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African tropical wave 99L has potential to develop

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 3:10 PM GMT on July 30, 2012

The first African tropical wave of 2012 with a potential to develop is Invest 99L, located in the Eastern Atlantic near 9°N 36°W, midway between the Lesser Antilles Islands and the coast of Africa. Visible satellite loops show a large area of the surrounding atmosphere has a pronounced counter-clockwise spin, though there is no surface circulation. The disturbance's heavy thunderstorm activity is pretty sparse, but appears to be slowly increasing. Water vapor satellite loops show that 99L has a reasonably moist environment, and the latest Saharan air layer analysis shows that the dry air from the Sahara lies well to the north of 99L. WInd shear over the disturbance is a light 5 - 10 knots, and ocean temperatures are 28°C, (82°F) which is well above the 26.5°C (80°F) threshold typically needed to allow formation of a tropical depression.

Figure 1. Morning satellite image of Invest 99L.

Forecast for 99L
Wind shear is expected to remain light for the next five days, and ocean temperatures will remain near 28°C, according to the 8 am EDT run of the SHIPS model. The disturbance is at 9°N, which is close enough to the Equator that the storm will have some difficultly getting spinning. Most of the models are showing some slow development of 99L, with the storm reaching the Lesser Antilles Islands on Saturday, August 3. NHC gave 99L a 20% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Wednesday morning. I expect the storm will have trouble with dry air at times this week as it crosses the Atlantic, but I give 99L a 50% chance of eventually developing into Tropical Storm Ernesto sometime in the next ten days. Residents and visitors to the Lesser Antilles Islands should anticipate heavy rains and strong winds from 99L beginning to affect the islands as early as Friday night. The long-range fate of 99L is uncertain, but a trough of low pressure is expected to be present over the Eastern U.S. early next week, which would be capable of turning 99L more to the northwest.

Hot in the Central U.S.
The heat in America's heartland continued on Sunday, with Wichita, KS hitting 111°F, just 3° short of their all-time hottest temperature of 114° set on 8/12/1936. Other notable highs on Sunday:

111° Coffeyville, KS
111° Winfield, KS
110° Chanute, KS
110° Parsons, KS
109° Joplin, MO (all-time record is 115° on July 14, 1954)

The low temperature in Tulsa, Oklahoma this Monday morning dropped to only 88°F. This is the all-time warmest low temperature in the city since record keeping began in 1905. The previous record warmest minimum temperature was 87°F set on August 2, 2011 and July 16, 1980. The high in Tulsa Monday - Wednesday is expected to reach 110° - 111°, close to the city's all-time hottest temperature of 115° set on August 10, 1936.

Jeff Masters


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