Gulf Coast Hurricane Tracker

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Storm in Pacific continues to grow

A tropical low pressure system in the eastern Pacific has been steadily intensifying over the past week. Located to the southwest of Guatemala, the National Hurricane Center is forecasting a 70% chance of this system becoming Tropical Storm Agatha.

Intensity models from Weather Underground all predict the winds of this system reaching between 40 - 45 knots over the next 12 hours. How long these windspeeds are sustained are primarily based on how quickly the system reaches landfall.

Even if the system does not make landfall, heavy rain is expected to cause flooding and potentially mudslides.

Eastern Pacific Tropical Development (AccuWeather)

Even if it does not become a named system, this feature will still have a substantial impact on Central America. Flooding rain will be the biggest threat with El Salvador and southern parts of Guatemala and Honduras at the greatest risk.

Since the terrain is mountainous in these areas, mudslides will an added major threat with torrential rainfall.

As of Friday afternoon, the low pressure center was located several hundred miles south of the Gulf of Tehuantepec. Waters in this region are plenty warm enough to support development, and winds in the upper levels of the atmosphere appear light enough as well.

One development that is worth watching is the potential for 90E to cross Central America and reform in either the Caribbean or the Gulf of Mexico. Such a scenario has occurred in past seasons and with the warm waters of both bodies of water, if the system does re-emerge, development is likely.

Storm updates: Atlantic low headed to sea; Pacific system may enter Caribbean; NOAA issues season forecast(Palm Beach Daily News)

A low pressure system in the Pacific, just south of the southern coast of Mexico, appears to be developing rapidly this morning - see satellite picture above - and the NHC gives it a 60 percent chance of becoming at least a tropical depression over the next two days.

What does that mean for the Atlantic basin? It looks like the Pacific storm, Invest 90E, may drift to the north and east over Central America and try to redevelop in the western Caribbean.

The system is expected to produce very heavy rains, flooding and mud slides over El Salvador, southern Honduras and Guatemala over the next two days.

After that, if 90E does redevelop in the Caribbean, some computer models show it sliding off to the northeast toward the Cayman Islands, Jamaica and eastern Cuba.

“The southwestern Caribbean south of Jamaica will be favorable for development for the next few days, so anything that does track into the southwestern Caribbean will have to be watched closely,” hurricane watcher Rob Lightbown of Crown Weather Services said in his tropical weather update today.

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