Invest 91L Bringing Heavy Rains to Florida, Cuba, and Mexico

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:44 PM GMT on June 03, 2013

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The Atlantic hurricane season began on June 1, and we already have a threat to discuss. A trough of low pressure has developed over the Western Caribbean, Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, and Southeast Gulf of Mexico, and is dumping heavy rains over the area. Hurricane Barbara, which died on Thursday as it attempted to cross Mexico's Isthmus of Tehuantepec into the southernmost Gulf of Mexico, has contributed moisture to this disturbance, which has been designated 91L by NHC. Satellite loops show a large area of heavy thunderstorms with poor organization, and there is no evidence of an organized surface circulation trying to form. Wind shear is a high 30 knots, and is forecast to remain high, 20 - 30 knots, over the next five days, so any development should be slow to occur. NHC is giving the disturbance a 20% chance of developing into a tropical cyclone by Wednesday. The Hurricane Hunters are on call to fly into 91L on Tuesday afternoon, if necessary. Regardless of whether or not 91L develops into a tropical depression, heavy rains will be the storm's main threat. Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, Western Cuba, and South Florida can expect 5 - 8" of rain from the disturbance over the next four days. Heavy rains from 91L may spread up the U.S. East Cost late this week. The computer models predict that 91L should stay large and poorly organized, and if it does develop, it will be difficult for it to get any stronger than a 45 mph tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico.


Figure 1. Latest satellite image of Invest 91L.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting sar2401:

Your post is #280 on my screen. Sounds like it's time to clear you cache and restart your computer.


I restarted the browser, seems ok now. Just bizarre. I saved a screenshot just so I could prove I wasn't crazy.*



* According to my wife, still not conclusive.
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Quoting TomTaylor:
The loop shown below is the future of weather radar




This radar loop shows the evolution of the El Reno tornado and associated storms around the OKC metro area on the 30th as seen by MPAR. MPAR stands for Multifunction Phased Array Radar and is essentially the next generation of weather radar. I don't know too much about MPAR but its main advantages over existing weather radars is faster scan rates and the ability to chose where you want the radar to look. MPAR can complete a scan in under a minute, whereas WSD-88 can take 4-5 minutes depending on scan mode. The higher temporal resolution is extremely beneficial for examining severe weather threats which often evolve on very short time scales. In addition, I'd assume greater spatial resolution and more tilts should be achievable with this technology but I'm not entirely sure.

Well, I sure hope it works better than our dual polarization radar just recently installed here in Alabama. It's down for maintenance almost as often as it's up. But that MPAR thing, that will be the real deal. My nephew is in the Navy, and he's the MPAR operator on an unnamed ship, and does all kinds of secret squirrel things. He did tell me the the MPAR radar they use can differentiate between an albatross and an incoming sea skimming missile at 20 miles, so it should work pretty good on tornadoes. The only problem is that is took the NWS about 10 years to scrape up the money for dual-pol radar, and an MPAR installation is like a zillion times more expensive.
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 16289
People always do this with these types of systems but once a "dominate" low level center is established then I suspect we will have a system getting it's act together rather quickly.
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
If 91L ever becomes a hurricane in its lifetime I order the whole blog to join me at the dinner table to eat crow with me. Even though I myself predicted the first storm to form to become one.



Better ask NHC how they like their crow cooked.
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Quoting VR46L:


I doubt it would be more than a mild tropical storm ... But if so it would be bringing rain to an area that is beginning to need it .


I honestly don't even think it'll become a TS. Just a big old rainmaking system that is going to bring many headaches.
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#333:
You can't afford that - I might show up.
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For this to become a strong TS, the conditions don't appear to be exactly very conducive. But for this system to become a monster rain maker and flash flooding machine, that conditions are more than favorable enough. I expect to see Flood or Flash Flood Watches up as time goes on.
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Quoting VR46L:


I doubt it would be more than a mild tropical storm ... But if so it would be bringing rain to an area that is beginning to need it .



No matter the strength of 91L at landfall tha main story will be flooding and tornadoes.
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Shear is definitely beginning to relax in the gulf.

