Friday, June 22, 2012

Hot & Dry at Home...Eyes on the Gulf

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

As we’ve been saying for a number of days: we can’t COMPLETELY rule out a passing shower or two in the coming days, but the vast majority of us will stay dry through the weekend and into the first couple days of next week. We won’t even “mention” rain chances for the weekend, and put only “spotty showers” in the forecast for Monday into Tuesday.

It’s the temperatures that will be our local weather story, with morning sunrises in the 70°s and afternoons in the mid to upper 90°s for some WAFB neighborhoods. It’s a yard-work weekend for many of you: PLEASE be careful in the heat!

We bring slight rain chances back into the forecast by mid-week, but to be honest, our confidence is not all that great about the local forecast by mid-week given the uncertainty with regard to the disturbed weather in the southern Gulf.

And that is where our “weather attention” will be focused over the next several days. The disturbance in the southern Gulf continues to show signs of potential development, but the NHC and other tropical experts are still having a hard time finding a center of circulation. Until they can define that core, forecasts for direction, speed and intensity will remain a bit up-for-grabs. 

What we currently are seeing in the models are two basic schools of thought: several of the global computer models show a northwest-to-west solution after a couple of days, while other models are still pointing to a northeast-to-east solution. In the interim, most of the models agree that whatever it is will likely drift slowly northward through the central Gulf for a couple of days. 

Obviously, the failure to clearly define a center, coupled with this large departure in the model trends after a few days, leaves us with very low confidence as to what is going to happen between now and early next week. Satellite imagery shows a rather broad low- to mid-level counter-clockwise circulation over the southeastern Gulf, and imbedded within that there are a handful of places with what appear to be hints of a surface spin, but nothing that jumps out and says, “Here is the center!”

The general atmospheric environmental conditions over the eastern and southern Gulf appear to be at least moderately favorable for development and water temps in that part of the Gulf are in the low to mid 80°s -- more than sufficient to fuel a tropical system. It seems likely that we will have a tropical depression by sometime on Sunday (T.D. #4), and while our thinking is that this will be a rather slow-developing system, we won’t rule out the possibility of this becoming Tropical Storm Debby by the end of the weekend.

And if you are curious: Chris is no more, having lost his tropical characteristics; remnants likely will merge with an extra-tropical low within the next 24 hours.

So stay linked to WAFB … through the TV, your phone app and at, and we’ll keep you informed as to conditions over the Gulf.

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