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 PalmBeachWeather:
Read the "mobile home" part.Been through a brush with Andrew, Headon with Francis and Jeanne, And a horrible time with Wilma...This was all in a CBS house.As I said.Hate to be in a mobile home in a Cat 2
People overreact to storms, I have been in Nor'easters with 60-65mph winds with almost 90 mph gusts, but if it had a name, Holy Crap, thats 2 weeks of news there.
A TS is not that bad, unless of course you live in a super flood prone area
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Quoting Hurricanes101:
CMC shifted quite a bit eastward with its last run

The ensemble model is much further west though, and weaker...

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 82 Comments: 7607
Could this possible storm cross Florida and regenerate up the east coast
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Quoting ILOVESTORMS23:
still waiting on the 4 to 10 inches of rain they have been forcasting for central florida the past 3 days so far not a drop didnt get the 4 to 8 inches from beryl either that was forcasted nor any wind. another goof


Baeryl didn't give us rain for good reason, and lately we have just been in a typical summer time setup, deep moisture and daytime heating leading to some people getting anywhere from 1 to 4 inches and others not much. I have consistently said the heaviest rainfall won't come in till late Saturday through Monday for us Floridians, and maybe Tuesday, depending on the track of our little low.
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Leaving for intercept soon. Destination....


Oh crap..

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Quoting reedzone:
I think it's safe to say recon will find Debby, Banding is starting to take shape around the COC. What boggles me is that where shear is high, is where convection is firing and where shear is very low, it's clear... Really thought it was supposed to be the other way around. Anyways, I think we currently have an unnamed 40 mph. Tropical Storm. However, I think it's actually wise for the NHC to wait till recon goes in there. I'd say a renumber by 3 p.m. and a classification by 5 p.m.
My guess is an ATCF renumber straight to "Debby" before that--perhaps within the next 90 minutes or so--followed by official NHC classification shortly thereafter via a special outlook.
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Quoting ILOVESTORMS23:
still waiting on the 4 to 10 inches of rain they have been forcasting for central florida the past 3 days so far not a drop didnt get the 4 to 8 inches from beryl either that was forcasted nor any wind. another goof
I say the same thing,lucky if i got ONE inch lol,all around me yesterday they were getting 3 inches an hour, just a few rain drops here, not enough to wet the driveway gee
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36847
60percent Texas 35percent Alabama/Florida 5percent other
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136. Gorty
So is Earnesto coming up next in the next couple weeks or not?
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
I think the UKMET has the most likely landfall location


i agree
Member Since: September 2, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1143
What time does reon go out today???

Thanks ;)
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I hope i dont get banned for this but i got this off of Storm W(a former blogger).....

INVEST 96L:
As I stated in my update last night, center relocation’s are common with slow and disorganized systems…this morning, it now appears we have a dominant center of circulation. The 8:00 A.M. EDT Tropical Weather Outlook from the NHC locates the center approx. 275 miles SSE of the mouth of the Mississippi river…which recent satellite loop imagery indicates this is near 25.6N;88.0W.

The disturbance continues to move slowly in a northward direction, and I expect this motion to continue through today.

Satellite imagery indicates the center has become much better defined this morning, with thunderstorm activity building to the east of the center.

The current wind shear product from CIMSS shows wind shear has been decreasing slowly, and shear values over the center are about 15-20 knots. Albeit not optimal, any further decrease in wind shear would allow for better consolidation of thunderstorms near the center. There is a well established outflow jet to the east of the system (arrows).

The latest wind shear forecast from the GFS model indicates upper level winds to become slightly more conducive in about 12 hours from 06Z this morning…so, around early afternoon.

Based on these factors, I agree with the NHC in that we could see Tropical Storm Debby within the next 48 hours. Based on the Tropical Weather Outlook, Tropical Storm Watches / Warnings could be required this weekend for a portion of the northern Gulf Coast. All interests in this area should monitor the progress of this system closely. A Reconnaissance aircraft is scheduled to fly this afternoon.

