On Wednesday afternoon, Hurricane Franklin formed over the Bay of Campeche before making landfall late Wednesday night and rapidly weakening this morning. The formation date of August 9th was just one day shy of the average formation date of the Atlantic season’s first hurricane. The season’s first hurricane brought several inches of rainfall and sustained winds as high as 85 mph to portions of eastern Mexico. Looking forward, there is a slight chance that Franklin’s remains regenerate over the eastern Pacific.
Back in the Atlantic, Invest 99L continues to fight despite slim development chances. On Thursday afternoon, the disturbance was located a few hundred miles northeast of the Lesser Antilles. It will have a window this weekend as wind shear in its path begins to decrease. Recent runs of both the GFS & ECMWF have low expectations for Invest 99L, keeping it an open wave as it moves NNE of the Bahamas by Sunday evening.
At 5pm Wednesday afternoon, Franklin became the first hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Sustained winds were at 75 mph and it was moving W at 12 mph. The system continues to thrive in a very favorable environment over the Bay of Campeche with very warm sea-surface temperatures, plenty of moisture, and only moderate wind shear. As a result, a little more strengthening is possible before landfall late tonight. This system doesn’t pose any threat to the United States, but it will bring very heavy rainfall, as much as 15″, to the mountainous terrain of eastern Mexico over the next 48 hours.
Meanwhile, about 350 miles east of the northern Lesser Antilles, Invest 99L continues to struggle to get organized thanks to strong mid-upper level winds and an abundance of dry air. That being said, conditions should become a little more favorable by this weekend as this system moves WNW.
Even if 99L develops into Gert, steering flow over the western Atlantic and eastern U.S. should steer it north/northeast and keep it offshore. We’ll continue to watch it closely.
In other news, today NOAA released their final update for the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook – further increasing the amount of activity expected over the next few months. The 2017 season could end up being the most active since 2010, now with a 60% chance of an above-normal season.
Tropical Storm Franklin made landfall late Monday night on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula with 60 mph. As of 2 PM Tuesday max sustained winds are down to 40 mph. While it has weakened over land since then, deep moisture still fuels torrential rains. 4-8 inches of rainfall, with isolated amounts near a foot are possible through Wednesday. Franklin will recharge over the southern Gulf of Mexico Tuesday night and early Wednesday. It will get close to hurricane strength before wind shear ramps up. A second landfall is likely by early Thursday in mountainous east Mexico. Mudslides and flash flooding are possible in this region. Up to 15 inches of rain is possible through late work week. Below is the 11 AM official track from the National Hurricane Center.
As mentioned the past few days, Invest 99L struggles east of the Lesser Antilles with dry air and increased upper level winds. Tropical cyclone development is highly unlikely over the next few days as the weak area of low pressure moves west-northwest at about 15 mph.
By Friday or the weekend the disturbance moves over the warm waters east of the Bahamas. The past 3 runs of the ECMWF suggest Gert will develop and strengthen during this time, possibly as a hurricane, by late in the weekend east of the Southeast U.S.. A developing trough could keep possible future Gert just off the East coast, but it’s too early to say for sure. The CMC is also on board. Meanwhile the GFS. It’s a wait and see situation late in the week.
The 6th named storm of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season, Franklin, gradually strengthens Monday. As of 11 AM max sustained winds are at 60 mph and it heads west-northwest at 14 mph. The storm develops better outflow and thrives off of warm Western Caribbean waters in the mid to upper 80s. Upper level winds favor further intensification before landfall late Monday night and early Tuesday in the Yucatan peninsula. While the 11 AM National Hurricane Center forecast keeps Franklin below hurricane strength, it could become the first hurricane of the season. Hurricane Reconnaissance Aircraft will investigate Monday afternoon and get a better grasp on the strength of the storm. The graphic below shows the incredible GOES 16 enhanced satellite. This data is preliminary/non-operational.
Franklin will emerge in the Bay of Campeche Tuesday night and likely strengthen (possibly rapidly) to near hurricane strength before landfall in mountainous East Mexico early Thursday. It is no threat to the U.S..
