Chris becomes a hurricane; Invest 96L may develop in Gulf of Mexico
Chris has been able to attain hurricane status today with winds of 75 mph, despite the fact that it is over cool waters. This makes Chris the first hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season; moreover, it is the northernmost hurricane in June since Hurricane One in 1893. Furthermore, Chris is the third earliest third tropical storm in the Atlantic basin on record; Atlantic seasons in 1887 and 1959 both had their third named storm formed earlier than Chris. Recent satellite imagery shows the cyclone is weakening and it’s beginning its transition into an extratropical cyclone as it move into much colder waters. Chris is expected to continue moving northeastward and should not threaten any land areas. In the next 24 hours, Chris is forecasted to lose its tropical characteristics and become an extratropical cyclone.
Figure 1. Visible satellite imagery of Hurricane Chris. Image courtesy: Colorado State University's RAMMB imagery.
Invest 96L may become a tropical cyclone in Gulf of Mexico
An area of low pressure with shower and thunderstorm activity is situated over the southern Gulf of Mexico. This tropical disturbance has a potential of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next few days. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) designated this disturbance as Invest 96L earlier today. The disturbance is currently bringing heavy rains to western Cuba, Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, and southern Florida. This will likely to continue over the next 48 hours. 96L is forecasted to move slowly northward into the central Gulf of Mexico.
Figure 2. Infrared satellite imagery of Invest 96L. Image courtesy: Colorado State University's RAMMB imagery.
Forecast for 96L
96L is forecasted to be in a favorable environment over the next 5 days with warm sea surface temperatures, moderate wind shear, and somewhat moist environment as indicated on the SHIPS model. These favorable conditions should allow 96L to further organize and become a tropical cyclone. Some of the intensity models forecast 96L to strengthen into a strong tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico. The forecast track for 96L remains complex; some models forecast the system to hit Florida or between Texas and Louisiana. Therefore, interests along the whole United States Gulf coast should monitor this tropical disturbance very closely over the next several days. The NHC is giving 96L a 50% chance of becoming a tropical cyclone during the next 2 days.