Remnants of Erika To Drench Florida; Fred Forms Near the Cape Verde Islands

The remnants of Tropical Storm Erika (now just a trough of low pressure) are set to drench Florida the next few days. Deep tropical moisture funnels into the state prompting Flood Watches and flooding concerns especially in flood prone Tampa Bay. These remnants lift north-northwest into south Florida and funnel up the state from the eastern Gulf late Sunday into Monday.

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While water temperatures favor regeneration southwest wind shear values are elevated in the wake of an upper level trough near the Panhandle (20-40 kts). These values drop a bit on Monday but there is only a low chance for Erika to regain tropical cyclone characteristics. These odds sit at 20% by Tuesday and 30% over the next few five days per the NHC. Regardless very heavy tropical downpours and strong wind gusts are expected in central and south Florida through Monday and Tuesday. The graphic below is courtesy the University of Wisconsin.

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Rainfall totals +5″ are possible by Wednesday morning especially along the west coast and in extreme south Florida. River levels will be on the rise and flood prone areas may experience flooding, especially during training storms.

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Tropical Storm Fred becomes the 6th named storm of the Atlantic season near Africa Sunday morning. Most healthy tropical disturbances near Africa form much further south and west. Fred is only the 4th Atlantic tropical storm to form east of 19 W longitude. As of 8 AM Sunday max sustained winds top out a 40 mph and gradual strengthening is expected. A Tropical Storm Warning and Hurricane Watch is in effect for the Cape Verde Islands (also highly unusual). 3-5″ of rain is possible through Monday with isolated areas picking up higher amounts. Beyond the Cape Verde Islands Fred heads west-northwest and eventually west over the open Atlantic. On this path it will likely stay out to sea but is worth monitoring.

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In a record smashing central Pacific season there are three major hurricanes at the same time: Kilo, Ignacio and Jimena. Ignacio will weaken as it moves northwest but will come awfully close to Hawaii early week. Rough surf and gusty winds are expected, but the brunt of the storm should pass north of Hawaii.

Phailin

 

 

Erika Dissipates; Heavy Rain Still on the Way for Parts of Florida

It struggled for days with land interaction, wind shear and even dry air. As of 9:30 AM EDT Saturday Erika weakens to a trough of low pressure. Early Saturday the center of circulation appeared to be reforming north of Cuba. Hurricane Reconnaisance Aircraft could not find a closed low or tropical storm force winds so there are no more advisories on Erika. All of the watches and warnings are dropped. With that being said deep tropical moisture will linger and  3-6″ of rainfall is possible along with the threat for mudslides in east and central Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Haiti through Sunday (isolated areas could see up to 10″)  Remnants of Erika will also bring 1-3″ to Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas.

Hurricane Hunter With Satellite and Radar

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With no center of circulation to initialize on 12Z computer models send the remnants of Erika northwest towards the warm waters of the Florida Straits late Sunday and into the east Gulf Monday and Tuesday.  With an upper level trough in play in the Gulf wind shear values are at a moderate 30 kts. If ex Erika tries to redevelop it will be a slow process and there is not much time. The National Hurricane Center is not highlighting the odds at this time. The 06Z GFS and the 0Z Euro do not redevelop Erika. They do however bring a slug of tropical moisture to Florida into mid work week. Outliers that do are redevelop Erika in the east Gulf include the 06Z GFDL.

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The upper level trough in combination with moisture from ex Erika (redevelopment or not) will bring numerous tropical downpours and storms to parts of Florida through mid-week. Areas especially vulnerable to the heavy rain threat include Tampa Bay where many areas are still so saturated from rain events in late July and early August. The GFS model below suggests 3-6+” inches through Friday. The highest totals may be along the coast.  The wettest days appear to start late Sunday and last through at least Monday and Tuesday would could aid in street flooding. Receding river levels may rise too.

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Elsewhere in the Atlantic is Invest 99L near Africa. The robust tropical wave has a 50% chance of becoming a tropical depression or Tropical Storm Fred by Monday and high 70% chance over the next 5 days. Early computer models track the disturbance northwest so there could be some squalls near the Cape Verde Islands. Invest 99L is no threat to the Caribbean at this time.

