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Tropics Become the Topic... Wetter Mid to Late Week... Tampa Waterspout Turned Tornado

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Updated: 7/09/2013 1:21 am
The tropics have indeed awakened.  "Chantal" developed late Sun. & is rolling W/NW speeding along at 20+ mph (that's very fast in tropical terms).  Conditions appear to be marginal for "Chantal" for the better part of the next 4-5 days.  Lots of dry air surrounds the storm (see water vapor image below)...there's some shear...& fast moving tropical cyclones in their infancy often times have a more difficult time organizing & strengthening.  There may also be some land interaction with Hispaniola &/or Cuba by Wed./Thu. which would further complicate the intensity forecast. 

As for track...the 2 main steering mechanisms are a large, strong high pressure system sprawled out across the Central & N. Atlantic...& an upper level low near the Bahamas that will move west across Fl. the next few days then into the Eastern Gulf by late week/this weekend -- see the first map below.  This steering pattern should initially create a weakness that "Chantal" will follow into the Bahamas late this week.  If the upper low regrogades -- moves west -- enough then it's possible that "Chantal" would bend back to the west across Fl.  But the question remains whether or not "Chantal" survives the marginal environment + land interaction this week.  The GFS forecast model takes a weak "Chantal" into East Fl. Sunday not too far from Jax.  Such a scenario would likely result in some gusty winds & heavy rain.
The European forecast model weakens "Chantal" to an open wave keeping the system a little east of Fl.  This would result in few effects from the tropical cyclone.  At the moment, I favor a weak system nearing the Fl. coast late in the weekend.  It would seem the combination of dry mid & upper level air & especially shear would keep the system from becoming very strong.  Several considerations:
(1) the storm will slow a great deal by the weekend as it moves through the Bahamas
(2) the system might be very near or even over the gulf stream this weekend
(3) the upper low to the west could help to "ventilate" the system & potentially help with some intensification
All the above factors are, of course, contingent on "Chantal" surviving to the weekend.
For daily updates on the tropics....go ** here ** - "Talking the Tropics With Mike".

One of the concerns in anticipation of what's expected to be active season is that the deep tropics -- off the coast of Africa near & south of the Cape Verde Islands to the Central Atlantic -- would be active early & allow for deep long track tropical cyclones.  "Chantal" is such a tropical cyclone.  The satellite imagery below shows another wave just to its east, & this wave has a chance to develop as well.

As for local weather this week, Tue. will be another dry day with temps. near 90 degrees.  Moisture will start to increase Wed., so we'll see at least some uptick in showers & storms but still mainly inland.  As the upper low moves into Fl. late week then into the Gulf by the weekend, showers & storms will increase across all of the First Coast Thu.-Fri.  Virtually all areas should receive at least some rain Thu. &/or Fri. into the weekend.

A waterspout came ashore & became a tornado in Tampa late Mon.  Click ** here ** for photos & info. from WTSP T.V...** here ** for video on YouTube.

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