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 , 2:14 PM GMT on July 25, 2006
An area of low pressure centered near the Mexican coast about 45 miles southwest of the Texas/Mexico border continues to generate intense thunderstorms with strong wind gusts over the western Gulf of Mexico. However, the disturbance has not become any better organized since yesterday, and the winds at the surface have decreased. Winds this morning at buoy 42002, 275 miles south-southeast of Sabine, TX, have only gusted up to 29 mph, compared to the 51 mph gusts measured yesterday. The disturbance shows no signs of a circulation, as one can monitor via Brownsville, TX radar. Wind shear over the disturbance has increased 5 knots since yesterday, and should remain high enough today to prevent development of a tropical depression. By Thursday, wind shear may decline enough to allow a tropical depression to form, if the center is over water. The center is moving slowly northwards. but could re-emerge over water Wednesday or Thursday.
Figure 1. Preliminary model forecast tracks for the area of disturbed weather in the Southwest Gulf of Mexico.
Wave approaching the Lesser Antilles
A large tropical wave with a surface circulation near 14N 51W, 650 miles east of the Lesser Antilles Islands, is moving west at 15 mph. It should reach the Lesser Antilles islands on Thursday, and Bahamas on Saturday. The wave is surrounded by a huge cloud of African dust and dry air, and thunderstorm activity is currently minimal. No development is expected while the wave remains in this dry environment. We'll have to keep an eye on this wave later in the week, when it may encounter a moister environment.
Daniel eyes Hawaii
Tropical Storm Daniel is headed towards Hawaii, with a Friday landfall expected. However, Daniel is a skeleton of its former Category 4 glory, and may only be a tropical depression at landfall. This morning's satellite imagery shows that the cool 24-25 C waters beneath Daniel have robbed the storm of almost all of its intense thunderstorm activity. Daniel appears as just a swirl of low clouds, and will continue to weaken over the next few days as it remains over cool waters. Waters very near Hawaii do warm up to 26 C, so Daniel may be able to make a minor comeback shortly before landfall. The Hurricane Hunters are scheduled to start flying into the storm Wednesday afternoon, if Daniel still poses a threat.
Figure 2. Current satellite image of Daniel.
It's hot in Death Valley
The low temperature in Death Valley yesterday morning was 100, perfect for the start of the Badwater Ultramarathon. The 135-mile, three-day race across Death Valley to Mt. Whitney is in full swing today. With high temperatures of 123 expected today, I'm sure the competitors will be satisfied that the race will be sufficiently challenging.
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