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Invest 91L Models

 

 

 

Erika Still Disorganized Friday; Computer Models Shift West Towards Florida But Still Some Uncertainty

Confidence increases Friday that impacts from Tropical Storm Erika will be felt in the Sunshine State as early as late Sunday as Governor Rick Scott declares a State of Emergency. A Tropical Storm Watch could be issued as early as early Saturday (48 hours in advance of Tropical Storm conditions). The question still remains what state will Erika be in after it interacts with dry air, increasing westerly wind shear and the track across mountainous Hispaniola over the next 24 hours. This time frame is crucial in assessing the future track and strengthen of Erika late in the weekend.

Here’s what we know as of late Friday morning. Erika is still a disorganized system and appears asymmetrical. At 11 AM max sustained winds top out at 50 mph but Hurricane Reconnaisance Aircraft continue to find the strongest winds south and east of the center (just south of the Dominican Republic).  Erika rides a weakness in the Atlantic ridge and moves west-northwest at 18 mph. If Erika takes a jog more westerly over the most mountainous part of Hispaniola there’s still a chance it could fall apart or weaken dramatically.

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After 12″ of rain fell in Dominica Thursday Erica is poised to dump more heavy rain over Puerto Rico, The Virgin Islands and Hispaniola through Friday. 3-6″ is possible with isolated areas picking up 10″. There is also the threat for mudslides near steep terrain. Puerto Rico desperately needs rain and has seen the heaviest amounts on the eastern side of the Island early Friday along with wind gusts +50 mph. The heaviest rain has remained just south of Puerto Rico over Caribbean waters.

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Erika has battled shear all work week. These hostile westerly values are on track to rise Friday at the same time as it battles mountains and pockets of dry air. Shear rises to 30 kts over the Dominican Republic into Friday afternoon as indicated by the graphic below courtesy NOAA and the University of Wisconsin. Whatever is “left” of Erika early Saturday may thrive over warm waters near Turks and Caicos and the Southeast Bahamas where wind shear values are much more conducive to tropical organization. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect here.

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The next question is how much will Erika strengthen as it closes in on Florida late Sunday and early Monday (if it’s still around). A weaker system (as models have hinted at overnight and early Friday morning) would head further west and possibly ride the center or even western coast of the State (as indicated by the Euro and GFS. HWF is much with a Southeast Florida landfall too). A stronger system (only some models show now) would be east of the state and track north over the Bahamas. Officially the National Hurricane Center reflects that westward model shift in the 5 AM and now the 11 AM advisory.  They forecast a landfall in south Florida overnight Sunday into Monday as a tropical storm with 60 mph winds. Erika then tracks through central and north Florida Tuesday and possibly Wednesday dumping heavy rain over the region. The eastern half of the storm and especially northeast quadrant will feature the strongest tropical storm force winds and the threat for tornadoes. The western half of the storm may be the wettest as there is the possibility to consistently tap Gulf moisture with multiple rounds of steady rain.  Many places in Tampa Bay are still so saturated from flooding events in late July and early August that there is an increased flooding concern.

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Here are 12Z computer models. Another wrench through into the mix is if Erika tracks north across Florida will it lose steering and get tangled in a upper level trough mid-week and enhance even more heavy rain. Below is the track through Tuesday afternoon.

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The Weather Prediction Center anticipates a wet forecast through next Wednesday morning south Florida up through north central Florida. Up to 4.5″ are possible for southeast Florida (near possible landfall) and in coastal west-central Florida (if Erika rides more of the west coast of the state). As with any tropical system especially a weak one like Erika nothing is set in stone. The track, intensity and rainfall totals may change so stay up to speed of the progress of Erika through the weekend so you can be prepared.

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Uncertainty surrounding Erika’s Track and Intensity Remain

As of early Thursday afternoon, Erika remains a weak tropical storm, with maximum sustained winds of 45mph while moving west at 16mph. The minimum central pressure was at 1006mb. Despite being a minimal tropical storm, the system has brought severe flooding to many of the Leeward Islands, including Dominica and where at nearly 10″ of rain fell in spots. Despite the fairly impressive convection Wednesday night, Erika was still very disorganized Thursday afternoon. The convection remained displaced well to the east of the actual center of circulation, a sign that moderate wind shear was prevented the storm from organizing too much.

