Colleagues, FORECAST: HURRICANE RINA is located just south of the Yucatan Peninsula as a Category 2 storm with winds of 110 mph. It is moving slowly to the NW at about 5 mph. HURRICANE RINA will be intensifying to about 120 mph (Category 3) through tomorrow. As it emerges from Cancun Friday afternoon RINA will head NE toward the Florida Straights over the weekend. The Keys will at most experience Tropical Storm force winds with a surge of about 2 - 4 feet at most. The forecast beyond that is not clear because the direction is dependent on exactly how intense the hurricane is this weekend and while it is going to be only a tropical storm, just how strong is critical and not possible to tell just quite yet. By tomorrow or Friday, the needed data should be available. No significant threat to Florida.
The area of thunderstorms south of Puerto Rico is moving into the same area, but not intensifying at this point so it might just become part of the larger system next week, or die.
DISCUSSION: Into the weekend the forecast is clear. But as the mid-level trough comes through and re-curves the storm to the NE, the import factor is: is RINA going to be strong enough (it will be weakening) to reach up to the trough to be steered by those winds. If not, it will do the loop-de-loop or stall out just north of Havana, Cuba and wait about 4 days for the next trough or wave. The Gulf is loosing about a degree of temperature a week and the northern Gulf is in the low 80's. The the area where Rina is, the waters are in the low 90s and still can support a major hurricane for a few more weeks.
NEXT FORECAST: Tomorrow, Thursday morning
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