Jul 17, 2011

DAY 47

Tropical Storm Bret has just been born from the system off the east coast of Florida. It is still drifting slowly to the south at 2 mph with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph with higher gusts and a low central pressure of 1009mb. Tropical Storm Watches have been issued for Grand Bahama Island and the Abaco's.

Earlier today a Hurricane Hunter Aircraft confirmed that it has broken away from the stationary front and has become a warm core low on its way to becoming a tropical cyclone. And just a few hours later Bret was born. He has now built up some thunderstorms close to its center of circulation and a few bands to its east, but storms have not completely closed around him.

The storm is in a good area for further development at this time. Wind shear is low, sea surface temps are high. There is however a patch of dry air to the north of Bret which is visible in this water vapor image. That will start to become a factor for him when he starts to move.

Bret is expected to drift in its current area until tomorrow and then start to move to the northeast. Most of the computer models do now agree with this movement. This image is from WFTV Orlando earlier this afternoon.

There is a ridge over the central US though that could come into play a bit. This 500-850mb mean steering graphic shows the ridge dipping far to the south. That could give Bret a little bit of a tug to the west if anything so a close encounter with Florida can not be completely ruled out just yet. This would be of interest to the Outer Banks as Bret would move farther to the north before making its turn out to sea.

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