Chantal cranks up early CV season

By: moonlightcowboy , 5:23 PM GMT on July 06, 2013

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I won't be updating the main original main blog below, too lazy ;). Instead I'm choosing to rather update thoughts in the comments section so it'll sort of serve as a chronological perspective history since 95L's/Chantal's start. You are welcome to post most any comment related to the blog's topic. I don't check it often, but I'll get back to any posts as soon as I can. :) TIA.



95L is tracking westwards and will continue to track mostly west, embedded in the Itcz, and influenced by the low/mid level easterly flow. SFC MAP still shows the Atlantic high running fairly deeply towards the Itcz, so there's 1016mb of high pressure that extends southwards to about 15/16n. Plus, the high is reinforced stronger to 1020mb just north/northwest near the northern Antilles. It would take a significantly developed stronger storm to track further north and push up against 1016mb and follow the suggested current model track more northwards. And so, for the meantime, 95L will continue to track further west, not north, especially as long as it continues to be embedded in the Itcz. Conditions would have to be perfect and it would have to ramp up quickly to get that far north, so I'm not expecting that to happen. I am a bit concerned with forward speed, but it does seem to have a healthy spin as it scoots along westwards.

Most of 95L's moisture is from its umbilical/embedded to the Itcz. It will have to continue to gain additional surface lift, slowly grow its moisture field to fight off the dry air to its west/northwest as it tracks west. And, if it manages to survive, slight chance it may, it will track much closer to the Lesser Antilles and into the edge of the Caribbean. The dry air in front of it and north of it is slowly diminishing. Note, too, that the wave it's associated with is tilted nw/se which is also likely to help moisten the environment ahead of the system. Eventually, if it gets a bit more strength, it'll get a natural two-degree Coriolis bump as it tries to break away from the Itcz and gain some latitude. Again, right now it's moving westwards, likely to continue that track until it has enough strength to break away from the Itcz.



A note about SAL. It's confusing to several, happens every year. SAL is NOT dust. Dust is part of it, but only a smaller part of it. SAL is mostly dry, sinking air. Dust generally resides in the mid-levels (500mb), not at the surface where the low is, where the spin is, where the moisture lift occurs from the surface and generates the thunderstorms around the coc. Dust is NOT an inhibiting factor for 95L. The CIMSS chart is the worst chart for representing dust - use EUMETSAT or TAU's products to determine any dust saturation.

Inhibiting factors are dry air and forward speed, and not much else. Waters are warm, moisture from being embedded in the Itcz and it's also creating a moisture field in the surrounding area from natural surface lift as it tries to get the tropical engine running. Shear is favorable, but surface vorticity is still elongated (embedding) and there's no focused convergence (embedding). It does seem to be venting fairly well, and imo, this is a sign of continued development.

95L is the most healthy-looking system we've seen thus far this year, and given a few improvements, could be well on its way to becoming a TD/TS and more eventually.

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35. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
4:46 AM GMT on July 25, 2013
moonlightcowboy has created a new entry.
34. moonlightcowboy
5:30 PM GMT on July 10, 2013
Quoting 33. NumberWise:
No, no! Leave Nova Scotia out of this!

I do enjoy your commentary. It's simple enough for me to understand, but detailed enough that you support your thoughts.


Thanks, NumberWise! :) I think we're in for a rough 2013 season. :(
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29610
33. NumberWise
4:12 PM GMT on July 10, 2013
No, no! Leave Nova Scotia out of this!

I do enjoy your commentary. It's simple enough for me to understand, but detailed enough that you support your thoughts.
Member Since: October 22, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1762
32. moonlightcowboy
3:50 PM GMT on July 10, 2013
I see Doc mentions "north of Cuba" in the blog forecast. First time I think I've seen "Cuba" in any of the commentary.






Some food for thought. :) Review these two graphics for comparison. I've been contending that the mid-latitude trough was going to be mostly insignificant to Chantal's steering. It seems to me we're about to see the GoM and Atlantic high pressures bridge over Chantal leaving her no escape route directly northwards. Even the southwesterly retrograding ULL is indicative of the bridging high pressure imo.


