before the shortwave can eject it eastward. The models that pull 96L eastward, have the system meandering somewhat in the northern Gulf of Mexico before getting pulled off to the north and east by the aforementioned shortwave.

I do not see why either solution is not plausible; however, I am siding with the latter camp (central or eastern Gulf of Mexico). The passing of the intial shortwave and the building of the high pressure ridging will cause both the steering motion to be slow and the steering currents to be ill-defined. The 582dm 500mb height contour is slightly further south than what the models (primarily in reference to the GFS and ECMWF) show, although they both depict the southern Plain ridge quite well.This dip should lock 96L in a general northward motion with some motions to the west or east.

Just as a note: It appears that 96L defined circulation has a cycloidal motion within a broader cyclonic circulation.
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Quoting RTSplayer:


Wait, so they aren't flying at all for today either?

Um...

that sucks.
Lol they are.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
Yep Jedkins I agree thank God the vertical part of the storm is being pushed NE. It a little early but the low level circulation seems headed west. Guess we will know for sure when HH get's there. Lastly, I know hurricane lover's won't like this but our bacon been saved the last 5 yrs. by the persistent ULL let's hope our good luck continues.
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some of the models take it west and then west south west into Mexico ....hmm
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Quoting RTSplayer:


Wait, so they aren't flying at all for today either?

Um...

that sucks.


Todays tasking mission show future flights, todays flight shows up on yesterdays plan and is still a go
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Quoting RTSplayer:


Wait, so they aren't flying at all for today either?

Um...

that sucks.




i really wish evere one learn too rally look and read be for jumping the gune on some in



take off today is a go
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115362
Quoting seriousman1:
landfall pecentages for DEBBY...HOUSTON 70% CORPUS 15% AND LAKE CHARLES LA 15%...CAT 2 HURRICANE AT LANDFALL SOMETIME LATE TUESDAY NIGHT...
LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL
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397. 7544
so far looks like the gfs is saying nope still going over fla abit more south on this run ?
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
Two storms again




All that means is it's confusing the moisture pumped along the trough and over developing it with it's own localized low.

I'd just ignore the eastern-most low; treat it as a patch of "showers and storms".
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520

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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.