Tropical Storm Chantal: a Likely Harbinger of an Active Atlantic Hurricane Season

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:02 PM GMT on July 08, 2013

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Tropical Storm Chantal is speeding westwards at 26 mph towards a Tuesday encounter with the Lesser Antilles Islands. Satellite loops show that Chantal has plenty of spin, with several well-developed low-level spiral bands that have gradually increased their heavy thunderstorm activity this morning. However, Chantal is fighting dry air associated with the Saharan Air Layer (SAL). The heavy thunderstorm activity near Chantal's center is rather thin, and there are virtually no heavy thunderstorms on the storm's north side, where upper-level northwesterly winds are creating light to moderate wind shear of 5 - 15 knots, and driving dry air into the storm. This dry air is readily apparent on water vapor satellite loops. Ocean temperatures are fairly warm, though, at 27.5 - 28°C. There have not been any hurricane hunter missions into Chantal yet, but an Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft deployed to St. Croix on Sunday, and is scheduled to investigate Chantal on Monday afternoon.


Figure 1. MODIS image of Chantal taken at approximately 10 am EDT Monday, July 8, 2013. At the time, Chantal had top winds of 45 mph. Image credit: NASA.


Figure 2. U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Levi Denham, a WC-130J Hercules aircraft weather reconnaissance loadmaster assigned to the 53rd Reconnaissance Squadron (the Hurricane Hunters), performs pre-engine start-up inspections in St. Croix, Virgin Islands, on Sept. 16, 2010. DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez, U.S. Air Force. Thanks go to wunderground member Patrap for pointing out this photo.

Forecast for Chantal
The 8 am EDT Monday forecast from the SHIPS model predicts that Chantal will experience low to moderate shear through Tuesday afternoon as it heads west-northwest at 25 mph towards Hispaniola. With ocean temperatures expected to warm to 28°C during that time, Chantal has the potential to intensify to a 65 mph tropical storm before hitting Hispaniola. Working against intensification will be the fast forward speed of the storm--tropical storms moving faster than 20 mph in the deep tropics usually have trouble intensifying. In addition, the Eastern Caribbean is an area where the trade winds accelerate, helping drive sinking air that discourages tropical storm intensification. Dry air will also slow down the intensification process, and I don't see Chantal making it to hurricane strength before interacting with the mountains of Hispaniola and/or Cuba on Tuesday night and Wednesday. This interaction may be able to destroy the storm, since wind shear is also expected to rise to the high range, 20 - 30 knots, Tuesday night through Thursday. Chantal has the potential to cause big problems for Haiti, which is highly vulnerable to flash flooding due to the lack of vegetation on the deforested mountains. However, there is a lot of dry air to the west of Chantal, which may act to keep rainfall totals in Haiti down to a manageable 2 - 4". Over 300,000 people are still homeless and living in makeshift tent camps in Haiti, three years after the great 2010 earthquake.

Once Chantal crosses Hispaniola and enters the Bahamas late this week, the trough of low pressure pulling the storm to the northwest is expected to lift out. It is unclear at this point whether or not this trough will be strong enough to pull Chantal out to sea, or whether the storm might be forced back to the northwest into the U.S. East Coast by high pressure building in.


Figure 3. There have been only thirteen tropical depressions or tropical storms that have formed July 15 or earlier that have passed through the Lesser Antilles since 1851, an average of one such tropical cyclone every thirteen years. Note that two of these storms, Dennis and Emily, occurred during the notorious Hurricane Season of 2005. There were five other pre-July 16 storms that formed east of the Lesser Antilles Islands, but did not pass through the islands (Bertha of 2009, Barry of 1989, and unnamed tropical depressions in 1967, 1978, and 2001.) Image credit: NOAA's Historical Hurricane Tracks website.

Chantal: an uncommon early-season Cape Verde-type tropical storm
Formation of a tropical storm east of the Lesser Antilles Islands in early July from an African tropical wave is an uncommon occurrence. Since Atlantic hurricane records began in 1851, there have been only thirteen tropical depressions or tropical storms that have formed July 15 or earlier that have passed through the Lesser Antilles, an average of one early-season tropical cyclone every thirteen years. Note that two of these storms, Dennis and Emily, occurred during the notorious Hurricane Season of 2005. There were five other pre-July 16 storms that formed east of the Lesser Antilles Islands, but did not pass through the islands (Bertha of 2009, Barry of 1989, and tropical depressions in 1967, 1978, and 2001 that did not become named storms.)

