Average 20 year old weather nerd. Plymouth State University Meteorology, Class of 2018. Interning this summer at NWS Boston.
By: MAweatherboy1 , 1:00 AM GMT on June 22, 2012
I'm glad to be back here after a fun few days on Cape Cod! The Atlantic is active this evening, with former Hurricane Chris falling apart over the far northern Atlantic, and a new system coming together in the southern Gulf of Mexico. This disturbance, 96L, is being given a 70% chance of development in the next 48 hours by the National Hurricane Center. I put these odds slightly higher at 80% because of the favorable conditions 96L is in.
Figure 1: Invest 96L
Figure 1 shows that 96L is in a moist environment. It is also in a low shear environment. It is also over the warm seas of the Gulf of Mexico. This is a potentially dangerous situation if these ingredients combine like they could. 96L is a large distrurbance, so I believe the key to the forecast is how fast the system consolidates into a depression and storm. As usual, the models are all over the place, with both track and intensity. I think today's 12z Euro run is a pretty realistic scenario though.
Figure 2: 12z Euro run at 168 hours
An intensity like this seems realistic to me, with the track possibly being a little too far west. A track into far east Texas or western Louisiana seems likely to me, with the odds of impact on Florida and Alabama pretty low (though early 0z models have shifted east). Right now track forecasts aren't too important. Models will begin to come into agreement on track more when they come into agreement on intensity. Regarding intensity, here are three possible scenarios:
1. 96L takes a longer than expected time to consolidate because it is so large. It tracks along a higher shear path and peaks as a moderate tropical storm.
2. 96L develops in 24-36 hours from now and tracks through the favorable Gulf environment, steadily strengthening and peaking as a Cat 1 or 2 hurricane.
3. 96L develops faster than expected. It gets more time over favorable conditions as a developed cyclone and performs RI like some storms do in the Gulf. It peaks as a high end Cat 3 hurricane.
The bottom line right now is that a lot can and will change. Anyone on the Gulf coast, especially from Pensacola Florida to Corpus Christi Texas, should watch this storm closely as it could become a major threat. I will have more updates in the coming days. I could make more predictions now but it would be more guesswork than anything else, so I'll keep this one short and wait to make any big predictions.
Thank you as always for reading. This definitely isn't my best work since I've been gone a few days and haven't seen all the available information, but I think the main point was brought out okay, and that is that we finally have a real, threatening system to track! Enjoy the rest of your week!
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