Tropical Storm RICHARD 10/22/2010

Colleagues, FORECAST: Significant changes in the last 24 hours, all which reduce the hurricane thereat to the eastern Gulf. Tropical Storm RICHARD is moving very slowly to the west and will, early next week, cross the heart of the Yucatan as a strong Tropical Storm. Of course RICHARD will weaken during its transit across the Yucatan. RICHARD will not emerge in the Gulf until near the middle of next week. Over the weekend, RICHARD will gain strength before making landfall on the Yucatan coast.

DISCUSSION: All the weak forces that appeared to be steering the movement and acceleration RICHARD toward the Yucatan Channel failed to materialize. RICHARD missed the ride on the trough and now is going to be under the influence of a strengthening subtropical ridge. This ridge is going to be stronger that early forecast and will push the track further south and west. That will change everything. Just how strong this ridge develops over the next few days will mean everything to the track and life of RICHARD. Now, missing the USA is back on the table, and while a Texas landfall seemed unlikely yesterday, it is now a possibility. While a Florida landfall can not be entirely dismissed, it would require a ridge that doesn't strengthen as much as I think it will, and a real healthy trough next week. A strong trough is approaching, but it is not yet clear whether it will be strong enough to deal with a strong ridge that wants to block the way. At this point, the defensive line appears stronger than the offensive line which wants to move it out of the way and lead the way. (Sorry, but it is football season.)

NEXT FORECAST: Saturday Morning

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Peter S. Ray

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