Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tropical Disturbance Slowly Organizing Off of Florida Coast

***Update at 1pm CDT:  I will be surprised if this system is not upgraded to a Tropical Depression soon. The center of the system is coming into view on the Melbourne, FL radar (see red dot inside white circle on radar image below)and is starting to show a nice circulation:

You can also see the circulation on the visible satellite loop here.  It has remained nearly stationary since early this morning, with a tendency to drift slowly Southward, if anything.

A Hurricane Hunter aircraft is en route to investigate the system.  We should have more information later this afternoon...

-----------------------------------------Original Post:

An area of disturbed weather that we told you about yesterday has continued to drift Southward and slowly organize over the last 24 hours. The system is currently located about 100 miles East of Cape Canaveral, FL (as shown in the latest visible satellite image above), and has an increasing amount of shower and thunderstorm activity associated with it.  Some circulation is also noted on the latest satellite loop.

This system has been dubbed "Invest 98L" by the National Hurricane Center.  An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter Aircraft is scheduled to investigate the system later today if signs of organization continue - and I think they will.

At the moment, a band of Northwesterly winds aloft are "shearing" the system a bit, and injecting dry air into it.  Both of those factors tend to mitigate any rapid development of a tropical system.  However, those mitigating factors are forecast to lessen as the middle and upper level wind profile in the area changes during the next 24-36 hours.

Computer forecast models are literally "all over the place" with this one so far.  As you can see by examining the composite image below, some take it West into the Gulf, some take it East back out to Sea, and some take it back Northward:

At the moment, the thing to focus on is the fact that the system is drifting slowly Southward, which is likely to continue as long as the system remains weak and relatively unorganized.  If the system becomes better organized as the wind profile changes over the next 1-2 days, it is likely to begin moving back toward the North.  So, with this in mind, if you live in the Southeast U.S., and particularly Florida, please keep an eye on this system over the next 24-36 hours as we see how things continue to unfold.

Regardless of the later development of this system.... in the near-term, rain showers, thunderstorms and wave action will all be on the increase along the East coast of Florida today through Monday as this system continues to develop off to the East.

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