While Fred Falters, is Grace Growing?

As you might expect, the Atlantic is waking up as we get into mid-August, but it’s not hyperactive just yet. There are also two active storms in the Pacific, and one could be a threat to land.

Satellite loop showing Tropical Depression Fred near Cuba and a developing disturbance east of the Leeward Islands. Loop provided by NOAA.

Tropical Depression Fred remains fairly weak this afternoon near the northern coast of Cuba. It’s centered about 245 miles southeast of Key West, Florida, moving toward the west-northwest at 12 mph. Maximum sustained winds are only near 35 mph. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the Florida Keys, with a Tropical Storm Watch in effect for parts of southwestern Florida and northern Cuba.

The combination of wind shear and interaction with land has kept Fred weak for the past couple of days, and that will continue for the next 12-24 hours. After that, Fred should turn more toward the northwest and eventually north, crossing the Florida Keys and moving into the eastern Gulf of Mexico. This should allow for some strengthening. Fred may regain tropical storm strength, but it does not (at least for now) look like it will become a hurricane before its eventual in the Florida Panhandle late Sunday or early Monday.

Model forecast tracks for Tropical Depression Fred. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

With a track expected to be just off the west coast of Florida, that means that much of the peninsula can expect heavy rain and some gusty winds this weekend. While winds won’t be exceptional, some gusts to 40 mph are possible, especially near the Gulf coast. Rainfall totals of 3-6 inches are expected across the region with some heavier amounts likely. Flood Watches are in effect for parts of the region. The other threat across the area will be for tornadoes. With tropical cyclones, the threat for tornadoes is highest in the right front quadrant of a storm. With a storm moving northward like this one, that means north and east of the center, which in this case will be across much of Florida.

Heavy rain will likely produce flooding in parts of Florida over the next few days. Image provided by WeatherBell.

Fred isn’t the only system in the Atlantic that we’re watching right now. A disturbance centered about 775 miles east of the Leeward Islands is gradually organizing this afternoon. It doesn’t quite have a closed circulation yet, but it is expected to over the next 12-24 hours, so the National Hurricane Center has designated it “Potential Tropical Cyclone Seven”. This designation allows Tropical Storm Watches to be issued for much of the Leeward Islands. For now, it’s not really a storm, but we’ll let NHC play their games. The system is moving westward at 21 mph, and maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph.

Track forecasts from the various members of the GFS Ensemble for the disturbance east of the Leeward Islands. Image provided by Weathernerds.org

The future of this system is uncertain. Some models have it continue westward, across the Leeward Islands and into the eastern Caribbean, following a similar path to Fred, near or just south of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, then across Hispaniola. This would keep the system fairly weak. Other models have it a little farther north, passing north of PR/VI and Hispaniola, and into the Bahamas. This would allow for a stronger storm. However, the storm also needs to slow down a bit, or it won’t strengthen that fast, no matter what track it takes. Either way, the system will bring heavy rain and squally conditions to the Leeward Islands on Saturday, and PR/VI through the weekend.

Model intensity forecasts for the disturbance east of the Leeward Islands. Image provided by Tropical Tidbits.

Meanwhile, in the eastern Pacific, Hurricane Linda continues to strengthen. At midday, Linda had maximum sustained winds near 105 mph, and was centered about 430 miles south-southwest of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, moving toward the west-northwest at 13 mph. Linda may strengthen a bit more over the next day or two, becoming a Major Hurricane during that time frame. After that, it should begin to weaken. Linda will head in a general westerly direction for the next few days, likely remaining over open water. The only impact it will have is large swells moving into the west coast of Mexico, creating hazardous rip currents.

Forecast track for Hurricane Linda. Images provided by the National Hurricane Center.

Out in the Western Pacific, Tropical Storm 16W is starting to gather strength. The system is centered about 235 miles east-northeast of Enewetak, where a Tropical Storm Watch is in effect. It is moving toward the west at 14 mph, with maximum sustained winds near 40 mph. It is expected to maintain its current strength through the weekend while heading westward. It may start to strengthen by the end of the weekend, and could become a threat to parts of the Northern Mariana Islands by early next week.

Forecast track for Tropical Storm 16W. Image provided by the National Weather Service office in Guam.

