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TROPICAL DISTURBANCES OVER THE WEEKEND
BUT IS HURRICANE SEASON STARTING EARLY?
Weather models for the last week have been pointing to the idea that we could see hurricane season starting early. Hurricane season technically starts June 1st. We had the first named storm Hurricane Alex back last January if you remember. A May tropical storm is not unheard of since we did have one last year come ashore in the Carolinas. However conditions need to be almost perfect for this to happen and as I look at the set up going into the weekend, there are some things that point to possible tropical development while other measures say no.
Hurricane Season Starting Early? GFS MODEL FRIDAY NIGHT
First off models have changed several times on the timing and speed of coastal disturbances developing in the Atlantic near and east of the Bahamas. Now it seems there is going to be a lead low that will develop and speed to the southeast coast of the United States later Saturday. The gfs model has a low northeast of the Bahamas Friday afternoon and takes that to the South Carolina coast by Saturday evening with little development shown. The Euro model has a low developing much further west and also shows little change in it as nears the Carolinas around the same time frame.
Hurricane Season Starting Early? EURO MODEL SATURDAY MORNING
One of the negatives this time of year is the ocean water temperatures along the east coast. We actually have seen a complete reversal in the water temperature profile in the western Atlantic in the last 6 months. Suddenly temperatures have fallen to below average for this time of year after being above normal for many many months in a row.
Hurricane Season Starting Early? WATER TEMPERATURES COOLER THAN NORMAL
With regards to the actual temperatures themselves they are borderline at best.
Hurricane Season Starting Early? Observed Water Temperatures
If we were a month down the road, say late June I think the chances for tropical development will be higher. So at best I’m thinking that perhaps a depression could develop out of this or something minimal from a tropical storm is possible, but that should be it. The flow over the Southeast US is somewhat anti cyclonic (upper high) to the northeast of any surface low. It also appears the surface low will be in a low shearing environment for a period of time.
Hurricane Season Starting Early? UPPER AIR WIND SHEAR SATURDAY
You can see how from the Gulf of Mexico through the Caribbean and Tropical Atlantic, we have nothing but screaming westerly winds out there. So it appears this is the one pocket that opens a door for development ever so slightly.
Many of you may hear about the Canadian model showing all sorts of development. I should remind everyone at this point that the Canadian model last season developed about 2 or 3 dozen category 5 hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin, none of which (other than Joaquin) came to be so I will probably not be using that model much at all this season.
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