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 , 3:30 PM GMT on May 31, 2008
The remnants of Tropical Storm Alma reorganized over the Western Caribbean this morning, just off the coast of Belize. The storm (now called Invest 90L), whipped up winds over 40 mph over the ocean just east of Belize, according to this morning's 7:11am EDT QuikSCAT pass. Observations from Buoy 42056, just to the north in the Yucatan Channel, showed sustained winds of 30 mph, gusting to 35, with 10 foot seas. The center of 90L has now moved inland over Belize, and the storm has missed its chance to become the first tropical depression of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season. It will have one more chance to do so on Sunday afternoon, when several models, including the GFDL and NOGAPS, are predicting that 90L will continue west into the Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche and reorganize. The other models keep 90L inland over Mexico and do not foresee development into a tropical depression. If 90L does emerge into the Gulf of Mexico, it will not stay there long--a strong ridge of high pressure is forecast by all the models to force 90L on a west-southwesterly track into Mexico, giving the storm perhaps 12 hours to reorganize. Wind shear will be low, 5-10 knots, and I give 90L a 40% chance of becoming a tropical depression by Sunday night or Monday morning. The storm should bring heavy rains of 3-6 inches to Honduras, El Salvador, Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula over the next two days. If 90L does manage to reorganize into a tropical depression or weak tropical storm, southeast Mexico could end up with 5-10 inches of rain. Here's NHC's take on the system:
Special tropical disturbance statement
1130 am EDT Sat May 31 2008
The broad area of low pressure previously located over the western Caribbean Sea has moved inland over Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula this morning. This system is accompanied by a large area of squalls and gusty winds primarily over the waters north and east of the circulation center. Significant development is not expected today as the system moves slowly westward over the Yucatan Peninsula. However...there is some potential for a tropical cyclone to form if the area of low pressure moves over the Bay of Campeche on Sunday.
Even if no development occurs...localized heavy rains and floods are possible during the next couple of days over portions of Honduras...El Salvador..Guatemala...Belize...and southeastern Mexico. Future tropical disturbance statements will be issued on this system as necessary. For information specific to your area...please consult statements from your local weather office.
Figure 1. Current satellite image of Alma's remnants, now called 90L.
Rare severe weather outbreak today along East Coast
More tornadoes raked the Midwest yesterday, adding to the extensive damage already wreaked by one of the worst months of tornado damage in U.S. history. Yesterday's most significant destruction occurred at 5:15am CDT in Attica, Iowa, when an EF-2 tornado smashed through town, injuring 10 people. Other tornadoes hit Wyoming, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio.
Today, the action shifts to the East Coast, where the Storm Prediction Center is calling for a "Moderate" risk of severe weather from New York City to Washington D.C. The primary threat will be damaging thunderstorm wind gusts and large hail, but some brief tornado touchdowns are also possible.
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