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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

New system developing near Puerto Rico

A tropical wave is slowly but steadily developing near Puerto Rico and showing signs of continuing organization. The NHC is forecasting A 70% likelihood that this system will become a tropical storm.

The computer models all appear to be well converged on a path for this system that will take it across southern Florida and into the Gulf of Mexico. At this time, it is expected that the system will strengthen to tropical storm but it is not expected to strengthen beyond that. The next tropical storm that forms will be named Bonnie.

Currently the system is in an area of moderate wind shear so development has been rather slow. However within the next 24 - 48 hours the system will move to the northwest which will bring it into an area where wind shear is much more favorable for development. That is also around the timing when the system will become a tropical storm.

Tropical wave slowly organizing near Puerto Rico(NBC News 2)

This system has showed better organization of a mid-level circulation center since last night, but even this morning, several thunderstorm bursts have been competing for dominance.

A low-level center, necessary to start the transition to a tropical cyclone, is not well-defined yet.

Some forecast models indicate slow strengthening

Several of the morning computer models do develop a tropical depression by Wednesday through Thursday as the system continues to parallel the Greater Antilles moving toward the Bahamas or South Florida by Friday. The morning GFDL model takes a minimal tropical storm toward the Space Coast.

None of the forecast models indicates development of a hurricane.

Rapid development of this wave is not expected over the next couple of days as the storms firing around this feature will encounter some drier air.

In addition, winds aloft (especially to the north of the apparent mid-level center near Puerto Rico) are hostile to rapid strengthening.

By Friday or Saturday, some of this wind shear could lessen a bit as several models forecast an approach the southeast coast of Florida or the Keys.
Some limitation to development may be hampered due to interaction with land as the storm crosses Florida. This appears to be the most likely path with the storm strength staying at a tropical storm level. There is a slight change that the system will shift and take a more southerly path. If this happens and the storm stays over water throught the Caribbean and into the Gulf, then this storm could develop into a low grade hurricane.

Tropical Update: Invest 97L organizing and could be a tropical depression by morning(Expaminer)
Computer model guidance is in good agreement with a west to west northwest track over the next 3 to 5 days. However we still need a center of circulation to really get a good fix on this system and that will allow the computer models to output a more accurate forecast. Right now there are two thoughts on the track of 97L, one has this system tracking over south Florida as a tropical storm and the other is making its way into the Gulf of Mexico as a hurricane. If 97L becomes a tropical depression tonight that could cause a small shift to the north in the model runs. If 97L does not get better organized overnight expect the computer models to stay the same or shift a little farther south.

Right now 97L is dumping heavy rain and producing gusty conditions in Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. Flash flood warning has been posted and mud slides are expected for the next 24 hours. Even if 97L does not develop south Florida will see heavy rains and gusty wind starting Thursday and lasting into the weekend.

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