Belize Tropical Weather Outlook: August 27, 2014

Atlantic Tracking Map:

Belize NMS Forecast

6:00 AM in Belize, August 27, 2014

Hurricane Cristobal is centered near 30.9°N latitude, 71.9°W longitude or about 430mls West of Bermuda. Cristobal is moving to the N at 12mph with maximum sustained winds of 80mph.

Elsewhere, in the North Atlantic, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, tropical cyclone formation is not expected during the next 48 hours.

Tropical Atlantic Wide Infrared Satellite Image:

USA National Weather Service Forecast

6:00 am EST on August 27, 2014

For the North Atlantic...Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico:

The National Hurricane Center is issuing advisories on Hurricane Cristobal, located several hundred miles west of Bermuda. Shower and thunderstorm activity associated with a weak low pressure area located over the northwestern Gulf of Mexico has increased during the past few hours. Some additional development is possible before the system moves inland over southern Texas and northern Mexico on Thursday.
* Formation chance through 48 hours...low...20 percent.
* Formation chance through 5 days...low...20 percent.

A tropical wave located about 600 miles east of the Lesser Antilles continues to produce disorganized cloudiness and showers. This system is now expected to move generally westward across the Caribbean Sea with little development during the next few days. However, environmental conditions could become favorable for some development by early next week in the western Caribbean Sea or southern Gulf of Mexico.
* Formation chance through 48 hours...low...near 0 percent.
* Formation chance through 5 days...low...10 percent.

A tropical wave is forecast to move off the West Coast of Africa on Friday. Conditions appear to be favorable for some development thereafter while the system moves westward at 10 to 15 mph across the eastern Atlantic. * Formation chance through 48 hours...low...near 0 percent.
* Formation chance through 5 days...medium...40 percent.

...Cristobal resumes its northward track...
...Expected to pass well to the northwest of Bermuda later today...

The cloud pattern has changed from 12 hours ago when there was deep and symmetric convection near the center. Currently, the satellite presentation resembles a subtropical cyclone with weak convection which is not concentrated near the center. However, an Air Force plane recently penetrated Cristobal and found a minimum pressure of 983 mb and a partial eyewall. The strong winds of 75 to 80 kt measured by the plane at flight level were not observed at the surface during this time. Given such uncertainty, the initial intensity has been kept at 70 kt at this time. The hurricane has a small window of opportunity for strengthening before it moves to higher latitudes and over cooler waters in a couple of days. The NHC wind speed forecast is close to the latest intensity model consensus and similar to the previous official one. After that time, Cristobal is forecast to become a strong Post-tropical storm with hurricane-force winds over the North Atlantic later this week.

Aircraft and satellite fixes indicate that Cristobal slowed down earlier this morning, but as anticipated, it has resumed a northward motion or 010 degrees at 10 knots. The steering pattern has not changed and Cristobal should begin to move toward the northeast in about 24 hours with an increase in forward speed as it becomes embedded in the mid-latitude westerlies. The NHC forecast is very close to the multi-model consensus and similar to the GFS ensemble mean aemi, which has been performing quite well with this storm so far. The forecast beyond 72 hours follows the input from the ocean prediction center.

48 Hour Forecast – Favorable Environmental Conditions For Tropical Development

Infrared Satellite in Belize City

Cristobal a Threat to Bermuda, East Coast?

8/27/2014 8:53:27 AM

Hurricane Cristobal is a Category 1 Hurricane located at 30.9 N, -71.9 W with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph, gusting to 100 mph

Hurricane Cristobal, a Category 1 storm, briefly stalled to the southwest of Bermuda overnight but has since gotten back on the proverbial horse. The system will continue to move on a generally northward heading over the next 12 hours or so, then gradually turn to the right and accelerate northeastward tonight. On this trajectory the center of Cristobal will pass well to the west, north-northwest of Bermuda tonight, sparing the island from significant rainfall and tropical storm-force winds.

