I won’t lie. Tracking anything else in the tropics at this point is exhausting. It’s probably exhausting to even read or hear about another system. However, there is one out there, and it will probably impact the U.S. This morning tropical depression 16 became tropical storm Nate near the coast of Nicaragua.
The sustained winds had only increased a little bit, but it was enough to put it just over the threshold. Sustained winds were near 40mph. The system was moving slowly to the northwest. Nate will likely move over the eastern coasts of Nicaragua and Honduras. This could weaken the system briefly taking it back down to a depression. Then it would probably restrengthen after moving back over the waters of the western Caribbean. It is forecast to move very close to Cozumel Mexico and the northeast corner of the Yucatan Peninsula by late Friday.
This could also briefly weaken the storm, but that depends on how organized it gets before that point. After brushing the Yucatan, Nate is forecast to get back into the Gulf of Mexico. Regardless of the strength going into the Gulf, the system would likely tap into the warm waters there and strengthen. So at this point the system is forecast to become a hurricane before possibly making landfall somewhere between southeast Louisiana and the coast of Alabama.
Residents down there are already preparing for that possibility. The official forecast then takes it inland and grinds it down over land as it moves towards the Tennessee River Valley. After that point a cold front would sweep in and would push it northeast. By that point (Monday-Tuesday) it would be more of a rainmaker than a tropical system.
There is a lot of uncertainty in Nate’s forecast. Not only is the strength in question, but the track is also fairly uncertain. The track uncertainty comes partly from the disturbance near Florida. It likely will not become a tropical system. It is attached to an upper level low. But as that upper level low moves west, it could pick up Nate and pull it northward. This disturbance is a very weak feature, but it could strengthen a bit as it will move over some warmer water. Also a cold front will move into the Mississippi River Valley early next week. The timing of that front could alter the course of Nate and possibly the strength.
There is very warm water across most of the forecast path of Nate. Water temps are solidly in the 80s. This means that there is a high potential for Nate to strengthen more than forecast as it gets into the Gulf. However, on the other side of things…The wind shear should increase as it gets into the Gulf. If the upper level system lingers ahead of Nate for a whle, then it could cool down the zone slightly ahead of Nate. That could also impede the outflow from Nate. Also the water is a little cooler near the Gulf Coast (upper 70s). These are all factors in the forecast for this system. It could explain why the GFS and European models keep Nate so weak during the entire time. Here are the two models at different times.
Notice that the GFS has the system almost falling apart before it even reaches land. The European is a lot weaker than it was yesterday. They have both trended west over the last 24 hours as well. Especially the European model. Here are some of the other computer model tracks.
So here’s the most important info on Nate:
- It will interact with land, and that could impact the system in the short-term.
- Regardless of land interaction it is forecast to get into the Gulf of Mexico where there is a lot of warm water.
- There is a lot of uncertainty in the track and strength of the storm.
- It would likely move over land after the Gulf Of Mexico which would quickly weaken the system over the United States So it would likely just be a rain-maker as it moves anywhere north of Alabama.
Stay tuned for updates. Right now it is just wait-and-see.
Meanwhile, over our region we have a big area of high pressure. This is going to stick around into Saturday.
The high is just offshore, and that will promote a warming southwesterly breeze. Today high temps will be in the low 80s. The humidity is also increasing a bit. So it will feel Summery out there today and for the next few days. Highs will be in the 80s through the weekend. The humidity will increase dramatically into Sunday. That will create some scattered showers in the region We definitely need some rain at this point, and for now there is a 40-50% chance for rain. We may see more scattered showers on Monday and Tuesday. That will depend on what happens with Nate. We could get some of the remnants of the system, or possibly just some extra moisture from it. Check back for updates as a few things will probably change before then.
Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler