Gulf of Mexico disturbance; Ultramarathon today in Death Valley

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:01 PM GMT on July 24, 2006

An area of disturbed weather associated with a tropical wave and a weak trough of surface pressure is generating some intense thunderstorms with strong wind gusts over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico. At 10am EDT, the winds at buoy 42002, 275 miles South-Southeast of Sabine, TX, recorded a wind gust of 50 mph. Sustained winds have been in the 25-30 mph range at this buoy the past few hours. The thunderstorm activity has increased since yesterday, but wind shear remains high, 15-25 knots, which is probably too high to allow a tropical depression to develop today. There was a hurricane hunter flight scheduled to take off at 11:30am today to investigate the disturbance, but it was cancelled. The disturbance shows no signs of a ciculation, as one can monitor via Brownsville, TX radar.

Both the GFS and NOGAPS models are forecasting the wind shear to fluctuate up and down through Wednesday, but probably remain above 15 knots. This amount of shear is likely too much for the disturbance to develop into a tropical depression. By Thursday, the wind shear is forecast to drop sharply, increasing the chances for development--if the disturbance hasn't moved over land by then. The disturbance is close to the Mexican coast, and may move ashore by Tuesday near the Texas/Mexico border. NHC has not scheduled a Hurricane Hunter flight for Tuesday.

Figure 1. Preliminary model forecast tracks for the area of disturbed weather in the Southwest Gulf of Mexico.

New wave to watch
A large tropical wave with a surface circulation is near 14N 45W, 1100 miles east of the Lesser Antilles Islands. The wave is moving west at 15 mph, and should reach the Lesser Antilles islands on Thursday. The wave has entered a region of low wind shear of 5-10 knots which is forecast to persist for the next three days, so some slow development is possible. The primary impediment will be dry air--the wave is surrounded by a huge cloud of African dust and dry air, and thunderstorm activity is currently minimal. A Hurricane Hunter airplane is tenatively scheduled to investigate the system on Thursday.

Figure 2. This morning's visible image of a tropical wave to watch 1100 miles east of the Lesser Antilles Islands.

More heat news
The heat continued to set records across the Southwest U.S. over the weekend. On Saturday, the mercury hit an unofficial 120 degrees in Usta, South Dakota, tying that state's all-time high temperature record. The record is expected to be certified by the National Climatic Data Center, according to the local National Weather Service office. The 95 degree low temperature yesterday at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport tied the second all-time warmest low temperature. The all-time warmest low temperature was 96 degrees, set on July 15, 2003.

OK, this is NUTS!
The high temperature in Death Valley reached 125 degrees both Saturday and Sunday, which should cheer up the competitors in today's Badwater Ultramarathon, billed as "the most demanding and extreme running race offered anywhere on the planet". The race starts out in Badwater, Death Valley (just down the road from Furnace Creek, Dante's Peak, and other hellishly named Death Valley attractions!). The competitors run non-stop for 135 miles and three days across Death Valley in the heat of day, across three mountain ranges with a combined vertical ascent of 13,000', and finish at 8,000 feet altitude on Mt. Whitney. Not recommended for the sane!

Jeff Masters

Dante's Peak (waytobleu)
View of Badwater
Dante's Peak

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

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1075. wxwatcher
6:10 AM GMT on July 25, 2006
Yeah captj, Mustang is all of the island south of Port A, about 10 miles E of Corpus, 30 from Rockport. We stay down there at Sandpiper almost every summer.

How do you embed links, Rand?
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1073. captj
6:10 AM GMT on July 25, 2006
wx, please send it a little west of george west, maybe aguilares
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1071. wxwatcher
6:05 AM GMT on July 25, 2006
scla, I think it's going to officially move inland very close to KBRO, then move NNW toward or just west of Alice, TX then continue moving NNW toward George West, TX and possibly become a 'cut-off-low' near or just W of KSAT...

As far as developing, I think it's close proximity to land and continued forward motion are the major inhibiting factors for development. Since an eastward shift is not likely, given the building subtropical high to the east, chances for development into a cyclone are almost nil.

