Monday, August 02, 2010

Tropical Depression 4: August 2, Update A

This is a dinky little blob, isn't it? It's still struggling with reality, even though it got upgraded to a Tropical Depression. And speaking of reality... John L. gets a prize for finding my er... deliberate grammatical obfuscations in the last entry. Yeah, that's it. Deliberate obfuscations. ;-)
The Blob is hanging out at 13N, 42.5W, with an estimated minimum central pressure of 1006mb. Maximum winds are estimated at 35 mph, and it's moving at a pretty rapid 16mph in a general WNW direction.
Convection is not very strong, despite relatively small wind shear and sea surface temperatures of 28 -29 deg C. It looks like the convection is being inhibited by a lot of Saharan Dust to the north (and possibly within the storm itself) and a lot of dry air to the west. This will continue for a while so this little blob may have a few problems really getting its act together over the next few days (one, two, three... awww ;-)).
Track. Hmm. Yes, it's on a track ;-). Currently it's moving WNW, and the forecast takes it north of the Caribbean, and up towards the North Carolina/Bermuda part of the Atlantic.  I think that over the next day or so, it will head a little more to the west than anticipated at the moment which means that track will shift to the south and west. We'll see what happens.
I had a couple of emails last week about 'long range' forecasts. I believe US media showed a rather large storm that would be off the east coast of Florida 'in ten days'... meaning on August 8... and heading to the New England area. I just wanted to mention these now because you might come across such long-term forecasts (10 - 15 days) in the future. These still fall in the research realm as far as I'm aware, and not in the 'official forecast' realm. They are a nice little 'heads up' for forecasters but still to be taken with a pinch or five of salt, and certainly not enough to base your holiday plans on! :-) I first heard about these long range forecasts two years ago. Scientists are still working on understanding what causes a storm to develop and as that understanding improves, computer models are used to try and forecast storm generation. It would be great to know that there will be a storm in two weeks time but at the moment the results can be a bit hit-or-miss. It's all still nascent work (I love that word... no, no, not 'work'(!)... 'nascent'!). One of the things I'll be looking out for this season is how many of these long range forecasts match reality - not necessarily in terms of where the storm is, but that a storm develops in the first place. 
More tomorrow, when according to the forecasts we'll have Tropical Storm Colin out there.
Toodle pip!
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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 was there and was going to "run away, run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know.

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