Elsewhere, the tropics remain quiet for now, but that likely won’t last too long as we are rapidly approaching the peak of hurricane season in both the Atlantic and the Pacific.

Weekend Outlook: August 13-16, 2021

Heat and humidity are here for now, but changes are on the way this weekend.

High pressure remains anchored off the East Coast into Friday, which means that another hot and humid day is on the way. A few showers and thunderstorms may pop up to take the edge off the heat, but they’ll be mainly late in the day. A cold front will move in on Saturday though, with more widespread showers and thunderstorms. Behind the front, much drier and cooler air will start to move in late Saturday. High pressure builds in for Sunday and Monday with seasonably warm and dry conditions.

The heat index may approach 100 across parts of the region again Friday afternoon. Image provided by WeatherBell.

Thursday night: Becoming partly cloudy. Low 69-76.

Friday: Partly to mostly sunny, hot, and humid, a late-day shower or thunderstorm is possible. High 88-95.

Friday night: Partly to mostly cloudy with a few showers or thunderstorms around, mainly during the evening. Low 69-76.

Saturday: Partly sunny, chance for a shower or thunderstorm. High 85-92.

Saturday night: Clear skies. Low 60-67.

Sunday: Sunshine and a few clouds, not as humid. High 77-84.

Sunday night: Clear to partly cloudy. Low 55-62.

Monday: Partly to mostly sunny. High 77-84.

Finally – Fred Forms, Florida Fears?

After bringing heavy rain and gusty winds to parts of the northeastern Caribbean for a couple of days, a tropical disturbance finally closed off its circulation late last night to earn the designation Tropical Storm Fred.

Satellite loop of Tropical Storm Fred. Loop provided by NOAA.

As of early Wednesday afternoon, Tropical Storm Fred was centered about 30 miles west of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, moving toward the west-northwest at 16 mph. Maximum sustained winds were near 45 mph. A Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect for much of the Dominican Republic, with Tropical Storm Watches in effect for parts of Haiti, eastern Cuba, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the southeastern Bahamas.

The combination of the center crossing the mountainous terrain of Hispaniola and westerly wind shear will keep Fred weak for the next day or two as it heads west-northwestward across Haiti and near the coast of Cuba. Whether the center stays offshore of Cuba or near or just onshore will have an impact on how much the storm starts to re-strengthen. It will produce gusty winds and heavy rain across Hispaniola, eastern Cuba and parts of the Bahamas, leading to flooding and mudslides. Rainfall totals of 3-6 inches and locally heavier are likely.

Model forecasts for the track of Tropical Storm Fred. Image provided by WeatherBell.

By late Friday or Saturday, Fred will start to turn more toward the northwest and north as it rounds the edge of a large ridge of high pressure over the Atlantic. This should bring the storm across the Florida Keys early Saturday, and then into the eastern Gulf of Mexico. It should start to strengthen again as it heads toward the northern Gulf Coast. The current forecast from the National Hurricane Center calls for Fred to make landfall in the Florida Panhandle early Monday as a strong tropical storm. However, given the average errors in forecasting tropical systems, it could be a hurricane by then. Landfall could also take place as far west as Louisiana, or the system could turn earlier and impact southern or even southeastern Florida. A lot of these variables should become a bit clearer once Fred emerges from Hispaniola early Thursday. It does seem likely that heavy rain will impact at least parts of southern Florida this weekend, with flooding likely. Tropical Storm Watches will likely be issued for at least the Florida Keys, if not parts of southern Florida as well, late tonight or early Thursday.

Model forecast for the intensity of Tropical Storm Fred. Image provided by Tropical Tidbits.

Fred might be the only named system in the Atlantic right now, but it’s not the only system we’re keeping an eye on. There’s a tropical wave several hundred miles west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands. That wave will make its way across the Atlantic over the next several days. It is disorganized at the moment, but conditions should become more favorable for development over the next few days. Some models show to potential for it to become a tropical depression as it nears the Lesser Antilles this weekend. We’ll watch this one over the next few days as it continues its trek westward.

Forecast tracks for the disturbance in the central Atlantic from the various members of the GFS Ensemble. Image provided by Weathernerds.org.