*NOTE: again, this is not my favorite part of prognosticating. Heck, the thing could go to Nova Scotia based on all the expertise I have with trough steering. ;)
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29610
31. moonlightcowboy
2:18 PM GMT on July 10, 2013
Good morning, weathergeeks! :)

Chantal must have had a rough time last night, nearly looks to be an open wave, but there is still cyclonic turning and decent symmetrical inflows. I suspect it's trying to get its act back together. We know there had to be a vigorous low-level spin to survive all the dry air it has passed through already, so I'm doubting that it's willing to give up its ghost yet.

It does appear, at least to me, that it will continue to follow the more westerly track around the periphery of the 1016mb isobar high pressure that I've been mentioning for several days now, barely grazing Hispaniola if interacting with it at all. Mid-level shear is conducive and upper-level shear is forecast to relax in its path ahead.



Now, does it cross over the tip of eastern Cuba directly towards the ULL? Maybe, but present disorganization will only deteriorate more if it does. Idiom still is that weaker is west, still embedded within the still fairly strong, low/mid level easterly flow which means more towards Jamaica, either just south of the island or possibly in between it and the central part of Cuba. It should have time to reorganize by that point as well, especially as it comes into warmer, deeper TCHP waters there.



If it remains weak it'll track even further west where both TCHP values and upper level shear will be stronger. If it gains some strength it'll feel the tug of the retrograding ULL and eventually make the crossing over Cuba and into the GoM and the Gulf Stream. From there, my guess again, would be for it to head towards Apalacicola to Fort Meyers still.

Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29610
28. moonlightcowboy
4:43 PM GMT on July 09, 2013
Quoting 507. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Good call, but do you think part of that has to do with land interaction causing Chantal to stay weak? I was expecting this strength to hold on up until landfall which was why I was basing my reasoning on the northward turn. I also was looking at the ULL over Bahamas carving out a weakness in the ridge. I think the high is winning :D


Not too much land interaction at her crossing to break it down. Her lack of organization is because of the same problems that have plagued her thus far: fast-forward speed and dry air. This high is winning for now. But, the ULL will be a factor, and which seems to me to be retrograding a bit south and west from last evening's position. If Chantal follows the ULL weakness it can only compliment her current more westerly motion.


Quoting 511. MechEngMet:


Will that escape route run the edge of the 1016mb line?



It will, especially if Chantal remains a weaker system, but that line will also change somewhat too as the ULL will play a factor, and if the CONUS trough gets a bit more amplified, deeper. I don't like to pick landfalls, but since the pivotal discernment here is about whether it's going to track east or west of Florida, imo, my guess would be that we see a still weak Chantal trape more westerly along the periphery of the 1016mb isobar which should eventually retrograde back eastwards towards the Atlantic, and with a WAG of landfall between Apalacicola to Fort Meyers.

Who knows? :) That's my best guess and two cents worth. It's fun to track these things, always has been, and I've been wrong several times. This may well be one of them. ;)
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29610
27. moonlightcowboy
3:26 PM GMT on July 09, 2013



Should be fairly easy to discern as mentioned yesterday, that Chantal has now hit the wall of high pressure at the 1016mb isobar and which is tightly reenforced by 1020mb pressure behind it. I'm not seeing the high back out or erode from any weakness at this point, again, either. She may miss Hispaniola altogether yet as it scoots more westerly around the periphery of the high.

And, if it's still in the camp of follow the ULL weakness, notice that it too is retrograding a bit south and west now as well.
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29610
26. moonlightcowboy
3:25 PM GMT on July 09, 2013
(6:44 a.m.)

Good morning, weathergeeks! :)

No coffee yet, but a couple of quick obs.

1. Chantal has slowed, obviously butting up against the 1016mb of high pressure north of the system.
2. Motion likely to have more of a westerly component now that it has hit the strong high.
3. Slowed system has allowed better organization, layers now more symmetrical and vertically stacked. No maturity to the 200mb layers so still a burgeoning system.
4. ULL over the Bahamas has gotten a much better surface reflection at the 850mb layer.
5. Slowed system seems to be firing more convection, but is also experiencing the beginning of some upper level shear blowing tops from the CDO.

