Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:50 PM GMT on June 19, 2013
Tropical Depression Two is slowly spinning west-northwest across the extreme southern Gulf of Mexico--the Bay of Campeche--at 9 mph. The storm has a small area of heavy thunderstorms, as seen on Mexican radar and satellite loops. The thunderstorms are slowly showing more organization this morning, but the storm has little low-level spiral banding, poor upper-level outflow, and is fighting dry air on its west side. However, the Bay of Campeche is a region where the topography aids the spin-up of tropical cyclones, and I expect TD 2 will have enough time to become Tropical Storm Barry before making landfall late Thursday morning near Veracruz, Mexico. Wind shear was a moderate 15 - 20 knots on Wednesday morning, but is expected to fall to the light range, 5 - 10 knots, during the 12 hours before landfall. TD 2 is taking a very similar track Tropical Storm Marco of 2008. That storm spun up quickly in the Bay of Campeche and developed sustained winds of 65 mph before making landfall in Veracruz State of Mexico. Small storms like TD 2 and Marco (which was the smallest tropical storm ever recorded in the Atlantic) can experience very rapid fluctuations in intensity, and it would not surprise me if TD 2 intensified suddenly into a 60 mph tropical storm before making landfall. However, since the storm is so small, these winds would affect only a very small portion of the coast. Heavy rain will be the main threat from TD 2, regardless of whether or not it makes landfall as a tropical depression or as a strong tropical storm. A ridge of high pressure over the Gulf of Mexico should keep any of TD 2's rains from reaching the U.S. An Air Force hurricane hunter plane is scheduled to arrive in TD 2 near 2 pm EDT today. Elsewhere in the tropical Atlantic, none of the reliable computer models is showing tropical cyclone development in the next seven days.
Figure 1. Morning satellite image of TD 2 at 8:12 am EDT June 19, 2013. Image credit: Navy Research Lab, Monterey.
Figure 2. MODIS satellite image of Tropical Storm Marco on October 6, 2008. Marco was the smallest tropical storm ever recorded in the Atlantic. Image credit: NASA.
Portlight receives $25K grant to help victims of Oklahoma tornadoes
The disaster relief charity founded by members of the wunderground community, Portlight.org, announced this week that they had received a $25,000 grant from Americares.org to replace wheelchairs, scooters, ramps and other equipment lost or damaged in the May and June 2013 storms in Oklahoma. About 200 Oklahomans with mobility issues are expected to benefit over the next 45 days. The program is an extension of a partnership that began earlier this year to install ramps for New Jersey residents affected by Superstorm Sandy. It was also announced earlier this month that Portlight and the American Red Cross have signed a Letter of Agreement to work together in disaster response, in order to improve shelter accessibility and share resources and information.Visit Portlight's wunderground blog to learn more or to donate to this worthy cause.
Figure 3. Portlight volunteers hard at work in Moore, Oklahoma, after the devastating May 20, 2013 tornado.
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