Talking the Tropics With Mike: Iota moving inland over Central America

Cat. 4 landfall Mon. night on the NE coast of Nicaragua

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*** There will be no impacts from tropical systems for the U.S. through the upcoming week ***

Iota: Tropical wave 98-L - over the Caribbean - was upgraded to tropical depression #31 Fri. morning & to tropical storm “Iota” Fri. afternoon then to a hurricane early Sunday - the 30th named storm of the ’20 Atlantic hurricane season & the 13th hurricane, 2nd to only - wait for it - 2005 which totaled 15 hurricanes... then reached Cat. 5 intensity - the latest Cat. 5 on record over the Atlantic Basin + the 5th year in a row with at least one Cat. 5 over the Atlantic Basin - Mon. morning before a high end Cat. 4 landfall about 10:45pm EST Mon. on the northeast coast of Nicaragua. Iota should dissipate over the mountainous terrain over the next couple days. Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras & Southern Belize will see the most serious impacts - an area still reeling from flooding from Eta some 10 days ago.

Iota has been a classic late season hurricane over a very warm Caribbean: very slow organization of a “glob” of convection that once it got its act together - developed a core & good banding features with strong outflow over the top - rapidly intensified. Iota’s low level circulation should dissipate while turning southwest over the mountainous terrain of Central America before it can re-emerge over the Eastern Pacific.

There will be no impacts from Iota for the U.S. & obviously for Jacksonville/NE Fl./SE Ga. as the U.S. is finally - seemingly - protected by a combination of a ridge of high pressure in a more seasonally south position (near & south of Fl.) with an equally seasonal shift south of the jet stream - at least in general. Such a set-up makes it difficult for a tropical cyclone over the Caribbean to get very far north.

Another disturbance has the potential to develop over the Southern Caribbean through the week while moving west/southwest over the far Southwest Caribbean. This system should stay farther south than its predecessors - Eta & Iota - as well as weaker.... it would appear. But also means more heavy rain for parts of Central America.

Yet another area to watch for possible tropical development will be the SW Atlantic near & to the east of the Bahamas near & along a stalled front. Any development here would probably ultimately be steered east or northeast away from the U.S.

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

Saharan dust, dry air:

2020 names..... “Wilfred” was the last 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 is certain to be retired from the ’19 list). Interesting side note: the last six of the names on the ’20 list had never been used. So it’s on to the Greek alphabet. "Kappa” is next... the first time the Greek alphabet has been used since 2005 (total of 28 named storms using 6 Greek letter names in ’05 [there was one unnamed storm). Theta broke the record for the most Atlantic storms in a single season on record at 29.

East Atlantic:

Mid & upper level wind shear (enemy of tropical cyclones) analysis (CIMMS). The red lines indicate strong shear:

Water vapor imagery (dark blue indicates dry air):

Deep oceanic heat content:

Sea surface temp. anomalies:

SE U.S. surface map:

Surface analysis centered on the tropical Atlantic:

Surface analysis of the Gulf:


Global tropical activity: