05 June 2013

Interest in the Gulf of Mexico increases; central Atlantic still brewing

Though still subject to substantial vertical shear, the disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico has become visually more impressive overnight.  The surface pressure has fallen to 1007mb, and it's now centered about 450 miles west of Key West FL.  Strong thunderstorms have become more persistent and somewhat more centralized, but still quite removed from the surface circulation.  Another aircraft reconnaissance mission is scheduled to investigate the system later today.

Enhanced infrared satellite image of the disturbance in the central Gulf of Mexico.  The surface low is centered west of the strong thunderstorms and is marked with a red L.  It will begin moving toward the northeast.
The biggest concern from this system (whether it becomes a named storm or not) is the rain.  There will be winds associated with it too, but almost certainly nothing beyond minimal tropical storm force.  In the coming days, it will ooze northeast toward northern Florida, and gradually interact and merge with a mid-latitude trough.  This will bring heavy rain literally all the way up the east coast over the coming week.

Rainfall forecast valid from Wednesday morning through next Wednesday morning. Totals of 2"+ cover huge portions of the eastern US.  (NOAA/WPC)

Further east, the easterly wave I first mentioned last Friday is now centered near 10N 40W, or about 1300 miles east of the Lesser Antilles.  More models are coming onboard now with developing this wave, and they all agree on a track that brings it northwest, such that it steers north of the Lesser Antilles.  There's plenty of time to keep an eye on this.

Visible satellite image of the easterly wave in the central Atlantic.  It is approximately half way between the Cape Verde islands and the Windward islands.

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