Tropical Depression Nine Forms In Western Atlantic

Depression Moving Rapidly Toward Lesser Antilles; Two Other Disturbances Still Being Watched

Recently, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey encouraged people to head for the Jersey Shore over these final weeks of summer.  Quite a contrast from the caution he had this time last summer as Hurricane Irene came up the coast.  The governor may want to go back to that cautious approach because the tropics are becoming very active with a new tropical depression and another disturbance getting better organized.

The depression emerged from a well organized tropical disturbance in the Western Atlantic.  This disturbance had been watched for the past several days, and had been gradually improving in organization.  Now, the depression could become a tropical storm later today.  Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to fly into the area this afternoon to see if the depression is actually organized enough to become a storm.  As of the 11:00 AM Advisory from the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, Tropical Depression #9 is located 580 miles to the east of Guadeloupe in the Lesser Antilles.

The system is rapidly moving to the west at 20 miles per hour.  Maximum sustained winds are still at 35 miles per hour with gusts up to 45 miles per hour.  Minimum central pressure is still fairly high at 1008 millibars or 29.77 inches of Hg.  A Tropical Storm Warning is now in effect for Martinique, Dominica, Guadeloupe, St. Martin, St. Kitts, Nevis, Antigua, Montserrat, Antigua, Barbuda, Saba, St. Eustatius, and St. Maarten.  A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra, U.S. Virgin Islands, and the British Virgin Islands. 

Looking at the latest forecast discussion from the NHC, there is a burst of convection or shower and thunderstorm activity in the southern semicircle of the system.  A light amount of wind shear is occurring from the northeast of the depression, but that should diminish with time.  With increasingly conducive upper level dynamics as well as adequate sea surface temperatures, the depression should become a storm within the next 12 hours, intensify to a hurricane by 48 hours, and be a Category Two Hurricane by landfall in 5 days.

The GFS model runs have been showing a low pressure system coming into Florida and the Southeastern coast by August 26 and 27th.  The GFS is actually to the left of the ensemble forecast tracks.  Some models are indicating that a shortwave will enhance a trough that will then dig southward into the Southeastern United States and the Gulf of Mexico causing the ridge over Florida and the Bahamas to erode and retreat.  Meanwhile, there are still two other disturbances being monitored in the tropics while Gordon has become post-tropical.

The first disturbance, located some 425 miles to the Southwest of the Cape Verde Islands.  It has a well defined circulation and shower and thunderstorm activity are getting better organized according to the NHC.  Moving to the far west into the Gulf of Mexico, there is another area of disturbed weather off the Northeastern coast of Mexico still producing poorly organized showers and thunderstorms.  Close proximity to land is hindering development, but there is a 30 percent chance that the disturbance could become a tropical cyclone.  Finally, Gordon is gone.  The storm was declared post-tropical at the 5:00 PM Advisory on Monday when it was located some 370 miles to the East-Northeast of the Azores.