That said, wind gusts may yet approach 40 mph for a brief time tonight as the system makes its closest approach, and rainfall amounts of 1-2 inches will be possible through tomorrow. Should the system move along the western edge of the guidance envelope, a theme over the past 12 hours or more, then these impacts will not be realized. Of course, should Cristobal end up closer to the island than advertised, then heavy rainfall and strong wind gusts will be more likely.

Along the East Coast, from the Southeast through New England, rough surf and rip currents will be the only impact felt from Cristobal. This danger will gradually diminish along the coast of Florida today while increasing for the Carolinas, eventually making its way up the coast into the mid-Atlantic and Northeast tonight into tomorrow. As Cristobal accelerates to the east and northeast late on Thursday, impacts along the coast will decrease just in time for Labor Day weekend.

Aside from Cristobal, there isn't anything of real importance in the Atlantic Basin. We are watching two features for tropical development, one in the northern Gulf of Mexico and another a few hundred miles to the east of the Lesser Antilles, but neither disturbance is very well organized or expected to develop quickly (if at all).

Looking farther down the road, some model guidance suggests that a tropical wave set to move off the coast of Africa late on Thursday may develop into a tropical cyclone over the weekend. Environmental conditions are expected to become more favorable for development in the eastern Atlantic, so we'll monitor this feature closely.

120 Hour Forecast – Favorable Environmental Conditions For Tropical Development

Lots To Talk About Including Potential Tropical Development In The Western Gulf Of Mexico, Hurricane Cristobal & A Strong Tropical Disturbance Tracking Off Of The Coast Of Africa
Rob Lightbown of Crown Weather Services

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 7:37 am

Even though there is a lot to talk about this morning, my main concern and focus is on the area of low pressure that is located over the western and northwestern Gulf of Mexico where there is a fairly decent chance that it could be upgraded to a tropical depression or a tropical storm at some point today or tonight. So, let’s get right into it.

Low Pressure Over The Western Gulf Of Mexico May Develop Into A Tropical Depression Or A Tropical Storm Sometime Today Or Tonight: Satellite imagery this morning showed that low pressure system over the northwestern Gulf of Mexico is strengthening with a rather robust low level circulation forming and thunderstorms that have increased rather rapidly over the past couple of hours or so. Looking at radar loops from the Houston-Galveston radar site, it appears that the center of circulation is very near 27.4 North Latitude and 93.9 West Longitude. This was something that I thought could happen given the overall pattern and I suspect that we may see this system continue to increase in organization today and in fact, there is the possibility it could be upgraded to a tropical depression or even a tropical storm sometime today or tonight. It actually looks like we are looking at one of those small, quickly developing tropical cyclones that the western and northwestern Gulf of Mexico are notorious for.

This system will be tracking west-southwestward throughout today and into Thursday before it tracks inland into south Texas by late Thursday or early Friday. As I mentioned, given the trends that we are seeing on satellite imagery, everyone along the coast of south and central Texas from Brownsville to Corpus Christi should closely monitor the weather today and be prepared for stormy conditions, including the possibility of tropical storm conditions. At the very least, this system will bring locally heavy rainfall and gusty winds of up to 40 mph to areas of the Texas coast from Brownsville to Corpus Christi and possibly as far north as Matagorda. Now, there is that chance that this low pressure system could come ashore in south Texas as a tropical storm with 40 to 50 mph winds late Thursday or early Friday and those of you in this area should be aware of this.

We will be closely monitoring satellite data, radar data, surface reports and buoy observations throughout today and tonight. If a tropical depression or a tropical storm does develop, the greatest threat area for this system to impact looks to be along the coast of south and central Texas, including Brownsville, Corpus Christi and Matagorda and everyone along this stretch of the Texas coast should be prepared for heavy rain squalls, winds of up to 40 to 50 mph and rough seas that will begin as early as later today and continue through the day on Thursday.

Hurricane Cristobal:
5 am EDT/4 am CDT Statistics:
30.9 North Latitude, 71.9 West Longitude or about 430 miles to the west of Bermuda.
Maximum Winds: 80 mph.
Forward Movement: North at a forward speed of 12 mph.

