Note: 8/1/16 4PM EDT - We will have a new update on Invest 97L posted here by 7PM EDT.
We hope everyone is having a great weekend. For the last couple of days, we have been following Invest 96L in the far eastern Atlantic & Invest 97L which is on approach to the Lesser Antilles tonight. Development chances for 96L have decreased as the environment is becoming less favorable, while chances of 97L developing have been steadily increasing. In fact, the NHC says 97L has a 70% chance of developing, while our opinion is just a bit higher at 80%. In this post, we will focus on Invest 97L and the potential it brings down the road.
Receive our detailed discussions via email as soon as they are published, please tap here. Our posts are updated as conditions warrant, but all storm data including advisories, maps, models and NHC data within the storm pages are updated in real time.
Invest 97L has been rapidly moving westward which has limited its ability to organize. Despite the fast forward motion, it has been able to organize somewhat today and looks more defined than 24 hours ago. This system will bring squally weather to portions of the Leeward Islands, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico tonight and Sunday. It's important to note, there is only a 30-40% chance it develops before reaching the eastern Caribbean.
The big question is if this system develops, where will it track and which regions could be impacted? The track over the next 3-4 days seems pretty straightforward. 97L will track westward through the Caribbean just south of Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Haiti in response to a strong ridge of high pressure to its north. If development occurs, it will likely be in the W Caribbean or Southern Gulf of Mexico towards the middle of next week. Beyond the middle of next week, most of the major computer model guidance tracks the system into the Eastern Mexican Gulf coast next weekend as Tropical Storm Earl. Keep in mind a week in the tropics seems like an eternity and these forecasts can and will change! See the current models below:
The final track of this system will be dependent upon the strength/orientation of a forecasted high pressure ridge over the SE. If this ridge is weaker than forecasted or 97L intensifies more than expected, than we could see a track further north up the coast into TX. Guidance has varied on how strong the ridge will be and if a slight weakness will form in the western Gulf to help lift the storm more poleward. We will need to see how quickly the system organizes, how strong it gets and what future model runs do with the high pressure ridge to get a handle on where it may end up. Please keep in mind, there is still a 30% chance it won't develop. Lots of uncertainty with the long range forecast, as usual. Based on the latest data, we see only a 6% chance of Texas being affected as of right now. Mexico has a higher odds at the moment based on the latest guidance. See our current Long Range Guidance product that was issued by our team this evening. This will be updated as needed in response to new data.
On a final note, the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico are the warmest they have been in years and there's a lot of oceanic heat potential available to this organizing system. If we see development, these warm waters may promote strengthening.
We will be back with another post as conditions warrant. Be sure to sign up for our email updates to have our posts delivered via email when issued. Thanks for using the Hurricane Tracker App ad have a great Sunday - keep your eye on the tropics if you are in the potential path of this system.