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

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The First Tropical Storm Forms in the Atlantic - in Mid May

I just found out that we have our first tropical storm in the Atlantic basin only 12 days away from the official start of hurricane season. It's name: Alberto.

A disturbance that was labeled an invest has gathered enough tropical characteristics to be considered a TS. Current sea surface temps in the vicinity are hovering near the 80 deg F mark. Recent radar scans from Wilmington, NC show a closed circulation with even what looks like an "eye-like" feature between 19:57 and 21:20 UTC. Heavy convection can be seen on the western side of the center of circulation.

Alberto has dry air to the south of the system with more moisture in the mid levels to the north based on water vapor imagery. However, air is fairly dry at the surface (dewpoints in the 40s and 50s in parts of the Carolinas).  Dry air inland could help disrupt further development as it could pull drier air parcels into the center of Alberto, but so far the storm seems to be holding its own.

A quick look at mid and upper level maps shows a weak steering flow, which would allow Alberto to meander for the short term. A upper-low can been seen on water vapor imagery to the northeast of the TC. Guidance models don't really show much movement until after the weekend. A trough is expected to move in early in the week and help kick Alberto in a northeasterly fashion.

The NHC is calling for Alberto to become extratropical in 96 hours. Wind shear values are not too bad off the Carolina coast.

But the TC would likely move into an unfavorable area of shear and water temperatures. The storm would then begin to lose its tropical characteristics.

More updates when needed.

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