Talking the Tropics With Mike: Weak depression over the Gulf slipping south

No impacts for Jacksonville/NE Fl./SE Ga.

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REMEMBER WHEN A TROPICAL STORM OR HURRICANE IS APPROACHING: Taping windows is *NOT* helpful & will not keep glass from breaking.

Realize the forecast cone (”cone of uncertainty”) is the average forecast error over a given time - out to 5 days - & *does not* indicate the width of the storm &/or damage that might occur.

The weak & disorganized area of low pressure over the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico was upgraded to tropical depression #2 Thu. afternoon. With plenty of dry mid & upper level air in the vicinity + moderate to strong shear, little or no significant development is expected, but it’s *possible* there could be a brief upgrade to tropical storm “Arlene” through Friday into early Saturday. This is a classic early season development over the Gulf with a poorly organized system that’s heavily weighted on the east side with strong convection due to shear out of the west/SW at 25+ mph. The counterclockwise rotation of the low will help feed tropical moisture northward resulting in periods of heavy rain across Central & especially South Florida into the weekend. Ultimately shear & dry air increases even more over the E/SE Gulf through the weekend, & the system is likely to weaken to a trough of low pressure by at least early next week.

Jacksonville/NE Fl./SE Ga. will have NO direct impacts from the Gulf system & will be on the northern edge of the broad circulation (embedded within a large but weak upper low) resulting in occasional showers & moderate onshore flow resulting in an enhanced rip current risk at area beaches.

Side note: “PER THE PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT THAT WAS ISSUED BY NHC ON MAY 11, THIS SYSTEM IS BEING NUMBERED AS THE SECOND CYCLONE OF 2023 IN THE ATLANTIC BASIN AND IS BEING DESIGNATED AS TROPICAL DEPRESSION TWO. DURING THE COURSE OF TYPICAL RE-ASSESSMENT OF WEATHER SYSTEMS IN THE NHC’S AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY, NHC DETERMINED THAT AN AREA OF LOW PRESSURE THAT FORMED OFF THE NORTHEASTERN COAST OF THE UNITED STATES IN MID-JANUARY WAS AN “UNNAMED” SUBTROPICAL CYCLONE AND WAS GIVEN AL012023 AS ITS SYSTEM ID.”

Radar imagery courtesy S. Florida Water Management District:

Water vapor loop shows pockets of dry air (dark blue) across portions of the Atlantic Basin along with a lot of “swirls” (low pressure) along with “bands” of higher moisture near & ahead of fronts....

June tropical cyclone origins:

Averages below based on climatology for the Atlantic Basin for June:

Wind shear:


Saharan dust spreads west each year from Africa by the prevailing winds (from east to west over the Atlantic). Dry air - yellow/orange/red/pink. Widespread dust is indicative of dry air that can impede the development of tropical cyclones. However, sometimes “wanna’ be” waves will just wait until they get to the other side of - or away from - the plume then try to develop if other conditions are favorable. In my personal opinion, way too much is made about the presence of Saharan dust & how it relates to tropical cyclones. In any case, the peak of Saharan dust typically is in June & July.

2023 names..... “Arlene” is the first name on the Atlantic list (names are picked at random by the World Meteorological Organization... repeat every 6 years). Historic storms are retired [Florence & Michael in ’18... Dorian in ’19 & Laura, Eta & Iota in ‘20, Ida in ‘21 & Fiona & Ian in ‘22]). In fact, this year’s list of names is rather infamous with “Katrina”, “Rita” & “Wilma” retired from the ‘05 list & “Harvey”, “Irma”,“Maria” & “Nate” from the ‘17 list. The WMO decided - beginning in 2021 - that the Greek alphabet will be no longer used & instead there will be a supplemental list of names if the first list is exhausted (has only happened three times - 2005, 2020 & 2021). The naming of tropical cyclones began on a consistent basis in 1953. More on the history of naming tropical cyclones * here *.

East Atlantic:

Mid & upper level wind shear (enemy of tropical cyclones) analysis (CIMMS). The red lines indicate strong shear:

Water vapor imagery (dark blue indicates dry air):

Deep oceanic heat content over the Gulf, Caribbean & deep tropical Atlantic. The brighter colors will expand rather dramatically by Aug./Sept./Oct.:

Sea surface temp. anomalies:

SE U.S. surface map:

Surface analysis centered on the tropical Atlantic:

Surface analysis of the Gulf:

Caribbean:

GFS wave forecast at 48 & 72 hours (2 & 3 days):

Atlantic Basin wave period forecast for 24, 48 & 72 hours respectively:

The East Pacific:

West Pacific:

Global tropical activity:


“Mawar”:


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