Tropical Depression #5

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Tropical Depression #5 formed today, and nearly all of the models agree on this becoming Tropical Storm Ernesto and entering the Gulf of Mexico over the next 5 days.

Early indications are that this storm will enter the Gulf of Mexico, possibly weaken then re-intensify once in the Gulf. There is some significant shear to the north of the storm, but it is expect to move west ahead of the storm, possibly reducing any impact.

All areas in the Gulf of Mexico should monitor this storm carefully. Early estimates (guesses in fact) would put this storm making final landfall somewhere between north Mexico, Texas, and Louisiana. There is an outside chance that the storm could recurve north and pose a threat to the Mississippi/Alabama coastal areas, or with a hard turn east, the Florida Panhandle. Now I know how that sounds, “so the storm could hit anywhere from Mexico to Florida…” Texas being the likely candidate right now, but the following line is very true:

At this point, it is much too soon to make landfall predictions.

There is also a good chance that the storm could beat itself to death over eastern Cuba which is a very mountainous terrain, or dip further south and crash into the Yukitan Peninsula before emerging into the gulf.

The next NHC advisory is at 11pm EDT, and barring a special advisory prior to that time, I’ll update this blog later tonight or Friday morning.

Elsewhere, Tropical Storm Debby is chugging along and is forecast to become Hurricane Debby in the next couple of days. Debby only poses a threat to shipping lanes and will eventually spin out in the north/central Atlantic.

Tropical Storm Debby

The Tropical Depression moving off the Cape Verde Islands has become Tropical Storm Debby. Most of the models have the system recurving to the north and basically going to play with all of the fish in the North/Central Atlantic Ocean. I do not feel, at this point, that this Tropical Storm poses a threat to U.S. interests.

The graphic to the right shows the expected path and intensity, courtesy of Skeetobite Weather and data from the National Hurricane Center.

Of more concern to me is DISTURBANCE INVEST (AL972006), which is near the Carribean Islands. If, and that is a big if, this system does develop, it could pose a threat to areas from Eastern Florida to the Gulf of Mexico. This will be one to be watched.

Now, before I go into the next part, please understand that the chances of the following are remote, but in my opinion, presents the highest risk of potential tropical conditions for our area.

There are models showing a Low Pressure System forming by this weekend in the Gulf of Mexico that could reach tropical conditions affecting areas from the Alabama/Mississippi border to Panama City, Florida. What is funny is that right now, it does not exist. However, conditions could be ripe for development and if that does happen, it would have the potential to pose a threat to the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area.

I should have a better idea of this potential either Wednesday night or Thursday.

I am adding my usual disclaimer to this entry as I feel that with the increased tropical activity we will probably be seeing some sort of threat over the next 3 weeks, if not sooner.

THESE UPDATES AND ADVISORIES ARE UNOFFICIAL. They are based upon information from our own computer models, the NOAA Hurricane Predictions Center and their local weather stations and buoys, plus OFFICIAL press releases from local and State Government offices in the affected areas. For COMPLETE and OFFICIAL UPDATES, please monitor your local Emergency Government Broadcasts on local radio and TV and follow their instructions to the letter. Do not make personal safety decisions based upon the information that is provided here.

Tropical Depression Four

TD #4 is looking pretty strong, and the NHC has the possibility of a Hurricane Debby in the next 12 hours.

This storm is tracking more westward than initially thought, and could pose a threat to the Lower Antilles. As far as the GoM is concerned, I am not sure it can make it, however, there is a “disturbance” in the Caribbean Islands that could form up later this week, hence my though that by this weekend we have an outside possibility of a tropical system in the Gulf.

In any case, all of these systems are a long way from here, and we are still looking good in terms of avoiding a strike for the present time.

The tropical waves continue to roll off of the African Coast, and we are seeing increasingly favorable conditions for development on our stretch of the beach. As we have discussed, the lull appears to be over and I feel that we will be seeing several systems spin up over the next 8 weeks.

I will provide additional updates tomorrow and as conditions warrant.

Topical Update – 3 Atlantic Waves

There are three tropical waves rolling around right now. All COULD develop, and all three face significant trouble in development.

Invest 92L – Caribbean Sea
This one still looks decidedly ill, but does have some room for slow development over the next few days. Shear and dry air remain it’s biggest challenge, and at this point it is facing an uphill battle.

Invest 93L – East of Florida
This one looks to be pure confusion as different models have it going every which way. Regardless of where this wave goes, it is still facing a battle for development, and most likely if it does attain Tropical Storm status, the focus will be from Florida to North Carolina.

Invest 94L – Cape Verde Islands
Our two friends are still with us and posing a threat to this wave: Shear and Dry Air, but this one is large, and has plenty of running room. Definitely one to watch, however, there is a strong chance that even if it did develop, it would stay out to sea.

