Friday, October 14, 2011

Update on Short to Medium Range Tropical Activity in Gulf of Mexico...

Above are the latest visible and infrared satellite images, respectively, showing anarea of disturbed weather near the Yucatan peninsula (circled in yellow).  I first alluded to the fact that we should be monitoring this area for tropical development in a post on Tuesday.  So far so good, but some changes have developed with respect to how this system is expected to track later next week - and more specifically next weekend.

In the post on Tuesday I described how a rather strong cold front would move into the Gulf by mid week next week, and at the time the models were forecasting the tropical disturbance to remain just South of the associated middle and upper-level steering winds and eventually had the system tracking back Westward toward Mexico by next weekend.

The last several runs of the computer models now have the system being "picked up" by the stronger middle and upper level steering currents, and shift the system to the East toward Florida over time.  It is also interesting to note that they really don't depict the system retaining any tropical characteristics either, but rather show the cold front "absorbing" the system and spreading heavy rains East/Northeast along the frontal boundary.

First, lets take a look at how the GFS model handles the system, valid at 12 hour increments beginning 2pm EDT on Saturday, October 22nd (disturbance circled in yellow on each image):

As you can see, the model brings the system (or whats left of it after having been absorbed into the cold frontal boundary) Eastward into Florida by 2pm EDT on Monday, October 24th.

The other model cited in the post earlier this week, the ECMWF, has also shifted and is now forecasting the system to become completely absorbed by the cold front over the central Gulf of Mexico, with precipitation spreading Eastward into Florida as well.

At this point I wouldn't completely write-off the more Western track solutions that were shown earlier this week, as it still remains to be seen just how far South the influence of the middle and upper level steering winds will be felt.  The main point to be taken from both the early week and current model trends is that we need to keep a close eye on this system over the Yucatan and watch how it will be influenced by the larger steering currents later this coming week.

That's what keeps life - particularly involving the weather - interesting, I suppose...

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