97L in Western Caribbean Still a Threat to Develop

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:58 PM GMT on October 02, 2013

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A tropical disturbance (Invest 97L) over the Western Caribbean is moving to the northwest at 10 mph and is generating heavy rains over the Cayman Islands and Western Cuba. Grand Cayman Island had picked up 2.32" (59 mm) of rain as of 9:30 am EDT on Wednesday. Satellite loops show that 97L has a modest area of heavy thunderstorms that have increased substantially in areal coverage and in intensity since Tuesday, but there is little rotation apparent. Cayman Islands radar also does not show any rotation to the echoes, but there are several prominent low-level bands of heavy rain. The storm has low wind shear of 5 - 10 knots to work with, as well as an upper-air anticyclone aloft that is providing good ventilation above it. Dry air is over the Yucatan Peninsula and Gulf of Mexico, as seen on water vapor satellite loops, and this dry air is slowing development. Ocean temperatures are a very warm 29°C (84°F). An Air Force hurricane hunter flight is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.


Figure 1. Wind forecast for 2 pm EDT Saturday October 5, 2013, from runs of the GFS model done six hours apart. The more recent run, initialized at 06Z (2 am EDT) on Wednesday, October 2 (left panel) predicts that 97L will have top winds below 35 knots (40 mph, light orange colors). This run showed the center of 97L making landfall in the Florida Panhandle about 120 miles east of Alabama late Saturday afternoon.The run initialized six hours earlier, at 00Z (right panel), showed a stronger storm, with top winds of 40 - 45 knots (46 - 52 mph.) This run showed the center of 97L making landfall near the Alabama/Florida border Saturday night. The images were generated using our wundermap with the model layer turned on.

Forecast for 97L: development into at least a tropical depression likely
Wind shear is expected to remain low on Wednesday, then steadily increase to the moderate range on Thursday, then to the high range on Friday, according to the latest SHIPS model forecast. On Wednesday night, 97L will cross the northeastern tip of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, bringing 3 - 6" of rain to the peninsula and to Western Cuba. Passage over the Yucatan will act to disrupt the storm. The atmosphere will grow drier as 97L moves northwards over the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday and Friday, and the drier air combined with increasing wind shear will retard development, making rapid intensification unlikely. A trough of low pressure and an associated cold front will be moving through Louisiana on Saturday, and the associated upper-level westerly winds will be able to turn 97L more to the northeast as it approaches the coast on Friday. The GFS model develops 97L into a tropical storm, and predicts landfall will occur along the Florida Panhandle. The European model, which does not develop 97L into a tropical storm, is farther west, taking the storm over Eastern Louisiana. In their 8 am EDT Wednesday Tropical Weather Outlook, NHC gave 97L 2-day odds of development of 40%, and 5-day odds of 50%. I give a 30% chance 97L will be Tropical Storm Karen with top winds of 40 - 60 mph at landfall between Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle on Saturday, a 5% chance it will be stronger, and a 65% chance it will be a tropical depression or mere tropical disturbance. Heavy rains of 3 - 6" can be expected falling the coast from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle on Saturday, even if 97L does not develop into a tropical depression.


Figure 2. MODIS satellite image of 97L, taken at 12:30 pm EDT on October 2, 2013. Image credit: NASA.

Tropical Storm Jerry in the Central Atlantic no threat
Tropical Storm Jerry continues to slowly wander over the Central Atlantic, far from land. Jerry is not a threat to any land areas.

Jeff Masters

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I can see Kori headed to the bathroom mirror in the dark saying, Karen, Karen, Karen. If you haven't seen Candyman this reference will make little sense. Scary and good movie.
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Quoting 2459. Joanie38:
Hi yall, Louisiana gal here, just watching and reading yalls posts. I heard the models are trending back west again, any thoughts??
yea it depends on the front its taking all day to get here. There are models bringing it threw grand isle and there are models saying the front will get here and turn it. its gonna be close!
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2464. Drakoen
They seem less certain about how much the upper level winds will affect the system. NHC loves the GFS
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Quoting 2461. LAbonbon:


If Kori gets it, that means Bonnie gets it :(


Oh sure, now I'm the bad guy.

