Western Caribbean Tropical Development Quite Possible In The Western Caribbean Later Next Week Through Next Weekend:
The weather pattern continues to look like it'll be favorable for tropical development in the western Caribbean starting later next week and continuing through next weekend. One contributing factor to these favorable conditions is the fact that there will be an upward motion pulse of the Madden Julian Oscillation pushing into the Caribbean and the western Atlantic next week. This will cause the background state to be favorable for development.
Taking A Look At The Model Guidance - For the most part, most of the model guidance and their ensemble counterparts all agree on a tropical system forming near Central America later next week. The GFS model, in particular, has been extremely aggressive in forecasting a full-blown hurricane in the southern Gulf of Mexico during the week of May 23. Take these model guidance runs with a ton of salt as I think the GFS model may be way overdoing the intensity of this tropical system. This means ignore any social media posts that show a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. Stick with me and I'll guide you in the right direction.
With that said, the GFS model may be onto something in that there may very well be a tropical system in the western Caribbean by next weekend. It just probably wont be a hurricane.
As for the other model guidance, the Canadian and European really don't show outright development, but the European model does seem to hint at development over the far eastern Pacific near Guatemala and El Salvador next weekend.
As for the ensemble model guidance, there are a large number of GFS ensemble model members that show western Caribbean development as soon as Thursday into Friday of next week. Beyond this, most of these ensemble members suggest any tropical system would head into either the eastern Gulf of Mexico or across the Florida Peninsula from south to north late next weekend into the early part of the week of May 23. Finally, the GFS ensemble model guidance is forecasting about a 30-40 percent chance for tropical development in the western Caribbean late next week into next weekend.
As for the European ensemble model guidance, it forecasts about a 30 percent chance for tropical development near Central America meaning development could occur in either the far eastern Pacific or the western Caribbean late next week and next weekend.
Here Are My Thoughts: I'll go over the factors that may support or preclude development.
First for the favorable signals - It looks likely that there will be an upward motion pulse of the Madden Julian Oscillation positioned over the Caribbean and the western North Atlantic beginning next week and possibly continuing into the week of May 23. So, while the GFS model is probably over zealous in its forecast of a hurricane in the southern Gulf of Mexico, the idea of tropical development posed by the GFS model cannot be ruled out.
Another signal that seems to support the idea of tropical development is that it appears quite possible that a big ridge of high pressure may build over the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada by next weekend. A pattern like this many times leads to lowering barometric pressures and stormy weather to the south of this high pressure system. This would place the area of lowering barometric pressures over the western Caribbean.
As for factors that may preclude development - The big one is whether the actual environmental conditions and in particular wind shear values will be favorable for development. Currently, the wind shear values are way too strong to support development from the Caribbean through the Gulf of Mexico. If we are in the same boat with these strong wind shear values next weekend, then development would be unlikely. It should be noted though that both the GFS model and the European model are pointing to a complete reversal in environmental conditions and are forecasting wind shear values that would support development. This is something to certainly keep an eye on.
Based on everything that I have looked at, I think that there is about a 20 percent chance for tropical development in the Western Caribbean between next Friday (May 20) and the following Monday (May 23).
If we do see a tropical system form in the western Caribbean, the most probable track would be towards the north and northeast into the eastern Gulf of Mexico during the week of May 23. This potentially means areas from the Alabama coast eastward through the Florida Panhandle and Florida Peninsula would need to closely watch this system.
Additionally, those of you on the eastern Yucatan Peninsula, Belize, the Cayman Islands, western Cuba and the Bahamas should also keep close tabs on the possibility of tropical development beginning late next week and continuing through next weekend.Crown Weather Services