96L: To Be, or Not To Be?
Figure 1: Invest 96L at 10AM 6/23/12
Invest 96L was tagged early yesterday morning in the Gulf of Mexico by the National Hurricane Center. The NHC has given 96L a 90% chance of development into a tropical depression or a tropical storm, which would be named Debby if it develops.
96L is in a decent environment for strengthening. Water temperatures are over 28C which is above what is usually needed for a storm to form. Wind shear, however, is not as conducive for development. It is in the 20-30kt range according to the CIMSS analysis, but it is dropping, and could fall to 10kts sometime in the next 48 hours.
The main thing that is hindering any development of 96L is its lack of a well established CoC (Center of Circulation) It has had several vorticies attempt to become dominant but have been unable to due to shear. The current CoC is located at about 25.9N 87.3W on the western edge of the convection. A naked swirl was pulled under the convection but I think that it was pulled apart.
Figure 2: Shortwave analysis from 10AM 6/23/12
If 96L were to develop, the track is still very uncertain. Some models have "Debby' tracking towards Texas while trapped under a ridge, while others have it heading towards Florida and feeling the influence of a trough. I favor the Texas solution somewhat, and I think a landfall near the Texas-Louisiana border is the most probable outcome, probably as a strong Tropical Storm or minimal hurricane.
Figure 3: Forecast Track for 96L at 12PM 6/22/12
Figure 4: Model guidance for 96L, showing the lack of confidence in a track.