Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tropics Update: Maria Forms and Nate Developing

The tropics are teeming with activity today, and right on schedule, as the peak of hurricane season arrives this weekend. Hurricane Katia continues to move northwestward, but all models are in very good agreement of a northerly and then northeasterly turn over the next 24 to 48 hours. The main threat to the U.S. will continue to be large waves and dangerous rip tides. Tropical Storm Maria formed this morning in the central Atlantic, and is expected to be slow to strengthen as it heads west-northwestward over the next several days. Here's the latest official track from the National Hurricane Center (NHC):

The system is expected to be at roughly 70 degrees west and 23 degrees north and on a northwesterly track on Monday morning. An upper-level trough is depicted by some of the medium range models to be in place which would help to erode the subtropical ridge and impart a more northerly turn to Maria by the middle of next week. There is a quick shift, however, to more of a ridge across the eastern U.S. later in the week, which could be more favorable for an East Coast landfall. Needless to say, Maria will be in interesting storm to track over the next week, as much could change in the eventual course. Another system is in the developing stage in the Gulf of Mexico. Here's the latest spaghetti plot of model guidance for this disturbance:

This disturbance is not even a tropical depression at the time of this blog entry, but given the intensity forecast below, there's the likelihood of this becoming Tropical Depression Fifteen and then Tropical Storm Nate.

I'll continue to track these systems and bring you updates over the next several days. -Zach