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.

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