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Quoting StormTrackerScott:
This may look sloppy now but expect this to get much better organized over the next 72 hours. I wouldn't rule out a 70mph landfalling TS on Friday near Cedar Key.
I wouldn't get too bullish on this one.

It could still just be a messy trough that spits out a couple low level vort lobes as the synoptic trough(500mb longwave) flattens out over top.

Either way: Rains for FL, possibly wind driven squalls with a mild TOR threat.

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337. VR46L
Quoting SouthernIllinois:

Wow. Would not have expected that from the EURO. This is going to be a very very interesting week. My thoughts on the whole thing is that whatever this thing is designated as, it is going to bring a whole lot or rainfall either way.


I doubt it would be more than a mild tropical storm ... But if so it would be bringing rain to an area that is beginning to need it .

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Quoting GTcooliebai:
If 91L ever becomes a hurricane in its lifetime I order the whole blog to join me at the dinner table to eat crow with me. Even though I myself predicted the first storm to form to become one.


And we would have to give CMC a big trophy.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

No, but we're under a flood warning here in Rocky Point. Had to fight through ankle-deep water to reach my house.


Stay Safe and Watch for critters like SNAKES!
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There was an article in the Galveston paper today that spoke with Bill Read, ex NHC director, he said had Ike hit SW of Galveston at the San Luis pass NASA Johnson Space Center in Clear lake would of gone under and this storm would of been epic compared to what it was.

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Quoting GTcooliebai:
If 91L ever becomes a hurricane in its lifetime I order the whole blog to join me at the dinner table to eat crow with me. Even though I myself predicted the first storm to form to become one.


I'd buy the drinks.
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Quoting VR46L:


Euro CMC and UKMET to the same area the Panhandle

but the ukmet have it a broad low by 96 hrs


Wow. Would not have expected that from the EURO. This is going to be a very very interesting week. My thoughts on the whole thing is that whatever this thing is designated as, it is going to bring a whole lot or rainfall either way. And those amounts could be very dangerous. That is the big story like StormTracker Scott alluded to.
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That new radar upgrade is exciting. I wonder how long it will be before it is available to the public?
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If 91L ever becomes a hurricane in its lifetime I order the whole blog to join me at the dinner table to eat crow with me. Even though I myself predicted the first storm to form to become one.
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329. VR46L
Quoting SouthernIllinois:

So if I am understanding this correctly, both the CMC and EURO now are suggesting a possible TS?


Euro CMC and UKMET to the same area the Panhandle

but the ukmet have it a broad low by 96 hrs

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This may look sloppy now but expect this to get much better organized over the next 72 hours. I wouldn't rule out a 70mph landfalling TS on Friday near Cedar Key.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

This tornado was weird though. If we use the 20% reduction for surface winds, that gives 195 mph-210 mph, which is a high-end EF4 to EF5. When OUN went surveying, they found no evidence of tree debarking, ground scouring, or wind rowing...things you would expect from a tornado of this magnitude.

Strange.

Levi, it's really not all that strange. The Fujita scale is essentially a collection of observed but still somewhat arbitrary attributes of what a tornado with some imputed wind speed will do. The problem is that we haven't had the Fujita scale all that long and we really don't know whether you must have things like tree debarking to indicate something like an EF-4 or 5. We also have no clue about wind speeds on a second by second basis, especially with a large, violent, and erratic cyclone. I don't know how the survey teams operate up there, but I've had the privilege of doing a "ride-along" with a survey team after our storms of 2011 in Alabama. They were surveying a tornado with an estimated path of 22 miles. Did they get out and examine every tree and bush along the path? Of course not, especially when they started to see all the rattlesnakes and copperheads the tornado stirred up. :-) It was rated officially as an EF-3 based on the samples of what they saw. It may have been an EF-4 or even EF-5 somewhere along the path, but we'll never know. All I know is that, for an EF-3, it sure wrecked a lot of stuff.
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 16289
Quoting StormTrackerScott:


I doubt it. Either way the big story is going to be 10" to 15" of rain and a very high tornado potential as I was elaborating on last week.

