Sep 21, 2011

DAY 112

Tropical Storm Ophelia has become our 15th named storm of the year. She has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph and a central pressure of 1006 mb. She is a very large system and still somewhat elongated. But Ophelia is starting to pull herself together and still has that nice circulation to her. Some more strengthening should be expected over the next 2 days, but it will be quite a task for her to become a hurricane until she makes a turn to the north. Much like our last hurricane Maria.

(Tropical Storm Ophelia)
The National Hurricane Center is not forecasting Ophelia to become a hurricane over the next 5 days. Moderate wind shear and some dry air out in front of her will be the usual hindrances to this storm. The dry, stable air that has occupied the tropical Atlantic all year will continue to hamper developing storms. The forecast models are still split on Ophelia's heading. The Hurricane Center is placing this slow moving storm in the northern part of the Antilles Islands on Saturday. They have not been off by much on their forecast tracks this year, and there is no reason to start doubting them now.

The slow forward motion of Ophelia at just 9 mph, may allow for a lot of changing atmospheric conditions ahead of her. So that track could change a bit over the next few days. But we have seen this over and over again this season. Emily, Irene, Katia, and Maria have all taken this same track. The frequent and deep troughs that are being spun down the US coast will be able to pick this storm up no matter what her timing might be.

Elsewhere, Ex-Invest 99L may have to be reactivated. It is only a couple hundred miles from the Leeward Islands, and it is producing some nice convection right over that swirling surface low that we've been seeing for days. The NHC is giving it a near 0% chance of developing in the next 48 hours, and none of the forecast models show any type of development out of this system.

(Ex-Invest 99L)

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