Early whispers of storm development in US Gulf

Sunday 31st July 2016

All eyes on disturbance eighteen which is now 250 miles south of San Juan, Puerto Rico. This is still thrashing west at a reckless 27 knots which introduces an element of doubt in forecasting but there is a reasonable certainty that this will enter the Bay of Campeche. As things stand, the disturbance will continue slightly north of west reaching the western Caribbean, east of northern Belize early on Wednesday. Squalls over a 150 mile radius will cause significant rainfall on passage across Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica. A reduction in speed is expected tomorrow which may allow some tropical development in an area of reduced wind shear, certainly becoming a tropical depression and perhaps a tropical storm before it moves inland into Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula on Thursday.

As ever, time spent ashore over the Yucatan peninsula is an unknown quantity in terms of loss of oomph, but may still have a twinkle in its eye when it resurfaces in the Bay of Campeche before a highly speculative landfall somewhere north of Tampico in around 5 to 6 days time. This is very early to make rash predictions however those with storm plans for assets in the north west Gulf would be well advised to start blowing the dust off their manuals. Speculative as this may be, some agencies are giving this a hurricane severity index rating already of, unsurprisingly, just 1 at present (0 for size / 1 for intensity) and a predicted maximum of 5 (2 for size / 3 for intensity) with a peak predicated radius of tropical storm force winds of 105 miles. Meanwhile, disturbance twenty is about 600 miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands and racing west at 20 knots. Squalls associated with the disturbance have decreased in intensity and the chattering community seem to be talking down development chances now.

Stand easy.