Franklin brings tropical storm conditions and the threat for flash flooding to Belize and the Yucatan through early work week. 3 to 6 inches, with isolated amounts of 12 inches, are possible through Wednesday. That heavy rain threat shifts to East Mexico mid to late work week.
It doesn’t look promising for Invest 99L the next 5 days as it moves west-northwest at 15 mph. Upper level winds are on the rise and stay unfavorable for tropical cyclone development over the next few days. Dry African air will also hinder development.
By late in the week conditions are a bit more ripe for tropical depression development near the warm waters near the Bahamas. We will keep an eye on it.
Late Sunday evening, the National Hurricane Center began issuing advisories on Tropical Storm Franklin in the western Caribbean. Moving into an increasingly favorable environment for further development, Franklin is likely to strengthen as it moves toward the Yucatan over the next 24 hours. Tropical Storm warnings are now in effect for the Yucatan Peninsula, as impacts in that area may be felt as early as Monday afternoon. From there, this system should move across the Bay of Campeche and into eastern Mexico late Wednesday into early Thursday. Heavy rain and gusty winds are likely in the aforementioned areas, but at this time, no U.S. impacts are expected.
On Sunday evening, the National Hurricane Center began issuing advisories on Potential Tropical Cyclone Seven in the western Caribbean. Moving into an increasingly favorable environment for further development, this is likely to become Tropical Storm Franklin within the next 24 hours. Tropical Storm warnings are now in effect for the Yucatan Peninsula, as impacts in that area may be felt as early as Monday afternoon. From there, this system should move across the Bay of Campeche and into eastern Mexico late Wednesday into early Thursday. Heavy rain and gusty winds are likely in the aforementioned areas, but at this time, no U.S. impacts are expected.
We also continue to monitor the progress of Invest 99L in the central Atlantic. As of Sunday night, convection was almost non-existent around the disturbance, and the National Hurricane Center continues to lower its expectations for development in the short-term. It has a very tough road ahead of it thanks to strong upper level winds, but it still bears watching as it moves WNW over the next week or so.
There are two areas of interest Sunday in the Atlantic. Invest 90L south of Jamaica has organized some the past 24 hours. While convection blossoms early Sunday, moderate northwesterly shear displaces it on the eastern side of the tropical wave. Sunday’s Hurricane Reconnaissance mission was rescheduled for Monday afternoon. During this time upper levels will favor further organization, and there is a high chance Invest 90L becomes a tropical depression/Tropical Storm Franklin over the next 5 days. It is moving west-northwest towards Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula Monday.
Beyond Monday/early Tuesday models are in line with a track into the Bay of Campeche. This area is known for its very warm waters. Tropical cyclones often strengthen rapidly here. Many models are on board with a Hurricane Franklin (GFS/ECMWF/HWRF) by Wednesday or Thursday moving onshore in mountainous East Mexico. Models have trended a bit further north, so interest in extreme southern Texas should keep a watchful eye.
Invest 99L has not organized in the Atlantic. Some dry air in the mid levels of the atmosphere keeps convection disorganized early Sunday. The area of low pressure is elongated due to some marginally favorable upper level winds. Wind shear increases as Invest 99L moves west-northwest at 15 mph towards the Lesser Antilles. There is a medium chance it becomes a tropical depression over the next 5 days.
12Z computer models have really backed off on the intensity of Invest 99L. A few days ago some were anticipating a hurricane in the long run. More models are trending towards a west-northwest path north of the eastern Caribbean.
Even if Invest 99L does not become a tropical depression/named storm over the next 5 days it will still be monitored late in the week. Water temperatures are plenty warm for tropical cyclone intensification in the Eastern Caribbean and near the Bahamas.