Erika Enhanced Satellite

The distance between the low level circulation and the actual convection becomes more evident on this satellite loop below, courtesy of the NOAA GOES-East Satellite. The other interesting note from this satellite picture is the location of the storm – that center of circulation is farther south and west than what many of the models initialized at Wednesday morning. Therefore, many of the models have since shifted a bit south and west with their tracks.

There are a few problems for Erika and for the forecast in the coming days. Firstly, with that southwestward jog, the storm now looks like it will track directly over Hispaniola in the next 24-48 hours. That island has been known as a storm-killer, with mountains of 2500-3000 meters in height that can easily disrupt the flow into a storm. In addition, westerly wind shear will increase to 25-30 kts which could further disrupt the storm. Finally, the dry air surrounding the system still poses an issue for its survival, especially if the low level circulation remains exposed.

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If, and that’s a big if, the storm survives the next 24-48 hours, conditions look to drastically improve for intensification by later this weekend. The storm will be moving over the extremely warm waters of the Gulf Stream, where sea surface temperatures are even above where they should be for this time of the year. Also, wind shear looks to decrease as well Saturday and Sunday, which should allow for some intensification.

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With all of this in mind, the intensity forecast remains very much up in the air. The model solutions range anywhere from the storm falling apart near Hispaniola to becoming a major hurricane east of the Bahamas. In general, the stronger the storm, the quicker it should make its northward turn away from the Peninsula. There is a cluster of models that are aligned just off the east coast of Florida in the afternoon spaghetti plots below.

Erika Spaghetti

The official forecast from the NHC is slightly west of where it was Wednesday night, but still just offshore, paralleling the east coast of Florida Sunday night into Monday. However, with the average Day 4 error of 180 miles, there is still plenty of wiggle room and plenty of uncertainty in this forecast. Be sure to check back for the latest over the next couple of days.

Erika Track

Continuing to Watch Erika but Models Lack Consensus

As of Wednesday afternoon, Tropical Storm Erika had maximum sustained winds of 45mph and was moving west at 17mph. However, after a blossoming of deep convection in the morning, it appeared that moderate wind shear and dry air was winning out.  A look at the enhanced satellite picture shows a little convection but also a low level center of circulation partially exposed on the northwest side of the storm.

Erika Enhanced Satellite

As Erika continues to struggle with dry air and vertical wind shear, the models continue to struggle with their development, track, and intensity of the storm. Before we start talking about potential tracks and intensity, let’s first talk about the issues at hand. We’ve already discussed the dry air in place – that won’t change too much in the coming days – but how about the wind shear? Well while the shear remains moderate for now, it will slacken up this weekend, providing a window for potential intensification of Erika before it picks back up next week.

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Another potential issue for Erika will be its interaction with land, particularly the islands of the Greater Antilles. There is the possibility that they will disrupt the flow within Erika enough that it could partially or even completely dissipate before reaching the Bahamas this weekend. This is another scenario within today’s model runs. Having said all that, if the storm does manage to survive the higher wind shear and land interactions into this weekend, it has the chance to strengthen thanks to the aforementioned drop in shear, and the extremely warm waters in that part of the world. Sea surface temperatures up through the Gulf Stream are running 1°-2°C above average for this time of the year, with many areas seeing SST’s 86° and higher!

Western Atlantic Water Temperatures

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With all these potential question marks surrounding Erika, the models are having a tough time with the intensity and track over the next 5 days. Here’s a look at the spread of some of the afternoon models – they range from a weak tropical storm all the way up to nearly Category 5 strength.

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As for the track, the spread continues to be higher than normal out beyond day 3 or 4. A weaker system would tend to go further to the west/northwest while a stronger system may carry out to sea. Many of the more reliable intensity models have come in stronger for this afternoon’s model runs, hence pushing Erika further out to sea. However, a middle of the road storm is still very possible, one that could potentially make a US landfall by Sunday night or Monday morning.

