TROPICAL STORM FLORENCE CONTINUES MOVING WEST NORTHWEST
All the attention seems to be on Tropical Storm Gordon which developed rather rapidly over South Florida. Tropical Storm Florence meanwhile remains in the open waters of the Atlantic plodding along to the west northwest. The storm looks a bit more organized today with winds now estimated at 65 mph. There are a few issues going forward that are going to be important as to whether Florence becomes a threat to the US East Coast or does it recurve and head out to sea.
WIDE ATLANTIC TROPICAL SATELLITE
In the middle of the satellite loop and to the west of Florence lies an upper low that is producing strong upper level winds. This could weaken Florence in another two days or so assuming that upper low is still there. That weakening is critical because a weaker Florence will then respond to lower level steering. This is the issue with the GFS. The model shows Florence strengthening which allows the higher level steering influences to take control.
The European and the Canadian models offer a different outcome. It has a weaker trough moving through Eastern Canada and the North Atlantic which would bypass Florence. It also has a stronger ridge signature in the Atlantic. Combine that with a weaker Florence at this stage of its life cycle and you get a track further to the west.
Once that trough in the North Atlantic goes by a ridge builds in the Eastern US and the European then turns Florence back to the west by day 7. It should also be noted that the European model shows a very active tropical Atlantic this weekend with Florence and 3 other systems in play.
We are days from resolving this issue. In the meantime we can only just sit back and continue watching. Meanwhile Gordon is responding to a more favorable upper air wind environment in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico as it sits on the edge of an upper high to the north and northeast of the tropical storm.
WESTERN ATLANTIC TROPICAL SATELLITE
The outflow is not exactly perfect but it is certainly supportive of gradual strengthening so it is a matter of how much strength it can gain in the next 36 hours or so before landfall along the Mississippi/Alabama Gulf Coast. Gordon seems to be moving to the right of earlier models and the trend is to the right. You can read more on Tropical Storm Gordon here.
THANKS TO TROPICAL TIDBITS FOR THE USE OF MAPS
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