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 , 7:09 PM GMT on June 27, 2006
The National Hurricane Center put out the following statement summarizing what the Hurricane Hunters found this afternoon in the area of disturbed weather near Morehead City, NC:
Special tropical disturbance statement
228 PM EDT Tue Jun 27 2006
Recent information from an Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft indicates the area of disturbed weather is centered about 35 miles southwest of Cape Lookout North Carolina. While there is a small area of gale force winds on its east side... the system does not have a closed surface circulation... and is therefore not a tropical cyclone at this time. The aircraft will continue to investigate the system this afternoon.
There is still the potential for this system to develop into a tropical storm as it moves north to north-northeastward at 20 to 25 mph. Residents in coastal regions of North Carolina... Virginia...and the Delmarva Peninsula should closely monitor the progress of this system today as tropical storm warnings could be required with little notice. Even if this system does not form into a tropical cyclone... it will produce showers and thunderstorms with locally heavy rainfall and strong gusty winds across the mid-Atlantic area today and tonight.
Figure 1. Current Morehead City radar.
While Doppler radar showed that this system did have a circulation at mid-levels of the atmosphere and winds high enough to be classified as a tropical depression, the circulation never made it down to the surface. The center of the storm came onshore near Morehead City at 3:30pm, so this system is all done with, as far as potential to become Tropical Storm Beryl goes. The storm will bring heavy rain to coastal North Carolina tonight. Already, radar estimated rainfall in some narrow bands near Morehead City exceed four inches (Figure 2.) Rainfall rates of up to .5 inches/hours are occurring in some of the heavy rainbands moving onshore. Coastal Virginia and Maryland should see rains of at least 1-3 inches from this system on Wednesday, but the bulk of the rain should stay east of Washington D.C., which has suffered extensive flooding the past few days.
Figure 2. Current radar-estimated rainfall for North Carolina.
Disturbance east of the Windward Islands looking healthier
A tropical disturbance about 500 miles east of the southern Windward Islands is tracking west-northwest at 20 mph. This system does have a surface circulation one can see on visible satellite imagery. Heavy thunderstorm activity on the east side of the center of circulation has become more concentrated this afternoon; wind shear from the west is keeping thunderstorm activity from building on the west side of the center. Wind shear has dropped considerably today, from 20 knots to 10 knots, and the latest computer model forecasts indicate that wind shear may remain low for the next two days, allowing some further slow organization. The system will bring gusty winds and heavy rain showers to the Lesser Antilles Islands on Wednesday. Later in week, the computer models are indicating that the disturbance may encounter a region of high wind shear that will make it difficult for the system to survive.
Figure 3. Preliminary model tracks for the disturbance east of the Windward Islands.
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