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 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).
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13538
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!



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
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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
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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!

Good morning!

Give it some time. It'll be there.
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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!
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3842
Quoting ncstorm:
JMA model is showing similarites to the GFS..two lows..one on the east coast but sending the other one to texas





Wow, so the low closer to Texas wins out. That would be quite an interesting scenario. I would think the Eastern low would win.
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Quoting Sfloridacat5:


You should continue to get general rain from this system over the next couple days.
Yes, it hasn't rained a lot, but up in my area of S.Fort Myers we've been averaging about .3 everyday with close to 4" for the month.

People in Texas or other parts of the country would love that kind of rain.
I wouldn't call a rain rate of less than 1/100 of an inch per hour "general"--but I know what you're talking about. ;-) The thing is, for more than a week the official forecast has called for pretty much continued high chances of heavy rain in Naples, yet while the sun hasn't really shone in that time, a mere 0.62" of precipitation has fallen--including four straight days without so much as a trace.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13538
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.


I do agree your statement there. We won't see such low development off the FL east coast, but on the other hand I do believe the other suite of models are being a bit too aggressive in building the High enough on the SE CONUS.

I do believe 96L is approaching a COL regions and will stay there for a couple days until steering patterns become better established.
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 4972
JMA model is showing similarites to the GFS..two lows..one on the east coast but sending the other one to texas



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Quoting LargoFl:
yes i think your right, we will see later on


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 ?
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Does anyone have access to the Planfalf numbers? Im guess there in the low 3s.....not huge potential beyond Cat 1 at landfall in New Orleans.
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Quoting bayoubug:
My best spot is 87.1-26.1 I'll go with that for now..


No, actually if you look at the latest 96L Long Floater - Rainbow Color Imagery Loop you can see a much better define COC at 26N/86.5W. Also notice some intense tstorms trying to wrap around it.
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Quoting DavidHOUTX:


Oh, so that's where it's going!
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Thanks Doc
It appears that the front moving to the east has had the southern tail become stationary at just about the north side of the dry air mass. If that stationary front starts to move in the direction it was originally going, won't that create a FL west coast landfall with a lopsided rain event?
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Quoting seriousman1:


no i think more like from morgan city la to pensecola...


Yeah I could see that.
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SHORT TERM FORECAST
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIAMI FL
948 AM EDT SAT JUN 23 2012

AMZ650-651-670-671-FLZ068-168-172-231500-
COASTAL WATERS FROM JUPITER INLET TO DEERFIELD BEACH, FL OUT 20 NM-
COASTAL WATERS FROM DEERFIELD BEACH TO OCEAN REEF, FL OUT 20 NM-
WATERS FROM JUPITER INLET TO DEERFIELD BEACH, FL EXTENDING FROM
20 NM TO 60 NM-
WATERS FROM DEERFIELD BEACH TO OCEAN REEF, FL EXTENDING FROM 20 NM
TO THE TERRITORIAL WATERS OF THE BAHAMAS-METRO PALM BEACH-
COASTAL PALM BEACH-COASTAL BROWARD-
948 AM EDT SAT JUN 23 2012

.NOW...
THROUGH 11 AM...AN AREA OF LIGHT TO MODERATE RAIN...WITH EMBEDDED
HEAVIER SHOWERS...WILL CONTINUE TO MOVE NORTH ACROSS THE ATLANTIC
WATERS OFF BROWARD AND PALM BEACH COUNTIES. LOCALLY HEAVY RAIN AND
WIND GUSTS TO 20 KNOTS WILL BE ASSOCIATED WITH THIS ACTIVITY.
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Quoting PSurvivor:
"East of Naples, Florida"?
We all make mistakes, and we all knew what the good Doc meant
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hey guys can anyone give me their odds of this heading towards the houston area based on what you see?...I feel its going to be more north northeast...but masters feels otherwise anyone?
thanks
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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.

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Quoting seriousman1:


dont worry people in texas are going to get more then rain ...they are going to get whatever debby has to offer...


Yes, but maybe debby will most likely only effect a small area of Texas. Most areas of Texas will continue to bake under 100 degree bright sun shine.

The last time a hurricane went into S.E. Texas my family in the S.A. area didn't get a drop.
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Quoting weatherlover94:



This one may be another one of them that skips TD and goes straight to TS
yes i think your right, we will see later on
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Quoting Sfloridacat5:
I would expect watches to go up on the northern Gulf coast. The system is slowly creeping closer and closer to the northern Gulf coast.


I agree I'm thinking Grand Isle, LA. to Indian Pass, FL. (near Apalachicola)
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Quoting Articuno:
Pre-Debby looks like Hanna once it formed.


Alright. Here is a comparison:
Hanna

Lee

96L



I think this storm is gonna look like hanna

Notice any similarities?
Member Since: October 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2417
Quoting PSurvivor:
"East of Naples, Florida"?


