To no one's surprise, the Air Force hurricane hunters found Tropical Depression Six in the Bahama Islands. The 4:30pm EDT report noted maximum winds of 48 kt at the 5,000 foot flight level altitude, which is good enough for tropical storm status, but the Hurricane Center has reasonably decided to wait a few hours to see if the convection continues to build before giving Tropical Depression Six a name. Convection has continued to build the past hour--particularly on the east side and in the 10 mile diameter ring surrounding the center. A new center report came in at 6:40 pm with a pressure fall down to 1009 mb, so I expect with the 8pm intermediate advisory this storm will have a name--Franklin. The sixth named storm of this ridiculous hurricane season.
Upper level outflow is good in all quadrants over TD 6 except the southwest, where winds from the outflow that has formed over the strong tropical wave in the Caribbean are interfering. TD 6 has a cloud-free center apparent on satellite imagery that makes the storm look much stronger than it really is. The Hurricane Hunters noted that the center had a nice circular radar presentation. The storm is over warm 29C water, and there is light wind shear over it, so it would be no surprise if this became a hurricane in two or three days. The track is problematic, since the steering currents are weak and the storm is still in the formative stages. We'll have a better idea where the storm is headed tomorrow morning once the 00Z (8pm EDT) model runs finish.
The tropical wave in the Caribbean southwest of Jamaica is much larger than TD 6. QuikSCAT
from this area show tropical storm force winds, but no evidence of a closed circulation. The wind shear over the wave is expected to relax over the next two days, and both the Hurricane Center and the GFS model point to the possibility that this may become Tropical Storm Gert once it crosses into the Gulf of Mexico Saturday. The GFS model keeps the storm moving WNW and into the Mexican coast on Sunday, south of where Emily made landfall.
Once again, we are having trouble with the blogging software, my previous entry got wiped out. Please bear with us as we solidify the blogging software over the next few days.
Dr. Jeff Masters