From west to east;
Lacklustre Disturbance Ten is still milling about aimlessly in the far south-west Gulf of Mexico. Despite plentiful warm water, there is little in the way of rising air to kickstart development, so aside from some enhanced thunderstorm activity, no tropical development is expected.
A USAF Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft is currently airborne inside the vertical column over ELSA and has reported hurricane force winds and an eye forming as the storm crosses the Windward Islands. ELSA has not lost energy as it interacts with the islands and is now producing 65 knot winds gusting 80 knots. The surprise factor is the 28 knot ground speed, which would normally inhibit surface organisation, which is also proving difficult to forecast the storm’s track beyond the next 24 hours. There aren’t may records of hurricanes with high ground speeds on which to base sensible assumptions. Undeniably, ELSA will spread hurricane and tropical storm force conditions along its track, which is currently to pass south of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Unfortunately, the worst conditions are displaced to the north of centre which may mean storm conditions ashore. That ELSA will turn and cross Cuba is almost undeniable, but the range of options thereafter are differing wildly from a direct track south to north through Florida (from the Canadian guy, so take that with a pinch of salt) to a sweep towards the west central Gulf of Mexico. Probability would indicate a pass parallel, but to the west of the coast of Florida but a last minute turn towards the coast cannot be ruled out. Three factors add to the uncertainty – ground speed and the impact on the storm’s structure, when the storm will turn towards the north and the loss of energy as the storm interacts with land.
Disturbance Fifteen is now centred around 850 miles north-east of the mouth of the Amazon moving to the west at 13 knots. This is showing signs of wear due to upper level shear and little in the way of development for the time being.
Stand by for hurricane conditions across the Windward Islands and the north-eastern Caribbean.
Image Viv Thomas