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 , 6:56 PM GMT on November 24, 2006
A tropical disturbance (95L) has formed near 11N, 79W, just north of Panama, in the extreme southern Caribbean. This disturbance has a large but disorganized area of heavy thunderstorm activity associated with it. The latest QuikSCAT satellite imagery from 5:45am EST today caught just the east side of the disturbance, and revealed top winds of 35-40 mph. An ill-defined and elongated surface circulation was apparent in the QuikSCAT data, and some evidence of rotation can be seen on the latest visible satellite loop of the region.
Figure 1. preliminary model tracks for the Panama disturbance, 95L.
Wind shear is around 10 knots over the disturbance, which is low enough to allow some slow development over the next two days. It is possible a tropical depression could form by Sunday, as wind shear is expected to remain low over the extreme southern Caribbean. Steering currents are weak, but a slow westward motion beginning on Saturday is indicated by most of the models. The system appears to be a threat primarily to Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Panama. Any northward movement of the storm would bring it into a area of high wind shear that would quickly tear it apart.
Figure 2. Visible satellite image from 2:15pm EST Nov 24, 2006.
I'll be back Saturday morning with an update.
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