Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 6:50 PM GMT on July 23, 2005
Franklin is maintaining itself as a small tropical storm just below hurricane strength. The latest Hurricane Hunter center fixes at 11am and 1:15pm EDT found central pressures of 1002 and 1003 mb, respectively. Maximum winds remained just below hurricane force on both penetrations, and the storm is continuing its NE motion out to sea. The trough that is steering it out to sea may also begin shearing the storm and weakening it 1 - 2 days from now. As NHC hurricane specialist Dr. James Franklin noted in his 5am discussion today, "It is quite possible that little or nothing will be left of Franklin..the storm, not the forecaster...in 2 - 3 days." For now, there is no threat to land from Franklin, and Dr. Franklin will have to wait until his namesake storm's name gets recycled six years from now to get a major hurricane named Franklin.
The tropical wave that crossed the Yucatan last night was slow to develop today, and the Hurricane Hunter mission scheduled to investigate was cancelled. However, the wave has now developed a circulation center in the far southern Bay of Campeche in the Gulf of Mexico, near 19N. Deep convection has increased around this circulation center, especially to the southeast. Upper level winds continue to be favorable for development, and it is likely that Tropical Depression 7 will exist by 5am Sunday. The storm doesn't have much room to maneuver in the Bay, and will probably come ashore on the Mexican coast Monday between Veracruz and Tampico before it has a chance to become a hurricane.
Looking out over the far tropical Atlantic, the disturbance that I discussed yesterday that was approaching Venezuela is now gone, destroyed by interaction with South America. The ITCZ--the zone of deep convective storms that forms where the northeasterly trade winds from the Northern Hemisphere collide with the southeasterly trade winds from the Southern Hemisphere--continues to be very active for this time of year, and the image above shows a large tropical wave in the center of the ocean we may want to watch over the next few days. The GFS computer model suggests that wind shear is now too high to allow development of this wave, but once the wave approaches the Bahamas next Saturday, wind shear might lessen. However, my guess is that the large amount of dry air in the tropics right now associated with the Saharan dust we see on the image will act to discourage any tropical storm formation from this wave.
Dr. Jeff Masters
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