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Wilma Watch - 10.16.05

Tomorrow's eclipse will be sure to add some twists to the tracking of the new storm.



An undecided tropical storm in the Caribbean Sea is now entering into a more favorable set of conditions that might support rapid growth into Hurricane Wilma. This is depicted in figure 1 as the red spot. An upper level ridge over the northern Gulf coast is steering the storm to the northwest at the present time (yellow line). Tomorrow is an eclipse day with the formation of a new jet curve off of the east coast of the US in the longitude of Bermuda. This move is likely to draw a high against the coast. At the same time, a new jet curve will form over the western edge of Texas instead of the eastern edge of Texas. The jet curve over eastern Texas is active in the formation of the present ridge over the northern Gulf. Look for the ridge to strengthen and surge to the north tomorrow as the center is most likely to also drift a bit to the west. This would put a strengthening high in the western Gulf and a strengthening high over the Bermuda area. In this scenario the only low- pressure area is still the jet curve from the last eclipse that runs up the Florida panhandle at about 86° W longitude. If the storm gets wedged between a strong high to the west over Texas and a high that moves in towards the coast from the east over Bermuda the storm is likely to split the difference and go down the middle putting it somewhere in the vicinity of Alabama at landfall.

Of course an end run around the southern side of the present high might also be possible if the high surges to the north taking the ridge with it. In that scenario the storm will follow the easterlies to the east across Yucatan. Eclipses change the polarities of the air mass positions very radically and in very short time frames, so this should be an interesting set of forces at work steering the emerging storm.