Monday, August 10, 2009

Hurricane Watch: Strong Tropical Wave Moves Off Africa

From Dr. Jeff Masters' Wunderblog:
A strong tropical wave with a high amount of spin moved off the coast of Africa yesterday, and has a good chance of becoming the first named storm of the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season. The wave was designated 99L by NHC Sunday morning. Wind shear is moderate, about 10 knots, and sea surface temperatures are moderately warm, about 27 - 28°C. There is a large area of dry air to 99L's north, but this is not currently interfering with the storm's organization. This morning's QuikSCAT pass showed a nearly closed surface circulation, stretched out along two axes. The storm can now be classified as tropical depression using the satellite-based Dvorak classification technique, but the surface circulation will have to show better definition before 99L can be classified as a tropical depression. Top winds were in the 20 - 30 mph range, as estimated by QuikSCAT and the Dvorak satellite estimates.

Figure 2. Visible satellite image of disturbance 99L.

Wind shear is expected to be low, 5 - 10 knots, tonight through Tuesday....MORE