T.D. #16 becomes Nate near Central America - destined for Gulf but well west of Jacksonville

by: Michael Buresh Updated:

Oct. 5, 2017 - Photos: Must-see photos of Irma damage in Jacksonville area .... hurricane Irma recap

Tropical storm Nate over the far Western Caribbean - stay up to date on the latest forecasts if traveling west on I-10 along the Gulf Coast through the weekend.....

The "Buresh Bottom Line": Always be prepared!..... City of Jacksonville Preparedness Guide... Georgia Hurricane Guide.  

The Gulf of Mexico & Caribbean will be - as I've hit on often recently - the place to watch through the weekend....

LOCAL IMPACTS FROM tropical cyclone "Nate" FOR JACKSONVILLE/NE FL./SE GA:

- it would appear - for now - that the local area will be a good distance east of the center. 

- at the moment it looks like some heavy rain & t'storms with the potential for heavy rainfall with or without a tropical cyclone.  The more significant impacts from Nate are likely to stay west of the local area.

- there will be a strong surge of tropical moisture northward up the Fl. Peninsula into Ga. so localized flooding will be possible even with Nate well to the west.... especially given the wet ground & high water already in place.

Tropical storm "Nate" remains relatively poorly organized though there was a fairly sharp pressure drop early Thu.  Proximity to land with Central America & the Yucatan Peninsula could limit overall strengthening in the short term while the storm flirts with land areas as there is plenty of convection in an otherwise favorable area for development.  As convection bursts, the center may also have a tendency to "jump" around at times.  

Forecast models have finally come into better agreement on at least the track of Nate centering on anywhere from New Orleans to Mobile as the upper level high pressure ridge - a mainstay of this hurricane season - remains firm from the Central & Western Atlantic to the Northeast Gulf of Mexico.  Interestingly.... none of the models are real strong & have - for the most part - a weak to moderate tropical storm upon landfall on the Gulf Coast anywhere from Sat. evening to Sunday evening.

Some intensity thoughts:

- there is a lot of "competition" surrounding Nate.  Heavy storms & a tropical wave are just across Central America over the extreme E. Pacific...

- a pretty stout tropical wave with a weak surface low is moving west from the Fl. Straits into the SE Gulf of Mexico.  While not necessarily real strong, this wave is competing for some of the "energy" that t.d. 16 might otherwise be able to manifest.  This wave will move rather quickly W/NW across the Gulf & to the north of Nate.

- land is & will play a vital role in intensification - or the lack of - through Friday.  First it will be Central America then the Eastern Yucatan Peninsula

- acceleration to the north once over the Gulf of Mexico so not a lot of time for strengthening

- it is pretty classic to see Oct. development in this region that's slow then once/if all things become equal/favorable, for the tropical cyclone to rapidly intensify (Opal - Oct., 1995 & Wilma - Oct., 2005).  So this is something we'll have to carefully monitor in the coming days.  There will be a battle with increasing shear farther north over the Gulf which could be offset somewhat by more favorable upper level conditions due to a trough of low pressure to the north helping to "ventilate" Nate.

STAY TUNED! - especially along the Gulf Coast as "Nate" pulls north rather quickly which would place the tropical system anywhere from Louisiana to the Fl. Big Bend this weekend.

Spaghetti plots:

Meanwhile... the "local nor'easter" continues & is being enhanced somewhat again by a tropical wave moving into the Southeast Gulf & the strong slow moving high entrenched well to the north of Jacksonville.  Breezy inland winds will be downright windy closer to the the beaches/intracoastal & along/near the St. Johns River.  Higher than average tides resulting in occasional flooding - especially at high tide will also occur along the coast, St. Johns Rivers & tributaries.  The full moon will be Thu. adding an astronomical boost.  Tidal forecasts - here.  The rip current risk will remain very high & dangerous along with 6 - 9 foot breakers at the beaches.  The gradient will finally relax over the weekend into early next week with improving conditions at area beaches but only a slow fall of the higher than average tides.

Radar imagery courtesy S. Fl. Water Management District:

Surface map below shows the "meteorological sandwich" of strong high pressure from the Great Lakes to the Northeast U.S.  & the surface low/tropical wave to the south.....

48 hour wave & wind direction forecast: 

Average wave heights:

Elsewhere.... the tropical wave is moving west into the SE Gulf of Mexico is producing heavy rain on its eastern side (typical of tropical waves).   The widespread heavy rain with this feature stays south of Jacksonville across Central & South Fl., but a surge of tropical moisture will push north all the way into NE Fl. leading to at least several bands of heavy rain at times.... & may play a role on Nate's northward movement into the Gulf of Mexico leaving a weakness which will be an alleyway of sorts of the next tropical cyclone.

A couple of tropical waves extend from the Lesser Antilles to the Central/Eastern Atlantic.  Forecast models show little or no development at this time.  Any development from this region that might occur would likely stay out over the Central Atlantic.

Eric Blake, NHC tweeted this interesting & concerning snapshot of the Gulf & Caribbean now vs. 2005 which produced record setting hurricane Wilma in Oct., 2005.  The upshot: the Caribbean is "boiling"...

2005:

Deep oceanic heat content is still very evident - especially over the Caribbean & Gulf:

Sea surface temp. anomalies have pretty much recovered over/near the Gulf / Fl./ SW Atlantic since the passing of multiple hurricanes (Harvey, Irma, Jose, Maria) though Jose & Maria's "cool wake" is still visible from north of Puerto Rico to east of Chesapeake Bay.

From Dr. Phil Klotzbach - tropical cyclone genesis during Oct. since 1851:

East Atlantic IR satellite (Cape Verde season winding down but waves still moving west in what has been an unseasonably long Cape Verde season):

Mid & upper level wind shear (enemy of tropical cyclones) analysis (CIMMS).  Some pretty strong shear ahead for Nate, especially over the Gulf though the shear may be offset some by upper level ventilation due to a trough of low pressure to the north.....

SE U.S. surface map:

Surface analysis centered on the tropical Atlantic:

Surface analysis of the Gulf:

Caribbean:

Extensive hurricane Irma recap - click here.