01 October 2013

Jerry falling apart, Karen in the works?

When Tropical Depression 11 formed on Saturday night, the outlook was never very bullish for it.  It was upgraded to Tropical Storm Jerry on Monday morning, but was heavily sheared and disorganized.  Today, it is still located in the central Atlantic (about 2200 miles east of Cape Canaveral FL, or 1500 miles west of the Canary Islands) and is losing a battle with very dry air and moderate shear.

Enhanced satellite image of TS Jerry from 7:15am EDT today.  Low clouds show up as yellow, and you can see the exposed low-level circulation center in the middle of the image. (NOAA)
At 5am EDT, the maximum sustained winds were estimated at 45mph, and it has basically stalled in place due to a lack of steering flow.  By the end of the week however, the shear may relax a bit and it should begin moving to the northeast, so IF it doesn't completely fizzle out (yes, that's technical) by then, it could hang around as a weak tropical storm through the weekend... still very far away from any land.

Strength (colors) and direction (white lines) of the current steering flow for Tropical Storm Jerry.  It is stuck in a col between ridges. (CIMSS)

Elsewhere, a persistent area of disturbed weather over the central Caribbean Sea has been festering for nearly a week.  Today, it has migrated a little further west and is centered near the Honduras/Nicaragua border.

Although it's disorganized now, the environmental conditions generally favor gradual development in the near term.  If it reaches tropical storm intensity, the next name on the list is Karen.  By the weekend, it is expected to move into the Gulf of Mexico and be greeted by very dry air and increasing vertical wind shear.  The latest batch of model guidance is in good agreement on a track toward the Yucatan peninsula, then into the central Gulf, then somewhere along the northern Gulf coast.  The timing varies greatly among the models, so there's still large uncertainty.  Though some of these track forecasts may be alarming, NONE of the guidance currently indicates that this will reach hurricane intensity, and by the time it reaches the U.S. coast, its largest impact will likely be heavy rain.

Track model guidance from the 06Z run today.  (U of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
Stay tuned for any developments -- we need to watch this Caribbean disturbance very closely... the western Caribbean and southern Gulf are climatologically favored regions for hurricane formation in early October!

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