The area of disturbed weather affecting Panama and the surrounding ocean waters has changed little since Thursday afternoon. The are several clusters of intense thunderstorms, and some upper level outflow to their north, but no circulation center evident. The cloud pattern looks disorganized. About 10 - 20 knots of shear covers the area, which should prevent much in the way of development today and Saturday. By Sunday, wind shear levels are expected to drop and continue falling over most of the Caribbean as the strong upper-level westerly winds relax and move further north. This may allow a tropical depression to form as early as Sunday. The GFS and NOGAPS models favor development off the coast of Nicaragua early in the week, while the UKMET and Canadian models favor development near Puerto Rico later in the week.Figure 1.
GFS model forecast five days from now, showing a tropical storm with copious rainfall (bright green colors) forming near Nicaragua.
It is highly uncertain what land areas might be at risk if development does occur. The primary areas at risk would be Nicaragua, Honduras, Cuba, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Hispanolia, and Puerto Rico.
Some rainfall totals for the 24 hours ending at 10 pm Thursday night:
Limon, Costa Rica: 59 mm (2.32 inches)
Santiago, Panama: 83 mm (3.27 inches)
El Porvenir, Panama: 103 mm (4.06 inches)
I'll be back with an update Saturday morning.