Hurricane in Caribbean may enter Gulf of Mexico

After a quiet start to hurricane season, the Atlantic Ocean has woken up with storms and systems to watch — at least one that could pose a serious threat to the United States.

There is great concern over the torrential downpours known as “Invest 98L” in northern Venezuela, which have been accompanied by gusty winds and heavy rain across the Windward Islands. That one will remain tame until the weekend, when it prepares to enter the powder keg atmosphere.

Next week, it may enter the Gulf of Mexico, although its exact trajectory remains uncertain. Assuming it at least grows into a tropical storm, it will be named Hermione. The National Hurricane Center gave it a 90 percent chance of doing so.

For now, anyone living on the Gulf Coast and Florida should keep an eye on this as the forecast develops over the next few days.

Fiona to slam parts of Canada as strongest storm on record

Currently, poorly organized. The reason it hasn’t done much is because of destructive shearing, or changes in wind speed and/or direction with altitude, it’s fighting. Too much shear can throw a fledgling storm off balance, as if in an atmospheric tug-of-war. This shear originates from high-altitude outflow or exhaust from Fiona, far to the northeast.

Invest 98L will wind its way west over the next few days, still hampered by shearing on Sunday.things will be very escalated Sunday night quickly moves into Monday.

That’s when the shear relaxes while the 98L moves through some of the warmest waters in the Atlantic. The northwestern Caribbean Sea is filled with ocean heat, or thermal energy bathed in seawater, which will help accelerate consolidation and strengthen newborn storms.

Meanwhile, 98L — which could be a named storm by then — will move beneath the upper-level high pressure system. This will benefit the 98L in two ways:

  • disagreement. High pressure means the air spreads out. This divergence in the upper atmosphere would create a vacuum-like effect, creating a void that would allow surface air to rise more easily. Enhanced updrafts from thunderstorms will accelerate the rate at which warm, moist “inflows” rush into the storm.
  • outflow. The high point rotates clockwise. That’s the direction of the outflow of tropical cyclones in the northern hemisphere. This high pressure will work with the 98L to push the high-altitude “spent” air out of the storm, allowing it to absorb more concentrated air from below. Imagine placing a suction fan at the top of a chimney. The air will be pulled upwards, which means more air will pour in from the bottom, and the fire will grow at the bottom. So will this storm.

A very strong storm is likely to develop somewhere in the northwest Caribbean Sea on Monday. At that point it can intensify rapidly.

However, it can track anywhere from Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula to central Cuba. But the storm could also slide between those areas, entering the Gulf of Mexico late Monday or sometime Tuesday.

There are only two escape routes to keep the storm out of the bay. There is an external opportunity, if it remains weak, it may continue to move westward in the Caribbean towards Central America. If it strengthens rapidly, it could turn northward over central Cuba and roll into the Atlantic Ocean. But only a few model simulations exhibit these anomalies.

Most model simulations predict that the system will eventually make its way into the bay — and the subtleties of atmospheric steering currents will determine where the storm ends up making landfall.

The good news is that if the storm does make landfall in the northern or western Gulf of Mexico, dry air from the north Might weaken it a bit. However, at the height of the year when hurricanes are most active, almost the entire Gulf region is experiencing above-average temperatures, which is not very comfortable.

If the storm moves further east, it could avoid such dry air. That would be a problem if any potential tracks bring it closer to Florida.

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