Elsa has eye set on the United States, East Coast in the cone

Elsa remains a strong tropical storm Sunday as the storm moves west-northwest through the northern Caribbean. A gradual northwest turn is expected late-Sunday. Elsa has winds of 60 mph with higher gusts. Some slight strengthening is possible.

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Elsa is moving west-northwest at 13 mph between Jamaica and Cuba. A gradual northwest motion is expected late-Sunday, which will track Elsa across Cuba Monday. Before Elsa tracks across Cuba, slight strengthening is possible over the next 12 to 24-hours. Elsa may become a borderline category 1 hurricane.

The landfall over Cuba will help weaken Elsa Monday. The island terrain is rugged in Cuba, which will help weaken the center of circulation. Due to the small nature of the island, this won’t be enough to destroy Elsa. Elsa will move back over warm waters late-Monday, which could allow for additional strengthening Tuesday. While the atmospheric environment won’t be particularly favorable for strengthening, the warm waters cannot be overlooked.

Models do indicate this slight uptick in intensity once Elsa moves over the Florida Straits. Most models do indicate the intensity uptick will be small and Elsa should remain below hurricane status but this will continue to be monitored.

The current forecast tracks Elsa just off the west coast of Florida from Tuesday into Wednesday, making landfall north of Tampa early-Wednesday as a strong tropical storm. The storm will continue to move north-northeast by the end of the week, impacting the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Thursday into Friday.

Models are in agreement with this current forecast. Models do indicate Elsa will impact a good chunk of Florida along with the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. There are some subtle differences with how far east or west the center will track, but regardless, impacts will be the same.

The main concern is areas of heavy rain and isolated flash flooding from early to mid-week across Florida, spreading north and east into the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic from mid to late-week. Widespread 3-6″ of rain can be expected for Florida, southern Alabama, southern and eastern Georiga, and eastern South Carolina. Heavy rain is also expected in eastern North Carolina with 1-3″ possible.

Gusty winds and isolated tornadoes are also expected from Florida into Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina from south to north early week through mid-week. Tropical Storm Warnings have been issued for the Florida Keys.

Tropical Storm developing off the South Carolina/Georgia coasts

A well-defined low pressure is located off the coast of South Carolina. This low pressure has continued to organize with increased shower and thunderstorm activity.

A Tropical Depression or Tropical Storm is likely to develop over the next few hours as the system continues to move west-northwest. The low has a 70% chance to develop into a Tropical Depression or Tropical Storm.

Tropical Storm Warnings are possible for the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia over the next few hours as the system makes landfall late Monday near the South Carolina/Georgia border. Models are in strong agreement the system will make landfall Monday evening just north of the Georgia/South Carolina line. The low pressure will then continue to move west-northwest into Georgia followed by a track into northeastern Alabama by mid-week.

Coastal areas will experience rough seas, rip currents, and beach erosion. The main concern moving inland will be heavy rainfall. 2-5″ of rain can be expected from southeastern South Carolina, eastern Georgia, north and west into central Georgia, and northeastern Alabama over the next 48-hours. Areas of heavy rain will also move into southern Tennessee over the next 48-hours.

Winds gusting up to 35 mph are possible as the system moves west-northwest across the Southeast. The strongest winds will be located near the coast but 30 mph wind gusts are expected across all of South Carolina, Georgia, northeastern Alabama, and southeastern Tennessee Monday night into Tuesday.

Tropical Depression may develop off the Southeast coast, making landfall in Georgia/South Carolina

The low pressure off the Southeast coast has continued to organize and strengthen over the past 24-hours despite moderate wind shear over the system. Further strengthening is possible over the next 24-hours as the system moves into an area of lesser wind shear and over the Gulf Stream.

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The relaxed wind shear and the warm ocean waters of the Gulf Stream may be enough to allow the low pressure to acquire tropical characteristics. A Tropical Depression or Tropical Storm may develop Monday as the low approaches the Southeast Coast. The system has a 50% chance to develop into a Tropical Depression or Tropical Storm Monday.

The system will make landfall late Monday somewhere along with Georgia or South Carolina coast. Regardless of development, the system will produce rough seas, storm surge rip currents, and beach erosion for the aforementioned areas. Along with these hazards, an uptick in rain chances, gusty winds, along with isolated tornadoes and waterspouts are possible for coastal Georgia and coastal South Carolinas. The rain chances will also spread inland into Georiga and South Carolina.

