A complex and dangerous situation

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:55 PM GMT on October 03, 2005

The tropics today present a very complex picture, with many potential areas of danger for all residents along the Mexican and U.S. coast. Here's what's happening:

Tropical Storm Stan
Tropical Storm Stan is quickly re-organizing over waters of the southwestern Gulf of Mexico. The chances for continued intensification a are high, as Stan is over 30C waters and is positioned under a large anticyclone that will provide good outflow and wind shear values below 5 knots. Stan will probably be a Category 1 hurricane as it approaches the Mexican coast on Wednesday, and a Category 2 hurricane is not out of the question.

The forecast of a landfall in Mexico between Tampico and Veracruz on Wednesday has increased in confidence since yesterday, but is still uncertain. Stan is being driven westward at 10 mph by a strong ridge of high pressure. This ridge will gradually weaken Tuesday as a weak trough of low pressure swings across the U.S., and Stan will slow down in response. All of the models are now forecasting that the ridge will remain strong enough to carry Stan all the way to the coast. However, there is still a distinct chance that Stan may stall just before the coast, or make landfall, then pop back out over the Gulf of Mexico and re-intensify. Stan may then remain in the Gulf many days, and may eventually move north and threaten the U.S.

Complicating the forecast is the fact that a tropical depression my form tomorrow along the Pacific Mexican coast in the Gulf of Tehuantepec, 100 miles south of the Gulf of Mexico. Storm-storm interactions among two tropical storms are not well understood, and the development of a new tropical depression on the other side of Mexico will make the current forecasts of Stan's motion Wednesday and beyond very dubious. And to complicate matters further, a non-tropical low pressure system is forecast to form over the Gulf of Mexico by Thursday, potentially making a set of three storms that will all interact in unpredictable ways. One positive note about this development is that the upper-level winds associated with this new non-tropical low would bring significant wind shear and weaken Stan--if he is still there. If Stan is not there, at least one model (the UKMET) suggests that this non-tropical low would meander over the Gulf of Mexico for many days, and potentially acquire tropical characteristics and become a tropical storm.

The larger threat to the U.S.?
The greater threat to the U.S. may be the spinning area of intense thunderstorms approaching the central Bahama Islands. This system is an upper-level low pressure system that is interacting with a surface trough of low pressure, and slowly making the transition from a cold-cored non-tropical low to a warm-cored tropical system. While the shear is a high 20 knots over the system today, the shear is expected to decrease to 10 knots tomorrow, accompanied by the formation of an upper-level anticyclone on top. This system has the potential to become a tropical depression tomorrow, and a reconnaissance flight is scheduled for Tuesday at 11 am. Model projections indicate the entire East Coast from Florida to the Carolinas to New England may be at risk from this system. This storm may strike Florida as a tropical depression or weak tropical storm on Wednesday morning. Beaches along central Florida are already suffering erosion from the large pounding waves emanating from this disturbance.

Figure 1. BAMM model forecast track of Bahamas suspect area.

Mid-Atlantic disturbance
A low pressure system accompanied by a concentrated area of thunderstorms has developed this morning halfway between Africa and the Lesser Antilles Islands, at about 14N 36W. This system has some impressive spiral banding, but is now fighting some significant wind shear, and looks less likely to develop into Tropical Depression 21. It is expected to move northward the next five days over open waters and not threaten any land areas.

Tropical Storm Otis
Tropical Storm Otis has decayed to a 40-mph tropical storm, and is forecast to remain just offshore Baja California and continue to weaken and eventually dissipate two days from now. Otis is not likely to cause any problems for Mexico or Arizona.

Jeff Masters

Stan: Heavy Rain & Wind (cleo85)
PaaMul, Yucatan Peninsula, 30 miles north of Tulum
Stan: Heavy Rain & Wind

