Friday, September 17, 2010

Hurricane Watch: Now it Gets Interesting, Tropical Disturbance Headed for Texas Within Two Weeks? (UNG; USO)

Oil futures are trading at $73.78 down 79 cents, natural gas at $4.05, down a penny.
I don't know why I even put ETF symbols in the headlines, leverage baby, leverage!
A quick hit from the Houston Chronicle's SciGuy:
The long-term models are fairly consistent in developing some sort of tropical system in the Caribbean Sea during the next week or so which could track north into the Gulf of Mexico (this morning's GFS model, for example, brings a hurricane toward the Texas coast in 13 days). I would not be too alarmed yet and there's virtually no reliability in long-term forecasts.
Here's a relevant blurb from ImpactWeather's tropical discussion this morning:
With the high pressure which has been over the south-central U.S. shifting to the East U.S. Coast late next week, any storm approaching the Gulf of Mexico will no longer be blocked and shunted westward into Mexico as was the case with Karl. It is too early to determine where this possible hurricane will track across the Gulf, but it could make landfall just about anywhere from Texas to Florida.
Texas will be under threat at least until we get our first strong front. And when might that be?
Normally it comes by the first day of fall -- Sept. 23 this year. But that doesn't appear likely this month. According to Fred Schmude, of ImpactWeather, the main reason for the delay has to do with the orientation of the jet stream, which is the primary driving mechanism for shifting cold fronts across the continents.
Typically, Fred said, the jet stream has to have at least somewhat of a north to south component this time of the year to allow colder air masses a better chance to driving southward toward the Gulf Coast. So far this September the main jet stream has been oriented from west to east, which has kept the cooler air bottled up across the northern half of the U.S.
Today's jet stream has a mostly west-to-east flow.
This pattern probably won't change for another seven to 10 days, he said, keeping the chances of a real front low.
Houston might see a weak cold front by next weekend -- and that's just a maybe -- while the first real front of fall may be delayed until ... wait for it ... the first week of October. Yikes.
As he said, there is almost no "skill" (getting technical in the terminology) in two week forecasts but do click on the GFS model link.