Invest now to improve tornado warnings; an early start to hurricane season?

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:24 PM GMT on May 27, 2011

The Atlantic hurricane season officially begin on Wednesday, June 1, and recent computer model runs predict that we may have some early-season action in the Central Caribbean Sea to coincide with the start of this year's season. The GFS, NOGAPS, and ECMWF models have all indicated in some of their recent runs that a tropical disturbance may form between Jamaica and Central America sometime in the May 31 - June 2 time frame, as a lobe of the Eastern Pacific Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) pushes across Central America into the Caribbean. Up until now, wind shear has been too high to allow tropical storm formation in the Caribbean, due to the presence of the Subtropical Jet Stream. However, this jet is expected to push northwards over Cuba over the coming week, allowing a region of low wind shear to develop over most of the Caribbean. Water temperatures in the Central Caribbean are about 1°C above average, 29°C, which is plenty warm enough to support development of a tropical storm. The main impediment to development will probably be lack of spin, as we don't have any African tropical waves that are expected to enter the Caribbean Sea next week, to help get things spinning. Stay tuned.


Figure 1. Satellite image of Typhoon Songda.

Typhoon Songda heads for Okinawa and Japan
Typhoon Songda brushed the Philippines yesterday, bringing heavy rains that killed at least two people. Fortunately, the brunt of this year's first Category 5 storm missed the islands, and Songda has weakened slightly to a Category 4 storm with 145 mph winds. Songda is turning northwards and will threaten the island of Okinawa on Saturday. Sea surface temperatures decline rapidly north of the Philippines, and Songda is expected to weaken significantly before reaching Okinawa, where sea surface temperatures are approximately 26°C. Wind shear will also increase to high levels by Saturday, and Songda should be at most a Category 2 typhoon by the time it reaches Okinawa. On Sunday,

Invest now for better tornado warnings
National Weather Service forecasters issued a tornado warning 24 minutes in advance of the Joplin, Missouri tornado this.week, which is now being blamed for at least 132 deaths--the deadliest U.S. tornado since at least 1947. However, we can do better, and the National Weather Service Employees Organization (NWSEO) put out a press release on May 23, arguing that investments in weather service forecasting technology are needed to reduce loss of life in future violent tornadoes:

"The 24-minute lead time is a great improvement over the average lead time of 13 minutes for tornado warnings. The meteorologists in the Springfield Weather Forecast Office are commended for their lifesaving work," said Dan Sobien, NWSEO President. "But in our age of advanced technology and communication, when new radars and modeling opportunities exist that can provide more lead time to get people out of the path of a storm, hundreds of people do not have to die because of a tornado event."

Sobien says the Joplin and Tuscaloosa tornadoes are examples of how the government's neglect to invest in NWS related infrastructure over the last 10 to 15 years has failed to provide the tools necessary to protect lives and property. He says that the tools forecasters use to issue tornado warnings are woefully inadequate and that the technology exists to provide lead times so far in advance of the storm that it would make the need for tornado warnings as we know them obsolete. "The much touted Doppler Weather Radar, also known as the Weather Service Radar or WSR-88D, was developed in 1988. Since that time, technological advances, including phased array radars developed by the Department of Defense, have been shown to increase the current lead time on tornado warnings by almost 50 percent."

"The much touted Warn on Forecast process utilizes Meso-scale modeling and has the potential to let forecasters know hours in advance where a thunderstorm would form and if it is likely to contain strong winds, hail, or even a tornado. With adequate staffing, local National Weather Service forecasters who understand local terrain and the model output, could be embedded with emergency managers and decision makers. In the event of a storm, the forecaster could provide emergency managers with the tornado track with some margin of error and people in the way of the storm could be evacuated hours before the tornado hits. This technology is being developed and tested right now, however without funding it will never be available."

"The art and science of severe weather warnings made considerable progress during the 1980s and 90s, going from almost zero lead time to average of about 13 minutes for tornado warnings. However, in recent years, that progress has stalled, even while the technological advancements have accelerated. If the country made the type of investment in the National Weather Service that it did in the 1980s, scenes like the ones in Missouri this week and in Alabama and Mississippi last month could be a thing of the past."

"I am very proud of my co-workers at the National Weather Service this tornado season. They saved many lives and having been there myself, I can assure you, they feel personally about every lost life," said Sobien. "I know that budgets are tight and there are many priorities, but if you put investing in the National Weather Service up to a vote today in tornado alley, I think the approval would be a landslide."


