Five active systems on radar

Saturday 27th August 2016

There has been a sudden flurry of activity in the western half of our reporting region so, starting from the far west - Centred around 80 miles south of the Texas/Louisiana border, disturbance twenty seven is a small low pressure area which is westbound at little more than walking pace. This has little chance of development however will cause some rainfall, heavy in places along the Louisiana and Texas coast over the next few days. On the other side of the Yucatan channel, disturbance twenty nine formed to the south of western Cuba and is inching west. This will approach the Yucatan peninsula in a couple of days bringing enhanced showers and thunderstorms to the area but with little chance of developing.

Disturbance twenty six is still the storm watcher's hot daily pin-up. This is still faffing about to the south east of Miami being knocked pillar to post by upper level shear and scattered lumps of dry air. This may be good news and certainly there is less chatter now of category 4 hurricanes. Currently 200 miles south east of Miami, this lacks any form or organisation and winds have not increased beyond 30 knots . This is now expected to creep though the Florida Straits in around 48 hours time without developing. This slow motion has given the disturbance plenty of time to gather moisture which will be dumped over the southern part of the Florida peninsula from Miami to Ft. Myers on Sunday and Monday and may cause flooding, but without high winds. Once past Florida Keys, we again enter a world of uncertainty but there seems to be a collective view of this only achieving a hurricane severity index of 3 (1 for size and 2 for intensity). I don't think this will now turn hard a' starboard and run north immediately it enters the eastern Gulf but take more of a north westerly track towards the Mississippi with perhaps a sharp turn back for a landfall on the Florida panhandle as a weak tropical storm. Slow moving, disorganised and dithering with rapid changes aloft, I wouldn't bank on any forecast more than 36 hours ahead at the moment and still firmly believe the operators who have started evacuating personnel from offshore assets are right to be prudent. I wouldn't hang about and I'd deal with the shore-based manager's frustration later.

Disturbance twenty eight is a new weak low which has developed close to Bermuda and will move towards the west over the next few days, reaching the eastern seaboard around Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. Changeable conditions aloft make this hard to judge but there is little sign of organisation at the moment. Finally, GASTON. There is a complex interaction going on with an upper level low to the southwest. This is simultaneously drawing moisture away from the storm and injecting dry air into it which will keep GASTON weak through the next few hours. In about 24 hours, once GASTON moves away from the affects of this upper level low, it will undergo a period of strengthening again and may attain hurricane strength. Ignoring the one maverick who seems to have had a good drink before posting his report of a strike at the eastern seaboard, no land areas are expected to be affected. If anything, this is more likely to head towards the Azores in about a week. Long way off. Sensible precautions in the oil leases and sou'westers ready in southern Florida, otherwise a cautious 'stand easy'.