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 , 1:52 PM GMT on September 26, 2006
Well, it sure was great to watch a football game in the New Orleans Superdome last night, and not worry about a hurricane threatening the coast! The hurricane season of 2006 has been exceptionally kind to us by the standards of the past ten years, are there is nothing out there today that causes me any concern. The tropical wave (96L) we've been watching, about 900 miles east-northeast of the northern Lesser Antilles Islands, does has the potential to develop into a tropical depression, but is not expected to threaten any land areas. Wind shear has dropped from 30 knots yesterday to 20 knots today, and the system has been able to maintain more heavy thunderstorm activity near its center this morning. The storm is in a moist environment, and the ocean beneath is warm. The Canadian model is still the only model that develops the system into a tropical storm, but it appears that wind shear will drop another 5 knots over the next two days, potentially allowing 96L to organize into a tropical depression. Bermuda will need to keep an eye on this system, but I expect it will recurve out to sea before reaching the island.
Elsewhere in the tropical Atlantic, it's time to start watching the cloud-covered areas of the ocean surrounding the U.S. where cold fronts stall out. One such area to watch is off the North Carolina Outer Banks on Wednesday, when a tropical low could develop and scoot quickly northeastward out to sea. The more dangerous possibility is in the Gulf of Mexico or Western Caribbean near the Yucatan Peninsula early next week. A strong cold front is expected to push off the East Coast of the U.S. this weekend and stall over the Gulf of Mexico or Western Caribbean. The past few runs of the NOGAPS model have been predicting that if this front stalls out over the Western Caribbean, it could serve as a genesis area for a tropical storm. None of the other models are picking up on this, but this is a typical type of development we see in this region in October.
Figure 1. Preliminary models tracks for Invest 96L.
F4 tornado confirmed in Missouri
The National Weather Service confirmed yesterday that the second violent F4 tornado of the year occurred Friday. The 350 yard-wide tornado ripped through Crosstown, MO, injuring five. F4 tornadoes have winds speeds of 207-260 mph (there have been no F5 tornadoes with winds in excess of 260 mph reported in the U.S. since 1999). The weekend severe weather outbreak was the second largest of the year, with 59 tornadoes (including 40 on September 22). The other F4 tornado of 2006 also affected Missouri, when Monroe City got hit on March 12 as part of the biggest severe weather outbreak of the year--84 tornadoes over a 3-day span.
I'll have an update Wednesday morning.
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