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95L growing more organized; Pakistan's Indus River flood peaking downstream

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 2:23 PM GMT on August 21, 2010

A tropical wave (Invest 95L) in the far eastern Atlantic about 350 miles southwest of the Cape Verdes Islands has become more organized this morning. Satellite loops show that the wave has some rotation, and heavy thunderstorm activity has increased in recent hours, after a period overnight with little change. Water vapor satellite loops show that there is some dry air to the north of 95L, but this dry air currently appears to be too far away to significantly interfere with development. The main impediment to development is the moderate 10 - 20 knots of wind shear over the system. The shear is forecast to remain in the moderate range through Monday, then decrease. This should allow 95L to develop into a tropical depression Monday or Tuesday. NHC is giving 95L a 30% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Monday morning. With 95L's recent increase in organization, these odds should probably be 50%.

Figure 1. Morning satellite image of 95L.

Forecast for 95L
A ridge of high pressure will force 95L to the west or west-northwest for the next five days, and the system should increase its forward speed from its current 5 - 10 mph to 15 - 20 mph by Monday. A series of two powerful troughs of low pressure are predicted to move off the U.S. East Coast next week and cross the Atlantic; these troughs should be able to pull 95L far enough to the northwest so that it will miss the Lesser Antilles Islands. If 95L stays weak or does not develop in the next five days, as predicted by the NOGAPS model, it has a chance of eventually threatening Bermuda. If 95L develops into a hurricane, as predicted by most of the computer models, it will probably recurve to the east of Bermuda and not threaten any land areas.

Elsewhere in the tropics
The ECMWF model is predicting formation of a tropical depression in the western Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Texas 6 - 7 days from now.

Pakistan's monsoon rains diminish; Indus River flood crest nears the coast
The flooding on Pakistan's largest river, the Indus, has slowly eased along the upper and middle stretches where most of the heavy monsoon rains fell in late July and early August. However, a pulse of flood waters from these heavy rains is headed southwards towards the coast, and flood heights have risen to near all-time record levels today at the Indus River gauge station nearest to the coast, Kotri (Figure 2.) The new flooding has forced the evacuation of an additional 150,000 people in Pakistan today. Flood heights at every monitoring station along the Indus have been the highest or almost the highest since records began in 1947. Fortunately, the monsoon has entered a weak to moderate phase, and heavy rain is not expected over the flood region over the next few days, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Department.

Figure 2. August flow rates along the Indus River, courtesy of the Pakistan Meteorology Department.

Some aid agencies helping with humanitarian crisis in Pakistan:

Doctors Without Borders

The International Red Cross

MERLIN medical relief charity

The mobile giving service mGive allows one to text the word "SWAT" to 50555. The text will result in a $10 donation to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Pakistan Flood Relief Effort.

Jeff Masters

Flood Hurricane

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.