Even though Cristobal still does not look like a hurricane this morning, reconnaissance aircraft continue to find that it is indeed a hurricane with 80 mph maximum winds and a minimum central pressure of 983 millibars. It is expected that Cristobal will continue to strengthen over the next couple of days or so before it tracks into cooler ocean waters by this weekend. In addition, Cristobal will continue tracking northward today and will turn more to the northeast as we get into Thursday and Friday. This means that Cristobal is still expected to remain far enough offshore to not pose a direct threat to the US East Coast or the Canadian Maritimes.

Cristobal will, however, continue to produce rain across the island of Bermuda today with additional rainfall amounts of 1 to 2 inches expected. Also, swells that have been generated by the hurricane will continue to impact Bermuda and along much of the US East Coast from today right into this weekend. These swells will likely cause rough surf and rip currents, so please be aware of this if you are at the beaches over the next few days along the US East Coast.

Model Track Forecast For Cristobal:
Courtesy of South Florida Water Management District
Courtesy of Weather Underground
Courtesy of Weather Underground
Courtesy of Weather Underground

Model Intensity Forecast For Cristobal:
Courtesy of Weather Underground

Satellite Imagery Of Cristobal:
Courtesy of Satellite Services Division
Courtesy of Satellite Services Division
Courtesy of Satellite Services Division

Additional Gulf Of Mexico Tropical Development Chances Over The Next Week: It still appears that a second surge of moisture will stream northward across the central and western Gulf of Mexico from the combination of the tail end of the trough of low pressure currently located over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico and a tropical wave over the western Caribbean. The stream of moisture and energy from these two weather systems means that heavy rainfall in the form of widespread showers and thunderstorms are likely along the upper Texas coast and along the coast of southwestern and central Louisiana starting on Friday and continuing through Saturday.

Looking ahead to later this weekend into next week, we are going to have to closely monitor the western Caribbean, Bay of Campeche and western Gulf of Mexico for signs of potential tropical development. Many of the global models are forecasting that barometric pressures will lower in this area starting this weekend. At the same time a tropical disturbance that is now located over the southeastern Caribbean will be moving into the western Caribbean this weekend and then into the Bay of Campeche and western Gulf of Mexico around Monday and Tuesday of next week.

The combination of the energy and moisture from this tropical disturbance and the lowering barometric pressures from the western Caribbean into the Bay of Campeche and the western Gulf of Mexico could lead to the development of a tropical cyclone late this weekend or early next week. In fact, the GFS model has been very consistent in forecasting the development of a tropical cyclone in the Bay of Campeche early next week that possibly threatens northeast Mexico and the coast of south and central Texas around the middle part of next week.

This is something that I will be monitoring closely and will keep you all updated. Right now, this is a possibility Finally, additional development is possible starting this weekend in the southwestern and western Caribbean which could strengthen as it tracks into the central or western Gulf of Mexico next week. Barometric pressures are forecast to lower from the southwestern Caribbean into the western Gulf of Mexico as a high pressure system builds across the US East coast. This setup could lead to tropical development in the western Caribbean this weekend or early next week with this system tracking northwestward into the western Gulf of Mexico as we get into the middle and later parts of next week. It is something that I am watching out for and will keep you all updated.

Strong Tropical Disturbance Tracking Off Of The Coast Of Africa Later This Week: A strong tropical disturbance now located over western Africa is expected to track into the far eastern Atlantic within the next 24 hours or so. Environmental conditions are expected to be favorable for this disturbance to develop into a tropical cyclone and most of the global models are forecasting development from this system.

How quickly this disturbance intensifies and how strong it gets will determine whether it curves north and northeastward into the open Atlantic. The GFS model forecasts that this system will become an intense tropical cyclone as we get into next week and thus curves it into the open Atlantic around 40 West Longitude. It should be noted that the GFS model is notorious for developing systems too quickly and curving them northward too quickly. The European model guidance, on the other hand, forecasts more gradual development and forecasts it to track westward this weekend into next week but still curves it northwestward around 55 West Longitude late next week.

