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 , 1:35 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
A large area of disturbed weather developed over the Western Caribbean last night. This disturbance is bringing winds of up to 55 mph over the ocean, according to the 7:07am EDT pass of the QuikSCAT satellite. The NOAA Buoy off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula recorded winds this morning at 30mph, gusting to 35mph. There is no circulation evident on QuikSCAT or satellite loops, but the disturbance does have the potential to develop into a tropical depression by Saturday as it moves to the northeast over Western Cuba and South Florida. Wind shear is a not-too-unfriendly 10-20 knots, and the shear is expected to remain at these levels through Saturday. Thereafter, most of the models are indicating that the disturbance will get caught up by a strong trough of low pressure with high shear that should stop further development, and sweep the system northeastward out to sea. I doubt this system has enough time to get organized into a tropical depression before wind shear rips it up, but the disturbance should bring welcome heavy rains to South Florida over the weekend. Lake Okeechobee recorded its record lowest water level yesterday--8.97 feet (about 4 feet below normal). This was the lowest level since record keeping began in 1931, according to a Miami Herald article this morning. The lake has been dropping about 1/2 per rainless day. I expect about an inch of rain over the area this weekend, which should temporarily stabilize the lake water level.
Figure 1. Visible satellite image of the Western Caribbean tropical disturbance.
Dr. Bill Gray/Phil Klotzbach hurricane forecast due later today
I'll be posting an updated blog around noon EDT today, when the latest seasonal Atlantic hurricane forecast by Dr. Bill Gray and company will be out. I'll also post an update on the Western Caribbean disturbance.
June outlook and the Barometer Bob show
I'll be posting my forecast for the first two weeks of June tomorrow (June 1). I plan to offer 2-week hurricane activity forecasts on the 1st and 16th of each month (except August 1, when I'll be on vacation). These forecasts will have the probability of hurricane formation for the coming two weeks, where the hurricanes will go if they form due to the prevailing steering currents, plus a look at how sea surface temperatures, wind shear, the trade winds, and dry air coming off of Africa are affecting hurricane formation in the Atlantic.
Tonight, I'll be a guest on the Barometer Bob Show, if you want to hear a sneak preview of my outlook for the first two weeks of June and hear about the tropical blob in the Western Caribbean. You can listen at barometerbobshow.com, or dial in via their toll-free number 1-866-931-8437 (1-866-WE1THER).
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