Chantal: a likely harbinger of an active Atlantic hurricane season
Chantal's formation on July 8 is an usually early date for formation of the season's third storm, which usually occurs on August 13. A large number of early-season named storms is not necessarily a harbinger of an active season, unless one or more of these storms form in the deep tropics, south of 23.5°N. According to Phil Klotzbach and Bill Gray, leaders of Colorado State's seasonal hurricane forecasting team,

"Most years do not have named storm formations in June and July in the tropical Atlantic (south of 23.5°N); however, if tropical formations do occur, it indicates that a very active hurricane season is likely. For example, the seven years with the most named storm days in the deep tropics in June and July (since 1949) are 1966, 1969, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2005, and 2008. All seven of these seasons were very active. When storms form in the deep tropics in the early part of the hurricane season, it indicates that conditions are already very favorable for TC development. In general, the start of the hurricane season is restricted by thermodynamics (warm SSTs, unstable lapse rates), and therefore deep tropical activity early in the hurricane season implies that the thermodynamics are already quite favorable for tropical cyclone (TC) development."

Two of this season's three storms have formed in the deep tropics--Tropical Storm Barry, which formed in the Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche at a latitude of 19.6°N, and now Tropical Storm Chantal, which formed at a latitude of 9.8°N. With recent runs of the GFS model predicting formation of yet another tropical storm southwest of the Cape Verde Islands early next week, it appears that the Atlantic is primed for an active hurricane season in 2013.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting 3427. FIUStormChaser:




There we go the 8am models is just updated on the WU and now the GFS taking it over South Florida along with some others.
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Second recon pass has a 1010 mb pressure. What the??
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Quoting 3418. Tazmanian:




there in there now

Thanks! Can't wait to see what they find.
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Quoting 3413. mikatnight:


Unfortunately, the NHC kept saying it was going due west when it clearly wasn't. I've often wondered about that. If it did what the NHC was saying, we would have gotten a direct hit - with only an 18 hour hurricane warning to boot.
Maybe they don't want to face the fact of a TS entering the Eastern gulf.
Member Since: August 2, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2109
3429. Bubu77
Rafales violentes en Martinique Chantal est bien là !!
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My Scratch Pad Prediction.....LOL

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Quoting 3400. boltdwright:
Who said something about the 8am models being out? Those model runs aren't even started until 11am. By 8am models I assume you're talking about the 06Z models (which is 2am EDT)?


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Quoting 3410. TampaSpin:

Hey, good to see ya on here. Looks like Shear is weakening more than models was suggesting yesterday in the Caribbean (not unusual for shear forecast models) so a stronger system is likely!
I am not liking anything about this track, nor about model consistency into the Bahamas. The uncertainty about the latter part of the track is also not happy making.

Anyway, I gotta run... got to get out of here by ten... ya'll keep an eye on Chantal for me... and hopefully I will be able to check in later in the day.

Mean while, overcast, cool and rainy over New Providence so far this morning; looks like a messy day all round.
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3425. 62901IL
Good morning.
SLOW STRENGTHENING IS FORECAST FOR THE NEXT 36 HOURS AS CHANTAL
REMAINS OVER WARM WATER AND IN AN ENVIRONMENT OF MODERATE WIND
SHEAR. PRONOUNCED WEAKENING IS THEN EXPECTED WHEN CHANTAL MOVES
OVER OR INTERACTS WITH THE RUGGED TERRAIN OF HISPANIOLA. IF THE
CYCLONE SURVIVES ITS TREK ACROSS HISPANIOLA...IT COULD RE-INTENSIFY
AS THE ENVIRONMENTAL WIND PATTERN IS ANTICIPATED TO BECOME MORE
FAVORABLE BY THE TIME THE SYSTEM REACHES THE BAHAMAS.
ONLY SLIGHT
MODIFICATIONS WERE MADE TO THE WIND SPEED FORECAST OF THE PREVIOUS
ADVISORY...AND THE LATEST NHC INTENSITY FORECAST IS MORE OR LESS IN
LINE WITH THE FLORIDA STATE SUPERENSEMBLE AND THE INTENSITY MODEL
CONSENSUS.
Member Since: June 14, 2013 Posts: 2 Comments: 2004
Quoting 3419. biff4ugo:
I am falling victim to the "Bad Monkey" syndrome, where Tropical Systems with wimpy names get ignored and then go on to shred the Bahamas.(and miss Miami)
Chantal? Really?

the blob over the Bahamas now has my attention.
The models show it slowing down and then getting pushed into Florida by the building ridge.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17831
3409 -

I was ambushed! Shoulda known you were lurkin around there someplace, Taz!

