Atlantic Sat Image

Atlantic Sat Image
Clouds over Atlantic

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Holiday Weekend & Beyond

Mother nature always works in extremes, we've gone from too dry to soggy just like that. Now we are looking forward to celebrating our Nation's Independence along with a little R&R. So, will the weather cooperate?

The image below shows the cloud cover from Arlene moving away, while another line of clouds slowly descends over the Sunshine state.

That line of clouds over Florida, has some moisture with it and will provide a chance for storms for the start of the holiday weekend. So here is my thinking:

Saturday: Some lingering clouds with peeks of sunshine and highs in the low 90's. The possibility is there for numerous t-storms throughout the day.

Sunday: Things begin to improve as more sunshine moves in. Expect a typical summer day with plenty of heat and a chance of afternoon thunder.

Monday 4th of July! Seems like Mother Nature will cooperate with another typical summer day... sun, heat and some scattered t-storms.

The big change may come when you head back to work. Check out the image above, there is an area of clouds near the Lesser Antilles, this is a tropical wave. Long range models hint at this feature moving across South Florida between Tuesday & Thursday dumping more rain across the area.

There is an asterisk to the above, I hate forecasting waves because they can grow rather quickly or fall apart just as fast, so use that "Wet" forecast as a "possible" outlook.

Have a great Holiday Weekend !

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Arlene hitting Mexico

Arlene has a chance to grow into a hurricane before it makes landfall over Central Mexico on Thursday. It is getting better organized as upper winds relax, and it soaks up fuel from the warm Gulf waters.

A recon plane said Arlene is also slowing down and the center should come ashore sometime Thursday afternoon.

Arlene's heavy rains are already impacting Central Mexico. Local emergency officials are telling us that around 200,000 people would be hit with the worst the storm has to offer. On the image below you can see the storms outer bands pushing into the Country. Some rainfall totals could be as high as 12-15 inches, this will lead to land and mudslides. Our thoughts are with our friends and neighbors in Mexico.

Parts of central Mexico have been dealing with the worst drought in 70 years, this rain should help that situation.

Another concern is the oil refineries dotting the Mexican coast. These platforms supply the USA with crude oil, if the system gets any stronger, some of those structures could be damaged. I'll keep you posted.

Arlene Trouble-Maker

Mexico is in the middle of the worst drought they've had in 70 years... Arlene may provide some relief, but at a cost.

The first tropical storm in the Atlantic Basin for 2011 is poised to make landfall on Thursday on the Mexican Gulf coast. It will pound the area with wind gusts in excess of 5o mph, while just to the North of where it comes a shore, the sea will batter the region with big waves and a 1-2 foot surge, but this will not be the worst of will be the rain. There is a small chance Arlene could grow stronger as it approaches Mexico due to the warm waters it will be traveling over. Warm water is the gasoline for these tropical engines.

Arlene, may drop anywhere between 4 to 8 inches on the parched Mexican soil with most of it coming down across the states of Tamaulipas, Veracruz, and Eastern San Luis Potosi. Inland mountainous regions may get up to 12 inches or more. This may lead to Flash floods which in turn could cause land and mudslides . With little time to prepare or evacuate, this heavy rain will probably take a human toll on the region, I wish them well.

South Florida has already seen indirect impacts from Arlene in the form of rain and we will see more at least through Thursday.

Plenty of moisture from Arlene is being pulled here by strong upper level winds which may keep us soggy till the end of the week.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

First Tropical Storm

Tropical Storm Arlene formed in the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday evening. High pressure to the North will continue to push it West making landfall across Eastern Mexico sometime on Thursday. Even though models show it will stay as a tropical storm when it moves inland, there is a small possibility it could grow to a Cat 1 just before landfall.

There is plenty of moisture associated with this system. Most models hint at some of that rain moving here on Wednesday.

As far as Arlene is concerned, it could be just what Mexico needed. They are in the middle of the worst drought in over 70 years. They can expect 4-6 inches of rain maybe even 12 inches across the mountains. This is good, but it could cause land and mud slides as well as coastal flooding. Hoping for the best for them.

I'll bring you the latest as warranted.

Closer to a depression

Hurricane hunters flying inside INVEST 95L in the Southern Gulf have detected a low level circulation, but not enough t-storms to classify it as a depression.

NHC however, is upping the chances for development from 50% to 90% that it could become our first depression at any time. We will be tracking the data and reporting as it warrants.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Two areas Update

Recon plane en route to Invest 95L. About 100 miles removed from New Orleans LA.

Still watching two areas in the tropics. one in the Gulf, and the other over Hispaniola in the Caribbean. We begin with the activity in the Gulf of Mexico.

