Friday, June 06, 2014

June 5: Gulf of Mexico Blob, Update A

Well that didn't take too long, did it? What happened to my quiet season? Huh. Oh, I forgot to say in my season opening remarks that even though the forecast is for a below-average number of storms this year, it only takes one. The biggest example is, of course, Hurricane Andrew which was the first named storm of the 1992 hurricane season (a season with only 6 named storms, of which 4 were hurricanes) and hit S. Florida and Miami as a cat 5 on the 24th of August! So be prepared and get your supplies in order! My usual supplies list... batteries and flashlight, two tubs of ice cream (different flavours to avoid boredom), twelve bottles of wine (mostly red – no point getting too many white if there is no fridge to cool it in!), first-aid kit, some ice cream cones (optional), canned food, batteries for the camera/video/radio, a non-electronic wine bottle opener, smart phone to tweet from, a non-electronic can opener, sunscreen, good books to read, insect repellant, hand-held fan, cheese, bags of PG Tips in a ziploc bag etc. ;-)

So officially there is a small blob (technical jargon for 'a bunch of clouds loitering with intent' ;-)) in the southwest Gulf of Mexico, very near to the Bay of Campeche (but mostly over Mexico).

Although the National Hurricane Center has been slowly upgrading the likelihood of this blob developing into a storm over the past couple of days, it really doesn't look like much to me. The circulation is pretty poor and is connected to a front, and it doesn't have too much rain as you can see in this infra-red satellite movie (ooh...a movie!! quick, get the popcorn! ;-)):

What you actually see here are the remains of Tropical Storm Boris that merged with a low pressure front that's been hanging out down there in the Gulf for days. Whoa! Where did Tropical Storm Boris come from, you ask? No, I have not had one too many glasses of wine thank you very much (too early in the season for that! ;-)). Although there's not been much in the Atlantic so far, the Eastern Pacific Hurricane season (which started on May 15th) has been a bit busy with cat 5 Hurricane Amanda last week (that fizzled in the Pacific) and Tropical Storm Boris this week. TS Boris ran into the southwest coast of Mexico yesterday, bringing a bunch 'o' rain to Mexico and Guatemala. That's the story of Boris.

Our Gulf of Mexico blob is interacting with Mexico too much to develop into anything at the moment, but there is a small (very small) possibility that it will develop into something (first name is Arthur) if it moves away from land ... so something I'll definitely keep an eye on!

<Science Alert!> It's not too surprising if storms do pop up in the Gulf this early in the season, but the good news is that they would be dinky little things that generally bring much needed rain and not too much wind. Here is a figure that I made a few years ago that shows the track of all storms from 1851 to 2005, divided into the month they formed/existed (graph credit: MOI!).
You can see that in the early and latter parts of the season we have storms that develop in the western Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico/Caribbean region. But because they are so close to land and early in the season things are still warming up, they don’t usually have time to develop. During the peak months it’s another story! Storms develop in the eastern Atlantic and have lots of space and time (but no TARDIS, thankfully!) to get nice and strong before getting to land. This figure also shows why we have a ‘hurricane season’. 97% of all storms form between June 1 and Nov 30, with 78% forming during the peak months of Aug-Sept-Oct (stats from Landsea’s 1993 paper). But you can see that every so often we do get storms that develop outside of the season (including January!). Not common, but not impossible! <End Science Alert!>

I'll be back tomorrow if that Gulf Blob makes any dodgy moves, otherwise I'll be back later. 

Ciao for now!

Blogs archived at
Twitter @JyovianStorm

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...

I'd love a very rainy, not too windy blob to show up right now. The bamboos are so thirsty!