Special Tropical Disturbance statement released this morning

June 27, 2006

As Dr Masters noted, the National Hurricane Center issued a Special Tropical Disturbance statement this morning for a surface low that may be forming off the coast of the Carolinas. This development was just enough to knock me out of my post-AT torpor.

I’ve been looking at surface observations for the past couple of hours and to this point don’t see anything to indicate a circulation at the surface. Pressures at the coastal shore stations and buoys off-shore currently don’t show the wind-shifts or pressure drops consistent with a surface low.

Nevertheless, the system’s appearance on satellite has been impressive enough this morning for the NHC to launch a hurricane hunter, which took off just before 10 AM eastern and will be in the vicinity of the system in two hours or so. More to follow as events warrant…

LATER (1110 EDT) Wilmington radar shows a circulation (at some level) about 110 miles southeast of there. The center is beyond the buoys, but 41013 would seem to be on the western fring of it. That buoy continues to show winds out of the southeast, which would seem to indicate that circulation is not at the surface.

LATER YET (1210 EDT) Same as before, no indication of a surface circulation. The Hurricane Hunter has arrived in the vicinity, off the coast of South Carolina.While they may find a circulation on a scale small enough to evade the surface observation stations, my feeling is that they will come back empty handed.

1310 EDT UPDATE: The recon plane hit some high winds in a thunderstorm, but no indication that it’s affecting the surface. Again, no indication of a surface circulation found as yet… the plane has flown on the eastern side of the system and has yet to come back down the western side yet, so the mission is far from complete, but so far my feeling is holding true…

1435 EDT UPDATE: From a just released Tropical Disturbance statement

RECENT INFORMATION FROM AN AIR FORCE RESERVE RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT INDICATES THE AREA OF DISTURBED WEATHER IS CENTERED ABOUT 35 MILES SOUTHWEST OF CAPE LOOKOUT NORTH CAROLINA. WHILE THERE IS A SMALL AREA OF GALE FORCE WINDS ON ITS EAST SIDE… THE SYSTEM DOES NOT HAVE A CLOSED SURFACE CIRCULATION… AND IS THEREFORE NOT A TROPICAL CYCLONE AT THIS TIME. THE AIRCRAFT WILL CONTINUE TO INVESTIGATE THE SYSTEM THIS AFTERNOON. THERE IS STILL THE POTENTIAL FOR THIS SYSTEM TO DEVELOP INTO A TROPICAL STORM AS IT MOVES NORTH TO NORTH-NORTHEASTWARD AT 20 TO 25 MPH. RESIDENTS IN COASTAL REGIONS OF NORTH CAROLINA… VIRGINIA… AND THE DELMARVA PENINSULA SHOULD CLOSELY MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF THIS SYSTEM TODAY AS TROPICAL STORM WARNINGS COULD BE REQUIRED WITH LITTLE NOTICE. EVEN IF THIS SYSTEM DOES NOT FORM INTO A TROPICAL CYCLONE… IT WILL PRODUCE SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS WITH LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL AND STRONG GUSTY WINDS ACROSS THE MID-ATLANTIC AREA TODAY AND TONIGHT.

Pretty much follows up what I’ve been writing here for the past couple of hours… over the past 45 minutes or so the hurricane hunter made a pretty rigorous set of North-South passes trying to find a “smoking gun” wind shift, but hasn’t found one to support the notion of a closed circulation at the surface. Regardless, coastal North Carolina is in for some good thunderstorms this afternoon and evening.

1535 CLOSEOUT: The hurricane hunter is headed home. People in the mid-atlantic may want to check what their local National Weather Service office to see what exactly this system has in store for them. Looks like more rain for areas that don’t particularly need it.

The next contestant in the Tropical Depression Two sweepstakes is a tropical wave about 500 miles east of the Lesser Antilles that is rapidly moving towards the islands.

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