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103. Pensacola21
3:45 PM GMT on October 03, 2005
Stormy, I am talking about the one Jeff has posted above, not animated... But if anyone does have a BAMM model animation link, please post!
Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 30 Comments: 3912
102. gbreezegirl
3:45 PM GMT on October 03, 2005
Has anyone checked the barometric pressure in their respective areas? May be more reliable than ants. I am going to check ours.
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101. palmbeacher
3:45 PM GMT on October 03, 2005
hi Destiny. Snowing?
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100. sngalla
11:45 AM EDT on October 03, 2005
Morning Destiny. Gotta run. Have the day off so am taking the hubby to lunch. Will check back later.
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99. HurricaneZane
11:44 AM EDT on October 03, 2005
What's up with the ants? Do they do something different when there is a storm coming??
98. sngalla
11:44 AM EDT on October 03, 2005
Especially scary.
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97. Destiny
7:43 AM AKDT on October 03, 2005
Good Morning everybody, sngalla, palmbeacher, coconut.
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96. palmbeacher
3:43 PM GMT on October 03, 2005
Oh great link! Scary though
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95. palmbeacher
3:42 PM GMT on October 03, 2005
Hey Coconut, when does lefty usually come on? I would really like to read what he has to say.
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94. sngalla
11:40 AM EDT on October 03, 2005
Here is a link to the model runs for the blob lurking off our caost.Link
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93. palmbeacher
3:41 PM GMT on October 03, 2005
ok, thought so, but wanted to be sure.
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92. ProgressivePulse
3:36 PM GMT on October 03, 2005
Another week, yet another worry. Where oh Where is November?
Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 6924
91. gbreezegirl
3:40 PM GMT on October 03, 2005
I am in Gulf Breeze, Florida - near Pensacola and Navaree i.e. the panhandle.
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90. palmbeacher
3:40 PM GMT on October 03, 2005
Gulfbreeze is where exactly?
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89. palmbeacher
3:39 PM GMT on October 03, 2005
Where are you Gbreeze?
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88. gbreezegirl
3:36 PM GMT on October 03, 2005
Do the ants cover their holes? Our ants seem to be covering the entrance to their mounds!
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87. jazzinsuz
3:35 PM GMT on October 03, 2005
Hey Coco, they are not the major models but the BAMM runs are really good at handling the developing systems. At least they are the best we have.
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86. jazzinsuz
3:33 PM GMT on October 03, 2005
My whole family is here on vacation which is why it will rain all week.
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85. CoconutCreekFLA
11:32 AM EDT on October 03, 2005
THe thing is though that I recall Lefty saying that these were not the major models.
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84. wpbwx
11:31 AM EDT on October 03, 2005
It looks like it has gotten bigger. It is a huge area of disurbance.
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83. CoconutCreekFLA
11:30 AM EDT on October 03, 2005
Great. It looks like Bahama blob lurked on our blog and hit every place we mentioned.
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82. cgableshurrycanegal
11:30 AM EDT on October 03, 2005
no prob, jazz! Not sure how scientific it all is ::G::!!!
Gotta do some *real* work, will pop in later!
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81. jazzinsuz
3:28 PM GMT on October 03, 2005
Thanks cgcables! I read these blogs all the time but usually don't have time to write. I will have to let you know if our ants on the Outer Banks do anything. If you look at the map of NC, I live on the farthest point of land out in the ocean. Kinda makes your stomach nervous this time of year. Usually by now we are safer due to colder water temps and ocean current changes. Can't wait for November though.
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80. CoconutCreekFLA
11:30 AM EDT on October 03, 2005
Nobody could forget you Stormy!!!
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79. stormydee
3:28 PM GMT on October 03, 2005
21, Gotta link for BAMM to post 4 me? Thanks
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 39 Comments: 517
78. cgableshurrycanegal
11:27 AM EDT on October 03, 2005
Tropical Weather Outlook

Statement as of 11:30 am EDT on October 3, 2005

For the North Atlantic...Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico...
The National Hurricane Center is issuing advisories on Tropical
Storm Stan... located over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico about
265 miles east-northeast of Veracruz Mexico.
A surface trough of low pressure is associated with a large and
complex system of disturbed weather that extends from Hispaniola
northward for several hundred miles. Satellite images and surface
reports indicate that the surface trough has become better defined
this morning a short distance east of the central Bahamas. Upper-
level conditions are expected to gradually become more favorable
for tropical cyclone development over the next couple of days...and
a NOAA reconnaissance aircraft is scheduled to investigate the
system tomorrow...if necessary. As this system moves westward
during the next 24 hours...heavy rains and gusty winds are expected
to spread into the central and northwestern Bahamas...and reach the
Florida Peninsula by late tomorrow or Wednesday.
A small area of disturbed weather has developed about 800 miles west
of the Cape Verde Islands. Upper-level conditions are expected to
become less favorable for additional development of this system.
Elsewhere... tropical storm formation is not expected through
Forecaster Franklin

