Talking the Tropics With Mike: T.D. #19 strengthens into tropical storm Sally over the Eastern Gulf

Intensifying Paulette aiming at Bermuda... Rene weakening

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(1) an area of ‘disturbed’ weather (showers & storms) that developed over the Bahamas a few days ago was upgraded to tropical depression #19 Fri. making landfall on the southeast coast of Fl. not far from Miami about 2am EDT Sat. re-emerging over the warm Gulf by midday Sat. then quickly became tropical storm “Sally” Sat. afternoon. The overall satellite & radar presentation is rather impressive with upper level outflow evident along with some banding features. Sally will move west over the SE Gulf of Mexico turning more to the west/ northwest then northwest. Bursts of t’storms will continue while the system tries to organize so expect the center to jump around some before & until a decent core develops.

Models have been having a difficult time “finding” the depression but seem to have finally picked up on the storm now. Special N.W.S. balloon soundings - 4 a day vs. the normal 2 per day - will be released for at least the next several across the Gulf Coast & Southeast U.S. in an attempt to have better analysis data for the models which would then translate into better output (forecasts). Right now it looks like a steady northwest move later Sunday into Mon. Upon approach to the Gulf Coast Mon. night into Tue., the upper level ridge becomes rather soft with westerlies - albeit rather weak - extending south to near the Gulf Coast. How this set-up evolves will be critical as to where exactly Sally comes ashore & where it moves thereafter. I’m concerned about a move eastward very near the Gulf Coast or even a little offshore by midweek. If so, then at least the heavy rain threat would spread east as well... possibly as far east as Jacksonville & surrounding areas. There is a lot of uncertainty on the “end game”.

In any case, everyone along the Gulf Coast needs to stay up to date on the latest forecast.

(2) Tropical depression #17 formed over the Eastern Atlantic Sunday & was upgraded to tropical storm “Paulette” Mon. The fastest ever to ’P’ easily beating the old record of Philippe Sept. 17, 2005. Paulette seems to have finally found that “sweet spot” & is becoming more organized & stronger. In anticipation of a deepening tropical cyclone, the forecast is for Paulette to turn more northward then northeast through next week. So as menacing for the U.S. east coast as the track might look through the weekend (if one were to extrapolate from its W/NW heading the next few days), Paulette continues to look like an “ocean storm” staying well east of the U.S. *but* will be in the vicinity of Bermuda by Mon. at which point the storm could be a major hurricane. Easterly swells will reach the coast through next week as Paulette intensifies increasing the rip current risk from Florida up the east coast to New England.

(3) Tropical depression #18 was upgraded just off the coast of Africa early Mon. then to tropical storm “Rene” Mon. afternoon before a weakening trend Tue. night followed by another strengthening trend Thu. Rene is now again struggling thanks to nearby dry air & shear. Rene should turn more west in the long run as the storm weakens & becomes more shallow.(4) Another in a series of active tropical waves will roll off Africa. This one looks to move west at a lower latitude riding a narrow ridge on the underside of the the two tropical cyclones (Paulette/Rene) to the north. This wave may be something to keep a close eye by next weekend into the following week as it could be nearing parts of the Caribbean.... while strengthening. Long range models have been variable but are generally indicating - at this point - an alley way through the Western Atlantic that may allow for “escape” (vs. something farther west that could impact land). But this is far from certain.

Yet another tropical wave with the potential for development will fairly quickly follow.

(5) A lowering of pressures has been indicated by forecast models over the Western Gulf of Mexico into next week. Low pressure may eventually develop... or there could be some interaction with other waves/disturbances. If so, it’s an area to keep an eye on for possible tropical development.

September is usually the most active month of the hurricane season:

Saharan dust:

2020 names..... “Teddy” is next on the Atlantic list (names are picked at random by the World Meteorological Organization... repeat every 6 years... historic storms are retired (Florence & Michael in ’18) & Dorian is certain to be retired from the ’19 list. Interesting side note: the last six of the names on the ’20 list have never been used with only 3 remaining (the Greek alphabet will be used if necessary)....

East Atlantic:

Mid & upper level wind shear (enemy of tropical cyclones) analysis (CIMMS). The red lines indicate strong shear:

Water vapor imagery (dark blue indicates dry air):

Deep oceanic heat content is impressive for the first couple weeks of Aug.:

Sea surface temp. anomalies:

SE U.S. surface map:

Surface analysis centered on the tropical Atlantic:

Surface analysis of the Gulf:


Global tropical activity:

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