Thursday, July 11, 2013

Chantal Splits in Two; Gulf Coast on Alert

Tropical Storm Chantal, which weakened to a tropical wave yesterday, has now split into two tropical waves, one of which will keep the Gulf on its toes.

Analysis of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean this morning shows the split of Chantal, with two tropical waves moving through the central Caribbean. Let's break down the two waves individually.

The Northern Wave
The tropical wave in dashed lines is the northern portion of the two. This is considered to be the main part of Chantal's remnants that will likely move north-northwest towards the Southeast coast. Model guidance from statistical models (some global models are no longer tracking Chantal, as she is no longer a tropical cyclone) indicates this northern wave should make landfall as a rain event in the Southeast. Let me emphasize that Chantal's remnants are unlikely to reform and make landfall. Rainy weather is expected across the Southeast, however.

The Southern Wave
The southern portion of the split tropical wave is the one I'm concerned about. Based on the atmospheric flow for this southern wave, which is seen in the image above within the deep orange swath south of Cuba, it looks like this southern wave does have a shot of going into the Gulf of Mexico. If it does go into the Gulf, I don't expect too much in the way of development, but I would be surprised if the wave doesn't at least get more organized. Depending on the environment, tropical depression status may be hard to attain; the main part of Chantal will not be going to the Gulf, meaning this southern wave essentially has to start all over again with forming a tropical cyclone.