My thoughts are that I think development is going to be gradual like we are seeing with the European model’s forecast. Because of this, a westerly or west-northwesterly track across the eastern and central Atlantic seems likely this weekend into next week. As we get into later next week, a trough of low pressure is forecast to be positioned over the central Atlantic around 50 to 55 West Longitude and it is possible that this disturbance could be drawn northward before reaching the Lesser Antilles. Because this is something that may not happen for another 8 to 10 days, it is not certain that this disturbance will even turn northward and could very well continue tracking westward all the way to the Caribbean and this is something that will need to be monitored.

CRISTOBAL heads Out to Sea / Invest 98 in GOM / Disturbance approaches CARIB
Jeff Masters

5:05 PM GMT on August 27, 2014


CRISTOBAL is located about 360NM SE of Cape Hatteras moving North at around 11Kts. The storm remains a minimal hurricane with sustained surface winds around 65Kts. ALL models call for the storm to turn NNE and then NE at an accelerated pace as an upper air, mid-latitude TROF moves into the Northeastern US. While the storm may see some additional intensification from the high level divergent flow ahead of the NE U.S. TROF and associated baroclinic forcing – the storm will be transitioning rather quickly tomorrow to an extratropical storm as it heads northeast into the NORATL shipping lanes. (I for one am glad to see this extremely tough system to forecast departing our area of interest!)


While NHC dropped 97L early yesterday – it added INVEST 98L earlier this morning. INVEST 98L in the NW GOM originated at the ‘tail end’ of a very strong mid-level Dry Line that surged south/southwest from the SE US across Florida and into the northern Gulf of Mexico (GOM) 2 days ago – triggering a line of very strong T-storms along and ahead of it. While the dry line boundary has begun to fade away (though relatively dry air continues to dominate much of the GOM) a small surface circulation has formed in the NW GOM, centered about 200NM east of Corpus Christi, TX. An area of convection, with some isolated deep convection, is near and to the North and Northeast of the Low itself. The convection and surface circulation is quasi-stationary, and with wind shear of 30Kts over most of the system, significant development is unlikely for at least the next 24 hours. The first run of specialized tropical cyclone models (12Z cycle) are in remarkably good agreement on forecasting the system to move slowly westward into south Texas in 48-72 hours. With a generally anti-cyclonic flow aloft, and some of the warmest SST’s seen in years in this part of the GOM, and falloff in wind shear to under 15Kts could allow this small disturbance to spin-up prior to moving inland. That said - I doubt the system could ever develop beyond depression intensity.


While yesterday’s Global model runs had forecast what was 97L to develop into a significant cyclone, the last few runs have completely backed away on this. However, most of the global models now forecast this elongated wave near the eastern CARIB to move across the CARIB towards the Yucatan over the weekend, with some models showing a small cyclone formation in the southern GOM next week.

There has been a dramatic increase in moisture both with the westbound wave and with a moisture plume from the deep (Equatorial) tropics in South America (SOAMER) that has been surging northward ahead of the wave for over 24 hours. Though wind shear is over 30Kts over much of the eastern CARIB (and will remain relatively high for the next few days) there is a somewhat anti-cyclonic flow developing between a small upper air Low/TROF in the west central CARIB and the approaching T.W. in the far eastern CARIB. This anti-cyclonic curvature of the high level wind field may develop further and move westward as the tropical wave traverses the CARIB over the next few days – and shear speeds may drop off during the weekend. Clearly a system worth monitoring over the coming days.


One of the season's strongest ‘Cape Verde’ disturbances is emerging off the West African coast, with virtually all global models forecasting the system to gradually intensify over the weekend as it heads West/Northwest. This strong wave with a cyclonic circulation field has a long history since it developed in the highlands of east-central Africa last weekend and has maintained a low-mid level circulation and significant convection as it crossed north Africa. The most reliable models (especially the GFS) have consistently shown this system developing into a strong cyclone this weekend and early next week – but also shows the system turning Northwestward and eventually northward as it approaches the central Atlantic. The latest (12Z GFS) model run has shown this recurvature occurring a bit further west than earlier runs - but the ‘theme’ of ultimately turning this system out to sea before it can impact the CARIB or US remains unchanged.