Have a great day...gotta go do stuff.
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Quoting 3419. biff4ugo:
I am falling victim to the "Bad Monkey" syndrome, where Tropical Systems with wimpy names get ignored and then go on to shred the Bahamas.(and miss Miami)
Chantal? Really?

the blob over the Bahamas now has my attention.



that blob wont be doing any thing its a cold core ULL
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I wonder what the NHC will say at their next advisory.
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Quoting 3390. weathermanwannabe:
The biggest potential problem with Chantal, down the line after Hispanola, is finding very favorable conditions East of Florida and getting a bump from the Gulf Stream leading to a rapid intensification event.

Pure speculation at the moment but not outside the realm of possibilities.............A very tricky forecast either way both as to potential track and intensity in the longer term.


Wow this is getting really interesting now. It has time to get its act together an become a Hurricane before DR then as ti moves into the Bahamas it will slow down tremendously as the trough moves out and steering currents are weak then why I dont think it will get that far north by Central Florida which is probably why the models are shifting further south. Our ULL should be in the gulf by then will ventilate the storm and allow for possible rapid intensification just east or southeast of South Florida then the high quickly build in and the storm still moving slowly back to the east coast of Florida will continue to strengthen a scenario very similar to Jeanne and Katrina the difference is it just JULY.
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I am falling victim to the "Bad Monkey" syndrome, where Tropical Systems with wimpy names get ignored and then go on to shred the Bahamas.(and miss Miami)
Chantal? Really?

the blob over the Bahamas now has my attention.
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Quoting 3411. congaline:
What time is the flight into Chantal this morning?




there in there now
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Quoting 3411. congaline:
What time is the flight into Chantal this morning?
I think their actually going home.
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3416. Murko
Quoting 3367. BahaHurican:
Hey, Murko... wondered if I would see u in today... looks like the NW Bahamas is going to get the worst of this ULL... I'm not liking the idea of rain upon rain [w/ whatever comes of Chantal in our neck of the woods by the weekend]. And as I feared, it looks like whatever Independence festivities are likely to be rained out :o(


Hey Baha. I'm here every day in Lurk Mode :) Supposed to be sailing over to Harbour Island tomorrow evening for the fireworks. Hoping it will clear out by then. Not liking the new forecast for Chantal. Hope Hispaniola can do its job, but not cause too much trouble there. We don't need three direct hits in three years, thanks very much.
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Quoting 3401. mikatnight:
Hey all -
Returned from our walk this morning hot and sweaty. No breeze, around 75% humidity. NWS upped rain chance from 30 to 50% (WU still holding at 30%), but we'll see. In the meantime, Good Morning!

6:32 am (10:32 GMT)



This Yellow-crowned Night Heron was kind enough to let me get only a couple of feet away to snap this. Looks like he's being smart and keeping one eye on Chantal...
Very nice...
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Rain has started in Barbados, the core of convection behind Chantal affecting us now, not much wind or thunder & lightening

All clear not given as yet.

Looking towards the strong wave behind, should be tagged soon
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Quoting 3402. louisianaweatherguy:
when Katrina formed in the Bahamas, she had a large ridge build north of her that not only turned her west, but acutally WSW before she went around it...


Unfortunately, the NHC kept saying it was going due west when it clearly wasn't. I've often wondered about that. If it did what the NHC was saying, we would have gotten a direct hit - with only an 18 hour hurricane warning to boot.
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Quoting 3352. CybrTeddy:
This storm annoys me. Yesterday it had a visual presentation of a 60mph storm, yet the recon only found a 50mph storm with 1010mph pressures. Today it has the visual presentation of a 45mph storm, and the recon is finding a 60mph TS with 1003mb pressures.

