to wake up and issue a special tropical disturbance statement of some
sort, your wait is over. They finally issued something at 5pm EST today,
apparently carefully ignoring all other clues, but waiting to get data
from a plane that was sent in to investigate. This is what they say:
"DATA FROM NOAA AND AIR FORCE RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT...
ALONG WITH SURFACE OBSERVATIONS AND SATELLITE IMAGERY...INDICATE
THAT THE LOW PRESSURE AREA LOCATED OVER THE VIRGIN ISLANDS HAS NOT
DEVELOPED INTO A TROPICAL DEPRESSION. HOWEVER...UPPER-LEVEL WINDS
ARE BECOMING MORE FAVORABLE FOR DEVELOPMENT...AND A TROPICAL
DEPRESSION COULD FORM AT ANY TIME DURING THE NEXT DAY OR TWO AS THE
SYSTEM MOVES WEST-NORTHWESTWARD ABOUT 15 MPH."
I am having a difficult time reconciling the satellite information of
convective activity and winds that I've seen throughout the day with
this "has not developed into a Tropical Depression" thing.
QuickSCAT - a satellite-based instrument that measures wind data - is
showing winds of over 20 knots east of the leeward islands. That's winds
greater than 23 mph. A tropical depression is defined by winds of 23-38
Satellite imagery showed a nice storm structure and the convection
earlier was very very strong. It's only just within the last two hours
or so that the convection has decreased (maybe that's when the plane was
in the system?), but there is still some good formation and outflow
(I'll get into the outflow jargon some other day).
The circulation, which is good, is still confined to the lower half of
the troposphere, which is a sign that its not a strong system, but I
would have said a TD at the very least and I think everyone who saw the
satellite images thought it looked more like a Tropical Storm earlier
today. Gosh, I think I'm so surprised that I can't even bring my usual
level of scathing sarcasm to the proceedings here! Yes, record the date
folks... I might actually be teetering on the edge of being speechless!
Anyway, for those in the VIs, if it's any consolation whatsoever, i know
it's on your doorstep but it's not a very strong storm now and
convection is decreasing at the moment - cloud tops have warmed. It is
unlikely to become a hurricane. From your messages I know you aren't
very happy bunnys at the moment because you've had next to no advice
from the NHC today... I have no idea what is going on there!
Of course, with impeccable timing I may not have Internet access
tomorrow... so...er... it's over to the NHC. Let's see. Maybe I'll find
some way. I'll be back when I can. (If anything changes later tonight
I'll send out another note though).
Have a good/safe night!
Blogs archived at: http://www.jyotikastorms.blogspot.com/
These remarks are just what I think/see regarding tropical storms - not
the opinion of any organization I represent. If you are making an
evacuation decision, please heed your local emergency management and the
National Hurricane Center's official forecast and the National Weather
Service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run away,
run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know.