97L Worth Watching in the Atlantic

Jeff Masters

In their 8 am EDT Friday Tropical Weather Outlook, NHC gave 97L 2-day and 5-day development odds of 20% and 30%, respectively. When 97L reaches the Western Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico by the middle of next week, we will need to watch it, but the crystal ball is very murky on whether or not 97L might find favorable conditions for development then.

Invest 97L Is Gradually Organizing As It Approaches The Lesser Antilles; The Western Caribbean

Crown Weather

Invest 97-L Located 700 Miles East Of The Lesser Antilles: A tropical wave, designated Invest 97-L, is located about 700 miles to the east of the Lesser Antilles or along the 55 West Longitude line. Invest 97-L continues to race westward at a forward speed of 25 to 30 mph and this fast forward motion is inhibiting development. The latest satellite imagery indicates that the shower and thunderstorm activity associated with Invest 97-L has increased since yesterday and has become a little more organized. Very slow development and organization is expected throughout this weekend into early next week due to the fast forward movement of Invest 97-L, even though all other environmental factors that contribute to tropical development are favorable. Invest 97-L is expected to slow down in forward speed by Tuesday and Wednesday as it reaches the western Caribbean and this is when we will really need to keep an eye on it for potential tropical development.

Turning to the latest model data – A majority of the model guidance forecasts that Invest 97-L will track from east to west across the Caribbean from Monday to Wednesday reaching the area of the eastern Yucatan Peninsula by Tuesday night or Wednesday. Once Invest 97-L reaches the western Caribbean, the latest model guidance forecasts this system to slow down and start to spin up first into a low pressure system and then possibly into a tropical cyclone. It should be noted that the latest guidance has trended further south in its track across the Caribbean and this trend will be monitored.

The track model guidance are further north than the operational GFS, European and Canadian models and these models forecast a track across the northern Caribbean towards the northeastern Yucatan Peninsula. The intensity guidance are all over the place with some of the members forecasting significant intensification while other members forecast little or no strengthening. Right now, I’m leaning towards the lower end of the intensity scale due to the quick forward movement of Invest 97-L which will limit development and intensification.

Here Are My Thoughts On Invest 97-L: From today through Monday, I do not expect Invest 97-L to develop into a tropical depression or a tropical storm due to its fast forward motion which will limit development and intensification. By Tuesday and Wednesday, the environmental conditions are forecast to be favorable for development as Invest 97-L slows down in forward speed while it moves into the western Caribbean. This is when we will need to keep a close eye on potential development as it will be in a environment that consists of low wind shear, very warm ocean water temperatures and enhanced upper-level divergence (which will help Invest 97-L “breathe).

How fast Invest 97-L develops and intensifies in the western Caribbean remains to be seen and how strong it becomes will determine its ultimate course into the Gulf of Mexico. If Invest 97-L strengthens considerably in the western Caribbean like the HWRF model forecasts (the HWRF model forecasts Invest 97-L to become a hurricane near Belize around Wednesday), then it will be more likely to turn more to the west-northwest or northwest and move into the southern and western Gulf of Mexico and towards the Texas coast. On the other hand, if Invest 97-L doesn’t strengthen very much and remains weak, it will be most likely to remain on a mostly westward course and move into southern Mexico or Central America and never make it into the Gulf of Mexico.

At this point, those of you in the western Caribbean, including the Yucatan Peninsula and Belize, should closely monitor the progress of Invest 97-L as it will be moving into the western Caribbean by Tuesday or Wednesday and may develop right on your doorstep.

For those of you in the southern and western Gulf of Mexico, at this point I think areas from Veracruz, Mexico to the lower and middle Texas coast need to keep an eye on Invest 97-L. Fortunately, there is plenty of time to keep an eye on this system as the earliest it may impact you will be sometime next weekend.

For more information, check the daily Tropical Weather Outlook HERE.

Invest 97L Information:

Model Track Forecast:

Model Intensity Forecast:

From Belmopan...

We have to take that INVEST 97L seriously, it has significantly developed over night. It is now in the Caribbean and several predictions bring it over or close to Belize. Presently there is not too much wind. There is still that ITCZ tropical air moving up northwards in front of it, which may carry it northwards or break it up, but the experts do not think so. That air and patches of cloud still coming down from Florida which brought over night rain is easing up, but there are still a few rain showers from it in any part of Belize.