I predict that the blow up in convection tonight will get people buzzing in the morning though; it should look awfully healthy in a few hours...
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1070. captj
6:07 AM GMT on July 25, 2006
my daughter has a faspitch tournament here this weekend and the animals need water in laredo. Seems reasonable to have this thing fire up and move off to the northwest and make a lot of people happy, but not everyone. I think there are a few folk that want a major storm real bad....till they get it
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1066. captj
6:04 AM GMT on July 25, 2006
I am on mustang island, a few miles north of padre island. we are about 30 miles north of corpus christi and a few miles southwest I think of rockport....I think
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1065. ProgressivePulse
2:03 AM EDT on July 25, 2006
lol Alec.
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1063. Alec
2:00 AM EDT on July 25, 2006
btw, the utility costs around here are ridiculus!....feeling a depression forming in my
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1061. captj
5:59 AM GMT on July 25, 2006
How so, sideyard, it is basically due south or something to that effect. As far as what I know not sure what you are asking for. I do know that the Texas Cat pool windstorm folks were here last week inspecting roof's here. First time in over 15 years I have ben here they have done that. I asked the guy if they know something we should.
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1060. ProgressivePulse
2:00 AM EDT on July 25, 2006
They fester CaptJ, early season storms bug me becuase they are so unpredictable.
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1059. wxwatcher
5:57 AM GMT on July 25, 2006
Ah naw Rand, you can clearly see it increasing in both coverage and intensity. Echos even increased from 55 to 58 dBZ and it's closing in on KBRO.

Once it moves inland, I think it will be a substantial rain maker. The latest GOES sounder (the latest I have, anyway) shows PW's pooling over S, SC, and SE, TX near 2" (1.93) and close to 2.5" over the Gulf.

If it makes it to the Texas Hill Country and has the Escarpment to work with, I think TX is in for a flood event.
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1055. captj
5:57 AM GMT on July 25, 2006
That is the pizzer, after all of this and not even any rain should it happen that way.
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1053. ProgressivePulse
1:54 AM EDT on July 25, 2006
still remains so it must be offshore, right?

BTW I just save a bunch of money on my car insurance because my insurance company dropped me for living in Florida.
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1052. scla08
5:55 AM GMT on July 25, 2006
Where do you think this thing is going wx, and do you think it has an increased chance of developing after this convection that just blew up?
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1049. captj
5:55 AM GMT on July 25, 2006
yes, coffee here, I just found out I am out of wine
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1048. ProgressivePulse
1:51 AM EDT on July 25, 2006


Coffee anyone lol.
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1046. captj
5:52 AM GMT on July 25, 2006
lol, no big deal if it is not in your back yard I might add. If this was near Florida I most probably would not even be posting here and I am just being honest.
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1045. captj
5:50 AM GMT on July 25, 2006
hmm. It would not take much, and I suppose maybe some younger people used to having all the benefits of modern imagery don;t realize that a system can sit for days and not even move but yet strengthen or weaken.
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1042. wxwatcher
5:48 AM GMT on July 25, 2006
Yeah, but don't let that fool you... I'm guessing it looks all split apart because the bands haven't filled in... I think it will rather quickly though.

It's kinda early... seems like it didn't kick off until later last night...
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1040. Alec
1:48 AM EDT on July 25, 2006
wow.....over 1000 posts in a day....and it's not even a depression....LOL

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1038. ProgressivePulse
1:45 AM EDT on July 25, 2006
Before I go, the east atlantic DUST BUNNIES deserve a look. Low over the weekend cleared this path, another is right behind @ 20N sittin high.
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1036. wxwatcher
5:45 AM GMT on July 25, 2006
How do you embed links?

Or you can click on NEXRAD on your top tab on this page and click in the area of deep south Texas....

either way..
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1034. wxwatcher
5:36 AM GMT on July 25, 2006
Check out the KBRO short/long range radars. That convection is starting to intensify just like I said it would. The shear has subsided since this time last night...

You can see it's moving NNW, or at least the bulk of the activity is. Still no defined 'center' on radar but IR still picks it up -- although ragged and ill defined.

Could get interesting come tomorrow at this time as I still think the moisture from the EPAC get fed into it.
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1032. Inyo
5:31 AM GMT on July 25, 2006
I think Daniel just pooped out.
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1031. captj
5:33 AM GMT on July 25, 2006
I was reading posts earlier and I saw some sentiment expressed about hurricane parties. I was only 10 years old or so at the time, but during Celia it was exactly that. My grandfather had a tug and barge business and has access to big deisel light plants. So as everything was flying away, we had lights and the ladies were making margaritas as fast as they could drink the damn things. Grandpa coming from Galveston originally had built the house with 18 inch think walls reinforced with steel, so he felt like nothing could blw his house down. You know, he never stayed for another one after Celia.
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1030. Tazmanian
10:35 PM PDT on July 24, 2006
yes get some sleep evere one this blog is all most at 1100 + post tonight get some sleep night evere one and geting this blog up to 1,100 post is a lot of hard work!
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Cat 6 lead authors: WU cofounder Dr. Jeff Masters (right), who flew w/NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990, & WU meteorologist Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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