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TD 5 may redevelop over Gulf of Mexico

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 2:30 PM GMT on August 15, 2010

The remnants of Tropical Depression Five are still spinning over southwestern Georgia, and the storm is headed southwards towards the Gulf of Mexico, where redevelopment into a tropical depression could occur by Tuesday. Latest long range radar out of Mobile, Alabama shows that a band of intense thunderstorms has developed over the northern Gulf of Mexico, and satellite imagery shows that this activity continues to intensify and expand in areal coverage. Most of the heavy rain is offshore, but I expect heavy rains will spread to the Florida Panhandle late this afternoon. These heavy rains will likely spread to coastal regions of Alabama, Mississippi, and Southeast Louisiana by Monday, as the center of ex-TD 5 approaches the coast and the storm begins to wind up again. By Tuesday, the GFS and HWRF models predict that the center will move off the coast, and TD 5 will be reborn again. The system may have enough time over water to become a weak tropical storm before making landfall Tuesday night or Wednesday morning over Southeast Louisiana. Wind shear is currently low, 5 - 10 knots, and is expected to remain low to moderate, 5 - 15 knots, over the next three days, favoring re-development of TD 5. NHC is giving a 20% chance that TD 5 will regenerate into a tropical depression by 8am EDT Tuesday. I think the odds are higher than this, perhaps 40%.

Figure 1. Morning satellite image of the remnants of TD 5.

Elsewhere in the tropics
All of the major models have been predicting a major pattern shift in the global atmosphere late this week, which leads to breakdown of the Russian heat wave and the start of the Cape Verdes hurricane season. The models have been consistently predicting a tropical storm will form off the coast of Africa late this week, and track west-northwestward across the Atlantic. As usual, it is highly uncertain what track a storm that has yet to form might take.

The NOGAPS model is predicting possible development of a tropical depression near the coast of Nicaragua or Honduras late this week.

Smoke envelops Moscow again
The favorable northerly winds that had blown in cooler air and kept smoke away from Moscow slackened today, as high pressure built in. The return of the high pressure ridge that has brought European Russia its worst heat wave in history means several more days of light and variable winds that will keep wildfire smoke over or near Moscow. Very hot weather at least 10°C (18°F) above average will also be rule, and temperatures at Moscow's Domodedovo airport hit 31°C (88°F) today. This is 11°C (20°F) above average. The latest forecast for Moscow calls for high temperatures near 30°C for the next five days. Long range forecasts from the ECMWF and GFS models continue to suggest that a series of troughs of low pressure will attack the ridge of high pressure anchored over Russia late this week, bringing an end to the Great Russian Heat Wave of 2010 by early next week.

Figure 2. Image from Friday by NASA's Aqua satellite showing smoke from wildfires burning to the southeast of Moscow. Northerly winds were keeping the smoke from blowing over the city. Image credit: NASA.

Donations urgently needed in Pakistan
The devastation wrought by the worst flooding in Pakistan's history requires a huge response by the international community. Wunderblogger Dr. Ricky Rood, author of our Climate Change Blog, has a friend working in Pakistan who underscored the desperate situation there:

This is the worst natural disaster in the history of Pakistan in terms of number of people and area affected. Although not as many people have been killed as in the 2005 earthquake, we have already nearly 900,000 displaced persons thus far just in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Crops are destroyed; shops, hotels, and other business have simply been swept away in Swat, which had just this year been cleared of Taliban and was on the way to recovery; and districts closer to Peshawar and parts of Peshawar district are still, or perhaps again after yesterday/today, under water. After the immediate emergency response, it will be years of rebuilding to replace what has been lost and to start to develop again. I know you have the power to control the weather, so if you cold give us a week or two without more rain at least we could keep the helicopters flying and give people a chance to go to their homes, recover what might still be there, set up tents if we can get enough to them, and start to clean up."

She gave the following recommendations for charities that do work in the flood-ravaged zone, and are effective at getting aid to those who need it the most:

Doctors Without Borders

The International Red Cross

MERLIN medical relief charity

The mobile giving service mGive allows one to text the word "SWAT" to 50555. The text will result in a $10 donation to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Pakistan Flood Relief Effort.

She mentioned that it is better to send money to the organizations doing the relief work than to try to organize shipments of goods.

Next update
I'll have an update Monday morning.

Jeff Masters


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