Chris Out At Sea, Debby Forming near the Yucatan Channel
What a difference a day makes!
If you look carefully at any visible or even any good satellite loop now you will see a cyclonic twisting near the tip of the Yucatan, near what is called the Yucatan Channel which should be thought of as the birthplace of Gulf of Mexico storms.
Yep, you will see Tropical Storm Debby forming down there in that blossoming area that is blooming faster than magnolias on a hot summer day in Savannah.
Storms form there after wobbling around as weak waves or :areas of convection" and suddenly sort of like "wham bam thank you ma'am" sex on a hot summer afternoon they perk up and pull themselves together and they never look back. Something changes. If I was one of those New Age types I'd think there is some energy vortex there like they claim there is around the red hills of Sedona. Maybe some New Age Meteorologist should work on that theory... But, time and time again the trigger point becomes this area between the Yucatan and the tip of Cuba.
As this system begins to transit it going north, it will become our next named storm Debby. Well, it will most likely become our next named Tropical Storm Debby and if some models have their way it could become Hurricane Debby later next week.
Note the official wording from the NHC:
BROAD AREA OF LOW PRESSURE OVER THE SOUTH-CENTRAL GULF OF MEXICO IS PRODUCING A LARGE AREA OF CLOUDINESS... SHOWERS...AND THUNDERSTORMS THAT EXTENDS FROM THE NORTHWESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA NORTHWARD INTO THE SOUTHEASTERN GULF OF MEXICO AND FLORIDA. STRONG UPPER-LEVEL WINDS OVER THE GULF OF MEXICO ARE EXPECTED TO DIMINISH IN A DAY OR SO...AND SOME GRADUAL DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM IS POSSIBLE AS THE DISTURBANCE MOVES SLOWLY NORTHWARD TOWARD THE CENTRAL GULF OF MEXICO. THIS SYSTEM HAS A MEDIUM CHANCE...30 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.
I know it's only 30% right now, but meteorologists up and down the hurricane coast are salivating over the forecasts they will be writing for this system that will be a land falling system, as once past the tip of the Yucatan they are a bull in a china shop and it's only a matter of time.
Speaking of "Old Age" vs "New Age" weather forecasting...oddly ye olde Farmer's Almanac has a storm in this area just about as perfect as it can get for "long range" weather forecasting. "June 20th-23rd. Squally Gulf Coast. Big storms rest of the Southeast. Tropical storm threat for Florida." Hey, sometimes they are right, sometimes they are wrong but any Teenage Tropical Weather Met would have to go WTF how did they do that? Time will tell on that call...but makes you go hmmmnnnn.
Anything can and will happen it seems in 2012's Atlantic Hurricane Season so as far as I'm concerned take any scenario with a grain of salt, but don't dismiss it.
Chris is doing quite nicely far out in the Atlantic. Currently has 60mph winds and might be bumped up to Hurricane Force even though think that should be Noreaster, Gale Center vs a "tropical entity" as it's so far out at sea I had to use a funky angle for the Atlantic as it no longer shows up in the wide Atlantic satellite imagery.
As for the models... some take it through the Gulf of Mexico slowly, westward into Texas as a strong storm. Other's take it towards the Big Bend of Florida and a few dangerously close to the large metropolitan, ticking time bomb of Tampa. Some models make Debby a Category 2 and bring her in quite close to Tampa. I find that hard to buy as the water is not warm enough to support a strong hurricane as it is June not late summer when water temps are stronger. Also, that diving cold front that is set to bust the hot spell we are suffering through is not set to dive that deep or be that strong. Most predictions have it getting about as far south as Raleigh, maybe South of the Border before going flat and becoming stationary. If so I buy a Big Bend landfall faster than one further south like Tampa. A stronger cold front would be needed or a blocking ridge to the north and west and I just don't see it. Doesn't mean it can't happen. Last week the Carolinas had unseasonably cold temps, this week they are having record high temps. Anytime you have a pattern that is not set, it makes it that much harder to make a definitive forecast. Thankfully, I'm a weather commentator not a forecaster, my job is easier :)
The last BIG storm to hit that area dead on as a major hurricane was 1921 and it ended Tampa's land boom before it ever really got started. But, that was an October storm and the water was warmer, the fronts were stronger and I can't see that happening in now as June is way too soon for such a storm. But, anyone living in the Tampa area better listen up and take this season seriously as a strong hurricane will devastate that area and Tampa more than most coastal cities has an economic infrastructure that is built close to the water and there is a sense of denial that hurricanes make landfall in Tampa; they have in the past, they will again. I know a bit about Tampa, the family left Key West for Tampa. My great-grandparents reside at the Jewish Cemetery there for all eternity and my Grandma Mary had a strong respect for the fury of Hurricanes. I do believe that beachfront land they bought back in 1920 became mostly underwater land after the 1921 Tampa Hurricane. History repeats, learn from it!
Miami on the other hand does believe hurricanes will hit and make landfall, we think every hurricane will be Andrew of the 1926 hurricane. The 1926 Great Miami Hurricane did NOT bust the land boom, new federal regulations against selling land the way they were doing prior to 1926 did as well as very negative press up north about the "swamp land" scandals killed the the 1920s land boom in Miami, that and a capsized 241 foot schooner named the Prinz Valdemar did. The 1921 Tampa Bay hurricane set back the growth in Tampa to a point that as a city it never really rivaled Miami or Jacksonville ever again. That was then when few people lived there vs now when it is a thriving, busy city with an unprepared populace that refuses to believe the big one will ever hit Tampa.
Elsewhere in the tropics there is an upper level low in the Atlantic off the Florida coast that is acquiring more and more convection close to the surface and also making me wonder how that is going to play out and or stimulate other areas of convection in the general area. Also, a weak tropical wave is moving west along the ITZ which is worth noting only because it is a reminder of things to come down the tropical pipe line.
Years when South Florida receives huge amounts of tropical rainfall usually lead more to being hit from the South and Southwest later in the year rather than a Cape Verde Storm that moves in from the east around a big high, but again this year is a hard one to predict. We are in flux between a slowly, growing El Nino and a Neutral period with a MJO breathing down our neck at the height of the climatologically active period for Caribbean/Gulf storms. The MJO is at the right time at the right place for once and you will see that play out with Debby forming in the short term.
More later when "more better" data comes in as we say down south. Once we get an Invest up on the Navy site we will have better data and when recon goes out we will have an actual center for the models to work with so until then it's all guesswork.
Stay tuned . . .
Ps... Regarding the Prinz Valdemar and Miami Trivia:
241 feet..... let me put that into perspective... that "schooner" was almost the size of a football field. Picture it, just 59 feet short of the field at the Orange Bowl lying on it's side blocking the shipping channel in and out of Miami. All those other smaller schooners trying to unload wood and building supplies lined up unable to get into Miami. They say there were so many ships lined up the bay was a wall of ship masts and you could jump from ship to ship easily. This as the same time that the railroad workers decided to strike and there was no way in and no way out of Miami, and money at the same time began to dry up and investors took their money elsewhere. Even Carl Fisher was out on Montauk building his newest dream, even Carl Fisher had moved on ...long before the hurricane hit. But, lies are repeated in history all the time. The Great 1926 Miami Hurricane "set back" Miami for quite a while, but it was the not the cause of the "bust" which has already occurred, but Miami as always comes back stronger. Tampa's Category 4 Hurricane seriously set back Tampa, as much of the money that might have been poured into the area in 1922 and 1923 went elsewhere, to the east coast as Miami and Palm Beach grew at faster rates during a tropically quiet period that was advantageous to their respective histories.