Tuesday, July 01, 2014

June 30: Tropical Depression One, Update A

Here we go! The first Tropical Depression of the Atlantic has been named as Tropical Depression One! (surprise! ;-)) (meanwhile in the Eastern Pacific we're on Tropical Storms number 4 (Douglas) and 5 (Elida)).

Officially he has winds of 35mph, central pressure 1009 mb. In case you are wondering, a Tropical Depression (TD) is a system with closed circular motion (as you see in the "movie" below) and maximum winds of 38mph. I really think he became a TD much earlier in the day today ... here's what he looked like at around 4pm EST:

So I'm glad the NHC finally upgraded him to TD 1 in the 11pm EST advisory!

Like the circulation, the convection has slowly improved during the day too, mostly because of the ocean. He is over warm water, with sea surface temperatures over 29 deg C, and he is interacting with the Gulf Stream which is a current that  runs along the eastern edge of Florida (and the southeastern US) and has warm water over a large depth; the upper ~50-75m of the water column are warmer than 26 deg C. The atmosphere (which has a moderate amount of wind shear and dry air) and his proximity to land have been keeping him in check. This 'battle' between the ocean, atmosphere and land has been going on all day... but it looks like the ocean is slowly winning because the convection is slowly increasing, as you can see in the infrared satellite image:

Actually, with this heavy convection over his center of circulation, I think he is already a Tropical Storm!

His center is officially at 27.6N, 79.1W and he is moving South-Westward incredibly slowly at 2mph. I think he may be a bit to the east of this location, but I agree with the snails pace movement - he must be really enjoying those 'umbrella' drinks in the Bahamas! ;-) The forecast track has him turning to the west (towards Florida) and then eventually north, skirting the Florida and Georgia coastline over the next couple of days:

I think this is a very likely path and as the NHC were quite good at the 1-2 day track forecasts last season I have little reason to doubt this. It is tricky to tell whether he will actually reach the Florida coast but whether or not he does, he will bring rain and possible coastal flooding to parts of eastern Florida. And because he is moving so slowly this may cause a few hiccups so get the wellies out and put the ponies in a barn!

He is going over the Gulf Stream, which usually means intensification, so although officially the Tuesday and Wednesday forecast calls for a maximum wind speed of 50-60mph, I wouldn't be too surprised if he turns out to be a bit stronger (aka Tropical Storm 'Count Arthur Strong' - a very zany British show! :-)). As I mentioned earlier, the dry air and wind shear will inhibit him somewhat so we'll have to see how that battle plays out.

Travel day tomorrow but I will try and hop onto a computer (not literally of course - that would look quite silly and also damage the computer ;-)) and send an update!

Toodle pip!

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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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