Invest 96L fizzles; Mirinae slams Vietnam; Western Caribbean heating up?
A non-tropical low pressure system in the middle Atlantic Ocean, about 350 miles east-northeast of Bermuda, has lost its opportunity to become Subtropical Storm Ida. This storm (Invest 96L) did develop a modest amount of heavy thunderstorm activity last night, and appeared on its way towards being named. However, high wind shear of 40 knots has now attacked 96L, driving large amounts of dry air into its core. The storm has now lost all of its heavy thunderstorms, and I give a low (less than 30% chance) that 96L will develop into Subtropical Storm Ida.
Figure 1. Morning satellite image of Invest 96L, east of Bermuda.
Time to keep an eye on the Western Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico
Moisture is on the increase over the Western Caribbean, and the GFS model is suggesting a tropical depression could form in the Western Caribbean or in the Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche west of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, 6 - 8 days from now. The other reliable models for forecasting formation of tropical storms--the ECMWF, NOGAPS, and UKMET--do not support this. However, the less reliable Canadian model also suggests a Western Caribbean development 6 - 8 days from now. Despite the presence of moderate El Niño conditions, wind shear over the Western Caribbean is expected to fall into the low to moderate range, 5 - 20 knots, late this week and most of next week. Hurricane season is not over, and we should keep a watchful eye on the Western Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico over the next few weeks.
Typhoon Mirinae slams into Vietnam
Typhoon Mirinae tricked forecasters this morning by unexpectedly intensifying into a Category 1 typhoon just before landfall in central Vietnam. Mirinae made landfall as a Category 1 storm with 75 mph winds at 02 UTC this morning, but weakened quickly as it moved inland. Mirinae is expected to dump 8 - 12 inches of rain along a narrow strip through central Vietnam, causing major flooding and crop losses. Vietnam is still recovering from the effects of Typhoon Ketsana last month, which left 163 dead and did $801 million in damage.
In the Philippines, residents are cleaning up the mess left by Mirinae, which hit Luzon Island on Saturday as a borderline Category 1 or 2 typhoon with 95 - 100 mph winds. Mirinae killed twenty in the Philippines, with four people still missing. Rainfall amounts from the typhoon in the Philippines were less than six inches, but that was enough to create substantial flooding, due to the saturated soils left by two previous typhoons.
Figure 2. Filipinos struggle to salvage the remains of a destroyed home during the landfall of Typhoon Mirinae on Saturday. Image credit: James Reynolds, typhoonfury.com. Reynolds and fellow storm chaser Jim Edds of extremestorms.com, recorded video of the impressive waves of Mirinae slamming the coast of the Philippines, and of some Filipinos struggling to salvage smashed housing materials in rough waters.