Could tropical disturbance be headed towards South Florida on Labor Day?


MIAMI – The European computer model has gotten our attention because it is showing a tropical disturbance becoming more organized over the Bahamas on Sunday and approaching South Florida on Monday.  

There are a LOT of caveats here.  First, the American GFS model does not show any significant development of the system before it reaches Florida.  Second, of course, is that the eventuality is 5 days away.  

The difference between the Euro and the GFS is in the upper-air pattern each model forecasts over South Florida and the Bahamas at the time the disturbance reaches our area.  The GFS is forecasting a very hostile environment, while the Euro is forecasting a somewhat more favorable environment for the system to organize.

Even though the window of opportunity for the system to organize before it reaches South Florida appears small, we have to keep in mind the history of tropical systems rapidly strengthening over the Bahamas.

After the Bahamas system moves across the Florida peninsula, both the Euro and GFS computer models are forecasting the atmospheric pattern over the Gulf to be at least somewhat favorable for further development, so people on the northern and western Gulf Coast will need to be aware of the possibility of a threat from the middle to the end of next week.  

Forecasts of tropical disturbances that have not yet developed are notoriously poor.  If no center has yet organized, there is not even an obviously part of the system to track.  

At the very least, these developments remind us that we are moving into the heart of hurricane season when, on average, conditions over the Atlantic are most conducive for the organization and strengthening of tropical disturbances into tropical storms and hurricanes.  

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