Tracking The Tropics–August 12, 2012

Ernesto Re-Emerges In East Pacific As Hector; GFS Runs Showing TD #7 Becoming Problem For Gulf Next Weekend

The tropics continue to percolate with activity in both the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific on this Sunday afternoon.  What was left of Ernesto made it to the Eastern Pacific, and reconstituted itself as a tropical depression that was later classified as Tropical Storm Hector.  The storm, which regained depression status late Saturday morning.

Ten hours later, Hector emerged as the eighth named storm of the 2012 Eastern Pacific Season.  The EPAC, which had recently endured a bit of a dry spell in activity for three weeks, made a bit of a comeback with the development of Hurricane Gilma late last week, and now Hector.  The Eastern Pacific has had six straight hurricanes develop prior to Hector, but this latest storm is not forecast to become a hurricane according to the latest forecast discussion from the National Hurricane Center.

Meanwhile, over in the Atlantic, there was Tropical Depression #7 later in the week and into the early part of Saturday.  However, Hurricane Hunter aircraft, which flew into the storm, found that there was no closed circulation with the system, and reclassified it as an open wave.  The latest Tropical Weather Outlook indicates only a 10 percent chance of regeneration into a tropical cyclone over the next two days.  Upper level winds aren’t favorable for development in the area of the Caribbean that the wave is currently in right now.

Further to the east in the Central Atlantic, some 800 miles to the West-Northwest of the Cape Verde Islands, there has been another disturbance moving west-northwestward at 20 miles per hour.  Shower activity has been limited with this disturbance, and development will be slow.  Sea surface temperatures in the Central and Eastern Atlantic aren’t quite there yet for tropical depressions, storms, and hurricanes to develop.

Looking ahead though, the latest GFS model runs are indicating that what is left of TD #7 will progress across the Caribbean and eventually get into the Gulf of Mexico later in the week.  The model indicates that the storm will intensify to some extent in the Gulf and make an impact somewhere along the Gulf Coast from Brownsville, Texas to the Alabama and Mississippi border by this time next Sunday.  The later model runs had a weaker, but still significant system making landfall near New Orleans and the Mississippi and Alabama coasts.

Another feature that the later runs of the GFS develops around the time of August 27th and August 28th is a significant storm in the Western Atlantic to the north of the islands.  This system is vast and deep by 384 hours.  Keep in mind though that runs of the GFS mid-week last week indicated a significant storm for the East Coast around August 20th to August 22nd, and now it is indicating a significant feature in the Gulf during the same time frame.

One thing that the model has been consistently pointing out is increased moisture in the eastern half of the United States, which needs the rain.  A significant percentage of the annual corn crop in the Midwest has taken a big hit from the historic drought there, and that is going to impact the price of many things that we buy in the stores.  Recently, The National Weather Service had indicated above average precipitation this month in many areas impacted by the drought.