First sign of a threat to the Gulf of Mexico of the 2014 season
Disturbance nineteen is hot news today. This is a broad area of low pressure about a day east of the Lesser Antilles. Aerial imagery shows some scattered areas of thunderstorms and quite thick cloud - including remnants of disturbance twenty - which is having a spirited attempt to organise itself into an energetic cyclone. At the moment, this is unlikely since it is quite widely spread, but there is a nominal centre of surface rotation which could develop if it can draw the outlying mini-systems together. The entire lump is westbound at 8 knots, and conditions in its path are favourable. It may be a tough call for this to draw in over such a large area and it is entirely likely that it will enter the Caribbean in the next 24 hours or so as a tropical wave. However, the system's track will be then be to the west-nor'west in the general direction of Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and Cuba.
By the beginning of next week, the system should be somewhere in the north central Caribbean, coincidental to a large circular area of opportunity forming. Taking the centre as being in the general vicinity of the Cayman Islands and the outer diameter reaching the Bahamas, this will cover the Yucatan Channel, touching Nicaragua and most of the sea areas around southern Florida. Warm water, still air aloft and a developing depression is ready to party.
This is potentially the first real threat to the Gulf of Mexico of the season. By Tuesday or Wednesday, the system may head into the Gulf or toward the southeast US coastline.There remains much uncertainty regarding the intensity of the system if/when it reaches the general vicinity of the Gulf/southeast US coast. However, conditions will be favourable for strengthening and there is little at the moment to indicate any upper limit to development. For the time being, the system is expected to bring heavy rainfall and localised flooding as it moves through the Lesser Antilles on Friday with possible wind gusts to tropical storm force in places.
In the eastern Atlantic, disturbance twenty one nudged slightly north of track into the remains of the Atlantic sand-pit, which has strangled the production line for several weeks. It may recover, but satellite images show that it is not looking very well at all.
There is still talk of a trough of low pressure digging in off the southeast coast of the United States or near northern Florida in about five to eight days time. 5 to 8 days. I am still not convinced.