Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tropical Update - Ophelia and a Disturbance Near Puerto Rico

It's been a few days since I made a post regarding the tropics, and during that time one of the disturbances has been named Tropical Storm Ophelia (as shown on the latest satellite image above).  Another weak disturbance is currently moving over Puerto Rico, but has not been classified.

While maximum sustained winds in association with Ophelia have increased to 65 mph, she is not in a very favorable position to intensify much further at least for the next 48 hours or so, as stronger middle and upper-level winds are tearing at the Western side of the system a bit more.

Computer models generally track her toward the West/Northwest over the next few days before a more direct Northwestward turn late in the weekend:

In the longer term, some additional strengthening is possible as Ophelia is forecast to move out of the stronger shearing wind field as she approaches Bermuda from the South by the early to middle part of next week.  Folks in Bermuda will want to keep an eye on this system next week for sure.

At this time, it appears that steering winds next week will prevent the system from affecting the Eastern U.S.  By 8pm EDT next Friday, 9-30-11, the ECMWF Model is forecasting Ophelia to possibly clip the outer reaches of the Canadian Maritimes and possibly Newfoundland.  We'll have to keep an eye out for that possibility for late next week...

As far as the disturbance near Puerto Rico is concerned, it too is currently in a region that is not terribly favorable for additional development.  The GFS Model completely dissipates the system within 24-36 hours.  The ECMWF model tries to hold on to it (or an offspring of it), carrying it to the Yucatan Peninsula area in Mexico by Monday evening, the 26th (red circled area on image below):

At this time, I wouldn't be too concerned about this particular system, as the deck seems to be stacked against it...

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