Saturday, June 23, 2012

Gulf of Mexico blobette and the last word on TS Chris: June 22, Update A

It’s Friday evening and I’m hanging out with some friends (they are now talking about ‘our’ colours… hey, I’m a glamorous scientist, I have to know my colours! J). I’m having a glass of wine (ok, this might be my second or third). This seems like a good time to start writing. ;-)

Tropical Storm Chris

He took a rapid nose-dive from being a ‘hurricane’ (haha, still laughing at that one) to being non-existent… about 24 hours I think. Anyway, the NHC have stopped saying anything about him, and I will happily do so as well. I have to say though that I am very disappointed in TS Chris. I know so many Chris’s in person that I was all set to make fun of…er I mean to compliment… oh well. I can wait for six years (which will be the next time we see a storm named Chris).

(Now the conversation has turned to people dressed as princesses running in a marathon. It’s not my fault… I’m just writing).

Gulf of Mexico Blobette

Ok, so this one might be a little more of a problem for some in the Gulf region. During the day the circulation improved a lot for this blobette. It is still very close to the Yucatan peninsula so it is interacting with land which is preventing it from fully developing at the moment, however I see circulation in all levels of the troposphere now. If this persists once it has left the influence of land and moved into the Gulf, I think that this will be a hurricane (cat 1) – maybe as early as tomorrow. There are two more atmospheric factors that will allow this blobette to develop are that the wind shear is not very strong in the Gulf, and it is weakening, and there is plenty of moisture in the surrounding atmosphere.

This blobette has a lot of thunderstorms and rain because it is also partly over the very warm waters of the Yucatan Strait, where water temperatures are 28-29 deg C, with waters as warm as 26.5 deg C in the upper 100-125m. <Science Alert> This deep warm water is important for a storm to intensify because as it churns up the surface water, the water that replaces it is still warm, so the storm continues to have yummy warm water to feed it and put moisture into the atmosphere. <End Science Alert> So two oceanic factor that will allow the storm to develop are the warm 28-30 deg C waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and that these warm waters are very deep because the blobette is right over the Loop Current. <Science Alert> (Oooh… two science alerts in one entry! The excitement is unbearable! ;-)). The Loop Current is part of an ocean current system that flows from the Caribbean into the Gulf of Mexico through the Yucatan Strait, and then out of the Gulf of Mexico through the Straits of Florida, and up the east coast of the US. How far it extends into the Gulf of Mexico varies from year to year and month to month. At the moment, it’s northernmost extent looks like it is around the same latitude as Tampa Bay (in Florida). As this current flows around Florida, it changes name to become the Florida Current. Then as it flows up the east coast, it changes name again and is known as the Gulf Stream. It leaves the US east coast around North Carolina and flows across the north Atlantic to the UK. This current system is well known because it has the deepest warm waters, and is very fast flowing. The deep warm waters mean that tropical storms that pass over any part of this current system have a jolly good chance of becoming stronger. <end Science Alert>

The track this blobette will take is a little tricky to see at the moment. There is a bit of high pressure to the north, which means that it will move slowly as it crosses the Gulf. This isn’t very groovy because in turn, that means that it has time to get stronger. But because it is slow moving, it also makes it difficult to figure out where the blobette will go. Depending on how fast it moves over the next 2-3 days, I estimate landfall to be next Thurs/Fri, but it could be anywhere from Texas to Florida. Hopefully I’ll have a better idea tomorrow, but it needs to moves away from the Yucatan. Everyone in the Gulf should keep an eye on it.

That’s it for today. Hey, it’s Saturday tomorrow. You know what that means? Yes, I can write more than one update…. Lucky you! ;-)

(My friends are now talking about ‘goo’. Apparently this is something you eat while you are out running. Not just running to catch the bus, but running marathons and things. I’m not sure I’d want to eat goo under any circumstances, but luckily I’m pretty certain I won’t be running any marathons so the pressure is off for now. Goodness me, the things one learns!).


p.s. oh, it’s called ‘Gu’ not ‘goo’… hmm, doesn’t sound any more palatable though.

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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.

1 comment:

Shandy said...

GU is not in any way, shape or form palatable. Tolerable if it means you won't fall twitching to the ground in the middle of a race pooping yourself, yes. But not palatable.