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Matthew continues to be the big story today as he is producing massive amounts of rainfall and flooding across central America. The system is now decoupled with the mid-level center heading westward while the surface center is over the Gulf of Honduras but about to move inland over Belize. This will likely die inland as the shortwave coming into the central US has not dug in enough to tug this north yet.
One can see the arc of clouds extending east of Matthew out towards the tip of Honduras and Nicaragua as the monsoonal jet continue to come into Nicaragua. This extended envelope of low pressure is likely where we will see the reformation of a surface low during the next several days that will probably be named Nicole, though it will be odd considering she will be within the same monsoonal circulation as Matthew.
This reformed system will then get drawn north by the upper trough towards Cuba and Florida, and again the track cannot be nailed down until we see where the storm forms, but the general idea remains that the gulf coast from New Orleans eastward is the main threat zone with this. Intensity is also something that will have to be worked out later, but moderating factors in the Gulf of Mexico will likely be wind shear and dry air. The farther east the storm tracks, the better off it will likely be. We could be seeing just a moderate tropical storm or a potent hurricane, depending on how things shape up.
The 6z run of the GFS was concerning for many as it turned the storm westward across the northern gulf towards Texas and Mexico. The reason for this is that the model brought the storm up so late that the trough lifted out and the ridge built back in over the top and directed the storm westward underneath. Given that we now likely have to deal with a 2nd development after Matthew and the time line is being shifted later, it is entirely possible that this kind of situation could happen, but I still feel that the eastern gulf is the most threatened from this. However, as I have said, the western gulf shouldn't let their guard down because all it takes is a few days where one of these troughs lifts out, the ridge builds back in, and if you have a storm coming up then it could aim for the western gulf, even though the pattern is more favorable for eastern gulf landfalls.
Beyond Matthew and/or Nicole we will likely see another system try to spin up in the Caribbean quickly after the first storm moves out, and again the pattern will favor high activity in the SW Atlantic Basin throughout most of October, and such activity will almost always threaten land, including the United States. Hopefully we get lucky and sneak away without a big hit, but chances are one of these storms will be a major one and somebody will get smacked before the season is over.
We shall see what happens!
Tropical Storm Matthew Visible/IR2 Satellite (click image for loop):
Tropical Storm Matthew Track Models:
Caribbean/East Pacific Visible/IR2 Satellite (click image for loop):
Central Atlantic Visible/IR2 Satellite (click image for loop):
Atlantic Tropical Surface Analysis:
200mb Vertical Velocity (green areas represent upward motion associated with the MJO):
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