Monday, September 10, 2007

Watching Invest 91. Gabrielle sputters.

Gabrielle has now been downgraded to a tropical depression after dumping some fairly heavy rain in isolated areas of the North Carolina coast. There was some hope that Gabrielle would provide some easing of the drought in that region but the storm weakened too early and shifted course too soon to provide any relief at all. North Carolina's drought remains largely in the severe to extreme range across most of the state.

Gabrielle is now proceeding on a northeasterly heading and should be absorbed by the extratropical low sitting in the mid-North Atlantic. It's track will make it uncomfortable for a lot of shipping but it is now less of a threat now that it has lost most of its energy.

Invest 91L is another story. Now located midway between the Lesser Antilles and the Cape Verde Islands, the system is gradually becoming better organized and has the potential to become a tropical depression in the next couple of days. SHIPS intensity models have this system becoming a Category 1 hurricane by Saturday. The wind shear is about 15 knots and forecast to remain at that level so slow development is possible. There will be draw placed on Invest 91L from the large mid-North Atlantic extratropical depression which will cause the track to take a West Northwesterly direction. Computer models tracks tend to agree that if this system develops, the Lesser Antilles will be the first area under threat.

The other systems being watched in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico do not offer much in the way of possible development, although Texas could be the recipient of heavy rains from Invest 90L.

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