The Tropics Remain Busy

Posted: August 30, 2016, 4:30 pm by bmarmo

After days of speculation and uncertainty, we are still looking at two tropical depressions across the Atlantic Basin. Tropical Depression 8 (TD 8), which formed on Sunday, continues to slowly approach the coast of North Carolina. Despite remaining over warm water (sea surface temperatures in the low to mid-80s), wind shear and dry air has prevented TD 8 from reaching tropical storm status. However, the system could strengthen just enough to become a tropical storm at any point in the next couple of days.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in places across the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where 1 to 3 inches of rain, winds greater than 35mph and storm surge of 1 to 2 feet is anticipated through Wednesday. Model guidance is in good agreement that TD 8 will eventually turn to the northeast over the next day, and accelerate outward into the Atlantic Ocean.

Model Track Guidance for Tropical Depression 8. Courtesy of Tropical Tidbits.

In addition, we are also closely watching Tropical Depression 9 (TD 9). TD 9 is still quite disorganized as it slowly drifts across the Gulf of Mexico. The storm has been a big rainmaker, however, with portions of Cuba receiving as much as 10 inches of rain. The system is expected to strengthen into a tropical storm as it moves over very warm water and into an environment of less wind shear. However, it will likely stay below hurricane status (maximum sustained winds exceeding 74 mph).

TD 9 will begin to turn northward and eventually northeastward over the next day, tracking towards the Big Bend region of Florida. Currently, the storm is expected to make landfall on Thursday. Despite its lack of organization, the system is forecast to produce rainfall amounts of 5 to 10 inches (with isolated higher amounts), tropical storm force winds and storm surge greater than 4 feet. Folks in this region must take extra precaution, as the Gulf Coast of Florida is highly vulnerable to large storm surge.

National Hurricane Center track for TD-9. The system likely becomes a tropical storm overnight. 

Into the holiday weekend, there is still plenty of uncertainty with the storm. Present model guidance is not in good agreement in what the storm will do after impacting Georgia and potentially South Carolina during the end of the work week. As of late, we have seen a bit of a trend which points toward interaction with an upper level disturbance, which could try to steer the storm back towards the Northeast region by Sunday. This solution, however, is certainly not set in stone by any means as the track just a day ago took TD-9 harmlessly out to sea. Regardless, folks all along the East Coast should continue to monitor the system over the following days and we’ll continue to provide updates on our social media outlets.

Just when you thought two tropical systems were enough, we are also watching another disturbance (Invest 92L) off the coast of Africa. While development is not expected over the next few days, we will have to keep an eye on Invest 92L as we move into next week.

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