Erika Spaghetti

As for the official track, the NHC is toward the western end of the most of the models, with a center track moving near Cape Canaveral Monday afternoon. However, its bears mentioning once again that the Cone of Uncertainty here has plenty of room for Erika to miss Miami, or even miss Florida all together. In fact, the typical error on Day 5 is around 240 miles. The forecast may certainly change and be fine tuned in the coming days so be sure to check back for the latest.Erika Track1

 

Computer Models Struggle With Erika; Uncertain Forecast

Tropical Storm Erika only organizes in appearance somewhat Tuesday afternoon and convection is a bit more robust. Multiple Hurricane Reconnaisance Aircraft investigated the storm Tuesday afternoon including the G-IV assessing the environment around it. After the missions max sustained winds at 5 PM are estimated at 40 mph, a minimal tropical storm. Wind shear overhead is moderate at 10-20 kts and at least some dry African air inhibits rapid intensification. At 5 PM it races westward at 20 mph. Its fast pace may contribute to lack of organization at this time too. While Erika faces more dry air and moderate wind shear in the comes the extent of both of these features is still questionable and computer models struggle later this week (and especially the weekend and early next week). Erika will track further north compared to Danny and is a threat to the Bahamas by the weekend. It could affect Florida as early as Sunday or Monday but there is still quite a bit of uncertainty.

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The NHC forecasts gradual strengthening over the next 5 days The official 5PM track puts Erika near or just north of the northern Lesser Antilles Thursday as a stronger tropical storm. 2-4″ of rain are possible for portions of the eastern Caribbean and a Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the northern Lesser Antilles. Erika moves into the southeast Bahamas by Saturday where it could organize further over very warm waters and become a category 1 hurricane by Sunday over the northwest Bahamas. The NHC has backed off a bit on the intensity of Erika and the 5 PM advisory has shifted a little further west towards Florida. The 12Z Euro did a complete flip-flop from the OZ run and now suggests a weaker Erika reorganizes in the eastern Gulf near Florida.  Others like the HWRF and GFDL still hint a hurricane east of Florida.

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12Z computer models diverge Friday and Saturday and into early next week. A stronger Erika (hurricane) would track further north near the Bahamas and east of Florida while a weaker Erika heads westward possibly into the Gulf. A more westward track could also mean more land interaction with mountainous Hispaniola and east Cuba which could further disrupt the storm. We should have more specifics later this week when models hopefully are in better in agreement. Interest in the Bahamas, Florida and the Southeast U.S.  should follow to progress of Erika.

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Remnants of Danny bring pockets of steady rain and thunderstorms to the eastern Caribbean in places like Puerto Rico. This is welcomed rain as it has been extremely dry this summer. Redevelopment of Danny is not expected.

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Lastly, the tropical wave we’ve been watching near  the Cape Verde Islands is still disorganized due to dry air. It is no longer highlighted for tropical depression development and will likely dissipate as it moves westward over the open Atlantic. Notice a fairly robust burst of convection over west Africa. This is a sign that the Cape Verde season is in full swing. The climatological peak of the Atlantic season is on September 10th.

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All Eyes on Tropical Storm Erika; To Gradually Strengthen

For the time being newly designated Tropical Storm Erika struggles east of the Lesser Antilles early Tuesday. While wind shear overhead is low to moderate at 10-20 kts and most of the driest African air is to its west and north Erika lacks deep organized convection. The center is just north of a small pocket of heavy showers and thunderstorms. As of 11 AM Tuesday max sustained winds top out at 45 mph and it races westward at 20 mph. Its fast pace may contribute to lack of organization at this time too. While Erika faces more dry air and moderate wind shear in the comes the extent of both of these features is not quite as extreme as faced by Danny. Erika will track further north compared to Danny too.

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Gradual strengthening is expected. The official track puts Erika near or just north of the northern Lesser Antilles Thursday as a strong tropical storm. Erika then moves into the southeast Bahamas by Saturday where it could organize further over very warm waters and become a category 1 hurricane. The NHC is in line with reliable models like the 0Z Euro and takes a northwest track through the Bahamas this weekend. Note this is a low confidence long-range forecast. With recon missions and better model data hopefully there will be better model consensus later this week. A G-IV mission Tuesday will also be beneficial to assess Erika and its surrounding environment.

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12Z computer models diverge Friday and Saturday and into early next week. A stronger Erika (hurricane) would track further north near the Bahamas and east of Florida while a weaker Erika heads westward possibly into the Gulf. A more westward track could also mean more land interaction with mountainous Hispaniola and east Cuba which could further disrupt the storm. It’s still way too early to pinpoint U.S. and Florida impacts, if any. We should have more specifics later this week when models hopefully are in better in agreement.

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Remnants of Danny bring pockets of steady rain and thunderstorms to the eastern Caribbean in places like Puerto Rico. This is welcomed rain as it has been extremely dry this summer.

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Lastly, the tropical wave we’ve been watching near  the Cape Verde Islands is still disorganized due to dry air. It is no longer highlighted for tropical depression development and will likely dissipate as it moves westward over the open Atlantic. Notice a fairly robust burst of convection over west Africa. This is a sign that the Cape Verde season is in full swing. The climatological peak of the Atlantic season is on September 10th.

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Danny falls apart, Erika develops

Tropical Storm Erika formed late last night with winds of 45mph. Unlike Danny, this storm may threaten the Bahamas several days from now as a hurricane. While computer models may differ in the long run, the reliable ones do take it just east of the state in the long term. Nonetheless, it is something that to be watched closely.

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Hostile southwesterly upper level winds and dry air finally take a toll on Danny and it becomes just a trough of low pressure at 11 AM. Hurricane Reconnaissance Aircraft could not find a closed low, hence the downgrade. No more advisories will issued from the NHC. Remnants of Danny march west at 12 mph and bring pockets of tropical downpours and gusty winds (30-35 mph)to the Leeward Islands. Some of the remnant moisture makes it to Puerto Rico Monday night and Tuesday. No regeneration is expected and the remnants of Danny are no threat to Florida or the U.S..

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Much of the eastern Caribbean experiences drought conditions this summer as tropical waves have been shredded by wind shear and swallowed by dry African air. Parts of east Puerto Rico are in an extreme drought. Remnants of Danny will bring at least some rain to the drought stricken island. The image below is courtesy the U.S. Drought Monitor.

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Officially, the National Hurricane Center forecast up to 2-4″ of rain for portions of the Leeward Islands, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. The GFS model depicts up to 2-3″ for the Leeward Islands and generally less than 1″ elsewhere. Regardless, any accumulated rain will be beneficial.

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Just like Danny  Tropical Storm Erika will have to battle dry African air and moderate wind shear. For the time being a closed low attempts to form under moderate 10-30 kt westerly wind shear. There is quite a bit of dry air in its path too but the disturbance continues to moisten its environment as it heads westward.

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Behind Erika is another Cape Verde wave just west of Africa.  This disturbance is still disorganized and only has a 10% chance of becoming a tropical depression as it heads west at 15-20 mph. Some of the dry air from the Saharan Air Layer eroded since last week as several tropical waves have moistened this region.

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Good news for Hawaii. While Tropical Depression Kilo will strengthen is will stay well west of the island state later this week.

Phailin

 

Danny To Gradually Weaken-Beneficial Rain is Possible For East Caribbean; Watching Hilo Near Hawaii

Danny maintains intensity Sunday morning after substantial weakening Saturday and Saturday night. It is on track weaken further over the next 48 hours and be downgraded to a Tropical Depression near drought stricken Puerto Rico early Tuesday. As of 11 AM max sustained winds top out at 50 mph and pressure is up to 1003 mb. Hurricane Reconnaisance Aircraft only found winds near 40 mph in an early Sunday morning mission. While convection is a bit more impressive on enhanced satellite imagery it is still sheared north and northeast of the center due to hostile southwesterly wind shear. The former major hurricane will battle this shear and dry African air as it makes a b line for the northern Lesser Antilles late Sunday and early Monday. Tropical Storm conditions are possible during this time along with heavy squalls especially north of the where the center officially makes landfall. The 11 AM advisory is has shifted a bit further south which may be a benefit for areas that need soaking rainfall. Rough surf and tropical storm force winds are possible along with 2-4″ of beneficial rain for the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Tropical Storm Watches and Warnings are in effect here. Danny is on track to become a remnant low by early Thursday near southeast Cuba and south of the Bahamas after being disrupted by interaction with Hispaniola. We’ll monitor the progress mid-late work week as water temperatures are plenty warm for redevelopment near the Bahamas. Regardless, a trough in the Southeast will likely guide whatever is left of Danny east of Florida.

