10 July 2003

Claudette nearly a hurricane...

Wednesday evening, Claudette was strongly sheared by the TUTT to her
west... it also restricted outflow and exposed the low-level
circulation.  However, as the TUTT moved over the Yucatan Peninsula, it
filled and weakened slightly, allowing the tropical storm to "breathe"
much better.  In rapid response to this, Claudette's MSLP dropped 11mb
in 9 hours and maximum sustained winds increased 10kts in that same
time.  She is also over the western Caribbean Sea, which has a large
heat content (very warm SST to a substantial depth).

As of 18Z, TS Claudette was located at 18.3N 83.6W and tracking WNW at
12kts.  Intensity is 60kts and 993mb, with rather large fluctuations
found by aircraft, so the wind and pressure values are somewhat
ephemeral it seems.  A large-scale flight is planned for later today to
probe the Gulf of Mexico and gather a lot of data about the dynamic and
thermodynamic environment so the computer models can be initialized very
accurately.  (that's no guarantee the output will be "correct", but it's
better than starting with garbage!)

Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect for the Cayman Islands, northern
Belize, and the northern side of the Yucatan Peninsula.  A Hurricane
Warning is in effect for the eastern side of the Yucatan Peninsula.  She
is expected to hit the Yucatan as a strong CAT1 hurricane late Thursday
night, then weaken slightly as she crosses the Yucatan on Friday, then
enter the Gulf, where conditions should be favorable for
re-development.  Right now, it appears that the northern Mexican coast
to central TX coast is the favored location for second landfall on
Tuesday.  Gulf coast residents should be watching Claudette very

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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