Tropical Depression Two has formed in the extreme Southwest Caribbean, about 60 miles east of the coast of Belize. The storm is bringing heavy rain to Belize, as seen on Belize radar, and has produced up to 6 - 8" inches of rain over eastern Nicaragua and Honduras, according to satellite estimates. The center of circulation will be over water for about 4 - 6 hours today, before moving ashore over Belize. This may be enough time for the storm to become Tropical Storm Barry with 40 mph winds. Satellite loops show that the system is well-organized, has plenty of spin, has good upper-level outflow to the north, and has a large of amount of heavy thunderstorm activity that is increasing in intensity and areal converge. Wind shear is a moderate 15 - 20 knots, and ocean temperatures are warm, 28 - 29°C. The Hurricane Hunter mission for Monday has been canceled, as the storm will be ashore by the time they reach it.
Figure 1. Morning satellite image of TD 2.
Forecast for TD 2
TD 2 will cross over the Yucatan Peninsula on Monday night and Tuesday, and may emerge into the extreme southern Gulf of Mexico--the Bay of Campeche--on Tuesday night or Wednesday. At that point, the models continue to predict a slow west-northwest motion, bringing the center of TD 2 ashore into Mexico between Veracruz and Tampico on Thursday. Wind shear is expected to remain moderate through Wednesday. The Bay of Campeche is a region where the topography aids the spin-up of tropical cyclones, so I expect this storm will become a tropical storm if its center moves over water in the Bay of Campeche. The center may remain just inland, though, keeping the storm from developing. There is no indication from the models that this system will affect the U.S., as a strong ridge of high pressure over the U.S. during the coming week should keep the tropical wave trapped in the southern Gulf of Mexico, keeping all the storm's rainfall confined to Mexico.