The Atlantic isn’t the only active basin at the moment. In the Eastern Pacific, Tropical Storm Kevin is a few hundred miles west-southwest of Baja California, but it is expected to dissipate over open water in the next few days. We also have Tropical Storm Linda, located a few hundred miles off the southwest coast of Mexico. Linda is expected to become a hurricane tonight or Thursday, but will head west-northwestward away from land for the next several days. In the Western Pacific, Tropical Depression 16W is located just west of the International Dateline, but should remain fairly weak as it heads westward over the next few days. It could impact a few islands, such as Enewetak, with squally conditions over the next few days, but in general, it isn’t much of a threat.

Weekly Outlook: August 9-15, 2021

For the first time in a while, we’ve fairly typical summertime weather coming for a large chunk of the upcoming week.

We’ve got a frontal system south of the region today and a wave of low pressure will ride along it, bringing in some showers and cooler than normal temperatures. However, that front will lift northward as a warm front on Tuesday, allowing warm and humid air to move back in for Tuesday. That’s just the appetizer before the main course.

Temperatures will be several degrees below normal across the region today. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

For Wednesday through Friday, we’ll have a Bermuda high sitting offshore, pumping hot and humid weather into the area. Temperatures will get into the 90s across a large portion of the region, with heat indices possibly approaching 100 in many locations. It’ll be a great time to head to the beach, out to the pool, or to sit in the air conditioning. We will have some showers and thunderstorms popping up each afternoon, which will take the edge off the heat in some areas. Any storms that do form could produce some heavy downpours, but widespread severe weather isn’t likely at this time.

The heat index could approach 100 Wednesday and Thursday afternoon. Image provided by WeatherBell.

A cold front will move through on Saturday, bringing an end to the heat. Some showers and thunderstorms may accompany the front, but the timing is still in question. This will have implications for not only temperatures during the day, but whether there is a threat for severe weather or not. High pressure builds in behind the front on Sunday with cooler and drier conditions.

Finally, we’re going to take a look at the tropics, as the Atlantic is showing signs of waking up. There are two areas in the Atlantic that are being monitored right now. The first is a few hundred miles east of the Leeward Islands. This system could get better organized over the next few days and become a tropical depression. It will cross the Leeward Islands later today before heading towards Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Whether it develops or not, a period of heavy rain and gusty winds is likely from the Lesser Antilles into Puerto Rico Monday into Tuesday. Another tropical wave is located a few hundred miles east of the first disturbance. This one is less organized at the moment, but could develop as it continues westward as well. We’ll keep an eye on both of these, and if anything develops, we’ll likely have a special blog post about it.

The Atlantic is starting to wake up. Image provided by the National Hurricane Center.

We’re getting into the time of year that we need to start paying attention to the tropics around here. While the storms well out in the Atlantic give us plenty of advance notice that they’re heading this way, it’s the ones like Bob that we really have to worry about in August and September. Bob formed as a tropical depression near the Bahamas on Friday August 16, 1991 and made landfall on the south coast of Rhode Island as a Category 2 Hurricane on Monday afternoon August 19. That’s not a lot of time to prepare for a hurricane.

Storms can form in the Bahamas at this time of year and give us little time to prepare for them. Image provided by the National Hurricane Center.

Monday: Patchy fog early, otherwise more clouds than sunshine, chance for a few showers, favoring the South Coast. High 74-81.

Monday night: Partly to mostly cloudy, some drizzle or fog is likely. Low 62-69.

Tuesday: Partly sunny, slight chance for a late-day shower or thunderstorm, mainly well north and west of Boston. High 78-85.

Tuesday night: Partly cloudy. Low 65-72.

Wednesday: A mix of sun and clouds, chance for a late-day shower or thunderstorm, humid. High 86-93.

Thursday: Partly sunny, breezy, and humid with a few showers and thunderstorms during the afternoon and evening. High 87-94.

Friday: Partly to mostly sunny, chance for a few showers and thunderstorms late in the day, humid. High 86-93.

Saturday: Intervals of clouds and sun with scattered showers and thunderstorms likely. High 80-87.

Sunday: Partly to mostly sunny. High 76-83.

Weekend Outlook: August 6-9, 2021

After a good soaking this morning, drier air is on the way, but the weekend won’t be completely dry.

Much of Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts received 2-4 inches of rain in the past 24 hours. Image provided by NOAA.