Typical.

:(
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Quoting 2459. Joanie38:
Hi yall, Louisiana gal here, just watching and reading yalls posts. I heard the models are trending back west again, any thoughts??
Maybe LA landfall.
Member Since: June 11, 2013 Posts: 18 Comments: 2211
Quoting 2446. Tribucanes:
If Kori gets his cat1 to go explore in, we better get some very good shots from him. He's been waiting and yearning for this chance for awhile; I'm expecting quite the firsthand update if it pans out. Just try and stay out of the national news Kori. Don't want to see you on Storm Stories: Coastguard rescues.


If Kori gets it, that means Bonnie gets it :(
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Quoting 2455. LAbonbon:


I hate to ask this - do you know if there were any levee improvements near Braithwaite? Was it the local levee that overtopped w/ Isaac?

I still remember the on-air phone calls from a resident on his roof. Ugh...don't really want to even think about anyone flooding to that extent
None! thats why a lot of people never came back the insurance is too high and for it to happen again a lot people said forget it
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Hi yall, Louisiana gal here, just watching and reading yalls posts. I heard the models are trending back west again, any thoughts??
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Quoting 2456. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Good night everybody and have a nice sleep.
good night Caleb.
Member Since: June 11, 2013 Posts: 18 Comments: 2211
If Kori finally gets his cat1 to go explore in, I'm expecting some awesome shots and reporting here. He's been waiting and yearning for this chance for quite awhile. Just try and stay out of the national news Kori, I don't want to see you on Storm Stories: Coastguard rescues.
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Good night everybody and have a nice sleep.
Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 9 Comments: 6660
Quoting 2444. bigwes6844:
yep and dats the recent model too. looks to be 12-16ft!


I hate to ask this - do you know if there were any levee improvements near Braithwaite? Was it the local levee that overtopped w/ Isaac?

I still remember the on-air phone calls from a resident on his roof. Ugh...don't really want to even think about anyone flooding to that extent
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THE LOW PRESSURE AREA OVER THE NORTHWESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA IS NOW
CENTERED NEAR THE NORTHEASTERN TIP OF THE YUCATAN PENINSULA OF
MEXICO. WHILE THE CIRCULATION IS NOT YET WELL DEFINED...GALE-FORCE
WINDS ARE OCCURRING EAST OF THE CENTER OVER THE YUCATAN CHANNEL.
THIS SYSTEM HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BECOME A TROPICAL STORM AT ANY
TIME TODAY AS IT MOVES NORTH-NORTHWESTWARD INTO THE SOUTHERN GULF
OF MEXICO. THIS SYSTEM HAS A HIGH CHANCE...80 PERCENT...OF
BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS. AFTER
THAT...LESS CONDUCIVE UPPER-LEVEL WINDS COULD LIMIT DEVELOPMENT AS
THE SYSTEM APPROACHES THE NORTHERN GULF OF MEXICO THIS WEEKEND.
THIS SYSTEM HAS A HIGH CHANCE...80 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL
CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 5 DAYS. INTERESTS IN THE NORTHEASTERN
YUCATAN PENINSULA...WESTERN CUBA...AND THE NORTHERN GULF COAST
SHOULD MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF THIS SYSTEM. LOCALLY HEAVY RAINS
COULD AFFECT PORTIONS OF CUBA AND THE YUCATAN PENINSULA DURING THE
NEXT DAY OR TWO. AN AIR FORCE RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT IS
SCHEDULED TO INVESTIGATE THE LOW LATER THIS MORNING.
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Quoting 2445. whitewabit:


what is the surge forecast ??
on there it looks like 12-16 ft but around the center seems higher
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Hi yall, Louisiana gal here, just watching this thing and reading yalls posts...I see the models are trending west again??? Any thoughts??