Back later when both eyes are open! ;)
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29610
25. moonlightcowboy
1:38 AM GMT on July 09, 2013
I think the current modeling track forecasts are off, and this is why. :)

First off, I'm really not going to take the upper CONUS trough into much consideration at this point. It's way too far away northwards, too shallow in longitude and too lateral across the CONUS.

But, let's consider the ULL which apparently is getting quite a bit of attention from the models and some of the bloggers. Look at surface vorticity. There's been some thought that this ULL may make its way down to the surface, become warm-core and an element of some concern. However, most of that thought has dissuaded, but still with thoughts of how it will affect Chantal's track. Right now, apparently, modeling is seeing this as a fairly particularly pulling/tugging force on Chantal that will draw it more northwards and perhaps just east of FL before running into the ridge and turning the system back westwards across the peninsula and possibly into the GoM.



Here's why I think the ULL now centered over the Bahamas will be less of a factor. :)
Again, look at the vorticity charts. It is quite the broad upper level low amidst a fair amount of dry air. And, although there is some very slight surface reflection at the 850mb layer and a tad more elongated reflection at the 700mb layer, most of the intensity is where it should be in the mid and upper levels, and which puts the strongest effects of the ULL between 18,000 and 34,000 feet (part of a Caribbean inverse trough tilted sw to ne). And, it seems to be retrograding west/northwest too, still adding distance between itself and Chantal.



So, if we consider the weakness as it is, mostly in the 500mb layer and up, and take into consideration that Chantal is still a moderate TS with vertical heights from the surface to just now becoming more substantial to the 500mb heights, imo, we can discern that the former should have less effect to the latter being in two different atmospheric layers: the ULL mostly in the upper levels with Chantal mostly in the lower levels still. Plus, consider that Chantal is currently about to encounter some mid-to-upper level shearing as it crosses yet another inverse upper level trough just east of the Antilles, and which should keep the storm's intensity somewhat limited still.

Are you still with me? LOL. Don't blame you if you're not, and certainly I make no premise of this being accurate. In fact, I have the most trouble prognosticating effects of troughing on tracks than I have with any of the things I've learned about the tropics over the years. So, I still ask questions, post wrong things sometimes, and have quite a bit to learn. And, these smarter, younger bloggers with so much more knowledge than me are quite impressive, and to them I say "awesome" you are, and to please keep the knowledge coming! :)

At about 15n, the moderate TS Chantal will come up against 1016mb of high pressure at the surface, the same layers its affecting. My experience has been that no storm, even the stronger ones can push through 1016mb of high pressure. They can bend it, push up against it, but ultimately have to find a way around it. And, I think this will be the case with Chantal along about the vicinity of St Lucia or possibly Guadaloupe (in that area), and that's when it will turn more west around the ridge looking for an escape route poleward.

Will the ULL, the CONUS trough weaken the ridge? Probably so, but not, imo, to the extent current modeling is processing. I think we will see Chantal move a bit further west still, around the edge of the 1016mb isobar which currently extends as far west as Texas. However, I am expecting the western tongue of the ridge to erode, and that line will move considerably further eastwards, perhaps to the Big Bend area of FL even. But, I don't think we'll see it retrograde out into the Atlantic, not without the CONUS trough becoming stronger and dipping further southwards.

Out on a limb now, if I had to take a WAG now, it would be that Chantal would cross over into the Caribbean at St Lucia or maybe slightly above, track more westwards to the west-central part of Cuba, cross over into the GoM just west of the Keys and up the peninsula towards Tampa and maybe the Big Bend or even the Apalachicola area. I suppose it could even track further west, but I'm not buying into that at this point either.