Right now the forecast calls for 1-2″ of rain in southeast Georgia and southern South Carolina over the next 48-hours, but these totals may need to be upped over the next few hours if this system continues to strengthen.

The wind forecast is low at this time due to the system not being tropical. The current forecast calls for wind gusts up to 30 mph for much of South Carolina, northern and eastern Georgia, and southeastern North Carolina late Monday into Tuesday. If the system continues to strengthen, the wind forecast will need to be upped.

This is a fluid forecast. Keep checking back for updates!

Eyes on tropical development off of the Southeast coast, the system is moving towards the coast

The National Hurricane Center is monitoring an area of showers and thunderstorms a couple hundred miles south of Bermuda. This area of showers and thunderstorms is forecast to slowly advance west, towards the East Coast, over the coming days and should begin to observe a slight lowering of pressure.

As the pressure begins to lower, which is a sign of strengthening or organization, the broad area of low pressure may begin to develop into a Tropical Depression or Tropical Storm. Right now, any development is forecast to be rather slow, and the odds of development are very low. The National Hurricane Center gives this system a 10% chance of development over the next 5 days.

A current look at the system (the area of clouds on the right side of the image) shows showers and thunderstorms have increased in coverage but organization is currently lacking and there is no real surface circulation with the system.

The system will move into an area of moderate shear (red area off the coast of the Carolinas) over the next day or two, which should mitigate development. Shear disrupts tropical systems and tends to prevent them from developing and/or strengthening.

The shear will gradually relax by mid-week (notice the red colors disappear near the Carolinas), which could allow for organization and strengthening to gradually occur.

Regardless of strengthening, the system will track west due to an upper-high north of the system. The system will track along the southern periphery of the upper-high. This will guide the system into the Southeast Coast from mid to late week. It is likely this wont be a Tropical Depression or Storm, but increased atmospheric moisture is possible, leading to showers and storms that could produce heavy rain for parts of the Carolinas and Southeast.

This will continue to be monitored so keep checking back for updates.

Tropical Storm Watches go up for parts of the Carolinas

Tropical Storm Claudette made landfall in Louisiana Saturday and continues to wreak havoc across parts of the South & Southeast with heavy rainfall, strong winds, and tornadoes.

The impacts from Tropical Storm Claudette are forecast to continue through the weekend into early next week as the system begins to undergo renewed strengthening over the Carolinas, and just off the coast of the Carolinas. The system is forecast to ramp up into a 40 to 45 mph storm near the Carolinas Monday.

Because of the forecast strengthening, Tropical Storm Watches have been issued for eastern parts of North Carolina. This means Tropical Storm conditions are forecast within the next 48-hours in and near the Watch. These Watches will be upgraded to Warnings and may get expanded, over the next day. Expect Tropical Storm force winds in this area late-Sunday into Monday–winds will gust up to 60 mph.

Along with the strong winds from Claudette, isolated tornadoes are expected Saturday and Sunday for parts of the South and Southeast. Tornadoes with the system have already caused substantial damage in parts of Alabama.

One of the main concerns will be the flood threat with heavy rain expected. The heavy rain threat will shift into the Southeast and Carolinas from Sunday into Monday. A widespread 3-6″ is expected with isolated 8″ amounts. Never cross a road covered by water and be vigilant if you live in a flood-prone area.

Tropical Depression Two develops off the North Carolina Coast

Tropical Depression Two (TD2) developed off the North Carolina Coast Monday. TD2 has winds of 35 mph and is moving northeast at 21 mph. TD2 is forecast to intensify throughout the day into Tropical Storm Bill with sustained winds of 50 mph by Tuesday morning.

The northeast movement will steer TD2 away from the United States coast. Impacts are forecast to be minimal for North Carolina and the East Coast. A few rain showers and storms are possible for coastal parts of North Carolina but the main impacts will be rough seas for North Carolina and the East Coast. If you have any beach plans, be aware of rip currents and follow all rules by local officials.

Tropical Storm may develop in the Gulf of Mexico next week

The National Hurricane Center is monitoring the southwestern Gulf of Mexico for tropical development over the next several days. A low pressure is forecast to develop, which may acquire tropical characteristics, developing into a Tropical Depression or Tropical Storm. The National Hurricane Center gives this system a 40% chance to develop into a Tropical Depression or Storm over the next 5 days.

