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 , 1:29 PM GMT on August 17, 2006
The low pressure system centered about 100 miles east-southeast of Charleston, South Carolina remains very close to tropical depression strength. Winds this morning at the buoy 47 miles southeast of Charleston, SC have been about 25 mph, gusting to 30 mph. Sustained winds of 30 mph and a closed circulation at the surface are required before NHC will classify a system as a tropical depression. The storm does have a well-defined closed circulation, but only one area of intense thunderstorms, on the south side of the circulation. Strong upper level winds from the north are creating about 20 knots of winds shear over it, and pushing all the thunderstorm activity to the south side.
Long range radar animation out of Charleston, SC shows a big blob of precipitation, but not much organization to this system--little spiral banding is evident. The appearance on satellite imagery has improved some this morning, perhaps because the system is drifting southwestward over slightly warmer waters. There is still about a six hour window for this storm to become a tropical depression. However, wind shear is expected to increase rapidly to over 100 knots by tonight, which will surely destroy the storm. The remains may brings heavy rain to Georgia, northern Florida, and South Carolina Friday, but significant damage from this system is very unlikely. The Hurricane Hunters are on the schedule to go investigate the storm this afternoon, but I expect that this mission will be cancelled.
Figure 1. Current long range radar out of Charleston, SC.
Figure 2. Preliminary models tracks for the East Coast disturbance.
Elsewhere in the tropics
There are no other threat areas to discuss. If you missed it, my discussion of the outlook for the remainder of August was posted yesterday.
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Light Rain Mist