Two storms expected for the south eastern US
Monday 29th August 2016
Four active systems seaborne today, two of which are expected to develop into tropical storms. Starting from the west and working east: Disturbance twenty six deepened as it transited the Florida Strait and is now designated tropical depression nine. Currently centred 180 miles west-sou'west of Key West, interaction with the coast of Cuba - where the system has dumped industrial quantities of rain in places - has slowed down intensification. This is headed a touch north of due west at 6 knots with winds still under 35 knots. Nonetheless, as this draws away from land it will freshen.
The current hurricane severity rating is just 1 out of a possible 50 points (0 size, 1 intensity) with a slightly increased predicted maximum of 7 (4 size, 3 intensity) with tropical storm force winds over a 160 mile radius. There seems to be a general agreement that this will describe a clockwise arc in the eastern Gulf and eventually make a landfall on Thursday as a named storm with increasing confidence that this will occur between Apalachicola and Tampa. Never never underestimate the capacity for a slow moving storm to fly in the face of 'general agreement' and there are still observers mapping a track towards the oil leases. If we go with the consensus, this will be a rainmaker for most of Florida and if it turns east after landfall, southern Georgia.
Tropical depression eight is just over 200 miles south east of Cape Hatteras. Upper level shear and dry air are holding development in check for now as it moves towards the coast at about 8 knots. As it approaches the coast of North Carolina, conditions will become more conducive to strengthening and it may reach tropical storm intensity just off the coast of Cape Hatteras before it turns sharp right to the northeast and moves back out into the Atlantic. There are some wild and wacky forecast tracks bouncing along the eastern seaboard so we need to watch this. Current wind speeds are under 35 knots with a hurricane severity rating of 1 (0 size, 1 intensity) and a forecast maximum of 5 (2 size, 3 intensity) with a predicted tropical storm wind radius of 160 miles. This will also be a rainmaker for the Carolinas.
Hurricane GASTON has reached its maximum strength and will continue to be a strong hurricane for two to three days. This is well over 600 miles east of Bermuda and headed north east. Misery for sailors and fish but no impact on land areas. Way out to the east, distance thirty is loafing about along the African coast and expected to launch in the next 24 hours. Dry air over the system will keep any development chances low over the next couple of days however conditions will become more favourable as it heads west. Stand by for rain across Florida and the Carolinas and have due respect for the infinite possibilities that slow moving storms may present at this time of the season.