Hey, don't shoot me, I'm not even the piano player! :) But, maybe it's some tropical food for thought. I think I'm gonna give it a rest tonight and see how she looks in the morning. All reasonable contradictions and discerning thoughts otherwise respected, appreciated and, hopefully, I'll learn something more about the very interesting tropics weather! :)
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29610
24. moonlightcowboy
12:40 AM GMT on July 09, 2013
Looking at trajectories based on current forecasts, Chantal is about 423 miles away from St Lucia. If it keeps moving at its current speed of 26 mph and doesn't wobble its track, it will take around 16 hours to make landfall there after sliding by or hitting Barbados in about 12 hours.

Given the current, fairly generous windfield distances of 90 miles from the center, tropical storm-force winds could be felt as soon as in 8 or 9 hours in Barbados and in about 12 hours in St Lucia.



St Lucia is also where the 1016mb isobar is positioned and where I am speculating that we'll see Chantal slow down somewhat and move perhaps a bit further west unless it has substantially increased intensity by that time (doubtful).
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29610
23. moonlightcowboy
11:20 PM GMT on July 08, 2013
Pretty cool map. :)

CONUS WIND DIRECTION/SPEED MAP
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22. moonlightcowboy
10:32 PM GMT on July 08, 2013
..for the Bermuda/Azores seeming to dominate this season.

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21. moonlightcowboy
10:31 PM GMT on July 08, 2013
Quoting 20. VR46L:
Is the ULL east of the Bahamas not supposed to create an opening for it . I think that is what the models are seeing .

But you are right a weak storm should be going round the outer ridge of the high normally .which would send it towards TX /LA but through the graveyard. But if this season is going to be as peculiar as they say who knows .


Perhaps, VR46L, but Chantal is a weak system, too shallow, and imo, still too far away even from the ULL to be strongly affected. Plus, it has been retrograding west.

And, I'll admit, the troughing as related to track forecasting is likely my weakest area of prognosticating! ;)
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29610
20. VR46L
10:17 PM GMT on July 08, 2013
Is the ULL east of the Bahamas not supposed to create an opening for it . I think that is what the models are seeing .

But you are right a weak storm should be going round the outer ridge of the high normally .which would send it towards TX /LA but through the graveyard. But if this season is going to be as peculiar as they say who knows .
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19. moonlightcowboy
10:02 PM GMT on July 08, 2013


I am thinking that Chantal is too far away, too weak of a system still, to feel the much further away, mostly lateral and over the Great Lakes trough that models seem to be picking up on to pull it more north and east of Florida.

A strong storm can only push hard up against 1016mb of high pressure, and certainly not go through it. A storm has to work around that level of high pressure, especially a weaker one like Chantal.
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29610
18. VR46L
7:20 PM GMT on July 08, 2013
Thanks MLC . I appreciate you getting back to me

Kind of worrying for the season a wave developing in the central Atlantic this early
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16. moonlightcowboy
6:28 PM GMT on July 08, 2013
Quoting 677. GTstormChaserCaleb:
It's really pulling north now into that breakage and feeling the Coriolis Effect of the Earth.


Breaking away from the ITCZ, systems always seem to get a natural two-degree Coriolis bump more northwards. I think we'll still see more of a just better than westwards movement, west/westnorthwest, considering the strong low/mid level easterly flow. Imo, I think it's still too shallow and way too far away still to feel any weakness more northwards. Could be wrong, certainly wouldn't be the first time! ;)
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29610
15. moonlightcowboy
6:15 PM GMT on July 08, 2013
Quoting 601. congaline:
Ok here's my question asked once again... the ULL which even if it wanted to has no time to develop, is showing signs of lower level circ now, and is showing more convection... Once it moves into the GOM what is to stop it from intensifying there?


ULL's rarely make it to the surface. They do, but it's not a common occurrence. To answer your question directly though, a storm must have fuel and that comes from the warm waters at the surface.

And, in this case, the ULL is also in a dry-air environment.

I've been suspect of it reaching the surface myself, and have been watching surface vorticity for the last three or four days - nothing has changed, although it does look to have good vorticity at the mid-levels and has been. It's also in an area of fairly dry air as well. At best, right now I think, it'll help to moisten the atmosphere for Chantal, and if it retrogrades westwards ahead of the storm, it may help to pull/tug the storm along behind it, as well as help ventilate it.
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14. moonlightcowboy
6:12 PM GMT on July 08, 2013
Quoting 13. Astrometeor:
Ah, thanks for that mb height chart MLC, really helped me out there.


