Will devote this hurricane season to provide up-to-the-minute, basic information when a tropical system is threatening land. Both basins included.
By: hurricaneben , 10:19 PM GMT on August 21, 2014
Dry air has been strongly inhibiting much in the way of development in the past week, and this is set to change as Invest 96L approaches a more moist environment in the NE Caribbean. Model guidance has shifted significantly to the east since its initial runs, with the consensus now favoring a N/NE turn out to sea without making a direct hit on the CONUS. It is not a time to let your guard down though, as we've seen over the years, forecasts are subject to change with such volatile conditions and patterns in change. Increasingly lower shear and a relatively moist environment could favor a window of opportunity for development into a TD/TS, especially as it emerges into the waters off of Puerto Rico. Though the Continental United States might be wholly spared from the brunt of the rainfall and winds (if any circulation even manages to stay intact by that time), the Northern Lesser Antilles including the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico should take any precautions needed in the likely event of flash flooding.
Northern Lesser Antilles/Virgin Islands
Flash flood watches exist for all of Puerto Rico and a large swath of the US Virgin Islands, where they are anticipating widespread rainfall amounts of up to 6 inches (isolated pockets could pick up as high as 10 inches) which could amount into potentially dangerous flash flooding for low-lying areas. Whether or not this manages to spin up into a tropical cyclone beforehand, give it 12 to 36 hours. Heed any precautions or warnings from local officials in the event of imminent flash flooding in your area.
Future Of 96L
A general agreement is being reached by computer and ensemble models alike that a N/NE turn once in close proximity to The Bahamas. This morning, an outlier computer model hinted that the Florida Peninsula could suffer a direct blow as a legitimate tropical cyclone and that scenario appears to have been dropped. Varying pockets of low to moderate wind shear (5-25 knots) are scattered throughout the western Atlantic Ocean but the thinking is that conditions should generally be conducive for gradual intensification on its current track. If the consensus actually materializes, I anticipate that this peaks as a mid range to strong tropical storm, but no higher. My guess is 50-70 MPH peak sustained winds, likely once its nearing closest proximity to the North Carolina Outer Banks. On that note, one outlier computer model (LBAR) wants to take the system on a NW hook right into the Long Island/Manhattan Metropolitan Area, but likely as a weaker system. This does not look very plausible. The vast majority keeps it fairly offshore the US Eastern Seaboard, but interests in coastal North Carolina upwards should still keep tabs with future forecasts and updates in the unlikely event of a westward shift. NHC has the odds at 70% for TC formation in the next five days. Something to monitor for sure. I will provide an update (be it brief or in-depth) by Saturday, the latest.
The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.
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