18 August 2008

Fay heading for Florida...

During the weekend, Fay maintained tropical storm intensity while passing over Hispaniola and then central Cuba.  As of this writing, the circulation center has just exited Cuba and is now over very warm water south of the FL Keys.  Intensity as of 15Z today is 50kts and 1003mb, and it's moving NNW at 11kts.  SSTs under the storm are around 30C, and vertical shear is moderate: westerly at  10-15kts.

You will find a radar loop from Key West at http://einstein.atmos.colostate.edu/~mcnoldy/tropics/fay08/Fay_18Aug08.gif

Also, you can monitor surface observations from Marathon FL at

Fay is forecast to pass directly over the Keys later today, as a tropical storm or possibly even a minimal hurricane, then continue north toward Tampa, making landfall there tomorrow morning (local) as a CAT1 hurricane.  The latest watches/warnings are shown graphically at http://icons-pe.wunderground.com/data/images/at200806_alerts.gif
After this west peninsula landfall, the long-range forecast isn't so straight-forward (some models take it on a north track inalnd over GA, others take it back over ocean and then into coastal GA/SC, while others take it for a loop off the east coast of FL, then back inland).  But let's get past this one first!

The easterly wave I first mentioned four days ago is now near 35W and heading W at 12kts.  There is a 1009mb Low embedded within the wave, and its satellite presentation is impressive.  In the long term, it looks like continued W-WNW motion and gradually strengthening.  This could be upgraded to TD7 today, and the next name on the list is Gustav.  There's also a wave right on its heels, near 25W which will also be watched closely for further organization.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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