Wednesday Night: Tropical Update

Things remain highly uncertain with the two tropical disturbances that could threaten the Gulf next week.

The Caribbean wave is our top priority, and looking at the computer model data we see that that it could end up anywhere from Mexico to Florida.

The NOAA Hurricane Hunters are expected to fly into it tomorrow. If that does end up happening as planned, they will be able to provide a lot better to plug into the computer models and gather some critical measurements that could give forecasters greater confidence in where it will go. Likely on Friday morning there will be a much better consensus on the forecast track.

Impacts to Texas are possible as early as Monday, and it could nothing more than a tropical wave or it could be a hurricane. We are still talking 5 or more days out so let’s just wait and see how this pans out.

Right now this area of low pressure is out over the Western Caribbean where there is little shear and some really warm water temperatures. What we look for in terms of development of a hurricane is that it needs food and nourishment to grow and survive. Part of that nourishment is warm, deep water and we find that out in the area where it is at right now.

You hear talk about water temperatures when it comes to hurricane development. That’s not just surface temperatures. A tropical system can form in around 80 degree surface water temperatures. Forecasters look for depth and depth temperatures. The deeper and warmer the water is, the more “food” a storm has to grow. The western Caribbean is some very deep and very warm water. Oftentimes you hear forecasters call this “hurricane fuel,” and that is exactly what it is.

How does that play into our chances for development? When this system crosses back over into the Gulf of Mexico it will run into “loop currents” and deep water eddies known as “warm core eddies.” That should help in terms of giving up some of this much needed fuel for development. The next factor is wind shear and that could make or break the chances for a southern coast hit. That is seriously the “long pole in the tent.”

But current models are favoring a track into the western Gulf of Mexico, but as time goes on the track will work its way out and we will all have a better idea on how to move ahead.

Stay tuned into our local media and the National Hurricane Center for detailed updates and we will do our part to help keep you prepared for whatever comes up.

D. Mason contributed to this report from Miami, Florida, USA.