Exactly.
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*poof*

The MCC to the SE of 91L lost the green tops and most of the pink on funktop color enhanced IR.

It's dead Jim.

Lol. Maybe anyway.
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I'm going to Florida for the first half of August, if it is going to be an active hurricane season, I should keep my eyes out.
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Quoting VR46L:
UKMET @72 hrs


So if I am understanding this correctly, both the CMC and EURO (EMCWF) now are suggesting a possible TS?
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Top 10 cities at risk from hurricane damage

Excerpt:


While it's impossible to predict exactly which cities are at the greatest risk for hurricanes as we enter a new season, CoreLogic did name the cities with the most homes at risk for water damage from hurricanes and tropical storms, based on the location of the homes and the population density.
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The new design for the NOAA 7-Day outlooks is great!

Link
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Seeing only a max at 45-50kts and possibly overdone at that.


I doubt it. Either way the big story is going to be 10" to 15" of rain and a very high tornado potential as I was elaborating on last week.
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Quoting K8eCane:



Do yall have a flash flood watch in Pender?

No, but we're under a flood warning here in Rocky Point. Had to fight through ankle-deep water to reach my house.
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318. VR46L
UKMET @72 hrs

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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
The ECMWF indicates maximum surface winds of 45-50 knots. For all intents and purposes, that's neither weak nor strong. "Mid-grade".


I'm sorry 45knt to 55knt winds. Splitting hairs here. That would be a strong TS.

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Quoting StormTrackerScott:


50 to 60knt winds across the FL penisula? That's not strong? This all spells high flood threat and a very high tornado potential across the state.



Seeing only a max at 45-50kts and possibly overdone at that.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
For all intent and purposes, the ECMWF indicates maximum surface winds of 45-50 knots. That's neither weak nor strong. "Mid-grade".



Do yall have a flash flood watch in Pender?
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The future of weather radar:




This radar loop shows the evolution of the El Reno tornado and associated storms around the OKC metro area on the 30th as seen by MPAR. MPAR stands for Multifunction Phased Array Radar and is essentially the next generation of weather radar. I don't know too much about MPAR but its main advantages over existing weather radars are faster scan rates and the ability to chose where you want the radar to look. MPAR can complete a scan in under a minute, whereas WSD-88 can take 4-5 minutes depending on scan mode. The higher temporal resolution is extremely beneficial for examining severe weather threats which often evolve on very short time scales. In addition, I'd assume greater spatial resolution and more tilts should be achievable with this technology but I'm not entirely sure.
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The ECMWF indicates maximum surface winds of 45-50 knots. For all intents and purposes, that's neither weak nor strong. "Mid-grade".
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Rapid Intensification (RI) A word that will be thrown around here a lot during hurricane season.
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Quoting sar2401:

Actually, the models on Saturday were showing a heavy rain event for south Florida only. Since then, the area of heavy precipitation has crept north into central Florida. The models have showed everything from just a disorganized but wet low to a tropical storm, coming ashore everywhere from about Pensacola to Tampa. The only constant has been that some part of Florida is going to get even more rain than they already have gotten...and my house still won't get any rain. :-)
well for me in Tampa, the models have been consistently showing around eight inches since we first heard about the potential 91l
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Your definition of "strong" is a wee bit different than mine. Showing a highly disorganized 1001mb low just inland in Georgia by 96 hours, strung out to the SW with a 1004mb low approaching Florida. That being said, the ECMWF does briefly consolidate it enough to be considered a weak Tropical Storm by 72 hours, a 1003mb low.


50 to 60knt winds across the FL penisula? That's not strong? This all spells high flood threat and a very high tornado potential across the state.