At this point in time, although you can never rule anything out (as we have seen in past seasons), I am not expecting this to reach hurricane status, unless the wind shear pattern takes on a more favorable outcome in the next 48 hours, based on the following…

Some of the models in the guidance package have shifted to a westward track. Should this occur, the wind shear forecast indicates a band of wind shear to be in the path of the system from about 42 through 96 hours out in the forecast period from 06Z this morning…this would preclude any significant strengthening, unless the forward motion of the system is slow enough to remain under the upper level anticyclone.

ased on analysis of the current steering pattern, and various enhancements of water vapor loop imagery, as I stated, I expect the northward motion to continue through today…with a possible stall thereafter for a short period, then with a turn toward the W to WNW. This is based on the current position of the ridge I have spoken of, which is no longer centered over TX., however has progressed eastward somewhat. The trof that could have pulled it NE doesn’t appear too strong, and is seen moving out from the picture

Based on the Model Guidance package, and analysis of computer models this morning, I feel we should see a westward motion begin sometime over the weekend, however, at this time, I am not totally sold on a track all the way to Texas at the moment. If you go to this site, you want to choose Water Vapor, (8 image animation)…once the loop begins, go to the top of the satellite view, go over to ENHANCEMENTS…scroll down to where it says GENERAL (red = warm, blue= cold) and choose that enhancement. You can see the movement of the ridge. Now, if this ridge keeps progressing, the return flow over the Gulf would eventually become south to SW.

Based on these analyses, I prefer the TVCC / TCVN track in the Dynamic model guidance. Again, this will change as the system becomes better developed…but right now I believe the area to watch is from Grand Isle, LA. to Corpus Christi, TX. Again, any changes to the current players on the field will change the scenario.

I will continue to monitor 96L for any significant changes during the day.
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96L kind of looks like a sloppy version of Hurricane Earl from 1998.

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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Nobody should be in a mobile home during a Category 2 hurricane.
Thank you Tropical.........Someone here does not read my whole post
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Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
Read the "mobile home" part.Been through a brush with Andrew, Headon with Francis and Jeanne, And a horrible time with Wilma...This was all in a CBS house.As I said.Hate to be in a mobile home in a Cat 2
they also evacuate in flood prone area's, with this huge rainmaker they may not wait for a cat-2 storm
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36847
I am thinking its going to stall and then go anywhere between north and east.
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Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
Sure would hate to be in a mobile home in a Cat 2 though

Nobody should be in a mobile home during a Category 2 hurricane.
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Quoting DavidHOUTX:


Hahahha...well that certainly clears things up...good mornin' all, 96.
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Quoting weatherlover94:


But the next question is how is the NHC gonna give us a forecast path if half of the models take it to Florida and half take it to Texas ?
we might not have a real valid path until sunday, or even monday, depending on what happens out there
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36847
CMC shifted quite a bit eastward with its last run
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Wow. That east side is a monster for potential rainfall right now.

Canadian now takes it straight into NOLA, as a mid-grade TS, after a brief stall.
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current Key West conditions.
Overcast Temperature
84 °F
Feels Like 93 °F Wind
SE at 20 mph
Moisture
Dew Point: 76 °F
Humidity: 76%
Precipitation
Precipitation: - in
Daily Precip.: 0.00 in
Conditions
Pressure: 29.89 in
Visibility: 10.0 in

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Quoting Methurricanes:
You evacuate in a Cat 2.
Read the "mobile home" part.Been through a brush with Andrew, Headon with Francis and Jeanne, And a horrible time with Wilma...This was all in a CBS house.As I said.Hate to be in a mobile home in a Cat 2
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:



I concur, Doctor.
heart.of.the.season.is.the.first.of.sept.
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Quoting DavidHOUTX:


Umm, if you look at the graphic, you can clearly see which one wins out...

whatever
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I think the UKMET has the most likely landfall location

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 82 Comments: 7607
Quoting weatherlover94:



I think the shear is still just a little bit to high there right now....i think by this evening we will start to see that convection wrap all the way around the center of circulation...and good morning to you to


Shear on the western side is < 10 knots. I think its probably some dry air that is stopping it from wraping around the western side however, with developing system its usual to see convection on one side and little on the other. Latest Sat. images suggest that its starting to slowly wrap around the LLC once it develops that should change.
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Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
Sure would hate to be in a mobile home in a Cat 2 though
You evacuate in a Cat 2.
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anyone think that this jump to the north could favor a more eastern track? It is much closer to the front than it was yesterday
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just woke up. much healthier system although there is nothing much on the west side. reminds me of tropical storm lee but if the circulation is well defined then this is tropical storm debby
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Quoting divdog:
Nothing was said about which one wins out. He just said 2 lows.


