01 August 2011

Disturbance nearing Lesser Antilles, poised to strengthen

The disturbance I mentioned in the July 29 update has gotten better organized over the weekend, though is just short of being classified as a Tropical Depression (as verified by an aircraft reconnaissance flight into it this morning).  It's been 8 days since this wave left the African continent, and now it's located about 250 miles east of Martinique in the Windward Islands, and tracking WNW at 12kts.  At this pace, it will cross the Leeward Islands on Tuesday morning, be near Puerto Rico on Wednesday morning, and near the Dominican Republic on Thursday morning. 

At this point, the bulk of models do not indicate that this storm will enter the Gulf of Mexico, but rather recurve before reaching the US coast, or make landfall somewhere along the east coast.  This far out, anyone in the Greater Antilles, Bahamas, and southeast US should be paying close attention.  The plot below from Jonathan Vigh shows the most recent series of model track forecasts, including models that range from very basic to very sophisticated and everything in between.

As far as intensity goes, it does not appear that there is an urgent risk of an intense hurricane in the next several days, so areas such as the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, and Hispaniola should be mostly concerned with the rain/flood threat it will bring.
If and when this system reaches Tropical Storm intensity (sustained winds of 35kts), it will be named Emily.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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