He had a senior moment. We all make little mistakes.
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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.
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Quoting LargoFl:
I think we will have debbie today once the planes get in there



This one may be another one of them that skips TD and goes straight to TS
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My best spot is 87.1-26.1 I'll go with that for now..
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Quoting Neapolitan:
Speak for yourself. ;-) I'm not home to see it, but Naples has only seen a bit of rain from 96L; the heaviest stuff somehow sadly keeps missing the area. NWS says just 0.32" fell yesterday, with only an additional four/one-hundredths of an inch since midnight. The town is nearly 3.5" short for the month, and six inches for the year. So while we can do without any damaging wind, some rain would be more than welcome...


You should continue to get general rain from this system over the next couple days.
Yes, it hasn't rained a lot, but up in my area of S.Fort Myers we've been averaging about .3 everyday with close to 4" for the month.

People in Texas or other parts of the country would love that kind of rain.
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Quoting TampaBayStormChaser:
Tampa velocity radar shows TS force wind gusts in the large rain band offshore.

Link
I think we will have debbie today once the planes get in there
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it looks like the models for 96L are in just about as much disagreement as they were yesterday
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"East of Naples, Florida"?
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Quoting scottsvb:
The LLC is just now starting to form around 26N and 86.8W.. the vortex swirl people saw last night into this morning is about fizzled out during the past 2-3hrs and a new LLC is forming. Recon should confirm this later when they reach 26.5N and 87W(abouts).

12Z model runs and especially the 0Z runs tonight of the GFS,Euro and GFDL will be the say in where this will end up.

While I don't think this will make landfall near Mobile bay area like the GFDL... I do like it's track coming up to near 28.5N and 87W and meander for 12-18hrs... I still side right now with the GFS,GFDL due to the 2nd trough coming down on Monday but it all depends on the LLC location in the near term and the far reaching effects of the ridge.


I do concur with this. GFS still a major forecast model and is definitely picking up on some subtle variables that other models are not quite picking up. For a reason it has been consistent for so long. I have never seen GFS being so stubborn about a depiction before ( Tropic wise ). Of course, it has its draw backs like any other model, but has been doing pretty so far in my opinion.
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good morning everybody
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:



I concur, Doctor.


dr?
i am no doctor
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9730
Quoting winter123:

It still amazes me how well defined Lee was all the way up to the great lakes. I think it had some subtropical characteristics.


You are completely correct, post-season identified that Lee did transition into a sub-tropical cyclone, similar to Allison in 2001.
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
Water Vapor Loop: Note the ULL low over the western Gulf and the ULL east of FL. Also you can see the trough has pushed off the east coast and the Ridge has begun to build in. The complex of thunderstorms over the central plains state is interesting. I wonder if that amplifies the trough more along the east coast. I still think the Ridge will build in but this will be a case of tug of war.





sure looks like its going to get pushed over florida into the atlantic
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
This hurricane season is going to be like tornado season.
A fast start and then die out.




I concur, Doctor.
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I would expect watches to go up on the northern Gulf coast. The system is slowly creeping closer and closer to the northern Gulf coast.
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Quoting scottsvb:
The LLC is just now starting to form around 26N and 86.8W.. the vortex swirl people saw last night into this morning is about fizzled out during the past 2-3hrs and a new LLC is forming. Recon should confirm this later when they reach 26.5N and 87W(abouts).

12Z model runs and especially the 0Z runs tonight of the GFS,Euro and GFDL will be the say in where this will end up.

While I don't think this will make landfall near Mobile bay area like the GFDL... I do like it's track coming up to near 28.5N and 87W and meander for 12-18hrs... I still side right now with the GFS,GFDL due to the 2nd trough coming down on Monday but it all depends on the LLC location in the near term and the far reaching effects of the ridge.


The Further north the LLC the more likely it is to go north east imo
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
Water Vapor Loop: Note the ULL low over the western Gulf and the ULL east of FL. Also you can see the trough has pushed off the east coast and the Ridge has begun to build in. The complex of thunderstorms over the central plains state is interesting. I wonder if that amplifies the trough more along the east coast. I still think the Ridge will build in but this will be a case of tug of war.







I noticed that too... will be interesting to see if it deteriorates the eastern side of the TX High or if it doesn't do anything to it.
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 4972
Quoting earthlydragonfly:
I hope this thing moves west and south. I think we have had our rain share out of this system here in Fl.

Speak for yourself. ;-) I'm not home to see it, but Naples has only seen a bit of rain from 96L; the heaviest stuff somehow sadly keeps missing the area. NWS says just 0.32" fell yesterday, with only an additional four/one-hundredths of an inch since midnight. The town is nearly 3.5" short for the month, and six inches for the year. So while we can do without any damaging wind, some rain would be more than welcome...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13538

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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.