There is a broad area of low pressure at 20N 93W, over the Bay of Campeche, trying to get its act together. It is roughly 212 miles East of Veracruz, Mexico. As of this update, NHC is giving it a 50% chance it could grow stronger during the next two days. The lowest pressure reading so far is 1007 mb.

Very strong upper level winds are keeping it in check, but over the next 24-48 hours, those winds will relax giving this feature a chance to become a depression. It is also sitting over very warm water and this too should provide fuel for its tropical engine.

If it does become a depression, most models take it towards Central Mexico. Some of the moisture associated with this broad low may splinter away and head to Texas where they are under an extreme drought, any rain there will be welcomed.

Here in South Florida we too may get some of that moisture in the mid to upper levels of the atmosphere which could translate into a good chance for rain through Wednesday. Our main rain-maker, however, should be the beach breeze pushing rain inland. We too are still in need of rain.

Meanwhile, over in Hispaniola, a tropical wave is making its way West. It will continue to dump rainfall over Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Haiti. As of this moment, conditions are not favorable for development.

This is what the local NWS office in San Juan is telling us regarding the next 24 hours:


The weather offices out of Dominican Republic and Haiti are also expecting plenty of rain. If indeed heavy rainfall does occur, the threat for flash floods, land and mudslides will be present. We will be watching all this activity and reporting back if anything changes.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

We are in trouble

If we don't get considerable rain soon, some serious water restrictions may go into effect. We are beyond dry. The NWS is now saying that northern Miami Dade, all of Broward and Palm Beach counties are under "Exceptional Drought" status.

Since Oct 2010, Miami is running a rain deficit of over 13 inches, Ft.Lauderdale is almost at 26 inches , and since January 1st, Key West is under 8 inches.

All this lack of moisture and dry terrain is the perfect recipe for more fires. Even when the rains return, it will take awhile for us to get back to normal. The first few weeks of storms will cause more wildfires due to lightning strikes.

I hate to say it, but we need a tropical system to hit us. No, not a hurricane, but something along the lines of a tropical wave or depression loaded with plenty of rain to help snap us out of this crisis.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Wrong Forecast (I hope)

We are in desperate need of rain. South Florida is in the middle of an extreme drought and a huge fire has consumed thousands of acres in Central Miami Dade. A good soaking would be just what the doctor ordered... yet it may not happen.

There is plenty of rain over Cuba and the Bahamas but it is running into a series of road blocks.
  • First: A huge high pressure system has been sitting over the southeast for weeks , keeping the region hot and steamy. It's also blocking all the rain to our southeast and keeping us under a strong and steady easterly breeze.
This is very typical of a La Nina year. La Nina, as you know, is a cooling of the Equatorial waters of the Pacific Ocean. It impacts ocean and wind currents all over the world. NWS says La Nina just ended, but the "High" remains parked, keeping us dry.
  • Second: Strong upper level winds moving West to East across Florida are also acting as a huge impasse for the rain .

Unless the rain can by-pass these detours, we may not see any rain this weekend. It's too bad, our plants needed it, our lakes, our water supply..... everything needs it.

No weather person wants to be wrong ( heaven knows we have our share of blown forecasts) , but this time I hope to be completely, not even near the ballpark, kind of wrong. Rain, please, come on down!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Turn out the lights

That big rain-maker in the Caribbean has all but fizzled out. Folks throughout the islands are happy to see it go the way of the dodo. NHC is giving it a "0%", yes zero percent chance, that it could roar back to live.

So what is left? Plenty of lingering moisture that could still impact Jamaica, Cuba, and Haiti. We could use some of that, but with each passing moment, it is looking less and less likely that we will see any of that deep tropical rain here.

Models are now hinting at between 20-30% chance of showers for us starting on Thursday. That chance may get lower as we near the weekend.

This low was like a first date, filled with anticipation and excitement, only to end in disappointment. Your prospective other ends up leaving with your best friend's phone number and you with the bill.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Window may have closed

SLAM! Did you hear that? That was the sound made by mother nature shutting the "window of opportunity" for this low to grow stronger. The tropical low in the Caribbean is falling apart as strong upper level winds invade from the northwest. NHC has dropped its chances for development to just 10%.

Here is the latest:

LAT: 17.8 N LON: 81.6 W or about 100 miles SW of Grand Cayman

Winds: 25 mph

Pressure: 1007 mb

Moving: Stationary

The rain is being dragged away from this elongated area of low pressure and pushed east over Jamaica, Cuba, Hispaniola and Puerto Rico. All these areas are under flood advisories of some type as heavy rains continue to plague them.

Haiti reports 23 dead from flooding. Jamaica claims one death due to the rain, and two fatalities are being reported in the Dominican Republic.

The models still do not have a firm handle on where this invest may go. Some push it into the Atlantic while others take it into the Gulf of Mexico. A Gulf track would be beneficial for us as it could provide for some much needed rain.

