Sunday, August 19, 2012

Invest 94 Poses Serious Threat To Gulf of Mexico

I have looked at a lot of data this evening and have come to the conclusion that the Gulf of Mexico is indeed at risk from Invest 94, soon to be Tropical cyclone Isaac.

Above is the steering flow at 250-850mb. The steering flow is like seeing a current of water in a sink take a small object and move it around within that current's reach. The steering flow shows where storms may go by identifying wind patterns at different levels of the atmosphere.
In the above chart, we recognize Invest 94 at 40W in longitude, and is shown as a blob of yellow and orange. At the moment, this is not the ideal chart, but if/when rapid strengthening occurs, this is the chart that model forecasts indicate should be used.
If we were to use this to give a rough estimate on the possible track of Invest 94, I could easily see it drifting west and following the band of winds that cuts through the Caribbean. However, the system would likely stay north of the full extent of the current, opting to enter the northern Caribbean and continue west, as model guidance is in agreement with at this time.

This map is the 0 hour analysis (not a forecast) of the Atlantic Ocean in the 500mb heights, with added MSLP. We can see Hurricane Gordon to the upper right corner of the image, which is moving towards Europe. But notice the massive high pressure regime in place across the Atlantic. This is a primary reason why I believe the new model trend of westward motion is right and why the Gulf of Mexico is at risk.
As many of you know, high pressure systems spin winds in a clockwise formation, while low pressure systems go counter-clockwise. This clockwise motion of winds would keep Invest 94 in the southern part of the Atlantic and move it towards the Caribbean. Typically, we will see a a few cracks in between high pressure systems, and these cracks will shoot the invest north. However, now that there are multiple high pressure systems, there are next to no cracks for the system to break through and move north.

I am having a feeling that the Gulf of Mexico is indeed at risk on this. I have not had much success with when I use my instinct on weather events like this, but current and forecast atmospheric conditions, combined with the strength and steering flow of the system tells me that a westward motion will continue with this system, and westward enough to put the Gulf of Mexico on alert.

I decided to run the Tropical Cyclone Forecasting (TCF) Model for Invest 94 at this time, only for track and not intensity.
You can find the TCF's Home page by clicking here.

TCF 7:00 PM Run

GFS Smashes Hurricane into Texas in Late August

The latest 12z GFS is projecting a landfall of a hurricane right into downtown Houston, Texas at the very end of August.

Yesterday, the 12z GFS also showed a major landfall of a hurricane on the East Coast. Now, the wide variability of the track is not reassuring, but I am seeing a trend of a system threatening the US. As of now, there is nowhere near a track, but when you get a few scenarios within several runs where a major event happens within a certain range, it usually means something.

Because Invest 94 (the system that would be responsible for this) has begun a westward trend rather than a northwest trend, this track would seem like an OK solution. However, the GFS is known for being deliberately too strong and too fast with tropical systems, so take this for what it's worth.


"Go Ahead, Make My Day."- Invest 94 To Rapidly Strengthen

Graphics from the RAMMB CIRA agency indicate a very high potential of tropical cyclone formation in between the 35W- 50W longitude lines in the Atlantic.

Tropical cyclone formation potential over the waters where Invest 94 is about to move into is at a very good level at this time, with the RAMMB CIRA folks outlining a large area of 'good' potential in red where Invest 94 is only miles away from.

A look at satellite imagery shows a very well defined circulation in the invest, but an exposed eastern side of the system. However, a strong cluster of showers and storms is currently in place over the western and northern sides of the system. Should we see more development over the western portion of the system, the invest would quickly become a tropical cyclone, and this may be only hours away.