An area of showers and thunderstorms is forecast to develop over the weekend into early next week in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico. This area of thunderstorms will start to observe a lowering of pressure as the system starts to strengthen over the coming days. 

As the system continues to organize, it may develop into a well-defined low pressure by the middle of next week in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. At this point, the low pressure may acquire tropical characteristics, developing into a Tropical Depression or Tropical Storm. 

The low, possibly tropical, by the end of the week will approach the Gulf States from late week into the weekend. There are too many questions to pinpoint where this system may move inland so all areas from Texas to Florida should keep a close eye on the forecast over the coming days. 

This forecast is fluid with quite a bit of uncertainty. A tropical system may not even develop, but regardless of development, tropical moisture and associated rain may move into the Gulf States by next weekend. Recent heavy rains across Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi could lead to an increased flash flood concern if rain associated with this system impacts the region. 

Muggy and Daytime Storminess in Atlanta in the Coming Days

5-day rainfall totals

Atlanta and the surrounding metro areas will experience muggy and wet conditions through the remainder of the weekend into mid-week. A surface high pressure will remain off the Southeast coast, while a closed mid-level low spins over the southern and central Plains. This pattern will favor southwesterly flow (winds coming from the southwest), which will maintain  a moisture-rich atmosphere across the Atlanta area. 

The closed low in the Plains will not come far enough eastward to provide much lift in the atmosphere over Atlanta. Also, no frontal boundaries will trek southward to provide much lift either. Thus, the primary lifting mechanism to support rainy and stormy weather will come from daytime heating each day. On most days, I expect that storms will fire earlier in the afternoon and begin to die out in the early evening. A few could last into the evening hours. 

The Weather Prediction Center currently has 5-day rainfall totals in Atlanta and across the metro between 0.25-0.75 inches. They have areas closer to the Appalachians in northern Georgia getting between 1-2 inches, thanks to orographic lift. Honestly though, totals could exceed those ranges in both places. With decent moisture in the atmosphere, Atlanta could find itself picking up a quick inch from any storm that develops and moves over the city. With that said, the more widespread precipitation will occur over the Mid-south, closer to the closed low.

5-day rainfall projections for the U.S.
5-day rainfall projections for the U.S.

Afternoon storms and more than average cloud-cover will keep daily highs below average most days. Even so, outdoor conditions will remain uncomfortable due to above average humidity. We’re used to it in the South, but if you’re anything like me, I still don’t like it.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

By the way, I’ll begin including much better maps, specifically made for Atlanta and surrounding areas very soon. I apologize for the less than stellar national maps in the meantime. 

Tropical development possible in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico over the next week or two

The official start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season began June 1st and the tropics appear to heat up by the end of the second week of June. All eyes are on the western Caribbean and southwestern Gulf of Mexico from late next week into the following week for tropical development. The timeframe to monitor is June 10th through June 15th.

Forecast models have consistently indicated the possibility of tropical development in this region for a few days, so this has heightened awareness of this possibility. Diving deeper into the setup, it does appear a favorable environment supports this idea as the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) transitions into a wetter phase over the Caribbean. The MJO in this phase would favor the development of thunderstorm activity over the Caribbean, lowering the surface pressure, which would have the possibility to further strengthen into a low pressure that could develop into a tropical cyclone. This is why the forecast models have indicated a setup favorable for tropical development is on the horizon. 

The area of thunderstorms over the Caribbean late next week will be over warm waters. Water temperatures are favorable for the development and strengthening of tropical cyclones in this region. In the Gulf of Mexico, water temperatures have risen into the 80s. Water temperatures this warm will support tropical activity. As the area of thunderstorms, and associated lower pressures, moves into the southwestern Gulf of Mexico. It will have the opportunity to develop into a tropical cyclone due to the warm waters and forecasted lower wind shear. Wind shear, while great for severe thunderstorms, is not idea for tropical systems, so the lower wind shear over the Gulf will help assist in tropical development by mid-June. 

Looking back on the history of June tropical systems, this is an area that has “spawned” tropical cyclones, so this setup and timeframe will need to be monitored closely. Another concern is, if a system develops in the western Caribbean or southwestern Gulf of Mexico, it has a higher probability of impacting the United States. These systems typically move into the Gulf States. All interests from Texas to Florida should keep an eye on the forecast over the coming days. 

There is still high uncertainty in this setup and the forecast is fluid. It is no guarantee that a tropical system will develop but the setup does raise eyebrows. Keep checking back for updates.