Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tropics Heating Up - Promise No Relief for Texas in Near Term...

The tropics are starting to look increasingly active, as we would expect to see at this point in the season.  The disturbance that is currently closest to our neck of the woods here in the U.S. is "Invest 93" which is located over the Western Caribbean (white circled area on the satellite image above).  An Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft is currently investigating this system to determine whether or not a low level circulation is present.

Conditions are favorable for this disturbance to continue developing over the next 24-36 hours as it moves Westward.  Computer forecast models currently predict that this system will continue Westward, regardless of the form, reaching the Yucatan Peninsula by this weekend:

Elsewhere, we are beginning to see an "assembly line" of tropical waves (disturbances) lining-up out deep into the Atlantic and across Africa (see the latest satellite image below):

These disturbances will have to be closely monitored as they continue Westward over the coming days.  Computer forecast models continue to hint that the system currently moving off of the African coast will develop into a hurricane and eventually move toward Florida or the Southeast U.S. coast by the 2nd half of next week:

We obviously need to keep in mind that a lot can change between now and one week from today, particularly when dealing with a tropical system.  None-the-less, residents of Florida and the Southeast U.S. should pay more attention than normal to the disturbances that are developing out in the Atlantic over the next several days...

Many of us here in Texas have been hoping and praying for a tropical system (preferably weak in the wind department but strong in the rain department) to make landfall along our coast and move inland, providing much needed rain to the drought stricken region.  Unfortunately, the current pattern that we find ourselves in suggests that this is not likely - at least for the next 10 days.

A ridge of high pressure (as noted by the blue "H" and the clockwise arrows on the image below) is forecast to continue to dominate the weather pattern over the central & southern Rockies and adjacent Plains region for the next week to 10 days at least:

The above image was taken from the same computer model that I showed with the potential hurricane location above, and is valid at the same time, 7pm CDT next Wednesday.  As you can see, a high pressure dome is forecast to remain locked in place over the four corners region.  The Northerly winds rotating around the East side of the high pressure area will tend to keep steering weather systems well off to our South and East, including tropical systems.

While this is good news insofar as generally discouraging a potentially damaging hurricane from making landfall in Texas, it is bad news in that our prospects for widespread rain will also be very limited (to none).

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