I was an AF aviation weather forecaster for 12 years, then 15 years as a dropsonde systems operator with the AF Reserve Hurricane Hunters.
By: Randy Bynon , 1:26 AM GMT on June 23, 2012
Things have been pretty quiet so far in the Atlantic after the early start. Hurricane Chris developed out over the open North Atlantic and stayed there without impacting land areas. Now we have Invest 96 in the Gulf to look at.
Let's take a look.....
In the Gulf of Mexico ......
Invest 96L is the news in the Gulf this weekend. 96L is actually a fairly large, broad area of low level circulation that is impacting most of the Gulf and the western Caribbean. Showers and thunderstorms are scattered from Central America and the Yucatan to western Cuba, the western Caribbean, and virtually all of Florida. The low level circulation covers nearly all the Gulf, and water vapor images show a fairly good upper level ridging pattern over the area. NHC reports that surface pressures are falling, and the system is becoming gradually better organized. Water temps in the Gulf are more than warm enough for development. Wind shear has been fairly high over the system for the last couple of days, but as the system moves northward into the central Gulf, shear should be somewhat less. While conditions aren't great for development, some development is possible.
The forecast for 96L is a bit problematic for the models at the moment. A lot depends on how well the system develops. Two basic scenarios emerge. One is the trough of low pressure in the Rockies picks the system up and drives it NE into N FL and into the Atlantic. The other is for the high pressure area over the southern plains to build eastward across the southeast US, preventing the trough from extending far enough south to pick up 96L and drive the system NW. I'm not placing any bets on the NE path for this system, but I also don't think it will have a lot of opportunity for development, so whatever makes it ashore should be little more than a rain event. For some parts of the Gulf Coast, that would be welcome. For some of us that have had a lot rain over the last week or so, not so much so. I'll keep on eye on the system as it progresses and update as needed here.
In the Caribbean .....
Most of the western Caribbean is dominated by the weather created by 96L and its broad circulation. The eastern Caribbean is enjoying quiet weather and hazy conditions as the result of a Saharan Air Layer that has moved into the region. I'll cover that more in the Atlantic discussion.
In the Atlantic ....
Most of the central and eastern Atlantic is under clear to partly cloudy skies with little in the way of weather. A fairly strong Saharan Air Layer is obvious on visible images as well as the Meteosat-9 SAL product covering a large part of the eastern Atlantic from the coast of Africa to the northeast Caribbean.
That broad circulation of 96L is impacting the weather over the western tropical Atlantic from the Bahamas to the GA coast. Another are of thunderstorms is seen associated with an upper level low 28N 68W with little movement to this low at the moment.
Have a great day!
The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.