11 July 2003

Claudette over the Gulf of Mexico...

Just to prove that nature still has the upper hand, Claudette went
against all forecasts yesterday and weakened dramatically in the
afternoon.  The MSLP rose 15mb in just a few hours and it appeared that
shear would be victorious over the tropical storm.

Early Friday morning, she passed very near Cozumel, Mexico and crossed
over the extreme northeast tip of the Yucatan Peninsula.  Her appearance
has changed from banded to more "blobby" (i.e., a classic CDO... with
cloud top temps nearly -80C).  This new structure should prove
beneficial to her development, because the outflow has become more
symmetric and all the latent heating and spinning up of vorticity is
occuring where it needs to.  Furthermore, the Gulf is amply warm and the
environmental winds are such that vertical wind shear will be low.

At 15Z today, TS Claudette was located at 21.6N 87.4W and heading NW at
12kts.  Maximum sustained winds are 50kts and the MSLP is 1008mb, but
gradual intensification is expected as she slowly traverses the Gulf
over the next few days.  Tropical Storm Warnings are still in effect for
the northern Yucatan Peninsula.  The forecast track has changed little
since yesterday, with the northern Mexican coast up to the central TX
coast being the most likely landfall target area on Tuesday.  Hurricane
Watches may be issued for these areas later in the weekend.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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