Tropical Moisture Likely to Invade W. Caribbean and Eastern Gulf During First Week of June
Increased Storminess & Possible Tropical Development Expected Across The Western Caribbean & The Eastern Gulf Of Mexico During The First Week Of June
Rob Lightbown of Crown Weather Services
Tuesday, May 27, 2014 8:09 am
The Tropical Atlantic, Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico is quiet this morning with a lack of deep convection anywhere in the tropics. The latest model guidance, including the GFS, Canadian and the FIM models continue to show a tropical cyclone forming in the western Caribbean around June 2nd and for this system to track northward into the eastern Gulf of Mexico by late next week (around June 6th). Since the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean are quiet right now with no deep convection visible, where will this moisture and energy come from?
The energy and moisture for this possible tropical development will come from an upper level low pressure system that is currently located over the southern Plains states. This upper level low pressure system is expected to dive southeastward into the area of the Yucatan Peninsula and the western Caribbean by late this coming weekend and early next week. This upper level low pressure system will increase storminess and heavy rainfall potential across the western Caribbean and the eastern Gulf of Mexico during the first week of June, including the Florida Peninsula, Cuba, the Yucatan Peninsula, the Cayman Islands, Belize, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition to the stormy weather that is expected, this sort of pattern supports the potential for a tropical depression or a tropical storm to form in the western Caribbean during the first week of June.
Looking at the latest model guidance, the GFS model guidance, which has been extremely consistent with this potential tropical development, forecasts that this tropical system may form near the coast of Belize on June 2nd and that this tropical system will track northward into the eastern Gulf of Mexico by June 5th. Ultimately, the latest GFS model guidance forecasts that this tropical depression or low end tropical storm will come ashore along the Alabama or Mississippi coastline on June 7th. The GFS ensemble guidance agrees with the operational GFS model in showing that the western Caribbean near Belize and the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula will be the place to watch for tropical development around June 2nd or June 3rd.
While the latest Canadian model guidance agrees with the GFS model in showing tropical development, the Canadian model shows that this development would occur over the Bay of Campeche around June 1st or 2nd and for this system to track northwestward towards the central Texas coast by June 4th.
The FIM model guidance forecasts that a tropical system may form very near the coast of Belize (similar to the GFS model) around June 2nd or 3rd. The FIM model forecasts that this system will track northward from the western Caribbean into the southernmost Gulf of Mexico by June 5th and for this system to ultimately make landfall along the Florida Panhandle on June 6th as a 40 to 50 mph tropical storm.
The European model guidance is on the complete opposite end of the spectrum and suggests that no such tropical system will form next week in the western Caribbean, but instead keeps the bulk of the moisture over the southwestern Caribbean and Central America as a upper level high pressure system builds into the western Gulf of Mexico.
Here are my latest thoughts: The pattern that I outlined above for next week which will consist of a upper level low pressure system which will move into an area around the Yucatan Peninsula will set up a pattern that will promote heavy rainfall from the western Caribbean northeastward into the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Additionally, the western Caribbean will be on the eastern side of this upper level low pressure where we will find rising and divergent air which supports not only the idea of stormy weather, but also the idea of possible tropical development across the western Caribbean. Based on this, I continue to believe that there is a distinct possibility that we may see the development of some sort of tropical system in the western Caribbean (west of 80 West Longitude and south of 20 North Latitude) as early as June 2nd or June 3rd.
If a tropical depression or tropical storm does form in the western Caribbean next week, its most likely path will be one that is north-northeast or northeast as a high pressure system over the Atlantic will block it from turning east. This north-northeast or northeastward track would keep it close to land from the western Caribbean into the eastern Gulf of Mexico possibly threatening the Yucatan Peninsula, the Cayman Islands, western Cuba, the Florida Peninsula and the Florida Panhandle, the Mississippi and the Alabama coastlines.
Does that mean that this is guaranteed to happen? Absolutely not as there is the possibility that the model guidance may be over forecasting this potential and thus creating “phantom storms”. If a depression or a storm does not form, we will definitely see a surge of moisture across the western Caribbean and the eastern Gulf of Mexico leading to a extended period of stormy weather and heavy rain for much of next week across all of the western Caribbean and the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
Those of you in Cancun and Cozumel, Belize, Cuba, the Cayman Islands, Honduras and Nicaragua as well as those of you in the eastern parts of the Gulf of Mexico, including the Florida Peninsula and Florida Panhandle should not only keep close tabs on this possibility, but also be ready for the potential for several days of heavy rainfall and possible flooding starting around May 31st and June 1st and continuing through much of next week.
The next tropical weather discussion will be issued by 8 am EDT/7 am CDT Thursday morning.