Invest 96L might develop today, a dangerous rain threat - 6/23/2012
Good morning and welcome to my tropical weather update for Saturday, June 23rd, 2012. We now have one primary area of interest, and that continues to be invest 96L currently located in the Gulf of Mexico. 96L has gotten it's act together overnight, yesterday we where looking at a very linear, sheared, and disorganized system that wasn't a very immediate threat to develop. Today it is a much different story, the circulation has greatly improved and consolidated over the Gulf with plenty of heavy showers and thunderstorms around the center. However, these thunderstorms are still sheared from the center by 10-15kt shear, but it is no where near as destructive as they where yesterday and is likely to continue to decrease as the system develops further. The hurricane hunters are scheduled to make a trip to 96L today to see if we do indeed have a Tropical Depression, or even a Tropical Storm later today.
(figure 1. Invest 96L as of this morning)
Conditions look favorable for continued development of 96L and I believe it is fully possible that 96L could be renumbered and declared a tropical cyclone today, but that is only if the recon can find a closed circulation. If in that case we do have a named storm later today, conditions appear favorable for further strengthening as the shear begins to lessen thanks to a Upper Level Anti-Cyclone (ULAC) beginning to expand and spread it's influence over the Gulf. The 00z European Model is adamant that 96L will become a moderate-strong tropical storm and probably either approach Hurricane status or become a hurricane as it moves in the Gulf. The 00z Canadian believes that 96L could become a dangerous hurricane, but that seems to be overdone slightly. The GFS still is adamant that 96L will be pulled over Florida as it takes the convection and splits it off into another tropical cyclone. This appears to be convective feedback issues and should be discarded.
The track is completely up in the air. I almost have on idea, there's no consensus. The spaghetti models look like a squished bug this morning with half leaning towards Texas, some leaning towards Louisiana, and some leaning towards Florida. However, the European, CMC, UKMET and the respective Ensemble means believe that the system will be pulled towards Texas under the ridge while strengthening. I believe this scenario more than I do than the GFS, because the GFS has been showing a low developing off Florida and that causes 96L to get pulled into the trough. This appears entirely unlikely and is more than likely convective feedback. The HWRF has also shifted towards this idea that the ECMWF, CMC and UKMET are showing bringing the system in near Brownsville. The HWRF received a significant and higher resolution upgrade and is now a very reliable model to watch out for this season.
(figure 2. latest computer model tracks for 96L)
In summary everything is completely dependent on whether or not 96L gets picked up by the trough and heads NE or gets trapped under the ridge and gets sent west. Right now I am leaning on the idea that the ECMWF is showing, a low end Category 1 or a high end Tropical Storm heading towards the Brownsville area. However, interests along the entire Gulf Coast should bear CLOSE attention to this system. This means business, the CPC has been showing 17+ inches of rain in the Gulf - that could be what people will be dealing with in the future as 96L closes in. This system will be around for a while and should be taken seriously.