Could Jerry form in the Gulf?
Posted by Brent Cameron
We're on "Jerry watch". For now, it's just a disturbance moving into the very warm waters of the southern Gulf of Mexico. The area already has a surface spin and all signs seem to point to a high likelihood of development over the next couple of days. Here's a picture from space: a satellite image taken on Wednesday afternoon. Notice the brighter white clouds near Mexico's Yucatan peninsula? Some thunderstorms are underneath those clouds and they're relatively close to the suspected center. Also, see the darker shades in the western Gulf (clearer conditions)? That's a batch of drier air that may turn out to interfere with the circulation... but only if it holds in place.
Most of the thunderstorms, by the way, are east of the center of circulation. As more distance is created... away from land... the disturbance will have more of an opportunity to grow stronger.
The future track of the disturbance is highly uncertain as models are SPLIT in its whereabouts by the weekend! Because many of the models even TURN the feature eastward, we'll need to keep a close watch on it. What would cause this to happen? If the sagging Jet Stream is strong enough (eventually digging into the Gulf of Mexico) it could act as a magnet, "pick it up," and steer it toward Florida. On the flip side, if the Jet Stream is weaker (or even slower) the disturbance will likely take a more westerly path... into Mexico. No doubt, we'll be watching this carefully over the next several days.
Since the extended forecast is so dependent on the proximity of this tropical feature... the weekend and early next week are fuzzy at best. Prior to that, a seasonal chance continues for showers and storms that will be scattered around. By Friday, a stronger ocean breeze should carry most of the rain into the Everglades and west. If you're thinking about the weekend, Saturday is likely to be the drier of the two weekend days. Stay tuned.