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Invest 94L bringing heavy rains; Bud finally strengthening

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 1:31 PM GMT on May 23, 2012

An area of disturbed weather in the Western Caribbean is bringing heavy rains to the Cayman Islands and Central Cuba. This disturbance was designated Invest 94L by NHC this morning. The disturbance is under a high 30 - 40 knots wind shear, according that the latest SHIPS model analysis. This high shear is not expected to diminish over the next few days, and 94L will have a tough time developing in the face of such high wind shear. The disturbance should move north-northeast across Cuba today and Thursday, bringing heavy rains to Cuba, South Florida, and the Bahamas. Miami received a hefty 9.7 inches of rain on Tuesday, a record for the date, and moisture streaming northeastwards from 94L today and Thursday will contribute to the widespread street flooding the city is experiencing. An areal flood watch has been posted for Miami, and an additional 1 - 2 inches of rain are expected today.

Figure 1. Morning satellite image of Invest 94L.

Tropical Storm Bud continues as a minimal-strength 40 mph storm this morning in the Eastern Pacific, ignoring seemingly favorable conditions for strengthening. However, recent satellite loops show a more organized appearance to the storm, with increased low-level spiral banding, so Bud may finally be responding to the favorable conditions for intensification--low wind shear of 5 - 10 knots and SSTs of 28 - 29°C. On Thursday and Friday, wind shear will rise to the moderate level, SSTs will cool, and total heat content of the waters will decline, which may limit Bud's potential to reach hurricane strength. Almost all of our reliable models are now forecasting that the trough of low pressure pulling Bud towards the coast of Mexico will not be strong enough to bring Bud ashore, and the storm could linger near the coast for several days. The potentially still exists for Bud to deluge the coast near Manzanillo with very heavy rains capable of triggering dangerous flash floods and mudslides on Friday and Saturday, but the delayed intensification of Bud is making this prospect look less likely.

Figure 2. Morning satellite image of Bud.

Jeff Masters


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