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TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
1100 PM PDT WED OCT 2 2013

FOR THE EASTERN NORTH PACIFIC...EAST OF 140 DEGREES WEST LONGITUDE..

SHOWER AND THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY ASSOCIATED WITH A BROAD AREA OF LOW
PRESSURE LOCATED ABOUT 500 MILES SOUTHWEST OF MANZANILLO MEXICO HAS
INCREASED A LITTLE BUT REMAINS DISORGANIZED. HOWEVER...SOME SLOW
DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM IS POSSIBLE DURING THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS
AS THIS DISTURBANCE MOVES WESTWARD AT AROUND 10 MPH. THIS SYSTEM
HAS A LOW CHANCE...10 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE
DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS...AND A LOW CHANCE...20 PERCENT...OF
BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 5 DAYS.
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It looks like Karen has just enough structure to begin taking full advantage of her position, which is undeniably some of the best the basin has to offer any system.
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Have to account for D-MAX which is a few hours away.

Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 9 Comments: 6660
Good night everyone, don't forget about the WPac:

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If Kori gets his cat1 to go explore in, we better get some very good shots from him. He's been waiting and yearning for this chance for awhile; I'm expecting quite the firsthand update if it pans out. Just try and stay out of the national news Kori. Don't want to see you on Storm Stories: Coastguard rescues.
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2445. whitewabit (Mod)
Quoting 2442. bigwes6844:
heres the wave heights a little closer


what is the surge forecast ??
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 357 Comments: 30115
Quoting 2440. LAbonbon:


That's going to make a lot of people in lower JP and Terrebonne nervous.
yep and dats the recent model too. looks to be 12-16ft!
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2443. hydrus
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19501
heres the wave heights a little closer
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Quoting 2437. bigwes6844:


That's going to make a lot of people in lower JP and Terrebonne nervous.
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2438. Drakoen
I'm thinking TVCN or GFS for track because the system is on the eastern side of the guidance. Watch it head for NOLA instead now that i've said that :)
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Quoting 2427. FOREX:


Might reach the coast before a depression is even declared. good grief.


This will be classified by the 5AM update. This is already a TS, NHC just waiting for HH's fly in to get exact details for classification; conditions are very conducive for intensification over the next 24hrs. Dry air is looking to be less of an inhibitor. This will be, in all likelihood a 50-65mph TS by this time tomorrow night. There is a 0% chance this reaches the coast before a depression is declared. Not saying this will major, no signs of that possibility yet, but signs are clearly there that this may well push hurricane status.
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2435. vis0
CREDIT: Hawaii/Wisc. ???
SUBJECT: INVEST (or higher) 97L  250 Mb overlay
PERIOD:  was cut off AT SITE but i figure no later than 0100UTC on Wednesday into Thursday morning.
CLICK for VID, if stuck click playbar.
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Quoting 2430. LAbonbon:


The Mississippi folks may feel left out again...
LOL they always take the Bait for sum reason
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2433. snotly
The K storm.... Why atmosphere so dry this year?
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Quoting 2431. whitewabit:


radar delay .. you seeing it 6 minutes or more after the fact ..


Alright, I'll take that.

Nice to see rain though, school had a gardening project last weekend, and as of today, the plants seemed parched for water.
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2431. whitewabit (Mod)
Quoting 2424. Astrometeor:
Been raining on and off here recently the last hour or so. Kinda weird since it stops raining when the radar says it should be, but once the radar says "all clear", it starts to rain again.



radar delay .. your seeing it 6 minutes or more after the fact ..
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 357 Comments: 30115
Quoting 2418. Tribucanes:
This huge outer band sweeping out the dry air in front of Karen to be should provide a nice moist environment for this system to ride into. If we take dry air as an inhibitor out of the equation and this spins up into a strong 60mph+ TS by this time tomorrow, then overcoming the shear is not out of the question. Will slow intensification after 24 hours but this could still be an intensifying storm as it approaches the Louisiana/Alabama coast. Looking at a 80-110mph cane seems like it's not out of the realm of possibilities.


