Tropical Update: August 1st, 2017

Emily is now a tropical depression with maximum sustained winds of 35mph — and is no longer a concern for the United States — as it is located off of Florida’s East Coast moving off to the northeast at 15mph, and will merge with a front overnight tonight.

However, there are two new features being monitored for potential tropical development: an area of low pressure in the Gulf in association with a frontal boundary (yes, again) and a tropical wave about midway between Africa and the lesser Antilles.

Gulf Low

Satellite images this evening show that the low has an evident “circulation” of some sort, along with a modest amount of convective activity. However, they also show that the convective activity is displaced to the south and east of the “center” due to 15 knots of wind shear currently impacting the system.

GOES-16 IR satellite image of the low in the Gulf.

Chance of Development: At this time, the chances of this low developing into a tropical cyclone appear low.

Sea surface temperatures are conducive for development, but upper-level winds are only marginally conductive for development at this time, and there is some dry air to the north and northeast of the system.

In their 8pm EDT tropical weather outlook, the National Hurricane Center gave the low a 10% chance of developing over the next two to five days.

Although, as Emily proved yesterday,  just because a system’s chance of developing is low doesn’t mean it can’t spin up quickly; therefore, this low is something we will continue to monitor.

Model Guidance: None of the reliable models used for predicting tropical cyclone genesis (the GFS, ECMWF, and UKMET) are forecasting development of this system.

Track: The low will track generally towards the north/northeast towards the Florida Panhandle through tomorrow, possibly into early Thursday.

Impacts: Heavy rainfall will impact much of Northern Florida, including the Panhandle, Thursday and Friday regardless of development. However, if development were to occur, additional impacts other than heavy rain could be felt across parts of Northern Florida.

Atlantic Tropical Wave

Satellite images this evening, and data from CIMSS, show that the wave was moving west and has some “spin” to it, as well as an associated area of disorganized convection.

Development Chances: Overall, environmental conditions appear conducive for some slow development of this wave over the next few days: upper-level winds are conducive, waters are supportive of tropical cyclone genesis, and there is little dry air to speak of.

However, ultimately development of this wave into a tropical cyclone seems unlikely, as upper-level winds are expected to become unfavorable by the end of this week heading into this weekend.

In their 8pm EDT tropical weather outlook, the National Hurricane Center gave it a 10% chance of developing over the next two days and a 20% chance of developing over the next five days.

Model Guidance: None of the reliable models used for predicting tropical cyclone genesis (the GFS, ECMWF, and UKMET) are forecasting development of this wave.

Track: The wave will track generally west, towards the Lesser Antilles, over the next five days, and into the Eastern Caribbean from there.

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