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 , 1:46 PM GMT on October 20, 2006
An area of low pressure just northeast of Puerto Rico (90L), continues to spread heavy rain and gusty winds over the northern Lesser Antilles islands. Wind shear over the disturbance has dropped to 10 knots, and is forecast to stay below 20 knots the next two days, which may allow some slow development. The storm has not become any better organized over the past day, however. A QuikSCAT satellite pass last night revealed no well-defined closed circulation, and top winds were just 15-25 mph. Unfortunately, the Puerto Rico radar failed Wednesday. There are two television stations on the island that maintain radars--televicentropr.com (click on "Super Doppler Max" and wait for the animation to load) and Univision (click on "El Tiempo" and scroll to the bottom.) The Univision radar had not updated for 15 hours when I checked this morning. Gracias to Hector Ivan Soto Nazario, P.E. ASCS, Vice President of the Central Industrial Cleaning Corp. of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, who provided me these handy links.
Flood watches have been posted this morning in eastern Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, where up to five inches of rain fell yesterday. Additional heavy rains are expected today, and 90L will also bring heavy rains and potential flash flooding to the much of the northernmost Lesser Antilles Islands and eastern Puerto Rico over the next day.
Visible satellite animations show that 90L is pushing slowly northeastward out to sea. This motion is expected to continue over the next few days, and 90L will likely not trouble any more land areas by Saturday night. Yesterday afternoon's run of the GFDL model did intensify 90L into a tropical storm, but none of the other models are doing so. I expect the system is too small and disorganized to become a tropical storm.
Figure 1. Preliminary model tracks for disturbance "90L".
Elsewhere in the tropics
None of the computer models are forecasting tropical development in the Atlantic over the next six days. Some of the models show the possibility of a tropical storm forming along the Pacific coast of Mexico early next week and moving towards Baja, but this has a low probability of happening.
I'll be back with an update Saturday morning. For those of you interested, there have been some good posts on the "View from the Surface" blog this month--an interview with Dr. Kerry Emanuel of MIT, plus a review of his excellent book, The Divine Wind; a report on a recent Nature magazine article accusing NOAA of suppressing the views of scientists who link intense hurricanes with climate change; and also today's game of guess the quote from the hurricane article.
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