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Tropics heating up

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 11:00 PM GMT on November 10, 2005

The persistent area of low pressure and storminess that has affected the ocean areas between Panama and Nicaragua has expanded today and become better organized. A weak circulation at mid levels of the atmosphere was evident on visible satellite imagery this afternoon, as was some upper-level outflow to the north. Intense thunderstorms now cover much of Panama and the surrounding ocean areas, and these storms will bring heavy rains to Panama and Costa Rica the next two days as they move westward at about 10 mph. Wind shear over the area is about 10 knots, which may allow some slow development over the next few days. The GFS computer model continues to show that early next week this area of disurbed weather may start to move slowly northward and develop into a tropical storm.


Figure 1. GFS model forecast seven days from now, showing a tropical storm with copious rainfall (bright green colors) forming in the south-central Caribbean Sea.

It is highly uncertain what land areas might be at risk if such a development does occur. The three main possibilities would be:

1) A track like Hurricane Beta into Nicaragua.

2) A track like Hurricane Michelle in 2001, which struck southern Cuba then passed northeastwards through the Bahamas.

3) A track like "Wrong-Way Lenny" of 1999, the only hurricane ever recorded that took an extended west-to-east path through the Caribbean.

Anything that works its way far enough north is going to get picked up and quickly recurved northeastward by one of the many troughs of low pressure migrating across North America. This means that except for a low threat to South Florida, the U.S. would not be at risk. Additionally, given that there has only ever been one storm knicknamed "Wrong-Way", the eastern Caribbean would probably not be at risk, either. I'll be able to spend my vacation in Puerto Rico next week at the beach, instead of taking shelter at the Internet Cafe and writing blog entries. The primary area at risk would be Nicaragua, Honduras, Cuba, Hispanolia, Jamaica, and the Cayman Islands.

I'll be back with an update tomorrow morning. Remember that the computer models are rather poor at forecasting tropical storm development, and nothing at all may develop next week. But given that this is the Hurricane Season of 2005, I'd give at least 50/50 odds we'll see a Tropical Storm Gamma by late next week in the central Caribbean.

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.

Reader Comments

Dr Masters, what do you think about the iwin web pages being discontinued? I am really going to miss them if they take them away. Link
Where does Dr. Masters get that GFS model? I went to the National Hurricance center's version and it does not look like that one.
dont tell me is there a chance of another devlopment
Dr. M, hope you have a great vacation and will not have the need to blog! Take some much needed rest with your family.
NO TO GAMMA!!!
I can see what the shear analysis says, but since late this aft it has looked to me like there is less than 10kts shear south of 10N right north of that bend of western Panama. That is where you're seeing some rotation isn't it (west of 80W).
Hi all is there anyone on here tonight???
Gamma what about possible Gamma next week?
Hi All,
What a trio of scenarios. Let's let it not be Gamma...
Just fade away you yucky blob, you...
cgables,
I think the same way >>> just fade away, we have had enough...
Dr. M, Your first time to PR? Beautiful island. I hope you see more than San Juan. Esp. more than a shelter or Internet Cafe! ::G::
We are still doing alot of clean-up here and there are still a number of folks w/out power... let alone the displaced people (10,000+) that are being bounced about from pillar to post while the authorities try to decide where to house them, and others who haven't left their condemned homes...
We don't need to be the only slim possibility on a potential Gamma hit parade... ugh...
taco, we are so shell-shocked here in So FL this would be the final insult, a REALLY late season hit...
I agree with you cgables, that would be just the end of it for me... I think we have had enough... Heck I am still waiting on my insurance to send me money to fix what I lost from Katrina...and I know no one in s fl needs anymore either...
CG, Taco.... and everyone......ditto.... what's left of our roof will not survive anything stron...... and TRY to get temp housing in Broward County????? LOL........has new meaning Lots of Luck...even though we don't have insurance money (yet) we're hiring a roofer tomorrow and giving him a deposit..... out of our pocket but I can't wait for them..
Hey Billsfan,
Be real careful about who you pay too, there has been alot of people lose there money that way...(just a thought) and I also agree with you I know we can't even have a strong storm either...
i like the iwin web pages i am on it all the time they can not do that
Back to the potential storm, no, I do not think it will develop into much. Too much dry air on the NW side (I like to think that the upper air moisture is a good key to development/direction, but that is just me).

Don't think this will be a Γ (that's an upper-case gamma for the non-greek collegians among us).
18. dcw
Math is getting really confusing. Sines of Alpha, Tangents of Beta, and now you're going to mess me up with a Gamma? :hate:
A spelling correction, Jeff:

nicknamed rather than knick-named . . .

Or did u do that on purpose?
we've all had enough storms...all of Fl lets hope Gamma Rays don't develop. however, we have had such a season...anything is possible. and without storms what will we blog about?
huh just honoring the holiday is that wrong or something
names not jeff is that your name
The circulaation looks to be over land right now. Will this one belong to the Atlantic or to the East Pacific if it develops? The signs look ambiguous to me.


All I have to say is "Please God, No".
Sweet...

From a meteorological (sp?) standpoint, at least!
Seen a post about a company claming to have reduced and changed Rita's path and intensity. I am outraged at this, be it true, who plays GOD. Hurricane's, unfortunatley damaging, cleanse the earth. The more crap we produce the bigger the storms get. You start to limit the storms they will not clean what they are supposed to. People choose to live in Hurricane Belts, you limit the earth's ability to cleanse itself we are all screwed.
ahhhhhhhh debate here tooo evrywere i go
hey progressive stop trying to be GOD and controlling the other people trying to be GOD
Hey theBlur, the storm they are THINKING will develop is early to mid next week, convection passing to the pacific right now will pass.
GFS is hinting on a comeback of that system, back into the carribian.
What you see in Dr. Masters post is Friday of next week. During that time "said system" is forcast to cross or almost to cross into the pacific. After that the GFS suggests that it will loop back to the carribian and travel N to NW. These Forcasts will not happen until next week so have a great weekend as will I, night all.
Taco... thanks for caution.. roofer came highly recommended and licnesed and insured.. it's scary though, hate having to make these decisions under such circumstances, however when you have mold growing indoors and no roof over your head, (or at least not much of one), these decisions must be made..
Death to tropical blobs. Death To Gamma. May the gods of wind shear tear you to pieces!