Tropical storm Nate headed for Yucatan then Gulf of Mexico to the west of Florida

By: Michael Buresh

Updated:

Oct. 6, 2017 - Photos: Must-see photos of Irma damage in Jacksonville area .... hurricane Irma recap

Tropical storm Nate headed for the Yucatan Peninsula - stay up to date on the latest forecasts if traveling west on I-10 along the Gulf Coast through the weekend..... Hurricane WARNING from the SE coast of La to the Al/Fl. border.... Hurricane WATCH for the Western Fl. Panhandle.... tropical storm WARNING/Hurricane WATCH for New Orleans... tropical storm WATCH Fl. Panhandle to Indian Pass, Fl

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

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

- the local area will be a good distance east of the center (near New Orleans upon landfall Sat. night). 

- 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 of NE Fl./SE Ga.

- 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 partially due to interaction with Central America.  There is plenty of convection with banding over especially the eastern portion of the broad circulation in what is a favorable area for strengthening with increasing upper level outflow over the western portion of the circulation.  As convection bursts, the center may 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 the Central Gulf Coast between New Orleans & Mobile which is a bit of a shift to the east.  An upper level high pressure ridge - a mainstay of this hurricane season - remains firm from the Central & Western Atlantic to near Florida & will act as a protector for Jacksonville.  Interestingly.... few of the models are real strong & have - for the most part - a tropical storm upon landfall on the Gulf Coast anywhere from Sat. evening to early Sunday.  But there remains the potential for Nate to become a hurricane with only a short period Fri. night of land interaction with the Yucatan Peninsula.

Some complex intensity issues:

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

- a pretty stout tropical wave with a weak surface low continues to move west across the 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 to the Western Gulf to the north of Nate.

- land is & will play a vital role in intensification - or the lack of - through Friday night.  Though moving away from Central America, the Eastern Yucatan Peninsula will briefly "get in the way" late Fri./Fri. evening.

- acceleration to the north Sat. 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.  There will be a battle with increasing shear farther north over the Gulf but that could be offset somewhat by more favorable upper level conditions due to a trough of low pressure to the north & west helping to "ventilate" Nate.

Spaghetti plots:

Radar imagery courtesy S. Fl. Water Management District:

Surface map below shows the active tropical wave moving west across the Gulf.....

48 hour wave & wind direction forecast: 

Average wave heights:

Elsewhere.... 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.  

Low pressure is expected to develop near/east of the Bahamas - something to keep an eye on.

Low pressure over the N. Atlantic may try to evolve into a subtropical or tropical system but will not move west across the 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.

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). 

SE U.S. surface map:

Surface analysis centered on the tropical Atlantic:

Surface analysis of the Gulf:

Caribbean:

Extensive hurricane Irma recap - click here.

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