Welcome! :)
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13. Astrometeor
5:42 PM GMT on July 08, 2013
Ah, thanks for that mb height chart MLC, really helped me out there.
Member Since: July 2, 2012 Posts: 102 Comments: 10718
12. moonlightcowboy
5:38 PM GMT on July 08, 2013
Occasionally, this is a good chart to review. It shows the differences in the layers in millibars and feet. Notice that Chantal's vorticity (while still somewhat elongated, unsymmetrical) is greatest at the 850/700mb layers and considerably smaller at the 500mb layer and non-existent at the 200mb layer. Obviously, this helps denote that Chantal is still a small, shallow system that is trying to organize, but still quite an immature system.

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11. moonlightcowboy
3:25 PM GMT on July 08, 2013
If the models, with their current track towards the east coast, are seeing the mostly lateral trough over the high plains states, that's a loooonnnnng ways from Chantal. Unless the models are speculating on a trough that isn't visible yet. Look at a sfc map, high pressure above Chantal is quite strong. I just don't see an east coast escape route yet.

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10. moonlightcowboy
2:55 PM GMT on July 08, 2013
East coast track? With this setup, and a setup which doesn't look to be changing much anytime soon? Not likely. A strong system has a difficult time pushing up against 1016mb of high pressure, much less a weak system. I expect tracks to continue to trend further west, despite the ULL, and despite even a strengthening system.

Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29610
9. moonlightcowboy
2:17 PM GMT on July 08, 2013
Remember, Chantal is a small, shallow system, and still trying to get its act together. The main two inhibitors are its forward speed and the dry air. Since it is a shallow system, mid-level shear charting would be the better tool to follow for now, and which is not really an inhibitor. There's 20kts of upper-level shear north of the coc that's causing some problems but I'm more concerned with her forward speed, too quick, and the dry air.



All of those elements are important factors in getting the tropical engine really functioning, but forward speed may be the most troubling as it makes it more difficult for a system to get stacked vertically. Convergence becomes an issue as well with little symmetrically streaming inflows and lifting for venting, but current charts indicate it's desperately trying to get the engine going. And, of course, dry air just simply robs the system of moisture in the first place, and prevents the engine from recycling moisture.
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8. moonlightcowboy
1:56 PM GMT on July 08, 2013
Quoting 7. VR46L:
MLC is it ok to post a question to you on here ? If not just remove it no hard feelings

Btw great blog !

my question to you is the cmiss sat imagery is saying that the air at mid level is a little dry or dirty as its a bit dark but not the red the red orange that would indicate destructive dry air ...



But the NASA imagery indicates very dry air



Why is the imagery so different ?



Morning, VR46L. I wish I could be more helpful. Let me say this, I like the CIMSS products all except their SAL imaging. It confuses most people. SAL is more than dust. In fact, dust is the smaller part of SAL. The dry, sinking air is mostly what SAL is, but that's not the way it's perceived by most, and not the way its SAL chart depicts.

We have to remember that dry, sinking air or subsidence heads directly towards the surface. So, when you see the milky looking parts of the CIMSS mid and upper level water vapor charts that does not mean that there's not dry air at the surface. The red in those charts certainly does indicate dry air, but what they are not showing you are the dry air conditions at the surface.

I like the CIMSS wv charts because they can help show the air in layers, but if you really want to get a better picture of conditions at the surface I think the GOES products are better. I guess maybe because they have higher resolution, not sure on that, but that's my take. :)
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7. VR46L
9:07 AM GMT on July 08, 2013
MLC is it ok to post a question to you on here ? If not just remove it no hard feelings

Btw great blog !

my question to you is the cmiss sat imagery is saying that the air at mid level is a little dry or dirty as its a bit dark but not the red the red orange that would indicate destructive dry air ...



But the NASA imagery indicates very dry air



Why is the imagery so different ?