The Mississippi folks may feel left out again...
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Quoting 2424. Astrometeor:
Been raining on and off here recently the last hour or so. Kinda weird since it stops raining when the radar says it should be, but once the radar says "all clear", it starts to rain again.



HAARP
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5695
2428. whitewabit (Mod)
Quoting 2415. Astrometeor:


Looking forward to it Wabit, that and to see if NAM's 40 inch snow prediction comes even close to true.


it should in the higher mountains but not on the flat .. any where from 4 to 18 inches there with 50 mph winds expected on the back side of the low ..
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 357 Comments: 30115
2427. FOREX
Quoting 2423. VAbeachhurricanes:
Remember all year the GFS would show conditions being favorable for cyclones to strengthen about 5-6 days out then switch to unfavorable when getting closer to time frame. Think we are going opposite way here, every run it is stronger at landfall. I really see this pushing cat 3 at some point. It's just in that spot that cyclones love.


Might reach the coast before a depression is even declared. good grief.
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Quoting 2415. Astrometeor:


Looking forward to it Wabit, that and to see if NAM's 40 inch snow prediction comes even close to true.


My jaw dropped when I saw that earlier!

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Quoting 2407. midgulfmom:
Been out of the loop and this one snuck up on me.That Canadian model disturbs me as I am north of Grand Isle and south of NOLA. C'mon front and sweep that girl outta here before bothering anybody too much! Welcome St Roch! My Mom (86) grew up there. Is the market finished yet?
I just looked at ch 4 earlier and saw a disturbing model going straight for grand Isle as a hurricane by saturday morning. front doesnt make it till after it makes landfall.
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Been raining on and off here recently the last hour or so. Kinda weird since it stops raining when the radar says it should be, but once the radar says "all clear", it starts to rain again.

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Remember all year the GFS would show conditions being favorable for cyclones to strengthen about 5-6 days out then switch to unfavorable when getting closer to time frame. Think we are going opposite way here, every run it is stronger at landfall. I really see this pushing cat 3 at some point. It's just in that spot that cyclones love.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5695
Quoting 2411. KoritheMan:
Scott, what radar are you using to pinpoint that WNW movement? I tried the one from Cancun, but the center is still out of range on that one.

Link
Member Since: January 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1516
Quoting 2414. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Remember in recent times the GFS has had a tendency to over amplify troughs. So keep that in mind. It's hard to say if it will turn sharply towards the northeast before reaching the coast or after. That's why you folks up in NOLA should keep an eye on this as well as those who are in the Big Bend area.


Climatology favors the Florida scenario, but I don't yield to climatology in actual forecast situations. All it is is a long-term indicator of what is considered average.
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2420. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52169
Thank you for the answer Kori.
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This huge outer band sweeping out the dry air in front of Karen to be should provide a nice moist environment for this system to ride into. If we take dry air as an inhibitor out of the equation and this spins up into a strong 60mph+ TS by this time tomorrow, then overcoming the shear is not out of the question. Will slow intensification after 24 hours but this could still be an intensifying storm as it approaches the Louisiana/Alabama coast. Looking at a 80-110mph cane seems like it's not out of the realm of possibilities.
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Quoting 2400. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
that picture normally scares peeps i normally wait till i need to scare em before posting it


I think our biggest scare with 97L is going to be like a tornado at landfall: not a lot of mass or surge but some serious winds. You can see she's dropped half of her moisture envelope from 6 or so hours ago.
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Quoting 2353. daddyjames:


Its been totally struggling. Satellite appearance has been deceiving.


Interesting. Well, 97l has done a MUCH better job of hiding it than the rest of the storms this season then. It reminds me of a typical robust developing system during the typical peak season of development in the W. Caribbean. Not the pitiful storms lately.
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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.