I knew you would be annoyed by her, just wait until she gets near Hispaniola,and the terrain impacts her.
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What time is the flight into Chantal this morning?
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Quoting 3395. BahaHurican:
Hey, TS. Good synopsis. If becoming a strong hurricane means increased potential to go out to sea after the Antilles, I say go Chantal, especially if it also means the weak side gets presented to Hispaniola. Right now I still see a lot going for the forecast track, unfortunately.

Hey, good to see ya on here. Looks like Shear is weakening more than models was suggesting yesterday in the Caribbean (not unusual for shear forecast models) so a stronger system is likely!
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Quoting 3401. mikatnight:
Hey all -
Returned from our walk this morning hot and sweaty. No breeze, around 75% humidity. NWS upped rain chance from 30 to 50% (WU still holding at 30%), but we'll see. In the meantime, Good Morning!

6:32 am (10:32 GMT)



This Yellow-crowned Night Heron was kind enough to let me get only a couple of feet away to snap this. Looks like he's being smart and keeping one eye on Chantal...




re post from the mod last night



2740. whitewabit (Mod) 11:05 PM PDT on July 08, 2013
+0






During name storms .. keep comments on about the storm our the topic of Dr Msters Blog .. adhere to the rules of the road ..

Other off topic comments will not be tolerated ..

It would be a shame for a blogger to be unable to post during a storm ..
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Product: Air Force Vortex Message (URNT12 KNHC)
Transmitted: 9th day of the month at 13:08Z
Aircraft: Air Force Aircraft (Last 3 digits of the tail number are 302)
Storm Number & Year: 03L in 2013
Storm Name: Chantal (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 2
Observation Number: 06
A. Time of Center Fix: 9th day of the month at 12:57:20Z
B. Center Fix Coordinates: 13°56'N 60°42'W (13.9333N 60.7W)
B. Center Fix Location: 20 miles (31 km) to the ESE (104°) from Castries, Saint Lucia.
C. Minimum Height at Standard Level: Not Available
D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind: 55kts (~ 63.3mph)E. Location of the Estimated Maximum Surface Wind: 42 nautical miles (48 statute miles) to the ENE (62°) of center fix
F. Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: From 118° at 70kts (From the ESE at ~ 80.6mph)
G. Location of Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: 47 nautical miles (54 statute miles) to the ENE (60°) of center fix
H. Minimum Sea Level Pressure: 1010mb (29.83 inHg) - ExtrapolatedI. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Outside Eye: 20°C (68°F) at a pressure alt. of 364m (1,194ft)
J. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Inside Eye: 23°C (73°F) at a pressure alt. of 366m (1,201ft)
K. Dewpoint Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): 23°C (73°F)
K. Sea Surface Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): Not Available
L. Eye Character: Not Available
M. Eye Shape: Not Available
N. Fix Determined By: Penetration, Wind, Pressure and Temperature
N. Fix Level: 1,500 feet
O. Navigational Fix Accuracy: 0.02 nautical miles
O. Meteorological Accuracy: 2 nautical miles
Remarks Section:
Maximum Flight Level Wind: 70kts (~ 80.6mph) which was observed 47 nautical miles (54 statute miles) to the ENE (60°) from the flight level center at 12:41:00Z
Sea Level Pressure Extrapolation From: Below 1,500 feet

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Chantal.

Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17831
What is the HH max winds at the center.
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I looks like the eye of Chantal is passing through the channel between st lucia and Martinique. the wind in st lucia is very calm, and the atmosphere is very still and warm
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Quoting 3386. MadinBoy:
We 've got strong wind in Martinique FWI , 40 to 50nds with rain !!!

Lamentin , Martinique FWI just now !
Did you take this? Good shot, if so... just stay safe!
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Quoting 3398. Murko:
Now we have winds of zero mph in North Eleuthera :D


Mark the potential COC there...............Thanks for the reports; keep them coming.
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when Katrina formed in the Bahamas, she had a large ridge build north of her that not only turned her west, but acutally WSW before she went around it...
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Hey all -
Returned from our walk this morning hot and sweaty. No breeze, around 75% humidity. NWS upped rain chance from 30 to 50% (WU still holding at 30%), but we'll see. In the meantime, Good Morning!

