Masters student in tropical meteorology at FSU. Raised in Alaskan blizzards, but drawn toward tropical cyclones by their superior PGF.
By: Levi32 , 1:45 PM GMT on July 28, 2011
Please note that these tidbits do NOT reflect the official forecasts of the National Hurricane Center, and should not be taken as such. While tropical cyclones exist in the Atlantic, the official NHC forecasts will be posted in the lower part of this blog. Please refer to those when making decisions, and heed the advisories and evacuation statements of your local National Weather Service Office.
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The main feature today is Tropical Storm Don, moving WNW across the central Gulf of Mexico towards the Texas coastline. Don was upgraded straight to a tropical storm yesterday after the recon found a respectable pressure of 1001mb and TS-force winds. During the rest of the day, Don struggled due to proximity to land, dry air entrainment, and wind shear out of the northeast due to the big southern U.S. ridge, all issues that we discussed yesterday would be negative influences on Don. These will continue to hinder the storm during its journey across the gulf. A new burst of convection is developing just to the southeast of the surface center, indicating that Don may make some recovery today and strengthen a little bit. A moderate tropical storm at peak still looks good to me, around 50mph with the possibility for 60mph if Don can fire convection over the center today or tomorrow.
With track, Don was able to become a deeper system yesterday morning and exert a strong presence at the 500mb level, allowing him to feel the mid-level steering flow and move WNW. The surface flow is still much more northerly, and keeps trying to pull the surface center out from under the convection. There is still a possibility that this could succeed in pulling Don farther up the Texas coast if he weakens before landfall, but I think he will hold together just enough to continue to be steered by the big southern U.S. ridge into southern Texas. The models have come into better agreement since yesterday, and almost all of the northerly solutions that brought Don into the Galveston area yesterday are now in line with my idea of southern Texas between Brownsville and Corpus Christi late tomorrow night or early Saturday morning. Given the shape of the coastline, I would expect landfall to be closer to Corpus than Brownsville.
Overall, Don is not a huge wind threat, though folks should still take the necessary precautions. At this point, we are hoping for Don to hold together to bring Texas some rain, more than we are worried about this blowing up into a dangerous hurricane.
We shall see what happens!
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