Is Tropical Wave Invest 92L In Danger Of Becoming A Hurricane Or Reaching The Gulf Of Mexico?

Invest92L is the name of the latest headache for all those focusing on the Gulf oil spill effort: as is well-known, should a hurricane strike ground zero, or get in proximity to it, the strengthened currents will likely disperse the oil aggregation sufficiently to where it will impact a materially larger swath of land and make landfall potentially all the way across the entire eastern seaboard. We take a look at Jeff Masters blog at Wunderground.com on predictions of whether Invest 92 is a serious danger to the BP clean up effort.

From the Wunder blog:

The National Hurricane Center is giving 92L a high (60% chance) of developing into a tropical depression by Wednesday morning, which is a reasonable forecast. The odds of development have increased since yesterday, as the storm has moved considerably to the northwest, away from the Equator. Now it can leverage the Earth's spin to a much greater degree to help get it get spinning. It is quite unusual for a tropical depression to form south of 8°N latitude.

I expect that 92L's best chance to become a tropical depression will come on Tuesday, and the storm could strengthen enough by Wednesday to be named Tropical Storm Alex. The farther south 92L stays, the better chance it has at survival. With the system's steady west-northwest movement this week, 92L will probably begin encountering hostile wind shear in excess of 20 knots by Wednesday, which should interfere with continued development. Several of our reliable models do develop 92L into a tropical storm with 40 - 55 mph winds, but all of the models foresee weakening by Thursday or Friday as 92L approaches the Lesser Antilles Islands and encounters high shear and dry air. I doubt 92L will be anything stronger than a 45 mph tropical storm when it moves through the northern Lesser Antilles Islands on Friday and Saturday, and it would be no surprise if wind shear has destroyed the storm by then. However, as usual, surprises can happen, and the GFS and the SHIPS model (which is based upon the GFS) do indicate that more modest levels of wind shear in the 15 - 20 mph range late this week may allow 92L to stay stronger than I'm expecting. Residents of the islands--particularly the northern Lesser Antilles--should follow the progress of 92L closely, and anticipate heavy rains and high winds moving through the islands as early as Thursday night.



So the good news is that the first major storm of the season will likely not be a probable threat. On the other hand, the NHC has predicted an abnormally active hurricane season (which likely means we will luck out and not see a single one) - those trading BP now also have to keep a close eye on weather developments above the Atlantic, as a major hurricane would only precipitate the adverse reaction by the already destroyed gulf economy, and force Obama to take even more unpredictable steps to punish the British company.