Chris makes like a bannana and splits

August 3, 2006

A dramatic turn of events in the life of Tropical Storm Chris over the past three hours this evening: The surface circulation has become completely detached from the mid-level circulation:

chrissplits.jpg

The big ball of white is the mid-level circulation, the circle to the northwest of it is the low level circulation. Looking at water vapor imagery, this appears to be the work of an upper-level low that came down from the north to begin affecting Chris this afternoon. My expectation (and I would guess that of the forecasters) was that Chris would be able to move along and not get too badly affected.

The turn of events completely invalidates the current forecast. It has an immediate weakening effect on the storm and causes it to be guided by the low level steering current, vice the mid to upper level currents that would have been guiding it, which in this case means more of a northwesterly movement towards peninsular Florida.

Future intensity depends on if and how the low level circulation survives. For the time being it would be hard to see it being anything stronger than a minimal tropical storm.

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