We are getting some new information tonight from an Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft on that tropical system in the Caribbean. A Hurricane Hunter plane investigated the system today and relayed some important new information. First, the system doesn't have a well defined circulation. The center is ragged and is still developing. The Hurricane Hunters found that the winds circulating with this system are getting stronger, though.
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The National Hurricane Center is increasing the chances that this will become a tropical storm. They now give it a 70% chance of become a tropical storm within the next 48 hours. I think we will have Tropical Storm Karen developing sometime on Thursday.
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The water in the Gulf is very warm. This warm water would help this system to intensify. However, upper level winds in the Gulf are very strong. This would inhibit the development of the system. Right now it is still too early to have an exact track for forecast intensity. Once it forms, we will have a better handle on which way it will go and how strong it could get.
So far, the computer models showing on the "spaghetti plots" show it moving into the northern Gulf, and eventually up into Georgia. At the same time, a cold front is moving in from the west on Sunday. This would give us better rain chances on Sunday. This will be enhanced by tropical moisture coming in from the south. Our rain chances will go up Sunday into Monday.
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We also have to watch the amount of instability coming in with this tropical moisture. We may have some stronger thunderstorms developing with it, too.
We are watching each move with the track and intensity forecasts. More updates later.
Here is the update from the NHC:
AN AIR FORCE RESERVE UNIT HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT HAS EXTENSIVELY
INVESTIGATED THE BROAD AREA OF LOW PRESSURE OVER THE NORTHWESTERN
CARIBBEAN SEA...AND DETERMINED THAT THE SYSTEM DID NOT HAVE A
WELL-DEFINED CIRCULATION. HOWEVER...THE LOW IS PRODUCING WINDS TO
GALE FORCE AND HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BECOME A TROPICAL STORM AT ANY
TIME TONIGHT OR ON THURSDAY. THE LOW IS EXPECTED TO MOVE NORTH-
NORTHWESTWARD NEAR OR OVER THE NORTHEASTERN PORTION OF THE YUCATAN
PENINSULA THIS EVENING...AND INTO THE SOUTHERN GULF OF MEXICO BY
EARLY THURSDAY. THIS SYSTEM HAS A HIGH CHANCE...70 PERCENT...OF
BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS. AFTER
THAT...STRONG UPPER-LEVEL WINDS ARE LIKELY TO LIMIT DEVELOPMENT AS
THE SYSTEM APPROACHES THE NORTHERN GULF OF MEXICO BY THE WEEKEND.
THIS SYSTEM HAS A HIGH CHANCE...70 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL
CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 5 DAYS. LOCALLY HEAVY RAINS COULD AFFECT
THE CAYMAN ISLANDS...PORTIONS OF CUBA...AND PORTIONS OF THE YUCATAN
PENINSULA DURING THE NEXT DAY OR TWO. INTERESTS IN THE NORTHEASTERN
YUCATAN PENINSULA...WESTERN CUBA...AND THE NORTHERN COAST OF THE
GULF OF MEXICO SHOULD MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF THIS SYSTEM.