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Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
everyone keeps saying that this situation keeps changing, but it really hasn't. From the start the models have been predicting that a low pressure system will bring copious rains to the central part of the state, and that is exactly the synopsis today

Actually, the models on Saturday were showing a heavy rain event for south Florida only. Since then, the area of heavy precipitation has crept north into central Florida. The models have showed everything from just a disorganized but wet low to a tropical storm, coming ashore everywhere from about Pensacola to Tampa. The only constant has been that some part of Florida is going to get even more rain than they already have gotten...and my house still won't get any rain. :-)
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 16289
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Seeing more information on AmericanWx that DOW measured winds of 245 mph east of US-81 and 260 mph near I-40, at an elevation of roughly 400 feet. Definitely should've translated to EF5 winds at the surface.

This tornado was weird though. If we use the 20% reduction for surface winds, that gives 195 mph-210 mph, which is a high-end EF4 to EF5. When OUN went surveying, they found no evidence of tree debarking, ground scouring, or wind rowing...things you would expect from a tornado of this magnitude.

Strange.
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Quoting unknowncomic:

Vorticity the best yet--Andrea here we come.


Convection WELL east of your vort max there, funny guy.

Don't put the cart before the horse!
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AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WILMINGTON NC
315 PM EDT MON JUN 3 2013

.SYNOPSIS...
AN APPROACHING COLD FRONT WILL BRING A GOOD CHANCE OF RAIN THROUGH
THIS EVENING. THE FRONT WILL CROSS THE AREA EARLY ON TUESDAY. HIGH
PRESSURE WILL BUILD FROM THE NORTH THROUGH MID WEEK. THE REMNANTS
OF A TROPICAL SYSTEM MAY BRING UNSETTLED WEATHER LATE THIS WEEK AND
THIS WEEKEND.

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305. VR46L
Quoting CybrTeddy:


Your definition of "strong" is a wee bit different than mine. Showing a highly disorganized 1001mb low just inland in Georgia by 96 hours, strung out to the SW with a 1004mb low approach Florida. That being said, the ECMWF does briefly consolidate it enough to be considered a weak Tropical Storm by 72 hours, a 1003mb low.


Agreed ! A sensible assessment .
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Quoting StormTrackerScott:
12Z Euro is showing a strong TS coming ashore across the FL Big Bend.


What does the Euro show between now and Friday?
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 16289
Per NWS Norman regarding the El Reno tornado:

@NWSNorman
The EF3 rating for the El Reno tornado is still preliminary. We are also looking at mobile radar data obtained near the tornado. #okwx
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Quoting StormTrackerScott:
12Z Euro is showing a strong TS coming ashore across the FL Big Bend.



Your definition of "strong" is a wee bit different than mine. Showing a highly disorganized 1001mb low just inland in Georgia by 96 hours, strung out to the SW with a 1004mb low approaching Florida. That being said, the ECMWF does briefly consolidate it enough to be considered a weak Tropical Storm by 72 hours, a 1003mb low.
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Quoting anotherwrongyear:
thats what they say this hour next hour everything will change it has already changed like 4 times since yesterday


everyone keeps saying that this situation keeps changing, but it really hasn't. From the start the models have been predicting that a low pressure system will bring copious rains to the central part of the state, and that is exactly the synopsis today
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I think i'm going to have (for fun I guess) a Hurricane Alert Level thing that i'll post on this blog and my blog. I'm still planning it but when i get all the kinks worked out i'll have a post about how it works. It won't be too much different then other hurricane alert things i've seen, its just my version :)
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Has anyone heard more information about the DOW measurements from the El Reno tornado. someone mentioned that they measured 100 m/s and I wanted to find out if we had any confirmation of that measurement as it is 223 mph
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Vorticity the best yet--Andrea here we come.

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Quoting sar2401:

I'm just north of that nice 1.9" PWAT circle in SE Alabama.

The PWAT values have been at or nearly at that level for three days.

My total rainfall for the past three days has ben .08"...yes, that's eight-hundreths.

I've learned to never to count my PWAT's until they hatch...or at least until we get a heavy shower. :-)


Very true, just because the atmosphere is very mosit doesn't mean you'll get soaked. However, there are numerous reasons why rainfall will likely be heavy around here the next several days. Not just because of very high moisture, but because a slow moving tropical low will be moving through and upper divergence will be on the increase as well.
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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.