MICHAEL to reach hurricane intensity today and intensify.
Monday 8th October 2018
Disturbance Forty Six upgraded to Tropical Depression Fourteen and had now become Tropical Storm MICHAEL. This is now under way passing 80 miles east of Cozumel at dead slow ahead. For the sake of limiting intensity, it would suit everyone of this was to get some more steam up and make more headway. It does look as this will happen in the next few hours as it transits the Yucatan Channel into the Gulf of Mexico and reaches hurricane intensity later today. Maritime observers are reporting a rapidly falling glass which would indicate further intensification ahead and a predicted maximum hurricane severity index rating of – at least - 19 (8 for size and 11 for intensity) with a tropical storm windfield of over 230 miles. Most modellers are predicting a category 2 or 3 - I'd suggest 3 or 4 - at landfall between Mobile and Panama City with some very strong winds indeed, a significant storm surge and torrential rain. Most of the drama and grief associated with MICHAEL is taking place on the eastern side of the storm track - which is bad news for the west coasts of Cuba and Florida but takes the edge off a little for the oil leases.
Disturbance Forty Eight crossed the Leeward Islands overnight and is in the eastern Caribbean headed west at 18 knots. A significant slowdown is expected within the next couple of days and by the end of the week, this disturbance is expected to move into the same monsoon trough that kicked off MICHAEL, which may mean another Gulf-bound tropical storm.
Tropical Storm LESLIE has become marginally less boring by setting an east-sou'easterly heading and at last getting some headway at 10 knots. Now centred around 950 miles west-sou'west of the Azores, this is expected to intensify to hurricane strength again and head towards Madeira later this week, although this is early days.
Disturbance Forty Seven has become less organized mid-way between the Cape Verde Islands and the Caribbean and is unlikely to develop.
Disturbance Fifty is passing south of the Cape Verde Islands moving west-nor'west at 10 knots. Aerial imagery shows some signs of organisation and environmental conditions north of west are favourable for development which may mean an early turn in into the Atlantic, a long way short t of the Leeward and Windward islands.
Disturbance Forty Nine lost the plot close to Madeira and is dissipating.
Stand by for hurricane conditions across western Cuba and into the southern Gulf of Mexico.