High pressure starts to build into the region tonight, with skies clearing out by Friday morning across much of the region. This sets up a rather nice day on Friday with sunshine and warmer temperatures. A good chunk of Saturday looks decent too, but an approaching disturbance will spread clouds in, with some showers possible at night and into parts of Sunday as it moves through. Sunday won’t be a washout, but it will be cloudy and a little cooler with some showers around. High pressure builds back in on Monday with some sunshine returning.

Saturday looks quite warm across the area. Image provided by WeatherNBell.

Thursday night: Gradual clearing. Low 58-65.

Friday: Sunshine and a few afternoon clouds. High 80-87. Offshore: Southwest winds 5-10 knots, seas 3-6 feet.

Friday night: Partly cloudy. Low 61-68.

Saturday: Thickening clouds. High 82-89. Offshore: Southwest winds 5-15 knots, seas 2-4 feet.

Saturday night: Mostly cloudy with a few showers possible. Low 63-70.

Sunday: Plenty of clouds with some showers around. High 77-84. Offshore: Southwest winds 5-10 knots, seas 2-4 feet.

Sunday night: Any lingering showers end in the evening, then becoming partly cloudy to clear. Low 61-68.

Monday: A mix of sun and clouds. High 75-82. Offshore: Southeast winds 5-10 knots, seas 2-4 feet.

The Atlantic is starting to wake up once again. Image provided by the National Hurricane Center.

Finally, we’ll touch on the tropics, since we’re into August, which is when activity usually starts to ramp up, and this year is no different. There are two areas being watched in the Atlantic right now. The first wave will bring some showers and breezy conditions to the Caribbean this weekend and early next week, but shouldn’t amount to much. It’s the wave that is just moving off of Africa that bears watching. Some of the models show that system developing over the next several days. Obviously it’s WAAAAAAY to early to determine if it will become anything or impact any land, but these waves will become more common over the next several weeks, with many storms expected to form. Colorado State University issued their updated hurricane season forecast this morning, and they are expecting another 13 named storms this season. Late August and most of September is when we especially need to be alert up here. Of the 18 hurricanes that made landfall in New England or Long Island since 1851, 15 of them have done so between August 19 and September 27.

Weekly Outlook: August 2-8, 2021

As we get into the first week of August, we’ll leave the wet pattern of July behind, though parts of the region could still see a decent amount of rain during the next 7 days.

Much of the region received more than 10 inches of rain in July. Image provided by WeatherBell.

Low pressure pulls away from the region this morning, with any lingering showers coming to an end. However, an upper-level disturbance will move through this afternoon, possibly triggering another shower or two. High pressure then builds in for Tuesday with dry and seasonable conditions.

Wednesday is a little bit of a question mark for part of the area. High pressure will remain in control resulting in a dry day for most of us. However, the front that moved through this morning will stall out offshore, and a wave of low pressure will ride up along it on Wednesday. This may bring in some showers to parts of Cape Cod and possibly southeastern Massachusetts and southern Rhode Island. Some of the models show the potential for some heavy rain in these areas, but this will be dependent on how close the wave actually gets to us.

Most of the models don’t bring Wednesday’s rain beyond southeastern Mass. Images provided by Pivotal Weather.

Another system follows for late Thursday into early Friday, but again, any rain may be limited to southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod, depending on how close the system passes offshore. Another system may move through next weekend with more showers possible, but temperatures will start to warm up once again as a ridge of high pressure over the Atlantic starts to strengthen.

Average high temperatures in early August should be in the lower to middle 80s across the region. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

Monday: Showers end early, then becoming partly sunny with a slight chance for another shower during the afternoon. High 74-81.

Monday night: Clear skies. Low 55-62.

Tuesday: A mix of sun and clouds. High 74-81.

Tuesday night: Partly to mostly cloudy. Low 57-64.

Wednesday: Partly to mostly cloudy, showers possible across southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod. High 74-81, a cooler along the coast.

Thursday: Plenty of clouds with some sunny breaks, showers are possible late in the day and at night across southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod. High 73-80.

Friday: Partly to mostly sunny. High 77-84, cooler along the coast.

Saturday: Intervals of clouds and sun with a chance for showers. High 80-87.

Sunday: A mix of sun and clouds, a shower is possible. High 81-88.