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TROPICS WATCH: Grace is now a Tropical Storm, Henri forecast to become a Hurricane

Tracking the Tropics

Fred still barely there as Henrie and Grace strengthen

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Henri (”ahn-REE”) is a classic hybrid tropical system. Hybrid tropical systems develop from low pressures in the northern fringe of the Tropical Atlantic. They then drift, or move southward, traveling over ever warmer waters.

At some point, the system transforms as warm moist tropical air entrains into the low pressure. Finally, making the full transition, the “core” of the low pressure intensifies and we see thunderstorms (intense rainfall and increased winds) develop. This is what Henri has done.

Forecast models indicate that Henri will stay close to Bermuda as the system shifts westward, seemingly tracking towards the United States. Henri may impact coastal areas from the mid Atlantic to New England.

Then there is Grace.

Grace has become a Tropical Storm once again. From the NHC, “At 10:00 a.m. CDT, the center of Tropical Storm Grace was located near latitude 20.2 North, longitude 88.8 West. Grace is moving toward the west near 18 mph. A general westward to west-northwestward motion is expected today, followed by a general westward to west-southwestward motion at a slower speed over the weekend. On the forecast track, Grace is expected to continue to move across the Yucatan Peninsula today, and move over the southwest Gulf of Mexico late tonight through Friday. Grace will likely make a second landfall on the mainland coast of Mexico late Friday or early Saturday. Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 65 mph with higher. Additional weakening is possible while Grace moves across land today. Re-intensification is likely after the center reaches the Gulf of Mexico. Grace is forecast to be a hurricane when it makes its second landfall on the mainland coast of Mexico late Friday or early Saturday. Rapid weakening is expected after Grace moves inland over central Mexico. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles from the center. The estimated minimum central pressure is 994 mb or 29.36 inches.”

Put me down as expecting Grace to be the season’s first major hurricane, which will take place just before making a second landfall on Mexico (the first time will be when it travels over the Yucatan Peninsula).

What next?

There are strong indications that we could actually end up in a rather quiet period in the tropics that could last through the end of August. If so, that would be a nice treat. It could also suggest the season will be back-loaded with the most intense hurricanes coming at the end of the season (September through mid-October).

Fred rainfall

Fred's greatest impact was from inland flooding over the Appalachian Mountains
TS Grace
TS Henri

About the Author:

Our chief meteorologist lives and breathes the weather on the First Coast.