Talking the Tropics With Mike: Elsa speeding up the eastern seaboard

Still producing flooding & isolated tornadoes

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Elsa is moving away from Jacksonville/NE Fl. & Ga. so no more direct impacts. Peak wind gusts were generally between 30 & 50 mph along with a few tornadoes through the day Wed. Rainfall averaged 1-3″ but a few areas had 3-6″.

What was a strong tropical wave speeding west/northwest over the Central Atlantic was upgraded to t.d. #5 late Wed. evening & tropical storm “Elsa” early Thursday & now - early Fri. - a hurricane while moving over Barbados then back to a tropical storm Sat. before briefly regaining hurricane status again Tue. evening west & southwest of Tampa with a landfall near 10am, Taylor Co., Fl. near Keaton Beach. This is the fastest ever to the 5th storm beating the old record of “Edouard” on July 6th, 2020.... the farthest east that a hurricane has formed since the infamous 1933 season... & well ahead of the avg. first Atlantic hurricane of Aug. 14th. Elsa weakened back down to a tropical storm Sat. as the center moved just south of the coast of Haiti.

Elsa is becoming caught up the mid-latitude flow over the U.S. & will continue accelerating northeast hugging the east coast bringing heavy rain & flooding along the I-95 corridor through New England through Fri. before the storm finally becomes post-tropical near the eastern provinces of Canada.

There are no other areas of concern - for the moment - across the Atlantic Basin.

Elsa spaghetti plots:

Saharan dust. Dry air - yellow/orange/red/pink - is extensive over the Central & Eastern Atlantic. Such widespread dust is common early in the hurricane season & is indicitive of dry air that can impede the development of tropical cyclones. However, sometimes “wanna’ be” waves will just wait until they get to the other side of the plume then try to develop. But nothing expected real soon over the deeper Atlantic Basin though tropical waves continue to march west off the coast of Africa.

2021 names..... “Fred” is the next name on the Atlantic list (names are picked at random by the World Meteorological Organization... repeat every 6 years... historic storms are retired (Florence & Michael in ’18... Dorian in ’19 & Laura, Eta & Iota in ‘20). Last year - 2020 - had a record 30 named storms. The WMO decided beginning in 2021 that the Greek alphabet will be no longer used & instead there will be a supplemental list of names if the first list is exhausted (has only happened twice - 2005 & 2020). More on the history of naming tropical cyclones * here *.

East Atlantic:

Mid & upper level wind shear (enemy of tropical cyclones) analysis (CIMMS). The red lines indicate strong shear which is widespread from the Gulf of Mexico & Caribbean eastward across much of the Atlantic:

Water vapor imagery (dark blue indicates dry air):

Deep oceanic heat content is slowly increasing across the SE Gulf, Caribbean & deep tropical Atlantic:

Sea surface temp. anomalies:

SE U.S. surface map:

Surface analysis centered on the tropical Atlantic:

Surface analysis of the Gulf:


Atlantic Basin wave forecast for 24, 48 & 72 hours respectively:

Global tropical activity: