October 17, 2011

Development Possible near Yucatan Peninsula

Visible satellite imagery from mid Monday morning shows a low level circulation center located near 21.8 north, 89.3 west or just north of the northwest coast of the Yucatan of Mexico.

This feature appears to be drifting southwest or could be making a large cycloidal loop.

The image shows no thunderstorms or convective showers around this well defined swirl.

However, a ship located near 25.6 north, 88.7 west or 265 miles almost due north of the low level center is reporting sustained winds of 50 mph. Winds closer to the low level feature is generally less than 20 mph.

So, the wind field associated with this system so far is more like that of a subtropical storm.

It's highly possible this will be upgraded to a subtropical or tropical storm later today depending on trends.

A U.S. Air Force Reconnaissance plane is now investigating the system and should help determine whether this is an organized tropical system.

The most likely track of this system is to move northeastward ahead of a cold front moving into the Gulf of Mexico tomorrow and move over central or northern Florida by late tomorrow or tomorrow night.

From there we expect the storm to move along the Southeast then mid Atlantic coast of the United States during Wednesday. By this time the storm will merge with the eastward moving cold front.

Computer forecasts are suggesting that this storm could wrap up and bring tropical storm force winds to coastal areas of the U.S. tomorrow night through Wednesday night.

Some model output is suggesting winds could be near hurricane force out over the open waters off the southeast coast.

Regardless of what form this storm takes Florida will be impacted by this system over the next several days with locally heavy rainfall and some gusty winds.

The Florida Keys have already been inundated with rainfall and over the next few days this deep tropical moisture will continue to be pulled northward and eastward across the Florida Peninsula.

Between now and Wednesday, much of the Florida Peninsula may receive 2 to 4 inches of rain with locally 8 inches possible.

The cold front and storm will bring moderate to heavy rainfall and even some localized flooding into parts of the southeastern United States from Alabama eastward into the Carolinas at first then further north into the mid Atlantic and Northeast States by Wednesday night and Thursday.

One other area we are monitoring is in the far-eastern Atlantic.

A tropical wave is about 1,400 east of the Windward Islands.

Although satellite imagery shows some disorganized cloud and thunderstorm development associated with the wave, development over the next day or two is unlikely as it will be tracking into a zone of strong upper-level winds aloft.

However, if the shear relaxes the system could become better organized.

This could start to happen by the latter half of this week.

By AccuWeather Expert Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski

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