6:32 am (10:32 GMT)



This Yellow-crowned Night Heron was kind enough to let me get only a couple of feet away to snap this. Looks like he's being smart and keeping one eye on Chantal...
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Who said something about the 8am models being out? Those model runs aren't even started until 11am. By 8am models I assume you're talking about the 06Z models (which is 2am EDT)?
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Quoting 3371. IceSlater:
You all see the 06z runs of the GFDL and HWRF? They both are now showing intensification in the Bahamas and a sharp left. That realistic?
Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen!
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3398. Murko
Now we have winds of zero mph in North Eleuthera :D
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the possible dorian is about to exit africa, the waves in front of it are trying to clear space for him
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Quoting 3356. TampaSpin:
Morning!!!! The Models are all over the place with the Intensity Forecast and track of Chantal. They are all related. Simply put, if Chantal is weaker she moves South all the way thru the Caribbean. If she stays as is (around 50mph), then she moves the Forecast Current Track. But, if she gets much stronger then she moves further north and miss the big mountains entering further East of the Bahamas into the Atlantic before making a left hand turn and possibly becoming a very Strong Hurricane.
Hey, TS. Good synopsis. If becoming a strong hurricane means increased potential to go out to sea after the Antilles, I say go Chantal, especially if it also means the weak side gets presented to Hispaniola. Right now I still see a lot going for the forecast track, unfortunately.
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3394. Matt74
Quoting 3347. bigtp3:
The 8AM models show Chantal turning west into South/Central Florida, i'm wondering why the official track has it nowhere near there...
Probably want to see some consistency from the models instead of just one run.But I'm no expert though.
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Quoting 3371. IceSlater:
You all see the 06z runs of the GFDL and HWRF? They both are now showing intensification in the Bahamas and a sharp left. That realistic?


Chantal will be within a very conducive environment at that time, so yes intensification after it passes Hispaniola is a good possibility. As for the left turn, it may not seem so common because it hasn't happened often in recent history, however it is a fairly common track if you go back and look at storms from the late 19th and early 20th century. (Frances is a more recent one that comes to mind) We just have a pattern where the Bermuda Ridge will build back in quickly after a weakness- forcing the system sharply left.
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3392. RTLSNK
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3391. hydrus
Quoting 3364. SouthernIllinois:
Okay. She's about to enter the dead zone of the eastern Caribbean. The she has the rugged terrain of Hispaniola to deal with. Am I really still hearing predictions of possibly becoming a strong hurricane? :)

Natalie
Good morning Natalie..It is possible if Chantal makes it back into the Atlantic somewhat intact, that she could strengthen significantly over the Bahamas. The models are also coming into agreement that a Florida landfall is a possibility. There will be a quick shift in track and forward speed off the coast. The storm will be monitored closely.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22697
The biggest potential problem with Chantal, down the line after Hispanola, is finding very favorable conditions East of Florida and getting a bump from the Gulf Stream leading to a rapid intensification event.

Pure speculation at the moment but not outside the realm of possibilities.............A very tricky forecast either way both as to potential track and intensity in the longer term.
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Quoting 3336. mcdsara1:
grothars blob from yesterday off florid as east coast looks like it split in two. The bigger piece seems to be firing more convection. Anyone else see that?
That blob may be cooling the waters of the Bahamas a bit there before any possible storm arrive. Still the Gulfstream off Florida's coast is non-stop warm water. And I am for naming a storm Mickey mouse--nice profile picture there.
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Quoting 3382. Grothar:
The intensity models look a lot like my last EKG.



"Wow" that healthy.... :o)Your blob con 2 is looking good this morning :o)

Taco :o0
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Did anyone see the GFDL at 06Z? Borderline Cat 2 pushing westward to Eastern Florida by the blocking ridge to the north. Not counting Chantal out yet and not saying this will happen we just need to be sure we are keeping our eyes and ears open.
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We 've got strong wind in Martinique FWI , 40 to 50nds with rain !!!

Lamentin , Martinique FWI just now !
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3385. Levi32
Gusts to 44mph at Martinique.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Noticing in N. Dade County lower level cumulus clouds are starting to move on a more southerly trajectory maybe some low level circulation starting in the Bahamas. Although cool and calm for a change.
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Quoting 3352. CybrTeddy:
This storm annoys me. Yesterday it had a visual presentation of a 60mph storm, yet the recon only found a 50mph storm with 1010mph pressures. Today it has the visual presentation of a 45mph storm, and the recon is finding a 60mph TS with 1003mb pressures.

satellite images are often misleading Ernesto last year looked well but was a mess underneath and many non tropical systems look like hurricanes
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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.

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