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Tropical Tracker: Florida, North Gulf Coast should watch Tropical Depression 13 closely

Storm could near Sunshine State on Monday

Tropical Depression 13.
Tropical Depression 13. (WKMG)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida is back in the cone from another developing tropical system.

Tropical Depression Thirteen has the potential to either become Laura or Marco on Friday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

T.D. Thirteen and T.D. Fourteen, in the Caribbean, will be battling for the name Laura.

What’s to become of TD Thirteen?

Track

Steering currents into the weekend
Steering currents into the weekend

A strong area of high pressure will help steer Thirteen west toward the United States, rather than out to sea like Isaias. A steering setup like this increases the likelihood of U.S. impacts.

All interests in Florida and the Gulf of Mexico should be paying close attention.

Like Florida, Puerto Rico is also in the cone.

By the time Thirteen gets close to the island, it should be a tropical storm. The exact track will be ironed out as the system continues to get better defined and hurricane hunters begin their missions of collecting vital data.

Tropical Depression 13 models.
Tropical Depression 13 models. (WKMG)

Intensity

The No. 1 question with Thirteen is how strong will it be?

While there’s some degree of confidence where it could be headed, the intensity is the question.

Dry air and a little shear have prevented quick development thus far. Continued slow development is expected over the coming days. Computers have generally struggled with the intensity of Thirteen, but given favorable conditions closer to the United States, development and intensification is likely.

Reliable computer forecasts, such as the American GFS and European, have been barely developing the storm, while hurricane models develop Thirteen into a hurricane.

Given the extremely warm ocean water and ripe atmospheric conditions starting near the Bahamas, it’s fair to question the models that don’t develop Thirteen.

Likely the only way Thirteen stays weak is if it takes a southerly track and interacts with Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and Cuba. That would prevent it from organizing until it moved into the Gulf, if there was even a storm left.

Ingredients for tropical development
Ingredients for tropical development

It is important to be vigilant and not focus on any given run of a computer model that’s on the internet. Just know that the steering favors U.S. impacts, and conditions will be favorable for development as Thirteen gets closer to the U.S, given it misses the Greater Antilles mentioned above.

Early morning run of the American GFS starts to show development of Thirteen, a change from past runs.
Early morning run of the American GFS starts to show development of Thirteen, a change from past runs.

Timing for Tropical Depression Thirteen would be early next week for Florida.

Tropical Depression Fourteen could move into the Gulf of Mexico over the weekend. The western and northern Gulf should be on the highest alert from Fourteen.

Right on schedule

The enhanced phase of the Madden-Julian Oscillation, a disturbance that circles the globe during the spring and summer, is entering the Gulf of Mexico and will act to enhance tropical development basin wide as it moves towards Africa. This entity will likely fuel a flurry of storms for the next three weeks.

This is the time of the season where tropical activity in the Atlantic begins to increase. Saharan dust and other detrimental factors for tropical development begin to go away and thunderstorm activity over the tropics tends to increase. Even though we have been on a record-setting pace in terms of named storms this season, most of the storms have been weak and short-lived. The Atlantic has been full of dusty, dry air for most of the season to date and hasn’t been able to sustain tropical development.

As we head into the peak of hurricane season, it’s always a good idea to be prepared. More storms are likely coming and by the end of August and we could add three or four more names to the season.


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