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Florida poised for a substantial soaking

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 1:03 PM GMT on May 18, 2009

An area of showers and thunderstorms is over the southeastern Bahamas and eastern Cuba, in association with a trough of low pressure. The latest 00Z and 06Z runs of the GFS, UKMET, NOGAPS, and ECMWF global dynamical computer models continue to forecast that this disturbance will develop into an extratropical low by Tuesday. The low should bring heavy rain and possible flooding problems to Florida and the Bahamas this week as it lifts northwestward over Florida. Up to nine inches of rain may fall over Florida by Friday (Figure 1), thanks also to a cold front expected to move over the state over the next two days. The exact timing and location of the rains over Florida are still uncertain, as the GFS model predicts development of the low over the Bahamas, while the ECMWF and UKMET models predict development over South Florida. At present, it appears wind shear will be too high to allow the extratropical storm to transition into a subtropical or tropical storm. However, if the storm's center emerges into the northern Gulf of Mexico late this week, wind shear may be low enough to allow a transition to a subtropical storm (10% chance).

Florida could use the rain--most of South Florida is under extreme drought, and Central Florida is under severe drought. The Lake Okeechobee water level is at 10.58 feet (Figure 2), which is about 3 feet below average. During the past week, the lake fell below the level that triggers water conservation measures for the first time since Tropical Storm Fay filled up the lake in August.


Figure 1. Forecast precipitation amount between 8am EDT Monday 5/18/09 and 8am EDT Saturday 5/23/09. Image credit: NOAA/HPC.


Figure 2. Water levels in Florida's Lake Okeechobee were under the level that triggers conservation measures between January 2007 - August 2008. Tropical Storm Fay then filled up the lake, which has gradually declined in level since, reaching water shortage management levels again in May 2009. Image credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

There has been little change to the large upper-level cold low spinning in the mid-Atlantic a few hundred miles east of Bermuda. The low may spin in place long enough over the next week to develop a warm core and be classified as a subtropical storm. It is unlikely that a subtropical storm forming that far out in the Atlantic this early in the year would pose a threat to any land areas, with the possible exception of Bermuda.

Climatology of early-season Atlantic tropical cyclones
Tropical storms are uncommon in the Atlantic before June 1, with only 26 named storms on record between 1851 - 2008. Five of these have made it to hurricane strength, and only one--Hurricane Able of 1951--made it to major hurricane status. Last year's Tropical Storm Arthur may be the deadliest May tropical cyclone on record. Though only a 40 mph tropical storm at landfall, Arthur killed five people in Belize and caused $78 million in damage. Three early-season storms have brought hurricane-force winds to land. The March 1908 hurricane swept through the northern Lesser Antilles Islands as a Category 1 or 2 hurricane, destroying at least 24 boats and causing damage to buildings on St. Bartholomew. Hurricane Able of 1951 brought sustained winds of 90 - 95 mph to the northern Bahama Islands, but caused little damage. Hurricane 2 of May 1908 hit North Carolina's Outer Banks as a Category 1 hurricane, but also caused little damage.

List of all early season (formed in January - May) Atlantic named storms
May 31, 2008: Tropical Storm Arthur
May 6, 2007: Subtropical Storm Andrea
April 18, 2003: Tropical Storm Ana
April 21, 1992: Subtropical Storm 1
May 6, 1981: Tropical Storm Arlene
January 18, 1978: Subtropical Storm 1
May 21, 1976: Subtropical Storm 1
May 23, 1972: Subtropical Storm Alpha
May 17, 1970: Hurricane Alma (Category 1)
May 28, 1959: Tropical Storm Arlene
February 2, 1953: Tropical Storm Alice
May 25, 1952: Tropical Storm 1
May 15, 1951: Hurricane Able (Category 3)
May 22, 1948: Tropical Storm 1
May 19, 1940: Tropical Storm 1
May 27, 1934: Tropical Storm 1
May 14, 1933: Tropical Storm 1
May 5, 1932: Tropical Storm 1
May 13, 1916: Tropical Storm 1
May 24, 1908: Hurricane 2 (Category 1)
March 6, 1908: Hurricane 1 (Category 2)
May 27, 1890: Tropical Storm 1
May 16, 1889: Hurricane 1 (Category 1)
May 17, 1887: Tropical Storm 2
May 15, 1887: Tropical Storm 1
May 30, 1865: Tropical Storm 1

I'll have an update Tuesday.

