Talking the Tropics With Mike: Tropical depression #28 forms over the NW Caribbean

Expected to organize & intensify into early next week - heads-up Gulf Coast!

Talking the Tropics With Mike: Tropical depression #28 forms over the NW Caribbean

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The Caribbean/Gulf of Mexico & SW Atlantic will remain the areas to keep an eye on over the next couple of weeks (climatologically favored too).

*** Everyone along the Gulf Coast between Texas & Florida should stay up to date on the latest forecasts as t.d. #28 - soon to be “Zeta” moves into the Gulf of Mexico during the upcoming week.....


(1) low pressure over the Central Atlantic evolved from an upper low, became t.d. #27 Mon. morning & then to tropical storm Epsilon within a few hours - the fastest to the 27th storm breaking the record set in - of course - 2005.... & became a hurricane Tue. strengthening into a Cat. 3 Wed. before leveling off again as a Cat. 2 & then steady state as a Cat. 1. While the core of the hurricane missed Bermuda to the east Thu., strong winds & rough seas/surf will only slowly diminish over the next few days. Easterly swells will enhance rough surf & the rip current risk for the Bahamas, Florida & much of the U.S. east coast over the next few days.

(2) An inverted surface trough (“band” of lower pressures creating convergence) continues near & just east of Fl. through the weekend which can sometimes lead to low pressure then tropical development, especially late in the season. Weak low pressure may eventually evolve over the Bahamas or between the Bahamas & Florida. No significant development is expected as any low that might develop moves northeast over the Atlantic.

Of much greater concern....Low pressure has developed over the NW Caribbean near & south of the Cayman Islands & was upgraded to tropical depression #28 Sat. afternoon. Forecast models seem to be finally(!) catching on to this development but continue with rather wild swings in location & intensity. The European is the farthest west & slowest (true all season) - was! west of New Orleans by Friday but now is moving the system ashore just west of New Orleans Wed. night/Thu.... the GFS model is faster & weaker near New Orleans Wed. afternoon... the UKMET is again the go-between bringing the system ashore now Wed. night/early Thu. very near New Orleans - closer in location to the GFS.... & east of the Euro & compromise on timing. Water & environmental conditions are very favorable in the short term & fast intensification is a very real possibility through Monday. Thereafter, shear & drier air becomes an inhibitor over about the northern half of the Gulf of Mexico. However, upper level “ventilation” increases thanks to an approaching upper level trough that will help steer t.d. #28 more north then northeast while accelerating. Overall... the long term intensity forecast is highly (more so than usual) uncertain. I would not be surprised if the system “goes hurricane” rather quickly then levels off &/or weakens while moving north/northeast over the Central/Northern Gulf.

“Extra spaghetti":

October tropical cyclone origin points are clustered over the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico & SW Atlantic:

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

Saharan dust:

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 now. “Zeta” is next... the first time the Greek alphabet has been used since 2005 (total of 27 named storms using 6 Greek letter names in ’05)

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 is impressive across the SW Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico & especially the Caribbean:

Sea surface temp. anomalies:

SE U.S. surface map:

Surface analysis centered on the tropical Atlantic:

Surface analysis of the Gulf:


Global tropical activity: