03 August 2006

Chris abruptly weakens...

Wednesday was characterized by intense deep convection, even up through early evening.  Then, toward the end of the day and throughout the night, the system was attacked by increased northerly vertical shear and very dry low-mid level air, choking off and stripping off all convection.  As of this morning, all that remains is a shallow surface circulation, roughly north of eastern Dominican Republic.  The latest intensity is 35kts and 1012mb.

You can still find a running radar loop of Chris at http://einstein.atmos.colostate.edu/~mcnoldy/tropics/chris06/Chris_02Aug06.gif ... it begins Wednesday morning and is still being added to.  Parental notice: the loop contains a violent dismemberment, only intended for mature audiences (rated TC 13).

Chris is barely holding onto TS status, and is forecast to degenerate into a Depression shortly.  Although the official forecast holds the system at 30kts for the next 5 days, it is certainly not out of the realm of possibilities that environmental conditions will improve, and this low-level vortex over steamy SSTs will take advantage of it.  The steering flow will remain toward the WNW at 10kts.  This will still take Chris, at whatever intensity, near the Florida Straight and into the Gulf over the next 5 days.

There are two other areas of interest in the basin: both African Easterly Waves.  One is at 43W, the other at about 19W.  Both of these will be monitored for development, as the classic "Cape Verde season" picks up.  The next names on the list are Debby and Ernesto.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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