I wholeheartedly agree with this view--investments in better tornado forecasts and tornado observing technology will potentially give us a huge return in lives saved. Have a great holiday weekend, everyone, and I'll be back Monday or Tuesday with a new post.


Jeff Masters

Tornado Power (Betty2)
Sunday, LaCrosse, WI a tornado hit. This is a photo of a 2x4 board that slammed through a tire.. and, freaky, but it left the air in the tire! Photo was taken by my neighbor, Lori Hines, Gays Mills WI.
Tornado Power
25 May, (rdjgonzo)
May 25, 2011 at 7:10pm. Picture taken from Bartlett (Shelby County) TN.
25 May,
What A Storm (llpj04)
What A Storm

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1036. IKE

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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Good morning kman. We had a light drizzle up here early this morning. Praying more is on the way.


Hi there. Hot and dry here all day yesterday but the rain is lurking about 100 miles South of us. We could see it arrive here this afternoon if upper level winds ease off some. Right now those winds are holding that rain at bay.
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1034. IKE
Oh yeah....

65 hours....
9  minutes and it starts....
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1033. IKE
This does look like it hangs around for at least a week. I'm sure there will be debate on here about it deserving this or that. I could see a weak TS out of it. Main threat looks like plenty of rain for some.....


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Quoting kmanislander:
Good morning all

Still status quo in the SW Caribbean. This is going to be like watching paint dry. Systems with a monsoonal genesis take forever to develop and this one will not really get going until it gets a jump start from a twave migrating Westward into the area.

On a general interest note, the buoy located at 15 N and 75W which was out of service is now functioning again. This is a key buoy for data in the Central Caribbean and had been out of service for well over a year.
Good morning kman. We had a light drizzle up here early this morning. Praying more is on the way.
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As befits the beginning of June, it's gonna be a very warm to hot week coming up.

Today, much of Texas will be in the triple digits, and there'll be temps in the 90s all the way up into the Ohio River Valley. For tomorrow, The entire eastern 2/3 of the U.S. will be in the mid-80s and higher. In the early part of the week, that warmth moves into the western part of the U.S., too, with states like Montana and Wyoming seeing their first 80 degree plus weather of the year. Finally, late in the week, the Southeast and the Great Plains will be baking, with temps in the 90s the rule, and even some triple digits into Kansas.

All in all, it looks like lots of air conditioners are going to definitely get their first real workout of the season.
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Good morning all

Still status quo in the SW Caribbean. This is going to be like watching paint dry. Systems with a monsoonal genesis take forever to develop and this one will not really get going until it gets a jump start from a twave migrating Westward into the area.

On a general interest note, the buoy located at 15 N and 75W which was out of service is now functioning again. This is a key buoy for data in the Central Caribbean and had been out of service for well over a year.
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1029. IKE
Miami,FL forecast....

Thursday: Scattered showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny,
with a high near 85. Windy, with a east wind between 16 and 21 mph, with
gusts as high as 26 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Thursday Night: Scattered showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy and breezy, with a low around 77. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Friday: Scattered showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny and windy, with a high near 89. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Friday Night: Scattered showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy and windy, with a low around 78. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Saturday: Scattered showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny and windy, with a high near 90. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
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Quoting hurricane23:


Hey Mike..

Steering is unfavorable for whatever developes down there in terms of posing a threat to the U.S. I don't see a favorable upper pattern that would lead this to really intensifying. Once a broad sfc low develops and starts moving northward it will come under increasing swly U/L shear. Hopeing some of this moisture eventually makes to Florida.
Hey Adrian,

I thought they same thing as well, but to me it seems if this thing can sit around long enough in the Carib, the subtropical jet will lift far enough north to allow more favorable shear conditions in the NW Carib. Who knows what the chances of it staying down there that long are, but it seems the ECMWF has picked up on this, with a more aggressive run last night. However, it looks like once it tries to make it north of the Greater Antilles it will get smashed by that jet. I wouldn't mind some sheared off convection headed to S FL :)
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a peaceful sunday for everyone allman brothers americas greatest jam band at wanne 2011 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2qb_1QHYXc&feature =related
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1026. IKE
I'm guessing this gets an invest..invest 93L...by Monday night or Tuesday.
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1025. barbamz
Is there a storm coming??
Listen to my favourite band from Manchester UK (I am Kloot):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmVtH5nbp30&featur e=related

[Edit: The embedded youtube code was messing up the blog in IE, so I changed it. Enjoy it anyway]
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1024. emcf30
000
AXNT20 KNHC 291043
TWDAT

TROPICAL WEATHER DISCUSSION
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
805 AM EDT SUN MAY 29 2011

TROPICAL WEATHER DISCUSSION FOR NORTH AMERICA...CENTRAL
AMERICA...GULF OF MEXICO...CARIBBEAN SEA...NORTHERN SECTIONS OF
SOUTH AMERICA...AND ATLANTIC OCEAN TO THE AFRICAN COAST FROM THE
EQUATOR TO 32N. THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS BASED ON SATELLITE
IMAGERY...WEATHER OBSERVATIONS...RADAR...AND METEOROLOGICAL
ANALYSIS.

