Tropical Storm Chris
August 1, 2006
Based on an improved appearance on satellite, Tropical Depression Three has been upgraded to Tropical Storm Chris. The storm is about 175 miles east of Antigua and moving to the west-northwest at 9 mph. Tropical Storm Warnings are up for many of the Leeward Islands and a watch has been posted for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
The intensity forecast has changed significantly. While the previous forecast kept the system as a tropical depression before killing it off (and therefore, is already a busted forecast), the new forecast brings Chris up to the strength of a strong tropical storm (55 knots / 63 mph). The track forecast is essentially a continuation of the previous one.
In the previous advisory package the intensity forecast surprised me, this time it’s the track forecast that’s a bit surprising. I am thinking it will bend more to the west, enough such that interaction with the Greater Antilles becomes an issue. Part of the problem in the track forecast though, is pinning down the location of the center; there was a large (> 60 nautical mile) spread in the estimates provided by the three agencies. It may take recon, which flies into the storm this afternoon to get a definitive answer to the question.
If you take the track forecast as gospel, then the long-term intensity forecast becomes a question of how the storm moves in relation to the shear generating upper level lows. It’s anyone’s guess as to how that’ll turn out. As mentioned in the discussion, the storm could find just the right favorable path to become stronger than forecast. If you question the track forecast as I do, then it’s a question of whether the storm passes over Hispanola or Cuba length-wise.
Short-term, looking at the recent satellite imagery, I wonder if Chris has passed a bit of a threshold in organization, such that it will a little intensify a little bit quicker and be a lttle bit stronger than the 40 knots that it’s currently forecast to be when the Hurricane Hunter flies in this afternoon.
While I’m currently not thinking it will be an issue, the NHC forecasts dictates that this be watched by residents of the Florida Keys and peninsular south Florida for possible effects there next week.