In short, we have some potential for development over the next week, and none of the three waves seem to have a better shot than any of the others at developing. As always, we will watch and wait.

Sleep well…

The tropics are very quiet right now. The remnants of T.S. Chris are still lingering, but at this point there is no sign of convection. There is an Invest near the Carribean, but at this point, any development would be severely curtailed by the ULL and shear.

So for today, and quite possibly the next few days, the tropics in the Atlantic remain as quiet as could be wished for.

There are systems that the professionals and even little ol’ me will be watching, but for now the most eventful thing in the Gulf of Mexico as it pertains to us remains a very silly toddler I saw running from the waves at the Orange Beach pavilion and giggling like all get out. Her laughter filled the air as she played in the waves and spray. One wave rolled her over, and her mother’s eyes were as large as saucers, but as even as many on that part of the beach became concerned that the noises coming from her were from fear, we realized that she was laughing so hard that she could barely catch her breath.

This is the Paradise Island that we all know and love.

T.S. Chris weakening fast

Chris lost his battle with the shear and ULL, and now will probably weaken to a Tropical Depression this evening. While there is always a chance that he could “spin back up” in the Gulf, indications now are that he will dissipate.

However, the next 24 hours could be dramatic if some of the factors weaken Chris change.

Elsewhere the Atlantic is fairly quiet, there is a wave near the Cape Verde islands, but this time of year it seems like there is always a wave coming off the coast of Africa.

I’ll continue monitoring Chris and update as needed, but at this time, it looks like the three factors in my earlier posting are doing a nice job of killing his potential for growth.

Topical Storm Chris – 8/1/06

As you know, we now have Tropical Storm Chris. Initial tracks show this storm being a possible threat to southern Florida. This storm formed out of a tropical wave that is impressive in it’s resistance to the shear and dry air that has been combating it all week.

For now, it is a small, compact storm like Dennis of last year. I do not see enough steering currents to keep it out of the gulf at this moment, but it could beat itself to death over the islands and possibly southern Florida.

This will be an interesting storm to watch, especially that if it can survive long enough to make it to the fertile waters of the Gulf of Mexico, some “explosive” strengthening seems to be a certainty.

Some models are showing a long term path similar to storms we had last year, but I feel it is much to soon to start worrying in the Gulf Coast region. Chris has his plate full with:

1) Shear
2) Dry Air
3) Possible Land Masses

Having said that, those with interest in Southern Florida should begin preparations for the possibility of tropical storm to (remote at this point) hurricane conditions.

Sadly, for the first time THIS season, I must encourage all readers to take heed of the following statement:

THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL ADVISORY. These updates and advisories are based upon information from our own computer models, NOAA, Local Weather Data Centers, deep water Buoy Data, and other publicly available sources. FOR THE SAFETY OF YOUR PROPERTY AND PERSON, please refer to your Local, State, and Federal Authority updates for Official Advisories and Orders. For up to the minute advisories and official updates, it is essential that you monitor your local Emergency Government, NOAA and Local Media Broadcasts. Please do not make personal safety decisions based upon information presented here in this Unofficial Advisory.

Compared to last year…

We are off to a great start. By this time last year, we had already endured Dennis and were staring down the barrell of more storms.

For reference, the following are the names and landfalls (if any) for this year:

Alberto (Tropical Storm – U.S. Florida)
Beryl (Tropical Storm – U.S. NE Seaboard)
Chris (Tropical Storm – UNKNOWN)

None of the names sound all that terrible, except maybe Rafael, then again, the name Katrina did not exactly inspire fear until her power was known (see the blog entry Katrina).

The next week looks to be pretty quiet in the tropics, as development is not expected.

Beryl – Update 7/19/2006

Beryl (Pronounced like BERLE) is slowly intensifying. Winds are at roughly 50mph and the storm looks as if it could threaten areas between Cape Cod/Martha’s Vineyard Mass., up to New York city.

Still, not much more intensification is expected, but earlier confidence that this storm would simply go out to sea is now fading.

Tropical Storm Beryl

In what proved to be a surprise to me, T.S. Beryl formed out of the sub-tropical low. Beryl picked up steam today, and could possibly make it to Catagory One status.

Beryl is looking better than Alberto was, but is facing an uphill battle in terms of strenghening. Most models have Beryl, at best, giving the east coast a glancing nod before rushing out to sea to play with the fishes.

Other developments are slow, there remains a wave near the Cape Verde islands that could develop, and some disorganization near the Bahamas. Neither of those is expected to develop over the next few days as shear remains strong.

I still maintain that this year should be another strong year, but it is shaping up to more closely resemble 2004’s season as opposed to the craziness of last year.

For us, in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, things are calm. Scattered thundershowers remain in our forecast, but no significant activity in the near future.

I will expect more Gulf of Mexico systems to spin up in August, and through the fall.

Information from the ground in the Gulf Shores area.