Hurricane MARIE should soon be downgraded to a Tropical storm – and then Depression - within 24 hours as the storm’s rapidly warming cloud tops clearly indicate the storm is moving over much cooler SST’s (under 24°C). The storm is about 900NM SW of Los Angeles and continues to move W/NW at about 13Kts, and will turn more Northwestward in 24-36 hrs and gradually fade away.

The very large and damaging swells from Marie along the Baja and southern CA coast beaches (and to a lessor degree, the original wave action from Karina which became coherent with the large swells from Marie) appear to have peaked this morning, with reported swell heights overnight reaching 10-15 feet, and isolated 20ft heights in some ‘coves’ along the south/southwest facing beach’s. The NWS has maintained advisories for beaches from Ventura to San Diego for “damaging high surf, very strong rip currents and minor coastal flooding.” The LAX areas expecting the highest surf are Long Beach through the Palos Verdes Peninsula, including Cabrillo Beach and Point Fermin, as well as Malibu and Zuma beaches. The biggest waves are expected to hit in Orange County, especially the Huntington and Newport Beach areas. Wave heights should gradually decline over the next 48 hours, with heights expected to fall off to near normal on Saturday.

Fig 1: Early morning imagery shows departing CRISTOBAL, along with the small Low pressure area in the far NW GOM (INVEST 98L) - the large, elongated Tropical Wave near the eastern CARIB (EX 97L) – and the strong tropical wave/Low near the west African coast. The forecast tracks for these system are based on the consensus of the 00Z Global Model solutions and the 12Z Early Model runs in the case of 98L.

Fig 2: The above Water Vapor image from earlier this AM shows a small convective ‘ball’ with isolated deep convection, and a surface Low that is INVEST 98L. This formed at the tail end of a remarkably strong ‘Dry Line’ that pushed S/SW into the northern GOM 2 days ago. Much of the Gulf remains under a very dry environment – in stark contrast to the rapidly moistening CARIB as a moisture plume continues to develop in the central CARIB along with expansive moisture (and isolated to scattered deep convection) associated with the elongated Tropical Wave in the far eastern CARIB. Based on imagery loops, moisture from the ITCZ south of the Tropical Wave also appears to be moving northward towards the wave itself.

Fig 3: The early morning wind shear analysis shows high shear values of 30Kts+ over 98L and 20-30Kts over the eastern CARIB. There is a chance that the anti-cyclone over the central GOM may shift further northward allowing shear values to fall, allowing for a more favorable venting environment for the system to develop before it moves inland on Saturday.

Fig 4: Should atmospheric conditions become more favorable for development for 98L, SST’s of 30°C or higher will certainly provide more than enough energy for quick development.

Fig 5: The IR image with satellite derived winds shows the still quite strong Tropical Low/Wave complex emerging off the West African coast. It also shows the large convective complex that was over east Africa that developed just west of southernmost Saudi Arabia several days ago. However, unlike the leading wave near the Cape Verdes, the central African wave does not have a well defined rotation – though a fairly strong African Easterly Jet (AEJ) with E/NE winds over 60Kts (not shown) from south of Saudi Arabia and nosing east/southeast into the central African Wave, may yet help to develop this wave. At this point though, none of the models show significant development of this system.

Fig 6: Hurricane MARIE is weakening rapidly, but the large swells generated by the storm earlier this week continue to move into the Baja and southern CA coast. Offshore Buoys show swells heights of 8-11 ft. However, under water topography – and the possibility of ‘rogue’ waves - mean swell heights could still reach 20+ ft along some southern CA locations today and early tonight before swell wave train heights lower significantly.

CLICK HERE for the website for Belize National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO)

Tropical Atlantic Wide Visible Satellite Image

Edited by Marty (Today at 12:09 PM)