04 August 2006

Chris weakens to a Depression...

Deep convection has failed to regenerate over the center of Chris, and in the face of persistent strong vertical shear, the system was downgraded this morning to a Depression.  It's currently a poorly defined low-level swirl over the Turk Islands.  The surface circulation is generating heavy rain over Hispaniola to the south.

The majority of forecast models take Chris westward over the next 5 days, ending up in southern TX or northern Mexico.  Some track it over Cuba, some track it over the Florida Straight, which will make a huge difference in intensity.  The 5-day intensity forecasts vary from minimal TS to minimal hurricane, and the official forecast calls for 45kts in 5 days.  The hefty vertical shear lately is due to a tag-team effort of two upper-level Lows... once Chris passes by them, a large ridge centered over the eastern US should shelter the storm and steer it due west.
SSTs in the Gulf are 29-30C, so that will not be a problem: http://einstein.atmos.colostate.edu/~mcnoldy/tropics/sectors/sst/gulf15.php

Elsewhere, the two previously-mentioned easterly waves are still tracking across the basin at about 15kts... they are presently at about 48W and 22W.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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