From west to east;

ELSA is currently making a landfall on the south coast of Cuba headed north-west at 12 knots shaping up for a track across the island. This storm has been a difficult child from the outset, initially forming a hurricane as it crossed the north Caribbean (which would normally deter development), with a vertical convection column which has never really stabilised and even now, has offset sectors which do not follow normal storm patterns for the northern hemisphere. Nonetheless, ELSA has caused destruction as it has tracked north-west with at least three fatalities reported in St Lucia and the Dominican Republic. This currently has a hurricane severity index rating of just 5 out of 50 (2 for size and 3 for intensity) which equates to winds gusting 70 knots over a windfield radius of 130 miles which may be its peak, depending on how ELSA fares when it enters the Gulf of Mexico overnight tonight. The general consensus is for ELSA to weaken over land then regain tropical storm strength and parallel the west coast of Florida before landfall over the Big Bend of Florida on Wednesday morning. A belt of upper level wind shear is descending on the eastern Gulf of Mexico, which may inhibit intensification, but nothing would surprise me with ELSA. Whilst we have the impact of crossing Cuba and northern Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas ahead, environmental conditions along the eastern seaboard are very fertile and I would not dismiss this having a swipe at the eastern seaboard later this week. Early days yet.

Disturbance Fifteen is now just over a day’s steaming east of the Windward Islands, westbound at 16 knots and expected to enter the Caribbean tomorrow. Enhanced thunderstorm activity and the odd squall are likely for the southern Caribbean, however environmental conditions are not particularly favourable for further development.

Disturbance Sixteen is now midway across the convergence zone making 15 knots on a steady westerly heading. This still has a whiff of dry air in its circulation which will keep development on check for the time being.

Stand by for destructive tropical storm conditions across Cuba and into the south eastern Gulf of Mexico.

Image Gerard Damiano