23 September 2011

Ophelia still struggling, new disturbance in far eastern Atlantic

Over the past couple of days since my last update, not much has changed with TS Ophelia... the storm reached 55kt intensity, but has been plagued by very strong vertical shear.  At 15Z today, it's down to a generous 35kts, with a forecast for additional weakening.  In the satellite image below, you can see the exposed surface circulation near 15N 53W with a convective blowup to the north, but the bulk of the convection displaced far to the east.  It's in about 20-25kts of southwesterly shear, and over the next 5 days, that is not expected to let up at all.

As you can see from the plot below, the models have backed off significantly on their intensity forecasts, and their high-shear environments all agree in the near term (GFS is quite a bit larger several days out, and that is the model that the DSHP and LGEM intensity models are based on).

Elsewhere, a fresh easterly wave exited the African coast yesterday and is presently south of the Cape Verde islands.  This wave was born over the Ethiopian Highlands 8 days ago and has a history over the past 3-4 days of being convectively active.  It appears likely that this system will be our next named storm: Philippe.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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