I do believe the same strong upper winds weakening the low, are also pushing the rain away. We would be very lucky if we got anything in the form of showers here by the end of the week. I think mother nature may be shutting the door on this opportunity as well... cover your ears.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Tropical Soap Opera

Remember when you would watch your favorite soap for months, then, you would skip it for about a year and a half and when tuned back in, nothing would have changed? Well, welcome to "As 94 L Spins".

This broad area of low pressure looks a little better this afternoon with most t-storms trying to develop around the poorly organized center. It has drifted somewhat to the west but remains more or less where it has been since last week... in the Caribbean Sea.

The latest:

  • LAT: 18.0 N LON: 82.0 W , or about 125 miles south southwest of Grand Cayman Island.

  • Winds remain at around 30 mph and is still just over 600 miles removed from South Florida.

  • A line of clouds extends from here to Atlantic Ocean.

  • NHC has scheduled a recon flight for Tuesday.

  • They have lowered its chances for developing from 50% to 40%

The Satellite Picture below shows the amount of moisture in the mid to upper levels of the atmosphere, and there is plenty of it. Heavy rain can be expected from Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, and even Puerto Rico. This will lead to flooding, land and mudslides that could lead to loss of life.


For awhile over the weekend, the models hinted at a course towards Cuba and then the Gulf Mexico. The latest runs now fan out the possible tracks. Anytime you see this fanning effect, it basically means the models really do not have a handle on where the system may go.

Conditions in the atmosphere are still good for this low to develop, but that window of opportunity is closing. If it doesn't intensify within 24 hours, upper level winds grow stronger and will provide wind shear keeping it in check. It would be wonderful if we got a tropical drenching without the worry of a depression or storm hitting us but even that may be for another episode. This is what NWS is saying:


So all we can do is follow the leading actors in this Mother Nature production and see what develops.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Watching and waiting

We all love texting, on-demand TV viewing, all night fast food drive-thrus, and everything else that can be done instantly on our schedule Someone forgot to e-mail Mother Nature. She is on her own time frame and will do what she wants when she wants. Case and point, INVEST 94L in the Caribbean.

This broad area of low pressure has been spinning close to Jamaica now for 4-5 days and may stay there just as long.

Many of you have asked me the meaning of "Invest". It's short for investigate. This classification is given to any feature in the Atlantic Basin that NHC would like to INVESTigate further. It allows them to INVEST more time, effort and resources into any "suspect area", far beyond satellite monitoring. They can even schedule a recon flight if need be. Every year they start with the number 90 and move up as needed, and the "L" stands for Atlantic Ocean.

INVEST 94L is meandering just South of Jamaica, about 175 miles W/SW of Kingston or just over 600 miles from South Florida. LAT: 16.8 N - LON: 79.6 W. Its winds have picked up to around 30 mph, strong enough to be classified as a Tropical Depression, and t-storms are brewing mostly to the east and northeast of its broad center of circulation. The pressure now stands at 1007mb. It appears to be getting a more classic cyclonic shape.

The image below shows the amount of available moisture in the mid to upper levels of the atmosphere.

The deep colors show the potential for heavy rain. These tropical downpours have been impacting Eastern Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic and even Puerto Rico. It looks very impressive and this rain is sure to cause flooding, land and mud slides that could lead to loss of life. There is also some dry air filtering in from the west, if the low can overcome this, it may get stronger. 
Where is it headed?
Here's our "Fast food" moment. Trouble is... we really aren't that sure.  Most likely it will stay where it is for another 3-5 days. It may get to be a depression if it continues to develop thunderstorms around its center. It certainly has enough fuel to draw from as it sits over the warm waters of the Caribbean.
It now appears, however, that upper level winds will become  a tad more hostile in the days ahead and that could keep it in check so its window for growth may be limited.
NHC keeps its chances for development at 40% . A recon plane is scheduled for Monday afternoon.

The models are starting to get  a better handle on this system. Earlier forecast paths were all over the place, from the Atlantic to the Gulf, now it seems most take it into the Gulf of Mexico.
The local NWS forecast office is phrasing it this way :
They are thinking that at least some of the rain associated with this low may make it here sometime late during the work week. It would be wonderful if all we received was rain. We are dry and could use a tropical drenching. So set your Tivo and wait for Mother Nature to figure out what she wants.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Funny Feeling

A broad area of low pressure has been sitting over the Caribbean now for almost three days. It is slowly getting its act together and may get better organized over the weekend.

You can see the cloud cover on the sat image above, it covers most of the islands from Jamaica, through Hispaniola, and even Puerto Rico. Even if it doesn't develop, it will dump plenty of rain over the area leading to flooding, land, and mud slides.

This low has been kept in check by strong upper level winds pushing from west to east, but over the last 24 hours these winds have been relaxing. This will give the low some wiggle room to get its act together.

