13 July 2003

Claudette heads for Gulf coast...

Since entering the Gulf of Mexico, TS Claudette has battled westerly wind shear,
and this has kept her from intensifying, much to the delight of coastal Texans
I'm sure.  Although deep convection has been persistent, it's unable to remain
centralized, and in fact, the low-level circulation was exposed for much of the

At 21Z today, Claudette was located at 25.3N 92.4W and stationary.  Maximum
sustained winds are still 50kts and the MSLP is 997mb.  She is forecast to reach
minimal hurricane strength just prior to landfall (keep in mind she was forecast
to be a hurricane several days ago too...).  Landfall is expected midday Tuesday
near the Mexico/Texas border; if you recall the forecasts from last week, the
track forecast has been very accurate, just the intensity has been off.  A
Hurricane Watch is in effect for the extreme northern Mexico coast up to Port
O'Connor, TX.

The shear should lessen a bit before landfall as she pulls away from a strong
anticyclone aloft over the Bay of Campeche, and the ocean's heat content
(combination of SST and depth of warm water) increases slightly toward the west
as well.

Elsewhere, there is a tropical wave east of the Lesser Antilles at about 18N 40W
moving W at 15kts.  This will be monitored over the next few days for
development.  It's certainly noteworthy how active the deep tropics have been
this season.  In June and July, the action is typically more in the northern
Gulf and off the eastern seaboard, not from tropical waves rolling off of
Africa.  It seems somewhat analogous to 1996 so far.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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