Jeff Masters

Hurricane

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

Reader Comments

2001. MahFL
JAX afd.
..."MODELS SHOWS CUT-OFF MID AND UPPER LEVEL LOW OVER SRN PORTIONS OF
FL TO SLOWLY DRIFT TO THE W WHILE AT SFC LOW PRESSURE S OF THE
AREA MOVES INTO THE SE GULF TO POSSIBLE LOW JUST OFF THE E COAST
OF FL WILL MOVE WWD AS WELL"

So thats kind of saying low pressure and a low and a mid and an upper level low. All players in the overall synoptics.
Now a little drizzle in Deerfield..: my grass needs more LOL. I have hay for a front lawn
now that there's a bone-a-fide ull in the SEGOM...we'll have to see if it can consoldate its convection towards a center. and completely cut off from the front....STS????
My joints are telling me something is brewing ....I am west of Tampa near the GOM on the w coast of FL.
Excerpts from the 00Z Model Diagnostic Discussion

DEEP CYCLONE MOVING THROUGH THE EASTERN GULF OF MEXICO...

THE GFS/CANADIAN OUTRUN THE REMAINDER OF THE GUIDANCE WITH THIS SYSTEM AND LOOK UN-METEOROLOGICAL AS THEIR SURFACE LOW OUTPACES ITS UPPER LEVEL PORTION...MOVING WELL TO THE SOUTHWEST OF THE UPPER LEVEL PORTION OF THE CIRCULATION.

THERE IS A SMALL CHANCE IT COULD EVOLVE INTO A SUBTROPICAL CYCLONE AS 500 HPA/SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE DIFFERENTIALS REACH MINIMAL CRITERIA FOR CONVECTIVE DEVELOPMENT IN THE SOUTHEAST GULF OF MEXICO /40C DIFFERENCE/ LATE TUESDAY. ALTHOUGH THIS IS CONSIDERED A LOW
PROBABILITY ALTERNATIVE SCENARIO AT THIS TIME...KEEP ABREAST OF THE SITUATION THROUGH THE LATEST TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOKS/DISCUSSIONS ISSUED BY TPC AND FORECASTS FROM OPC.

WEAK LOW MOVING FROM NORTHEAST OF CUBA/THE BAHAMAS INTO NORTHEAST FLORIDA LATE WEDNESDAY...

PER COORDINATION WITH TPC...WILL HAVE A SECOND SURFACE LOW MOVING UP THE BAHAMA CHAIN
INTO THE TREASURE COAST BY WEDNESDAY EVENING ACROSS THE FLORIDA PENINSULA BEFORE IT IS ABSORBED INTO THE LARGER SYSTEM IN THE SOUTHEAST GULF OF MEXICO. OCEAN TEMPERATURES APPEAR TO BE TOO COOL FOR TROPICAL CYCLONE DEVELOPMENT UPON THE FINAL LEG OF ITS JOURNEY
INTO THE SUNSHINE STATE FROM THE BAHAMAS...AND IT IS CURRENTLY EXPERIENCING VERTICAL WIND SHEAR.
bring on the tropicanes!
2007. docrod
000
ABNT20 KNHC 191233
TWOAT
SPECIAL TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
830 AM EDT TUE MAY 19 2009

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

SATELLITE IMAGES AND SURFACE OBSERVATIONS INDICATE THAT THE WEAK
AREA OF LOW PRESSURE LOCATED NEAR THE CENTRAL BAHAMAS IS BECOMING
ABSORBED BY A LARGER NON-TROPICAL LOW CENTERED OVER FLORIDA.
DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM NOW APPEARS UNLIKELY...AND THE AIR FORCE
RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT MISSION SCHEDULED FOR TODAY HAS
BEEN CANCELED. IN ADDITION...LITTLE DEVELOPMENT OF THE NON-TROPICAL
LOW OVER FLORIDA IS EXPECTED AS IT MOVES WESTWARD INTO THE GULF OF
MEXICO AT 10 MPH OVER THE NEXT DAY OR TWO. THERE IS A LOW
CHANCE...LESS THAN 30 PERCENT...OF TROPICAL CYCLONE DEVELOPMENT IN
THIS AREA DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS. THIS WILL BE THE LAST SPECIAL
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK ISSUED FOR THIS SYSTEM.

$$
FORECASTER BERG
2008. IKE
Quoting docrod:
000
ABNT20 KNHC 191233
TWOAT
SPECIAL TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
830 AM EDT TUE MAY 19 2009

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

SATELLITE IMAGES AND SURFACE OBSERVATIONS INDICATE THAT THE WEAK
AREA OF LOW PRESSURE LOCATED NEAR THE CENTRAL BAHAMAS IS BECOMING
ABSORBED BY A LARGER NON-TROPICAL LOW CENTERED OVER FLORIDA.
DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM NOW APPEARS UNLIKELY...AND THE AIR FORCE
RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT MISSION SCHEDULED FOR TODAY HAS
BEEN CANCELED. IN ADDITION...LITTLE DEVELOPMENT OF THE NON-TROPICAL
LOW OVER FLORIDA IS EXPECTED AS IT MOVES WESTWARD INTO THE GULF OF
MEXICO AT 10 MPH OVER THE NEXT DAY OR TWO. THERE IS A LOW
CHANCE...LESS THAN 30 PERCENT...OF TROPICAL CYCLONE DEVELOPMENT IN
THIS AREA DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS. THIS WILL BE THE LAST SPECIAL
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK ISSUED FOR THIS SYSTEM.

$$
FORECASTER BERG


Just as I suspected...bye-bye 90L.

