17 September 2013

Another Bay of Campeche storm in the making?

Since my last update on Sunday, Ingrid made landfall near La Pesca (Mexico) early Monday morning as expected, but weakened slightly and crossed the coastline as a tropical storm.  Of course, tropical storms are still capable of producing very heavy rain.  It continues to dissipate inland over mountainous areas of Mexico, but the flash flooding caused by both Ingrid (Mexico east coast) and Manuel (Mexico west coast) is responsible for at least 50 deaths now.

Humberto is back in the picture again... still in the central Atlantic and no threat to land.  It's located about 1000 miles WSW of the Azores and is a tropical storm with 45mph sustained winds.  Models and the NHC forecast it to become a sub-tropical cyclone shortly, then an extratropical cyclone or even open trough in a few days as it heads toward Iceland.

Visible satellite image of the Atlantic... with Tropical Storm Humberto on the far right, and the U.S. east coast on the far left.  For scale, Humberto is centered 2300 miles due east of Daytona Beach, FL.  (NOAA)
Now, on to the new disturbance, which once again is located near the Yucatan peninsula and headed for the Bay of Campeche.  If this sounds familiar, it should!  Back in May, Barbara snuck in from the eastern Pacific and then dissipated in the Bay of Campeche.  Other storms have since plagued the area, including Barry (June), Fernand (August), Tropical Depression 8 (September), and Ingrid (September).

Enhanced satellite image of the disturbance near Belize and the Yucatan peninsula. (NOAA)
In the near term, models agree on gradual development and a WNW track into the Bay of Campeche tomorrow.  Environmental conditions appear to be favorable (<10kts of shear, >29C SST, moist mid-levels, etc) for intensification in the foreseeable future, so this could easily become TD 11 then TS Jerry this week.

In the longer term (beyond 4-5 days), it's possible that this system will stall in the Gulf of Mexico and get picked up by a passing trough, which would allow for a track toward the northern Gulf coast.  This is a scenario that will be closely watched with each new set of model runs.  The alternative would be a track very similar to Ingrid's.


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