Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tropical Storm Don Takes a Jog to the Southwest...

Between the 4pm and 7pm CDT observations, Tropical Storm Don took an abrupt turn toward the West/Southwest, by about 60 miles. This "jog" is noted by the yellow circle on the above image.  The "TS" inside of the green symbols indicate the position of the center of Don at 4pm CDT (right part of yellow circle) and 7pm CDT (left part of yellow circle).

In a post earlier today, I noted that abrupt fluctuations in intensity and/or movement are not uncommon in association with a relatively small storm like Don.  Now that such a fluctuation has occurred, the $64,000 question is:  "what will he do now????"

Computer forecast models continue to "converge" on a landfall near the Corpus Christi area on Friday night:

...with the "official" National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecast following in close proximity:

It is important to note that the above forecasts (computer and human) were made before the recent "jog" to the left that Don took during the past 3 hours.  

With that in mind, the main issue now is whether or not a "jog" back to the right will take place over the next 24 hours, or whether Don will assume a track more to the left of the current model and NHC forecasts.  Such is the hazard of trying to forecast the movement of a small (in size) tropical system.  Perhaps the next Hurricane Hunter aircraft observation of the system (which is underway at this time) will shed some additional light on this problem...

In case you were curious as to what the remainder of the 7pm observation of Tropical Storm Don told are the particulars:  the center of the system was located about 410 miles East/Southeast of Corpus Christi, TX and moving West/Northwest at 16 mph.  Maximum sustained winds were 45 mph, with a minimum central pressure of 29.65 inches of mercury.

The more Don turns toward the left (South), the less widespread rain will take place in the Austin-San Antonio corridor, so I'm personally hoping that Don will decide to move back to the right before landfall (of course, my "desperate for rainfall" bias is rather obvious)...

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