22 October 2010

Richard nearly stationary east of Nicaragua...

Since yesterday's update, very little has changed.  Richard is still a 35kt tropical storm, still forecast to head toward Belize and the Yucatan peninsula, and still forecast to become a hurricane prior to that first landfall.  It's presently in a very weak steering environment, so it's drifting, most recently to the west at 3kts.  Over the next two to three days, the forward motion should pick up as a ridge moves in to the north of it, sending it westward into Belize by Monday morning.  I will have a full radar loop from Belize once the storm is within radar range, so stay tuned.

Depending on how intense it gets prior to that landfall, and how quickly it traverses the Yucatan peninsula, it will enter the southern Gulf of Mexico either as a remnant swirl or as a re-intensifying tropical storm.  Given the magnitudes of those unknowns, any forecast beyond that is total speculation.  To be on the safe side though, areas on the north and east US Gulf coast should be keeping a close eye on Richard next week.

The easterly wave that was near the Cape Verdes continues to look impressive on satellite imagery, but is not yet a Depression.  It's still near the Cape Verdes, but moving toward the NW.  It only has another 1-2 days to develop before it moves into much stronger vertical shear.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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