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77. Pensacola21
3:28 PM GMT on October 03, 2005
Oh great.... the models always shift... hmmmmm, wonder which way?? East or West? We will have to wait
Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 30 Comments: 3912
76. wpbwx
11:26 AM EDT on October 03, 2005
It deffinately can be a Cat 1 ie:Katrina
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75. Pensacola21
3:24 PM GMT on October 03, 2005
The BAMM invest model track is frightening...
Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 30 Comments: 3912
74. cgableshurrycanegal
11:25 AM EDT on October 03, 2005
skeeto has early out... think it's too early to put much credence, but here it is:
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73. cgableshurrycanegal
11:24 AM EDT on October 03, 2005
jazz, a gal in NOLA noted them heading as high as poss b4 Katrina...
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72. stormydee
3:23 PM GMT on October 03, 2005
Don't forget your east central FL friends as well. :-)
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 39 Comments: 517
71. jazzinsuz
3:23 PM GMT on October 03, 2005
So, Floridians, what's up with watching ants? Do they head for high ground when a storm is approaching?
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70. CoconutCreekFLA
11:22 AM EDT on October 03, 2005
And of course, our more northern floridian friends including Pensacola
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69. jazzinsuz
3:20 PM GMT on October 03, 2005
I guess that depends on how fast it moves. Remember, Ophelia was supposed to hit Florida, then Georgia and finally the carolinas but because is was so slow and loopy, it never really made up it's mind.
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68. CoconutCreekFLA
11:20 AM EDT on October 03, 2005
Yep, our little morning group includes people all over SE Florida from Coral Gables up to West Palm Beach.
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67. cgableshurrycanegal
11:20 AM EDT on October 03, 2005
Palmbeach, my ants not doing anything special
We're caught in a gradient between mid-ATL high pressure and Stan so we're experiencing windy conditions with easterly flow that brings in more rain. As Stan moves west it should ease up wind this evening.
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66. sngalla
11:20 AM EDT on October 03, 2005
Bet it could become at least a cat 1.
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65. palmbeacher
3:20 PM GMT on October 03, 2005
Hopefully too close to do anything!
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64. sngalla
11:19 AM EDT on October 03, 2005
You are really close.
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63. CoconutCreekFLA
11:19 AM EDT on October 03, 2005
So here is the question again: IF whatever is causing our current goofy weather do head this way, would it have the time to blow up to anything significant given it's so close?
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62. jazzinsuz
3:17 PM GMT on October 03, 2005
Yes we could use the rain in the Carolinas but not the damage. The Bamm run that Dr. M posted would be ideal as far as rain for the farmers. The coast needs some rain but not the erosion.
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61. cgableshurrycanegal
11:19 AM EDT on October 03, 2005
BTW, did anyone else catch the OCT 3 issue of TIME Mag? All about what is causing monster hurricanes. Interesting cover story
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60. CoconutCreekFLA
11:18 AM EDT on October 03, 2005
I'm by the Sawgrass and 441
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59. cgableshurrycanegal
11:17 AM EDT on October 03, 2005
CocoCreek not been down that way yet! LOL!!!
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58. sngalla
11:17 AM EDT on October 03, 2005
On Griffin, about 1 mile west of 95, coconut.
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57. palmbeacher
3:15 PM GMT on October 03, 2005
To all my South Fl. friends, We need to go home today and check our ANTS!! I don't have a good feeling, don't want to bring a bad thought to any of you, but, its just too weird outside.
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56. thelmores
3:09 PM GMT on October 03, 2005
looks like the center of circulation for "the blob" east of the bahamas is currently about due east of miami, best seen on the visible loop.....

hope this storm brings rain to the carolina's, we are extremely dry, and could use the rain.......

no damage, just rain! ;)
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55. wpbwx
11:14 AM EDT on October 03, 2005
Morning All! Will check in through the day. Unfortunately I have to work a bit.
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54. CoconutCreekFLA
11:13 AM EDT on October 03, 2005
morning, cgables. Did you check out your Mcdonalds for the arches? :)
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53. palmbeacher
3:13 PM GMT on October 03, 2005
Good morning CGABLES
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