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 , 4:02 PM GMT on October 15, 2006
A non-tropical low pressure area is in the Gulf of Mexico just off the coast of Mexico, about 250 miles south of Brownsville, Texas. This disturbance was designated 92L by NHC last night, and does have a small chance of developing into a tropical storm. The heavy thunderstorm activity associated with this low has shown a modest increase this morning as the low has moved northwards along the coast at about 10 mph. A buoy 275 miles south-southeast of Sabine, Texas has seen winds near tropical depression strength this morning--30 mph, gusting to 40 mph. Unfortunately, this morning's QuikSCAT pass missed 92L, and we'll have to wait until 10:30pm EDT tonight for the next pass. Long-range Brownsville radar is showing considerable shower activity over South Texas and the adjacent Gulf of Mexico waters. However, there is no hint of banding features indicative of a low-level circulation, and no surface circulation is apparent on visible satellite loops of the Gulf of Mexico.
The disturbance is still under about 15 knots of shear, which is low enough to allow development into a tropical storm. The shear is forecast to remain at about 15 knots for the next two days, although there is much higher shear just to 92L's north that could create hostile conditions for development if the storm moves too quickly to the north. There may be some reduction of this shear, though, created by Tropical Depression Norman, which is making landfall on the other side of Mexico on the Pacific coast.
I'm not expecting 92L to become a tropical storm, but it should bring very heavy rains and winds gusts of tropical storm force to the coasts of Texas and Louisiana Monday and Tuesday. The Hurricane Hunters are not scheduled to visit 92L at all.
Figure 1. Preliminary model tracks for the Gulf of Mexico disturbance, 92L.
Elsewhere in the tropics
The tropical disturbance just north of Puerto Rico (90L) is under 30 knots of wind shear, and should get torn apart by Tuesday. However, the disturbance will bring heavy thunderstorm activity to portions of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic today and Monday.
I'll be back with an update Monday morning.
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