Umm, if you look at the graphic, you can clearly see which one wins out...

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Quoting Methurricanes:
You dont really have to evacuate unless its like a Cat 2, otherwise, just don't be stupid and go swimming in an Ocean or River. Unless you live in an exteremely flood-prone area.
Sure would hate to be in a mobile home in a Cat 2 though
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Quoting reedzone:
I think it's safe to say recon will find Debby, Banding is starting to take shape around the COC. What boggles me is that where shear is high, is where convection is firing and where shear is very low, it's clear... Really thought it was supposed to be the other way around. Anyways, I think we currently have an unnamed 40 mph. Tropical Storm. However, I think it's actually wise for the NHC to wait till recon goes in there. I'd say a renumber by 3 p.m. and a classification by 5 p.m.


I agree with that. Now the million dollar question is, where does it go and how long will it have to sit in those warm Gulf waters
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Quoting Hurricane4Lex:


Once again......


ANYWHERE eh? hehe


lol yes indeed.
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Wow..last night i went go to sleep a the center of circulacion was far to the south, now has collapsed, and clearly, 96L form a broad but well-defined center circulacion to the north.

the storm is getting more showers and thunderstorm,but still robust and persistent on the east side, i think will develops in debby but the develop into a strong storm will be slow to occur

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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36847
I say anywhere from Matagorda bay TX to Morgan city LA should be on alert.
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It's a TS now IMO, just not a very pretty one.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 82 Comments: 7607
Quoting DavidHOUTX:


Wow, so the low closer to Texas wins out. That would be quite an interesting scenario. I would think the Eastern low would win.
Nothing was said about which one wins out. He just said 2 lows.
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Maybe as once the hurricane Hunters go in and feed some new info into the models they will give us a better idea of the track.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
59. Then if the GFS is accurate, we will be getting Ernesto soon as well.


None of the other models are showing this, and that is why the GFS pulls 96L out to the NE. The low influences it towards Florida. Not going to happen IMO.


To be honest none of the other models showing whatever their counterparts are thinking. They are all over the place. There is nothing conclusive to go off at this point in terms of model consensus. All that we can do is pick a model and hope its the right choice.
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Quoting DavidHOUTX:


Once again......


ANYWHERE eh? hehe
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Quoting hurricanehunter27:
Anybody have a good explanation why the west side of 96L has nothing? I thought shear was lowest in that area yet nothing is there. Also good morning everyone!


There is certainly some shear displacing the convection. Which makes this extremely difficult to pinpoint. With shear displacing the convection like this one is, the center will continue to reform.
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Quoting LargoFl:
what is bothering me is with this uncertainty of where this is going to come inland..if it does decide at the last moment to come into florida..officials will have little time to evacuate those that need to leave,mobile homes, those close to the shore etc..and this time of year we have tons of visitors who are unfamiliar with the roads..maybe it IS better this storm goes to Texas
You dont really have to evacuate unless its like a Cat 2, otherwise, just don't be stupid and go swimming in an Ocean or River. Unless you live in an exteremely flood-prone area.
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Quoting weatherlover94:


But the next question is how is the NHC gonna give us a forecast path if half of the models take it to Florida and half take it to Texas ?


They will probably start it off in the middle with a track to the Panhandle.
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Quoting weatherlover94:


But the next question is how is the NHC gonna give us a forecast path if half of the models take it to Florida and half take it to Texas ?
Because they'll use the models merely as partial input, not the entire basis of their forecast. Along with the models, they'll incorporate their combined hundreds of years of education, wisdom, and experience to come up with a best guess (and probably a very large initial cone).
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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.