11 June 2006

TD1 upgraded to TS Alberto...

At 15Z today, the season's first named storm formed in the southern Gulf of Mexico, Tropical Storm Alberto.  This upgrade was based on an aircraft recon flight into the storm this morning and a nearby ship report.  An active microwave scatterometer also observed 35-40kt surface winds on the north and east quadrants of the storm center.  Alberto is located at 23.9N 88.1W,  and tracking NW at 8kts.  Measured intensity is 40kts and 1004mb, and is narrowly holding onto TS status.

The satellite presentation is not as impressive today, as the entire bulk of deep convection is located east of the low-level center, indicating respectable westerly wind shear. However, there is a strong rain band on the east side, and a weaker one to its east that is already making its presence felt in the western FL peninsula.  SSTs are around 28C, and the storm is passing over the Loop Current in the Gulf, which means slightly higher SSTs and noticeably higher heat content during the next day or so.

The NW motion should soon become more northerly, then northeasterly by Monday morning.  It is still expected to make landfall north of Tampa late Monday night as a moderate TS.  Computer model guidance is fairly consistent with the track... practically all solutions lie between Tampa and Tallassee.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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