Sep 24, 2011

DAY 116

Tropical Storm Ophelia is still struggling, Tropical Storm Philippe formed today, and the Bahamas disturbance is organizing. Tropical Storm Ophelia made no gains in organization today. And even her surface circulation looks worse than it has in days. You can see on the visible satellite that she is trying to build convection in all directions, but as the storms start to rise, 30 knot westerly wind shear is blowing off the tops. Almost all of the upper level clouds are being blow to the east.

(Tropical Storm Ophelia)
Take a closer look on this zoomed in still image. The storms building around Ophelia's west side are getting blown off quickly because they are small and closer to the source of the wind shear. The larger convective area on her east side was showing some nice fresh convection at this time. There was a burst of convection there earlier in the day, you can still see the upper level remnants of those storms that were destroyed by that wind shear. If Ophelia has to start from scratch every 3-4 hours with convection, she won't be able to strengthen.

(TS Ophelia)
Ophelia is forecast to remain a weak tropical storm for a couple more days as she continues to move WNW. She still does have a good chance of becoming a hurricane when she begins to move more to the north. There is strong model support for Ophelia to become a hurricane sometime late in the week as she approaches Bermuda. It now looks like she will pass Bermuda to the east just as Tropical Strom Gert did in August.

Tropical Storm Philippe formed today out of Invest 90L. He is our 16th named tropical system this year. Philippe is showing some very nice early structure. You can see convective bands swirling in towards the center of circulation. Philippe is in some favorable conditions for further strengthening and is well on his way to becoming a hurricane. 

(Tropical Storm Philippe)
Philippe will probably beat Ophelia in becoming the seasons 4th hurricane. The National Hurricane Center is forecasting Philippe to become a hurricane by Monday afternoon. Philippe is a true Cape Verde system forming just about 300 miles south-southwest of the Cape Verde Islands. Like a lot of storms that form that quickly after leaving the coast of Africa, Philippe is forecast to make a hard right turn into the north Atlantic.

Elsewhere in the tropics, the area of disturbed weather near the Bahamas, was designated Invest 91L by the Hurricane Center today. This is the tail end of a trough that has become inverted by a strong area of high pressure to the east. There is no obvious signs of organization to this thing right now. It is however, attempting to break away from that front and survive on it's own by feeding off of some very warmer ocean water in that area. The NHC is giving 91L a 20% chance of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours. Computer models are reluctant to organize this feature, but do tend to guide 91L to the north and then northeast along the path of the trough that spawned it.

(Invest 91L)

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