BASED ON 0600 UTC SURFACE ANALYSIS AND SATELLITE IMAGERY THROUGH
1030 UTC.
CARIBBEAN SEA...
AN UPPER LEVEL ANTI-CYCLONIC CIRCULATION SITS OVER THE CARIBBEAN
SEA AND NORTHERN SOUTH AMERICA THIS MORNING. THIS FLOW IS
KEEPING FAIR WEATHER CONDITIONS OVER MUCH OF THE CARIBBEAN...
EXCEPT FOR THE SW BASIN...WHERE BROAD SURFACE CYCLONIC TURNING
IS NOTED IN THIS REGION. LOW LEVEL MOISTURE REMAINS QUITE HIGH
IN THIS REGION...NOTICED ON TPW PRODUCT. SCATTERED SHOWERS AND
TSTMS ARE S OF 18N W OF 73W. WITHIN THIS AREA OF CONVECTION...A
SURFACE TROUGH IS ANALYZED FROM THE COAST OF COSTA RICA NEAR
10N83W NE TO 14N76W. MODEL GUIDANCE IS IN BETTER AGREEMENT
SUGGESTING THE ACTIVITY IN THE SW BASIN WILL INCREASE OVER THE
NEXT 24 HOURS...AS CYCLOGENESIS IN THE FORM OF A WEAK LOW
PRESSURE CENTER DEVELOPS IN THE 36 TO 72 HOUR WINDOW ACROSS THE
SW CARIBBEAN SEA WATERS.
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Good morning.More rain for PR today as diurnal heating combines with plenty of moisture.It will add to the very rainy May that we have been thru.

Here is the Marine discussion by NHC.

MARINE WEATHER DISCUSSION
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
145 AM EDT SUN MAY 29 2011

MARINE WEATHER DISCUSSION FOR THE GULF OF MEXICO...CARIBBEAN SEA
AND TROPICAL N ATLC...AND SOUTHWEST NORTH ATLC S OF 31N W OF 55W.

CARIBBEAN SEA AND TROPICAL N ATLC W OF 55W...
A WEAK TROPICAL WAVE ALONG 60W S OF 13N WILL MIGRATE W THROUGH
THE WINDWARD ISLANDS AND EASTERN VENEZUELA TODAY...BUT HAVE A
MINIMAL LITTLE SENSIBLE WEATHER IMPACT. LATEST SCATTEROMETER
DATA SHOW 15 TO 20 KT E FLOW OVER THE S CENTRAL
CARIBBEAN...MAINLY DUE TO ANOTHER LOW AMPLITUDE TROPICAL WAVE
MIGRATING W THROUGH WESTERN VENEZUELA. THIS FEATURE WILL
INTERACT WITH TROUGHING OVER THE FAR SW CARIBBEAN AND SW FLOW
FROM THE E PACIFIC TO HELP DEVELOP A WEAK LOW PRES IN SW
CARIBBEAN BY TONIGHT. GLOBAL MODELS ARE SHOWING THE LOW
LINGERING NEAR THE PANAMA COAST THROUGH MON...THEN DEEPENING
SLIGHTLY AS IT LIFTS N INTO THE W CENTRAL CARIBBEAN BETWEEN
NICARAGUA AND JAMAICA. THIS WILL TIGHTEN THE PRES GRADIENT OVER
THE EASTERN AND CENTRAL CARIBBEAN...ALLOWING E TO SE WINDS TO
INCREASE TO 20 TO 25 KT BY LATE MON. SEAS WILL BUILD OVER THE
CENTRAL CARIBBEAN ACCORDINGLY WITH 8 TO 10 FT BY TUE. LOOKING
AHEAD TO MID WEEK...GLOBAL MODELS MAINTAIN THE LOW OVER THE
WESTERN CARIBBEAN UNDER AN AREA OF LIGHT TO MODERATE SW SHEAR
ALOFT...AND STILL SHOW THE LOW NOT DEEPENING APPRECIABLY.

Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 16632
1022. IKE
From the Tallahassee weather office about the coming weeks weather and temperatures....

UPDATE...THE NEW 00 UTC RUN OF THE ECMWF HAS CONCURRED WITH
THE GFS...WITH A MORE EASTWARD POSITION OF THE UPPER LEVEL RIDGE FOR
THE END OF THE WEEK AND BEGINNING OF NEXT WEEKEND...SO CONFIDENCE
FOR VERY HOT AFTERNOON HIGH TEMPERATURES IS FURTHER INCREASED.


Just lovely:(

I literally mowed dust yesterday.
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For West Palm Beach:

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1020. IKE
SYNOPSIS FOR CARIBBEAN SEA AND TROPICAL N ATLC FROM 07N TO 22N
BETWEEN 55W AND 65W
530 AM EDT SUN MAY 29 2011

.SYNOPSIS...WINDS WILL INCREASE OVER THE CENTRAL AND EASTERN
CARIBBEAN THROUGH WED BETWEEN DEVELOPING LOW PRES OVER THE SW
CARIBBEAN AND HIGH PRES N OF THE AREA. THE STRONGEST WINDS WILL
LIE IN THE N CENTRAL CARIBBEAN. A TROPICAL WAVE ALONG 59W S OF
13N WILL MOVE ACROSS THE WINDWARD ISLANDS TONIGHT.
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Miami NWS Discussion

EXTENDED PERIOD...WEDNESDAY THROUGH SATURDAY...LITTLE CHANGE
WEDNESDAY BUT THURSDAY A LOW PRES CENTER DEVELOPS OVER THE CARIB AND
DEEP TROPICAL MOISTURE BEGINS TO MOVE NORTHWARD FROM THE CARIB
LEADING TO THE POTENTIAL TOWARD BETTER CHANCES OF RAIN THURSDAY AND
FRIDAY. BUT HIGH PRES REBUILDING OVER THE SE U.S. INTO NEXT WEEKEND
SHOVES THE DEEP MOISTURE SOUTHWARD AGAIN WITH LESS CHANCES OF RAIN.
THE PRES GRADIENT REMAINS HIGH OVER S FLA AND BREEZY CONDITIONS A
DAILY OCCURRENCE WITH E COAST RIP CURRENT THREAT.
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1017. IKE
Quoting rmbjoe1954:
Hello Ike-

Where do you live? Here in East Central Florida we are also in a drought.
DeFuniak Springs...inland Florida panhandle....about 40 miles NNE of Destin,FL.
................................................. ..................................................

GFS @ 90 hours.....still 1006 mb's.



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Hello Ike-

Where do you live? Here in East Central Florida we are also in a drought.
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1015. IKE
1006mb low ar 72 hours on the 6Z GFS.....


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Quoting KoritheMan:

Rapid intensification amidst 20-40 knots of southwesterly upper level flow?
. I mean if the shear drops more than we think, I know this shear is way too high for rapid development, that's why I am not rushing this system to become an intense hurricane. I didn't really meant rapid like that, I meant more like quicker organization than most of us think.
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1013. IKE
The drought continues. Now throw in a heat-wave....


Wednesday: Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 96.

Wednesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 69.

Thursday: Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 98.

Thursday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 70.

Friday: Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 100.

Friday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 69.

Saturday: Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 100.

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Quoting hurricaneben:
you never know if this surprises all of us by rapid intensification.
Rapid intensification amidst 20-40 knots of southwesterly upper level flow?
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What happened to everyone? Did the jocks find us?
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So if this AOI meanders for a while, it looks like it might get into the GOM next weekend and be a concern for Florida/US Gulf Coast. At this time a hurricane seems to be a bit of a stretch but a named storm forming next week is pretty likely in my opinion and you never know if this surprises all of us by rapid intensification. I believe we will see an Invest tomorrow afternoon...or sooner.
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00z ECMWF also going aggressive. Has the system moving northeast towards Jamaica and eastern Cuba with a 999mb pressure.

240 hours:
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1008. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #71
DEVELOPED LOW, FORMER SONGDA (T1102)
15:00 PM JST May 29 2011
==================================

At 6:00 AM UTC, Developed Extratropical Low, Former Songda (982 hPa) located at 33.0N 134.0E has 10 minute sustained winds of 50 knots with gusts of 70 knots. The low is reported as moving northeast at 30 knots.


