Charles E. Roop giving his own forecasts, weather discussions, photos and adventures for the Starkville, MS area, Florida, and beyond.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tropical Depression Sixteen (soon to be T.S. Nicole) Looks to Impact S FLA.

This morning, the National Hurricane Center began issuing advisories on Tropical Depression Sixteen in the Caribbean Sea after the disturbance began showing signs of a well-defined closed center of circulation.

As of the 2 pm EDT advisory, winds were at 35 mph as the storm was moving north-northeast at 15 mph. The storm was 160 miles south of Havana, Cuba. This general track is expected to continue according to the NHC outlook. This would place its path towards the south Florida area as early as Wednesday afternoon. The NHC has issued tropical storm warnings from Jupiter Inlet southward to east Cape Sable and Florida Bay as well as the Florida Keys.

Right now, the circulation is a little easier to pick out on visible satellite imagery, but hard to depict on infrared. A lot of the heaviest convection is south of the center of circulation. Moments ago, hurricane reconnaissance aircraft found winds at 35 knots, hinting that this may already be Tropical Storm Nicole. The NHC has yet to confirm this. If it is the case, it will likely be named at the 5 p.m. EDT advisory. One thing may limit its intensification: The trough that is digging into the southeast (and helping to bring some nice, cool weather here in Starkville, MS). Wind shear values north of the depression (~ 20-30 kts) are unfavorable values with regards to intensification.

The trough and associated stationary surface front - which is bringing heavy rain to central Florida - will guide this storm over southeast Florida come Wednesday. The GFS is calling for the TC to move right over inland south Florida. The rest of the guidance models have it going more right and just off the coast of Miami-Dade. Regardless, southeast Florida will deal with gusty winds and heavy rain. Conditions should improve in central and south Florida as early as Thursday morning based on guidance models and HPC surface forecasts.

As to where this system will go beyond Florida, it appears likely that it will lose its tropical characteristics and move north as a mid-latitude low. The 300-mb GFS guidance shows more of a negative tilting in the trough, which could push it towards the Carolinas, as what the HPC seems to be showing starting Thursday night.

In a nutshell, southeast Florida can expect some heavy rain and gusty winds starting Wednesday. I doubt this storm will reach hurricane strength, but it has the chance of being a decent tropical storm.

Keep an eye on my Twitter feed for the latest. I'll post as much as I can as I will be studying for a Calculus II test (fail!).

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