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Danny continues to race into a dry, stable air mass as indicated by red and light grey shades on water vapor imagery. This along with southwesterly shear will further weaken and likely dissipate it mid-week according to the NHC. Nonetheless, locally heavy rainfall is possible for portions of the eastern Caribbean if moisture can hang on.

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Right on cue Cape Verde season heats up .Right on Danny’s heels in newly designated Invest 98L about 500 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands. It races westward at 20 mph and at this pace it will approach the Lesser Antilles late Wednesday and Thursday.The healthy tropical wave is on track to becoming either a tropical depression or Tropical Storm Erika later this work week as it closes off on dry Saharan air. The odds sit at 50% by Tuesday and 70% by Friday as of Sunday morning. Gradual strengthening is anticipated as the environment is a bit more hostile late work week. Early Sunday morning computer models show an initial track similar to Danny but slightly further north. Some computer models like the reliable Euro are quite aggressive with development into a strong Hurricane Erika next weekend east of the Bahamas. There is plenty of time to watch this one.

Yet another African wave may organize southeast of the Cape Verde Islands. Officially, there is a 40% chance of tropical depression development by Friday at moves westward at a rapid 15-20 mph.

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As expected, Invest 97L fizzled near Bermuda. No tropical depression development is expected as it is absorbed by a frontal boundary and heads north and northeast in the coming days.

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In the central Pacific all eyes are on Tropical Depression Hilo south of Hawaii. It attempts to organize over El Niño warmed Pacific waters and it may become a tropical storm by tonight as moves west. Hilo will likely slow and make a u turn north and northeast later this work week over these warm waters. It may strengthen to a hurricane during this time, possibly a strong hurricane as some models suggest. This is a vulnerable setup for Hawaii as storms typically approach from the east or southeast and weaken over cooler waters with hostile upper level winds. We’ll keep an eye on it.

Phailin

 

Danny Continues to Quickly Weaken; Kilo Still a Threat to Hawaii

Danny’s fall from grace continues Saturday evening, as it quickly weakened to a tropical storm by late afternoon. As of 11pm, Tropical Storm Danny had maximum sustained winds of 60mph, down from its peak of category 3 strength Friday afternoon. A look at the enhanced satellite picture nearly tells the whole story – a lack of too much deep convection and moderate shear exposing the low level circulation to dry air.

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With Danny continued to weaken quickly, the latest intensity forecast has been adjusted downward. The storm is now expected to approach the Leeward Islands as a weak tropical storm, or even a tropical depression. It may become a remnant low by mid-week. Nonetheless, interests in the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic should pay attention to any changes in strength.

Danny Track

However, things are far from quiet in the Atlantic. Invest 97L in the northwest Atlantic only has a 10% chance to develop tropically or subtropically in the next couple days, but a pair of tropical waves emerging from the African Coast have better odds. Newly designated 98L has a 60% chance to develop over the next 5 days and many of the models have it following a similar path to Danny. Right on 98L’s heels, another wave may develop by week’s end.

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Meanwhile, things are getting interesting in the Central Pacific. Tropical Depression Kilo continues to baffle with its lack of organization on Saturday despite warm sea surface temperatures (28°-29°C) and low shear. However, deep convection has continued throughout the day, as is evident from the enhanced satellite picture.

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Despite the lack of organization thus far, models continue to indicate that the storm will gradually strengthen in the coming days, becoming a hurricane by mid-week. As for the intensity, the official NHC forecast is on the lower end of the model guidance, with some models indicating a major hurricane by week’s end. At that point, the storm will begin to approach the Hawaiian Islands from the southwest, a historically dangerous trajectory for them.

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