Jul 062010
 

Thursday, 8 July 11:00 a.m.

My skepticism is growing on whether TD#2 is actually a tropical depression. Here is a quote from the 11:00 a.m. National Hurricane Center Discussion:

REPORTS FROM A HURRICANE HUNTER RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT…SURFACE
OBSERVATIONS…WSR-88D RADAR DATA FROM BROWNSVILLE…AND VISIBLE
SATELLITE IMAGES INDICATE THAT THE LOW-LEVEL CIRCULATION OF THE
SYSTEM IS NOT WELL ORGANIZED. OUR BEST ESTIMATE IS THAT THE CENTER
IS JUST OFFSHORE OF THE EXTREME SOUTHERN TEXAS COAST AT THIS TIME.
OBSERVATIONS FROM THE RECONNAISSANCE PLANE INDICATE THAT WINDS
APPROACHING TROPICAL STORM STRENGTH ARE OCCURRING IN SQUALLS.

So basically, they don’t know where the low level center is located. In addition, they didn’t give any specific information about what the aircraft found, which leads me to believe it didn’t find an actual circulation center. This would normally mean the system is not a tropical depression. However, there are certain political implications at stake, since this system is currently approaching the south Texas coast. If this system were out in the Atlantic, it would probably not be declared a tropical depression.

Looking a the Brownsville radar, a very weak, ill defined circulation is seen about 50 miles southeast of Brownsville. This continues to be the only piece of evidence, IMO, that suggests this system is indeed a tropical depression. But, since the aircraft couldn’t find a center, I am very skeptical indeed.

……….

- Jim

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Thursday, 8 July 2010

Tropical Depression Two forms over the western Gulf

National Hurricane Center forecast for Tropical Depression Two

8 July 7 a.m. National Hurricane Center forecast for Tropical Depression Two

The tropical disturbance over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico finally got its act together late last night.  This resulted in the National Hurricane Center issuing advisories on the second tropical depression of the season – Tropical Depression Two. 

But the thing is, thunderstorms associated with this system completely fell apart early this morning.  Around 5 a.m. EDT, the depression looked like nothing more than a tropical wave, with a mid level circulation drifting away.  Nevertheless, the NHC’s 5 a.m. advisory insisted this system remained a tropical depression overnight. But, their discussion indicated their lack of confidence. They also mentioned how a reconnaissance aircraft would be in the area to investigate the depression in a few hours. I have yet to see the data from this aircraft, or see any mention of it from NHC since their early morning advisory. So, where is the data? At any rate, the depression is expected to make landfall later today across extreme south Texas, near Brownsville.

From the Brownsville radar around 9:30 a.m. this morning, a weak circulation is evident offshore.  This is probably enough evidence to say this system is now a tropical depression.  But who knows…maybe the circulation died for a few hours overnight and then re-generated.  At any rate, Tropical Depression Two is going to dump tons of rain across south Texas, regardless of it’s official status.

Northeast Heat
The other story continues to be the impressive heat over the Mid Atlantic and Northeast.  Most major cities from D.C. to NYC reached over 100 degrees yesterday, with mid and upper 90s across New England.  The humidity was higher in some of these areas compared to Tuesday, which made for an unbearable day outside.  I’ve had just about enough of this heat, as I’m sure most of you up here have too!

- Jim

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Tuesday, 6 July 2010

I don’t have anything special to say about the heat, other than to simply state first hand that it is indeed very hot outside today.  It’s 98 degrees outside here in Connecticut, something I haven’t had to endure in a long time.  Heat waves are not as frequent up here in New England as they are in Houston, where I use to live.  So, walking outside in near 100 degree heat is a bit more difficult today than it was a few years ago!  I guess I’m just more accustom to the winter cold now than the summer heat.

What’s really impressive is the extent of the heat.  Boston hit 100 degrees around 1:45pm EDT before the wind shifted to the northeast, bringing the cool air from the ocean inland, cooling them to 90 degrees.  New York City hit 101 degrees, with numerous other cities from Virginia to Vermont hitting between 98 and 102 degrees.  D.C. also breached the century mark today.

The other story is the tropics.  A a tropical wave, with numerous showers and thunderstorms, is exiting the western Caribbean and crossing over the Yucatan and the southern Gulf of Mexico.  Should this tropical wave get it’s act together over the next couple days, it has a chance of becoming a tropical depression over the western Gulf later this week.  Otherwise, it doesn’t look like this system will amount to anything significant.  Wind shear needs to relax a bit.  Also, there won’t be enough time for this system to strengthen once the wind shear does relax before it reaches the western Gulf coast.

Although, I guess anything can happen.  Hurricane Alex strengthened significantly right before landfall over Mexico (just as I worried he would).  So, you can’t really write off any system completely that shows potential in this kind of environment until it goes over land.  We’ll see.

- Jim

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