Gale Force Winds
===============
300 NM from the center in eastern quadrant
200 NM from the center in western quadrant

THIS IS THE FINAL TROPICAL CYCLONE ADVISORY FROM THE JAPAN METEOROLOGICAL AGENCY
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1007. xcool
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Quoting Levi32:


It's only out to Day 7 so far.
You're right...didn't notice the time stamp.
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Quoting Levi32:


It will be like pulling teeth to get this to develop at all, at least early on, which is typical of early-season systems, but there is some potential there.
Im thinking that this high which is centered over alabama would shift left and create some kind of opening in the gulf for her to develop but last time i checked the waters were running 82-83 degrees. do you think if it gets in the gulf that it would survive?
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1004. Levi32
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
00z ECMWF keeps it relatively weak, but alive throughout the entire 10 days in the central Caribbean.


It's only out to Day 7 so far.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26780
1003. JRRP
see you later
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00z ECMWF running.
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1001. Levi32
Quoting bigwes6844:
so are we going to see arlene soon????


It will be like pulling teeth to get this to develop at all, at least early on, which is typical of early-season systems, but there is some potential there.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26780
1000. Levi32
Quoting hurricane23:


Hey Mike..

Steering is unfavorable for whatever developes down there in terms of posing a threat to the U.S. I don't see a favorable upper pattern that would lead this to really intensifying. Once a broad sfc low develops and starts moving northward it will come under increasing swly U/L shear. Hopeing some of this moisture eventually makes to Florida.


Unless it doesn't move north right away and gets trapped under that ridge. The west Atlantic trough isn't guaranteed to be strong enough to bring it poleward.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26780
Quoting SouthDadeFish:
I understand that, but still, it doesn't even look like a resolution issue as the 850mb vorticity signature is relatively weak throughout the lifespan of this possible cyclone.


Hey Mike..

Steering is unfavorable for whatever developes down there in terms of posing a threat to the U.S. I don't see a favorable upper pattern that would lead this to really intensifying. Once a broad sfc low develops and starts moving northward it will come under increasing swly U/L shear. Hopeing some of this moisture eventually makes to Florida.
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Quoting Levi32:
0z CMC 144 hours:



By 240 it has done little, but broad low pressure remains in the NW Caribbean:

Pretty similar to the NOGAPS as far as track.
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so are we going to see arlene soon????
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0z CMC 144 hours:



By 240 it has done little, but broad low pressure remains in the NW Caribbean:

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26780
Quoting ColoradoBob1:
5-28-2011
CASTOLON BREWSTER , Co., TX ....... 115.0°F old record 110.0°F

It was very hot in Texas today.

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/extremes/records/daily/m axt/2011/05/28?sts[]=US#records_look_up


And the heat is coming my way....NWS hazardous weather outlook for my area (central NC)....

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...SUNDAY THROUGH FRIDAY.

ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE EXPECTED ACROSS THE AREA BY MID WEEK AS A STRONG UPPER LEVEL RIDGE BUILDS OVER THE CAROLINAS AND THE MID-ATLANTIC. HIGHS ON TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY ARE EXPECTED TO BE AS MUCH AS 10 TO 15 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL...WITH HEAT INDICES APPORACHING 100 DEGREES
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994. xcool


sea level pressure
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993. xcool
JRRP.hmmm
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5-28-2011
CASTOLON BREWSTER , Co., TX ....... 115.0F old record 110.0F

It was very hot in Texas today.

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/extremes/records/daily/m axt/2011/05/28?sts[]=US#records_look_up
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Guys, remember most experts say models greater than 120 hrs out are essentially worthless. GFS at 1 wk+ time and again last year had storms making landfall from Texas to multiple hits on NYC. None of the scenarios materialized. Stay cool. When we have something to track then the game starts.
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990. JRRP
CMC 00z
132hr
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Its interesting how quickly this system is coming together, check out the time lapse on this Hovmoller Diagram...

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/tafb_latest/gehov1latest. gif

You can see quick growth of convective cloudiness that has occurred today in SW Caribbean...
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988. xcool
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
I think the track of this system will really be a starter N of Panama, moves N-NNW and either tracks near or over the Cayman Islands and over W Cuba. There after its a bit dim, it may go straight into Florida, passing on the E coast of Florida, or on the W coast, or hit NOLA, but this will happen slowly, it will form sometime during the day on sunday, becomes a TD/TS early-mid part of next week, possibly a weak cane by late weekend. track movement also slow, it won't impact the Caymans till maybe mid week next week, Cuba mid-late week, and in the Gulf by late weekend


Sunday?? As in tomorrow (I mean later this afternoon)?
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986. beell
Quoting FrankZapper:
Link please

200mb 00Z GFS 144hrs
500mb 00Z GFS 144hrs
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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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