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 :
WEATHER CONDITIONS BEYOND WEDNESDAY WILL GREATLY DEPEND ON THEEVOLUTION AND TRACK OF THE SURFACE LOW CURRENTLY OVER THEWESTERN CARIBBEAN. MOST MODELS ARE NOW CONVERGING TOWARD ASIMILAR SOLUTION WITH ECMWF BEING THE MOST PERSISTENT IN BRINGING THISSYSTEM SLOWLY NORTH THROUGH EXTREME WESTERN CUBA BY LATETHURSDAY/EARLY FRIDAY AND INTO THE SOUTHEAST GULF OF MEX BY SATURDAY.IN DOING SO...ECMWF SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASES THE CHANCES FOR PRECIPACROSS SOUTH FLORIDA FRIDAY AND SATURDAY. GFS, LIKEWISE, INCREASES POPSFOR THIS PERIOD ALTHOUGH DOES NOT SEEM AS AGGRESSIVE AS THE ECMWF.CURRENT FORECAST CALLS FOR A MODESTINCREASE IN POPS FOR THIS PERIOD.THIS, HOWEVER, COULD INCREASE FURTHER IF THE MODELS CONTINUE WITH THISTREND.
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.