98L slowly organizing; Pattern favors threat from the NW Caribbean in early October

By: Levi32 , 4:52 PM GMT on September 20, 2011

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Please note that these tidbits do NOT reflect the official forecasts of the National Hurricane Center, and should not be taken as such. While tropical cyclones exist in the Atlantic, the official NHC forecasts will be posted in the lower part of this blog. Please refer to those when making decisions, and heed the advisories and evacuation statements of your local National Weather Service Office.

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We're still watching invest 98L in the central Atlantic. The system became larger overnight as it absorbed a secondary mid-level center, and the broad circulation needs to tighten up a bit now before it can close off fully and be declared a tropical depression. It doesn't have that much to do to get there though, and we will likely see a tropical depression or storm within the next couple of days. The environment supports some strengthening until about 55W, where wind shear increases. Direct evidence of this is old 99L's circulation being obviously sheared by upper-level westerlies. This shear will likely remain around the northeast Caribbean for the next week, making it difficult for 98L to strengthen much beyond a moderate tropical storm, similar to Maria. A hurricane seems unlikely, though folks in the Antilles should keep a close eye on 98L.

The track of 98L is fairly straight forward. A WNW track towards the leeward Antilles to the south of the subtropical ridge should be the rule for the next few days, with a more NW turn occurring west of 65W, probably taking 98L into the areas of Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, and the Bahamas. This would be bad news for Puerto Rico, as they don't need anymore rain. Even in the Bahamas 98L may not find a favorable environment for strengthening, and may get absorbed northward into an elongated frontal boundary. In other words, 98L may be another dud storm in terms of intensity.

Looking ahead...there is still concern about the upcoming pattern for early October in the western Caribbean. Originally this concern was for late September, but the pattern is taking a little bit longer to evolve. However, everything points to it eventually evolving to a point where as the MJO comes back into the Caribbean in 10-15 days, high pressure over eastern North America will stimulate surface convergence in the western Caribbean and allow a storm to try to form, which could move north or northeast into the eastern gulf, Florida, or Cuba/Bahamas area. Such a storm would be a guaranteed land threat and this pattern should be monitored closely, though we are likely still 10 days or more away from potential development.

We shall see what happens!

Tropical Atlantic Visible/IR2 Satellite (click image for loop):



Atlantic Tropical Surface Analysis:



200mb Vertical Velocity Potential (green areas represent upward motion associated with the MJO):






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19. CitikatzSouthFL
1:14 PM GMT on September 21, 2011
Thanks, Levi. I really appreciate your wonderful blogs and tidbits. I have been a long time lurker and have learned a lot over the years. In S FL, I have always watched the Eastern Carrib below Cuba for development with trepidation because they usually go north and head for FL. Today's tidbit finally explained why this happens. Now I understand the dynamics of why I have always been concerned about development in this area.

You da bomb! Thanks, again.
Member Since: August 14, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 471
18. Levi32
4:38 AM GMT on September 21, 2011
Quoting Bielle:
I wish I could play your tapes. My download speed is so slooooow, I cannot. I do read the texts, though, and thank you for them.


:( You could try setting it to 240p, the lowest resolution, and let it sit and buffer for a few minutes before pressing play. Thanks for reading though.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26754
17. Bielle
12:28 AM GMT on September 21, 2011
I wish I could play your tapes. My download speed is so slooooow, I cannot. I do read the texts, though, and thank you for them.
Member Since: September 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 624
16. Levi32
11:51 PM GMT on September 20, 2011
A gradient of 10mb between Asheville, NC and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba with ensemble variance of over 3 standard deviations in the western Caribbean on the 12z GFS for 10-12 days out means it's go time. I think we'll see the models really start to show this idea now as the days go by.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26754
15. Levi32
11:41 PM GMT on September 20, 2011
Quoting EagleHarborZig:
Thank you Levi, a great report as always.

The Farmer's Almanac calls for a storm in North East Florida October 1-3. Have they been reading your blog or how do they do their ultra long range forecasting?


Lol I have no clue how they get their forecasts. I haven't read them often enough to know whether they are ever accurate either.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26754
14. Levi32
11:40 PM GMT on September 20, 2011
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
How strong do you see "Ophelia" becoming?


We can't know the exact environmental conditions 10 days out, but it should be noted that many late-season storms forming in the NW Caribbean have become significant hurricanes. The Caribbean can host major hurricanes all the way through November.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26754
13. EagleHarborZig
11:26 PM GMT on September 20, 2011
Thank you Levi, a great report as always.

The Farmer's Almanac calls for a storm in North East Florida October 1-3. Have they been reading your blog or how do they do their ultra long range forecasting?
Member Since: March 23, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 23
12. TropicalAnalystwx13
10:51 PM GMT on September 20, 2011
How strong do you see "Ophelia" becoming?
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 34163
11. seflagamma
10:09 PM GMT on September 20, 2011
Thank you Levi! Great update.. you make it so easy to understand what you are talking about!
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 305 Comments: 41025
10. biloxibob
8:11 PM GMT on September 20, 2011
Great update Levi.
Member Since: August 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 138
9. TropicalAnalystwx13
7:59 PM GMT on September 20, 2011
Thanks Levi!
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 34163
8. bird72
5:50 PM GMT on September 20, 2011
Excelent as usual. Thanks.
Member Since: August 5, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 389
7. islandeye
5:31 PM GMT on September 20, 2011
Thanks for the update, Levi. As usual, seems like Late September-Early October is prime-time here in SW Florida. The pattern you've been outlying this month needs to be closely watched with the batteries in the Caribbean waters fully charged...
Member Since: July 19, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 42
6. splash3392
5:29 PM GMT on September 20, 2011
Thank You Levi. Have a good day!
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 646
5. daddyjames
5:14 PM GMT on September 20, 2011
Good day, and thanks. Hope all is well up there in Alaska, and classes aren't too taxing (yet).
Member Since: June 25, 2011 Posts: 2 Comments: 3735
4. InTheCone
5:06 PM GMT on September 20, 2011
Thanks Levi! GFS operational has shown a low in the West Carib. for 2 runs now. Still way ouy in time, but I think it's going to stick with it this time given the parameters you have outlined.

Member Since: September 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1990
3. bohonkweatherman
5:04 PM GMT on September 20, 2011
Great job as always Levi, Thank you and have a great day!
Member Since: July 5, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1348
2. PakaSurvivor
5:04 PM GMT on September 20, 2011
Good post Levi. Thanks for the knowledge
Member Since: September 20, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 235
1. rmbjoe1954
4:58 PM GMT on September 20, 2011
Excellent snap shot of 98L and what is to come .
Thanks, Levi.
Member Since: June 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1597

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