The heavy rain will be the biggest worry over the next 48 hours. The image below shows the advisories in effect for the region. Some places could get as much as 2-5 inches.

Here is my thinking for the next 5 days:

  • As the upper winds weaken, the low will get its act together

  • Steering winds will be light so the low will get stuck where it is right now dumping plenty of rain.

  • With very warm Caribbean Sea temps, there is enough fuel there for further growth.

  • By early next week, the low may be just South of Cuba, pushing some rain our way.

If the above happens, we could get a good (and much needed ) tropical drenching starting around mid-week. The worry will then be, (and here's my funny feeling ) if the low continues to grow what happens next. Some long range models push it towards the eastern Bahamas, while others keep it near our area. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Caribbean Rain

Living in South Florida we all have family or know of someone who lives in the Caribbean. The weather pattern developing over that area will be a worry for the folks who live in the region.

Over the last few days we've been following two areas of disturbed weather, now one, could turn out to be a trouble maker for the islands.

On the sat image above, there is a huge blob of clouds and rain over the Central Caribbean Sea. It is trapped there by strong upper level winds to the northwest and a surface high to the east. Because it is moving so slow it will continue to soak up heat energy from the warm Caribbean waters as well as plenty of moisture.

This broad area of low pressure will send heavy rain to Jamaica, Eastern Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico in the days ahead. The heavy rain could lead to flooding, land and mudslides across many regions still reeling from last year's devastating tropical downpours.

The same features that are trapping the low are also keeping it in check and not allowing it to grow. It could be a different story once the high and the strong winds ease up. The low will then have a chance to pick up strength and maybe reach depression status early next week.

Will it still be close to the islands? Too early to tell. We'll just have to watch it, regardless, this low will cause allot of headaches for our neighbors to the south.

Closer to home, another low pressure area moved over Central Florida on Wednesday, dumping some beneficial rain for them. That is exactly what the state needed as we are in a severe drought. We should be so lucky if we were to get a good tropical soaking without the worries of a depression or tropical storm.

Right now the area is over the Gulf of Mexico pushing west with a near zero percent chance for growth. We hope it will remain this low.

If you like cool satellite pictures as much as I do, check out this link from NASA showing the low as it developed near the Carolinas, went through Central Florida and now rests in the Gulf.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Plenty of action on opening day

Wednesday marks the start of hurricane season and regardless how active storm experts predict this season will be, it only takes one. Prepare accordingly and you will make it through another year.

We kick off the 2011 season with a variety of items. If you notice the LIVE satellite image above, you will see a small cluster of clouds southeast of Jacksonville. The folks at the National Hurricane Center are giving it about a 30% chance that it could grow into a depression.

  • It does have a few things going for it. It is feeding off the Gulf Stream current, getting energy to grow, while at the same time, conditions in the atmosphere are somewhat conducive for further intensification.
  • It also has some other features working against it. It is relatively close to land so it may not have enough time to grow stronger . There is also a stubborn East Coast high pressure system that is set on pushing it inland rather quickly.

If it continues moving southwest into Northern Florida and stays weak, it could provide for some beneficial and much needed rain there. However, if it makes it into the Gulf of Mexico, that could be another mater entirely, with the possibility of growing stronger and threatening the Gulf States, from Texas to Alabama.

Now lets look at the Caribbean Sea. The view here is a tad more complex.
  1. Broad area of low pressure near Panama
  2. Tropical wave to the North of Colombia
  3. A narrow and elongated area of low pressure extending over Jamaica, Eastern Cuba, and Hispaniola.
  4. Another area of low pressure developing in the Eastern Caribbean Sea just south of Puerto Rico.
This is typical activity this early in the season. If anything were to spawn in June it would normally happen here or in the Gulf as these waters warm up the fastest.

Everything in the Caribbean basin is trapped by the Bermuda high to the Northeast, in the Atlantic Ocean ,and strong upper level winds blowing through in the Gulf of Mexico.

This road block will keep things interesting for a few more days.
  • The low near Panama will get fed more moisture by the incoming wave north of Colombia.
  • The line of clouds and rain from Jamaica through Hispaniola will add more moisture to the equation dumping plenty of rain over these islands. You may recall Haiti suffered serious flooding last year from tropical systems.
  • Finally, the emerging low south of Puerto Rico could be a worry for the entire region early next week.
What I see happening is the Bermuda high weakening and moving east, opening a road in the atmosphere if you will. The jet stream over the Gulf of Mexico should then push much of the cloud cover and rain towards Jamaica, Cuba, and Hispaniola adding to their misery.

South Florida needs plenty of rain and a tropical drenching could be what the doctor ordered, but as of now we may get bypassed altogether. I'll be watching everything carefully in the days ahead.