Tracking the Tropics

Aug 20, 2014 4:57 PM by Daniel Phillips

Latest Tropical Update for Invest 96L

At this stage most of you have heard about a disturbance in the Caribbean that most meteorologist along the coast are keeping an eye.

Social media postings have been rampant, with many images reacting to doomsday model scenarios.

While any disturbance in the tropics certainly warrants attention, and they should be monitored, not all of them pan out to be the major storm that some people will advertise.

So to help with any confusion you may have here is a look at what the current thinking is for Invest 96L.

Models have been all over the place with the long range track, which isn't surprising since they're trying to determine what a system (influenced by hundreds of always changing variables) will be doing in over a week.

The latest look from the models (as of Wednesday afternoon) had pushed the track eastward, moving northward through the Bahamas and eventually into the Atlantic Ocean.

This is a far stretch from the outcomes they had up just 12 hours before where the system was impacting communities along the Gulf Coast.

That is quite the distance to go from New Orleans to the Atlantic Ocean, and that is only in the course of about 12 hours, imagine the changes we will see over the next several days.

Included in the article are the latest (as of Wednesday afternoon) spaghetti plots for the system, in particular notice the wide range of possible outcomes by the end of the forecast.

Here is what we do know, however, that although it is still an incredibly fragile system the National Hurricane Center has given it a likely chance to develop in the next several days.

Dry air sits immediately to the north of the low and is trying to infiltrate the system, an almost fatal blow to any tropical system.

Still it does look like the system may be centering around an area of elongated low pressure, based on satellite analysis of the convection and reading from the surface winds.

The position of the low, however, is being estimated as best as can be done but there is still a lot of data we need to see before we can definitively say where it is located.

Locating an exact position for the low will help the models tremendously in their forecasts, and the Wednesday afternoon model runs looked like they had missed where we believe the low to be; something that will have a major effect on what will happen down the line.

Hurricane Hunters are scheduled to fly into the storm on Thursday afternoon and will provide much needed information to start resolving the long range track.

In the meantime this system is currently moving toward the Lesser Antilles, where land interaction will have another major effect on the intensity and track of the storm.

Regardless of whether it is an official tropical system or not it will be capable of producing very heavy rain and gusty winds for the Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

Just remember there is a lot of information out there and access to weather models is easier then ever, but it is the job of Storm Team 3 to interpret these models for you and get you the latest and best information.

So before you share something on social media or start to panic make sure that your information is coming from a trusted source.

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