The Atlantic Basin is active Saturday. Invest 90L in the Caribbean and Invest 99L in the Atlantic are worth keeping an eye on in the days ahead. Invest 90L is a little more organized early Saturday. Scattered convection trying to consolidate under lighter upper level winds circled in orange. It has a medium chance of development the next 5 days, especially if it survives the track across Central America/the Yucatan and enters the Bay of Campeche Tuesday or Wednesday. This is a hot spot for tropical cyclone development this time of year. Meanwhile Invest 99L southwest of Cabo Verde Islands still battles some dry African air and is disorganized. The likelihood is still high a depression forms over the next 5 days. It moves northwest at 15 mph and approaches the Lesser Antilles mid work-week. The next named storms are Franklin and Gert.
As is always the case with a disorganized, developing tropical disturbance there are some model discrepancies with the forecast track and intensity. The Bermuda High guides Invest 99L on a general west-northwest track towards the Caribbean over the couple of days. The European model is not impressed at all with Invest 99L and does not develop a tropical depression. The GFS is trending weaker too, but shows some development in the days ahead. A weaker system would tend to head more westerly towards the Caribbean while a stronger system would head more northerly. It is way too early to speculate possible U.S. impacts, if at all.
If Invest 99L survives the track into the Eastern Caribbean/interaction with some of the islands we need to keep an eye on it. Water temperatures are in the mid to upper 80s. Some areas are running 0.5°C-2°C above average, especially in the western Caribbean. Also of note is an incredibly warm Bay of Campeche where Invest 90L may head.
Upper level winds favor further organization of Invest 90L as it moves west-northwest at 10-15 mph. If some of the energy holds together and spills in the southern Gulf of Mexico mid to late work week it could rapidly intensify.
The ECMWF wind shear model shows favorable upper level winds over a very warm Bay of Campeche next Thursday morning. The Euro still suggests a strengthening named storm late work week. The 0Z brings a strong tropical storm into mountainous East Mexico Thursday. (either Franklin or Gert). The GFS also spins up a low, albeit weaker, in the southern Gulf Wednesday. It also suggests a track into East Mexico.
By next week, it’s possible that we’ll be tracking two named storms in Atlantic. On Friday afternoon, Invest 90L was located in southern Caribbean Sea, while Invest 99L was out in the open Atlantic, several hundred miles southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands.
Invest 90L is battling quite a bit of wind shear in the short term and is currently nothing more than a disorganized area of showers & storms. However, environmental conditions should become more favorable for development as it emerges near the Yucatan Peninsula early next week. There is growing model support that we may have a tropical storm or hurricane in the Bay of Campeche by the middle of next week, which could then make a run at eastern Mexico or southern Texas.
Invest 99L certainly bears watching as well. It is in a pretty good environment for further development, but is taking its sweet time getting organized. If it can get its act together, it should take advantage of an increasingly favorable environment over the next few days as it moves west-northwest toward the northeastern Caribbean. Beyond that, it is still too early to speculate whether or not it will have any U.S. impacts.
Below is the 12Z GFS Ensemble MSLP and the 0Z Euro Ensemble MSLP valid for next Wednesday evening. Images courtesy of Tropical Tidbits.
Time is certainly on our side, as we’ll have several days to keep an eye on both of these systems.
And just like that, we have two new areas to watch in the Atlantic basin. The first is a tropical wave in the southern Caribbean Sea just west of the Lesser Antilles (Invest 90L). Conditions over the Caribbean Sea should become a little more favorable over the weekend and into next week as this system moves west-northwest 15-20 mph. Overall, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) is currently only giving this a 20% chance of development over the next 5 days.
The second area we’re keeping an eye on is a rather robust wave (Invest 99L) that came off the coast of Africa over the last 24 hours . It’s combating some moderate wind shear and marginally warm sea-surface temperatures at the moment, but conditions will become more favorable for development as this moves off to the west-northwest over the next several days. The NHC is now giving it a 70% chance of development.
As is usually the case when we’re talking about anything a couple thousand miles away, it’s way early to speculate about any impacts. Any model solutions a week or more away really can’t be trusted, especially with tropical systems. To give you an idea, latest runs of the GFS and CMC really ramp up this storm fast over the Central Atlantic, while the ECMWF has absolutely nothing. So for now. we watch and wait.