Sunday, June 1, 2014

1st Day of Hurricane Season, Something in the Gulf

As I mentioned on Saturday, there is an area of disturbed weather in the Gulf of Mexico, that could eventually impact Florida or the Gulf States.

The satellite imagery shows plenty of cloud cover extending from the Yucatan Peninsula , through Western Cuba, and almost reaching Western Florida.

The darker oranges and red colors on the sat pic illustrate the heavier rains.  For the time being this is all that is present within this weak area of low pressure.

At times you may be able to see a small spin in the middle of the Gulf.  This is what we will be watching for as far as development s concerned.

At the moment the pressure readings are pretty high (good) and the western side of that spin is cloud free (good).

If the pressure were to start dropping and the rain bands close off and surround the middle of the spin, then it would be a sign of organization.

So, today on the first day of hurricane season, NHC has issued their first formation potential graph on this area.

This is what they say:

An elongated and nearly stationary area of low pressure located over the Bay of Campeche extends northeastward into the south-central
Gulf of Mexico.

Although shower activity is currently disorganized, some slow development of this disturbance is possible this week as
environmental conditions become marginally conducive.

Chances for growth from NHC

  • Formation chance through 48 hours...low...near 0 percent
  • Formation chance through 5 days...low...20 percent

So what are those environmental conditions?
The recipe for a hurricane includes many ingredients. In this case the most important ones are: Water temps of 80 degrees or above and no strong upper winds to cut it the low down.

Lets check on the water temps:

The area of low pressure is sitting over waters with a reading between 27 and 28 degrees Celsius which is right at 80 degrees Fahrenheit or slightly above.  So at least here there is enough energy for it to grow. Warm waters are like jet fuel for these tropical entities… the warmer, the better for intensification.

Lets check whats happening directly above this feature:

The first thing we look for is the jet stream. This is a river of air in the upper levels of the atmosphere so strong, it cuts down the cloud tops of tropical systems and helps keep them in check.

Sunday through Monday, the jet remains well to our north.

This doesn't mean the low has an open door for growth,  it just means the jet will not be a big player in keeping the area of disturbed weather down.

The jet stream forecast will not change much
over the next 3-5 days.

So where is the low headed?
If we look at the map. the dashed line in the Gulf represents where the possible center of this weak low is situated.

Now look at the long lines also cutting diagonally across the Gulf, this is a huge dome of high pressure. This is like a big wall preventing the disturbance from moving east (for the moment).

It may take a few days for this road block to move east and allow the low to start making a move.  Where it will end up is still unclear.

I will wait for later model runs to determine that.

South Florida Worry Factor:  Low
As of this writing, what we may see is a better chance for rain as the associated moisture gets spun out in our direction.  Even if something were to develop, it may take 5 days for that to happen.  We'll stay on top of it.  Check back tomorrow for an update.