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6. moonlightcowboy
4:11 AM GMT on July 08, 2013
Quoting 2167. sar2401:

I also don't think Central America is off the table. If the Bermuda high stays strong and this weakness in the Bahamas develops while Chantal is still too far south, a turn to the west again isn't out of the question.


Exactly. Not only is Chantal a weak, shallow system still and less likely to feel any weakness that far north yet, current steering doesn't lend a pronounced northwards movement. Expect Chantal to still track more west than north for some time yet. Likewise, it's still in a large area of dry air that will inhibit substantial, quick development and as it nears the Caribbean, shear is forecast to increase. No, no northwards component any time soon, other than the natural 2-degree bump it'll get from pulling away from the ITCZ and the Coriolis effect.
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5. moonlightcowboy
1:21 AM GMT on July 08, 2013
Quoting 1635. stormpetrol:
AS far as I remember the John Hope rule is if a system was below 15N at 45 W the chances of recurving were minimal, 95L is still just below 10N at 46 W, so in my personal opinion I think 95L/Chantal will track south of PR.

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4. moonlightcowboy
1:08 AM GMT on July 08, 2013
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3. moonlightcowboy
12:54 AM GMT on July 08, 2013
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2. moonlightcowboy
5:08 PM GMT on July 07, 2013
Good morning, weathergeeks! :) Some quick obs, notes on 95L

What continues?
- Still has a vigorous circulation
- Still embedded to the ITCZ
- Still slowly trying to build its own moisture field
- Still has dry air to its north and west
- Still in a low-shear environment
- Still has a strong, dominate high above it
- Still has a more westerly motion
- Still its forward motion is way too fast

Current steering, easterly flow dictates a more westerly motion than northwards. It is not strong enough to feel the weakness in the upper-level steering which starts at about 20n. Any more northerly movement will come only from gradual strengthening and the Coriolis effect. It's still looking for that natural 2-degree bump systems will get as it tries to break away from the ITCZ.

What is different?
- System has gotten slowly and steadily larger
- Low-level spin, though vigorous, seems to have gotten only marginally larger and there's quandry of a closed low at the surface
- Getting somewhat better surface lift despite the dry environment trying to get the tropical engine started
- Surface vorticity elongated but trying to tighten especially at the mid-levels
- Convergence, divergence somewhat more focused and indicative of a burgeoning system trying to get the tropical engine firing

Quick summation without much study this morning:
95L is not going to poof - low shear environment for several miles in its path. Seems to be successful fighting off the dry air even though its still embedded to ITCZ moisture. Can it stand alone away from the ITCZ? That's the pivotal question, but I think so. However, it's going to need additional strengthening today/tonight before that can happen.



Meanwhile, it will continue to track further west given the current steering. I've said it would track into the eastern Caribbean, not to the northern Antilles, but now I'm thinking it's going to be close call to miss SA, and needs to slow down for sure. It's still likely to cross into the Dead Zone of the east Caribbean between Trinidad and Saint Lucia - further south than my original thoughts. It should at least reach TD status before crossing 55w and then it will have to deal with some increasing shear. If it makes it into the east Caribbean more than as a TD/TS, it's a new ballgame. I don't think it's going to be an east coast storm, and I think it will get named especially if it crosses into the Caribbean stronger and as a TD.

It must slow its forward speed, build convection and break away from the Itcz.

Out for the day, y'all hold the fort down, keep the gates closed! Enjoy your Sunday, get out and stretch your legs. 95L will still be around this evening! :)
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1. moonlightcowboy
12:46 AM GMT on July 07, 2013


This is why 95L won't find the northern Antilles. It takes a considerably strong storm to push up against 1016mb of high pressure, much less being reenforced by 1026mb of stationary high pressure behind it. And, of course, 95L is still merely an invest and tracking westwards still embedded in the itcz. If 95L can maintain, fight off the the dry air it may eventually strengthen a bit and gain some latitude, but for now the motion looks to continue west given current conditions with the low/mid level easterly flow and its current fast forward speed, and should still enter the central Caribbean - my guess, Saint Lucia to Guadeloupe.
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29610

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