Atlantic Disturbance 96L (Interim Update)
(By Steve Gregory - Substituting for Dr. Masters who is on Vacation.)
Aside from the increase in convection along with the development of a high level anti-cyclone above the lower level circulation today, there has been little additional development of 96L.
Based on the latest RECON data, along with radar and satellite imagery, the broad area of Low pressure is currently located over Mona Pass near 19N/68W and will be approaching the northeastern tip of the Dominican Republic soon as the system continues on an essentially westward track at near 20Kts. The lowest surface pressure is estimated near 1007mb and the strongest observed winds are near tropical storm (gale) force in a small area to the northeast of the primary circulation.
The latest global model runs continue to call for the developing cyclone to move along or just off the northern coast of Hispaniola overnight, and then slow its forward movement on Saturday as it moves into the lower Bahamas. Once in this region, and some distance away from the high terrain of Hispaniola, the system should be able to spin-up a core circulation and attain tropical storm intensity in 24-36 hours.
With the east-west orientated sub-tropical ridge over the SW Atlantic still forecast to weaken in vicinity of the Bahamas by early Sunday, the system should see it’s forward movement slow even further as it begins to turn northwestward and then northward by late Sunday or by Monday. While there continues to be significant uncertainty on this development, the fairly good continuity among the more reliable models on both the track and intensity forecasts suggests reasonably good confidence that the cyclone will turn northward and ultimately take a track that takes the system out to sea without serious impact to the US mainland next week. Of course, as with any tropical system still in the formative stages, along with the potential for subtle changes in the actual location and strength of the sub-tropical ridge & steering flow – significant uncertainty in the ultimate track and intensity remains.
Elsewhere across the Tropical Atlantic
There is another large scale easterly wave - but with little convection - approaching the central Atlantic along 35W, and a somewhat stronger system about to emerge off the west African coast. However, no significant development of either wave is expected during the next 5 or more days.
I’ll have a complete update late Saturday morning
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
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There has generally been little change overnight in disorganized tropical disturbance 96L, though the most recent upper level analysis and VIS imagery loops suggest the environment is becoming more conducive to cyclone formation within the next 12 hours, with the potential for further development to a strong Tropical Storm force cyclone later this weekend.
While the overall a...