Friday, July 18, 2008

Which Storm will Form First?

There is a lot going on in the tropics. Bertha has strengthened back into a hurricane this afternoon but is only a problem for shipping channels in the Atlantic. One tropical wave is bringing flooding rains to parts of Central America. An area of low pressure off the Georgia coast is trying to organize into a tropical system. It is bringing lots of rain to that part of the east coast. There is a chance this thing could become a depression or tropical storm, but because it is too close to land, I doubt it will reach hurricane status. I know the residents in the Carolina's need to watch this system very closely.
Now onto our Caribbean disturbance. We first talked about this feature on Sunday when it was in the Atlantic. All signs pointed to this wave become a tropical system. However, because it was moving so fast and there was lots of wind shear on the north side of it, it never developed....until now! The wave and area of low pressure are now in the central Caribbean. Hurricane Hunters are flying into this system on a regular basis so the Hurricane Center is thinking it could develop soon. It is moving west northwest at about 15 mph. Conditions are becoming very favorable in front of it so I expect this to become Cristobal over the weekend.

So why are we making a big deal out of this? The long range, computer models are forecasting this feature to moving into the Yucatan by Monday, then into the western Gulf of Mexico by Tuesday or Wednesday. Where it goes from there is any one's guess but this could impact our forecast for next week. If moisture from the storm heads north into the Texas coast, we could some nice rain. If it heads into south Texas or Mexico, we will stay hot and dry. The bottom line is we need to watch this system very closely through the weekend. We will probably have a better handle on it by Monday. If you have any questions or comments, click the comments link below.