|Track of Tropical Cyclone (Hurricane) Alma|
In early June, a trough in the westerlies extended from the southeastern United States towards Nicaragua. A surface circulation formed near Cabo Gracias a Dios, also known as Cape Gracias, on June 3, and drifted southwestward over land. The circulation organized into Tropical Depression One early on June 4 over theHonduras/Nicaragua border, where it turned to a north drift, dropping heavy rain across the countries.
Upon reaching the Caribbean Sea on June 5, the depression was able to strengthen, with warm water temperatures, good outflow, and deep convection. When the only inhibiting factor, land, was removed, the depression rapidly intensified, becoming Tropical Storm Alma on the 6th and reaching hurricane status that night. Initially a slow mover, Alma accelerated to the northeast, where it reached winds of 95 mph (153 km/h) before hitting the Isle of Youth on the 8th.
Just six hours after crossing the Isle of Youth, Alma hit western Cuba. Because it crossed at one of the narrowest points of the island, the hurricane didn't weaken at all. On the contrary, upon reaching the Gulf of Mexico, Alma reached major hurricane status with peak winds of 130 mph (210 km/h) late on June 8. It passed between the Dry Tortugas and Key West, Florida at that intensity, and began a north-northwest motion in response to an upper level cyclone developing over the extreme northern Gulf of Mexico.
After crossing the Florida west coast, Alma weakened quickly, and hit Apalachee Bay on June 9 as a 90 mph (140 km/h) hurricane. The storm turned to the northeast, where it weakened to a 45 mph (72 km/h) tropical storm while crossing Georgia. On June 11 Alma emerged into the Atlantic near Savannah, Georgia, and continued its northeast movement. While paralleling the Carolina coastline over the Gulf Stream, Alma briefly restrengthened into a hurricane on the night of the 11th. This intensification trend ended when cold waters and dry air approached the system, causing Alma to lose its tropical characteristics on June 13 while east of the Delmarva Peninsula. As an extratropical storm, Alma lasted another day before dissipating near Cape Cod.
One week before its hurricane preparations for the season, Alma gave the Kennedy Space Center a chance to go through the situation under the threat of a real storm. A mock-up of a Saturn V rocket was rolled back to the Vehicle Assembly Building on June 8, within 12 hours in the face of 60 mph (97 km/h) wind gusts, within the anticipated time for such a move. Two other rockets were also removed from their pads.
Interesting similarity: It is interesting with the current Invest which is now unlikely to develop anytime soon (if ever), that this Hurricane formed in a similar location as the area of investigation now in the Caribbean. However, the current pattern is not all that unusual for this time of year, so this is where the comparisons will stop at this point..other than to show an image of where the other storms of 1966 occurred.
|Named storms of 1966. We can see the "Alma Track' going into the North Florida|
LOCAL "HSD"** FORECAST: Not much change in thinking for the next several days. We'll quickly jump to a tropical discussion since that is what local weather COULD be all about in the next few days. But mostly because local news channel outlets might be referring to the tropics on the news tonight, if not already today.
TROPICS: That being said (above), it is hard to know just what to think. The ECMWF/NAM/and NOGAPS want to bring a surface low NOT directly related to the surface circulation now (and for several days) over the SW Caribbean northward which develops near the Cuban North Coast toward the South Central Bahamas as it develops in the next 36 hours. Although I'm having a hard time finding evidence of the supposed yet to be entity at this time, it is not entirely out of the question. This entity forecast by the models though, does seem a bit 'fishy' given that it would be forming on the subsident (sinking air) side of the jet stream level winds currently in place in this same region (the same winds responsible from preventing further tropical developing/strengthening of the area of investigation down there now). With that, whatever would happen to form down there as portrayed by these models would not be entirely tropical in nature, but rather start right off as some sort of pseudo-hybrid (in my opinion only). Given that the area of low pressure formation is not even being considered by the Hurricane Center last I looked which was about 20 minutes ago, that idea of anything to form being non-fully tropical (at least) seems to be on the right track. These models bring a surface low northward either on of just off the Florida east coast during the course of the next 48-96 hours.
The GFS model has a similar idea (and seems more reasonable)...with forming a circulation over or near far Eastern Cuba and shifting it NE-ENE ward well east of the state entirely with no effect whatsoever.
At this time, most official outlets are holding back on advertising higher rain chances with the uncertainties being as great as they are right now. However, no matter which evolution (if either) occurs, Central and North Florida would feel little impact other than a brief increase in a chance of rain showers sometime Friday for the most part.
Otherwise, the area in the Caribbean could very well remain unsettled for quite some time until something more organized can develop there either way.
CURRENT: Convergent band of rain showers that formed overnight into coastal St. Lucie county and westward is shifting south this afternoon and is now a part of a line of showers being generated off the Eastern most Bahama Islands and into or near the West Palm Beach area. Another convergent band of only clouds has lined up over North and Central Brevard and inland a bit, extending east well into the Atlantic. High clouds are spreading across far South Florida which could work their way into Central Florida by sunset, which might also put the kibosh on the showers further south due to their stabilizing influence.
TONIGHT: There is a chance of an overnight rain shower or two along Coastal Brevard and Indian River Counties after 2-3AM. No impact other than to hopefully get the grass watered if it does occur. Latest short term model guidance is showing a 500mb vorticity lobe to rotate Northeastward from SW Florida overnight, which would be the initiating factor for these showers. High Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) guidance shows a similar scenario, but mainly only over South Florida...could at least some some increased cloud coverage at a minimum.
TOMORROW: Continued easterly fetch with a slight overall increased in atmospheric moisture as far north as the Beachline region. Thus, rain and possibly inland thunderstorms are not totally out of the question tomorrow of isolated nature. Looking forward to seeing if any new surprises are in store by the morning hours. Latest NEW RUC guidance is showing some heavier rain showers near the east coast by early afternoon, but not buying into it at this time.
BEYOND: Reference the tropical portion of this post. Other than what is stated above in those preceding paragraphs, we can add that if a low pressure system does form and moves well east of the state, rain chances will go down for all but the west side of the state.
NEXT WEEK: The GFS continues to insist on the beginning of afternoon and evening thunderstorm activity, favoring the east side of the state beginning around Wednesday. Previous runs have reflected thia time frame (somewhere between Wednesday and Saturday) for this activity to commence for nearly 5 days now. Do not know if there is some climatological basis for its forecast in the extended time-frame. What it does show, is a broad and deeper upper level trough becomes established over the far Eastern Gulf of Mexico to near and/or over Florida for at least 6 days after next Wednesday. This would place Florida in a west to the east steering flow, with a few days possibly consisting of strong thunderstorms due to cold air aloft (a part of the upper level trough)...and divergent jet stream level winds (also associated with this 'troughiness" in the upper level wind flow. Time will tell. Could use the rain.
**HSD - High Speed Dirt