Monday, October 17, 2011

Gulf of Mexico Blobette and Atlantic Blob: October 17, Update A

Here is the IR satellite image of the Atlantic Basin at the moment, so this is just a quick update on the two blobs that you can see out there at the moment. (Warning: I’ve not had my morning cup of tea yet, so don’t worry if words are a bit blurry).

Gulf of Mexico Blobette:
This one looks quite ferocious, doesn’t it? Well, its look is worse that its structure. There is some lower tropospheric vorticity (circulation), but it stretches from the Bahamas, southwest across southern Florida and the southern Gulf of Mexico, and then down to the Pacific coast of Mexico. It is not very well developed at all and there is nothing much in the mid-to-upper troposphere. It does, however, have a lot of convection – lots of thundery weather in there. The reason why the convection is so strong is because of the ocean. It is over the Loop Current, which enters the Gulf of Mexico through the Yucatan Strait and leaves the Gulf through the Straits of Florida. The surface waters of the Loop Current are very toasty – over 31 deg C! and water warmer than 26 deg C can be found in the upper 150m of the water column! So any storm, tropical or not, that passes over this area is bound to have a lot of convection.

They give this a 60% possibility of becoming a storm in the next 48 hours and are sending in a plane to investigate this afternoon. I shall be quite cross if it returns saying this is a tropical storm (unless it somehow pulls itself together by this afternoon, but it’s been spread out all over the map for days and looks quite set in its ways). Apart from the minimal vorticity (circulation), there is a lot of wind shear (ranging from 30-60 knots!). You can see this because the clouds are streaming off to the northeast. We’ve had some spectacular sunsets over Florida because of the water vapor in the skies above. Exhibit A: a photo of yesterday’s sunset, taken by moi. Although I’m a photographic genius with an iPhone, even 3 year old with a toy camera wouldn’t have been able to mess this up.

Regardless of the name, this does have some strong thundery weather in it so southern Florida might be getting a few sploshes of rain and stuff over the next few days. Don’t forget to take your umbrella with you. And a towel (that Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy knew what it was talking about!). ;-)

Atlantic Blob:
The other one I’ve been watching all weekend is the blob at around 10N, 40W. This one actually has more circulation in the lower half of the troposphere than the blobette, and it is confined to a relatively small area. However, as you can see, the convection doesn’t quite match and it is also in an area of some wind shear. At the moment it looks like wind shear will increase, so although I’ll watch this, I’m thinking that it won’t develop much.

More laterZ!

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DISCLAIMER: 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.

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