GOM low has a chance. Whether it's classified or not, doesn't really matter.
Good Morning All.......Very complex weather pattern around Florida this morning....My guess?...The dominant low is clearly (on the loops) deepening just off-shore of SW Florida, but, I'm not so sure about any significant development (other than a wind/gradient/rainmaker) given the proximity to land/almost over land right now and the significant dry air being sucked in on the West side....However, it does look like it is breaking off from the Trof so steering currents, and, shear levels if it can maintain over water at some point will determine the outcome....The moist Atlantic side may "save it" vs, the very dry/cool Gulf side which may prevent it from developing into anything tropical......JMHO
Hello Everyone. I'm new, and I like to chase storms.

Windy here in Saint Petersburg, gusts
of 25-35 mph easily.
Morning all... No rain here in Ft Myers since around 6ish last night. 72 and muggy, and the clouds are pretty impressive to the north. Looks like they're working their way back south.
rainy,cool and a bit gusty 15-20mph here in srq this morning.......somethings brewing in the gulf!!!!....anyone have any guesses on docs next blog posts name???......."Chances of a STS effecting FL becoming more likely"....I think he'll go w/something along those lines....
2014. 21N71W
Morning All,
wow what a night here in the Turks and Caicos Islands: pouring rain for hours on end , lightning, thunder like you would not believe... flooding in some parts...
right now its a broad area of low pressure over the FL area,just as predicted...if it can consolodate and fully close off we'll have the first named storm of 09....for now have fun tracking the many mid-level swirls embeded in the ULL rainbands,can see it now:COC here,COC there,COC's everywhere...don't fall for it be paitent or you'll and up going crazy tracking MLL's,lol.....for atleast the next 24hrs its just wait and see(a wet and windy one at that)......
000
ABNT20 KNHC 191233
TWOAT
SPECIAL TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
830 AM EDT TUE MAY 19 2009

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

SATELLITE IMAGES AND SURFACE OBSERVATIONS INDICATE THAT THE WEAK
AREA OF LOW PRESSURE LOCATED NEAR THE CENTRAL BAHAMAS IS BECOMING
ABSORBED BY A LARGER NON-TROPICAL LOW CENTERED OVER FLORIDA.
DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM NOW APPEARS UNLIKELY...AND THE AIR FORCE
RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT MISSION SCHEDULED FOR TODAY HAS
BEEN CANCELED. IN ADDITION...LITTLE DEVELOPMENT OF THE NON-TROPICAL
LOW OVER FLORIDA IS EXPECTED AS IT MOVES WESTWARD INTO THE GULF OF
MEXICO AT 10 MPH OVER THE NEXT DAY OR TWO. THERE IS A LOW
CHANCE...LESS THAN 30 PERCENT...OF TROPICAL CYCLONE DEVELOPMENT IN
THIS AREA DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS. THIS WILL BE THE LAST SPECIAL
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK ISSUED FOR THIS SYSTEM.

$$
FORECASTER BERG


well well, one part down.
well Berg is a party pooper. Nice way to kill the blog! :)

Morning Storm!
Morning all

UN-METEOROLOGICAL - very nice nrti :~)lol

Looks like the mess is simply going to stay a mess...
2021. CeBas
Good Morning Everyone. I saw some loops of 90L and it looks like it's getting absorbed into the low over Florida, but it looks like a low redeveloped over the Florida Straits. I think the low over the Florida Straits will develop.
New Blog
Little spin coming off N. Colombian coast headed nw towards sw Caribbean not much but this is where June storms normally come from. All surface buoys around S. Fl. east and west are rising or neutral.
good morning everyone
Cloudy with breezy conditions
gusts up to 25 on the coast here in NC
NHC extended there cyclone development watch circle and it now covers all of the bahamas and parts of Florida
someone is using my account!!!Who the hell is using me account!!!
Quoting canesrule1:
I'll will try, just woke up still in the clouds:-)
WHO THE HELL ARE YOU TO BE USING MY ACCOUNT!!!