On Saturday morning, Potential Tropical Cyclone Eighteen was upgraded to Tropical Depression Eighteen, and has since strengthened into Tropical Storm Philippe – the sixteenth named storm of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. Philippe is a poorly organized tropical storm, and does not have a structure very typical of one. Philippe is now expected to make landfall in Southwestern Florida early Sunday morning, but because of the unusual nature of the storm, Tropical Storm Warnings have not been issued for any part of Florida.
As of 11:00 p.m. EDT, Tropical Storm Philippe was centered near 24.8°N 82.1°W, and was moving quickly north-northeast at 24 mph. Maximum sustained winds were 35 knots (40 mph), with an estimated minimum pressure of 1003 mb. As noted above, the structure of Philippe is highly unusual for a tropical storm. The estimated low-level center location – which is elongated and not easy to locate – is over the extreme southeastern Gulf of Mexico, west of the Florida Keys. Almost all of the associated deep convection with Philippe is to the south and east of the center. The elongated center of Philippe is expected to make landfall over southwestern Florida early on Sunday morning, as an atypical tropical storm. After that time, Philippe is expected to emerge over the western Atlantic, and some deepening appears likely while Philippe loses tropical characteristics. The official forecast from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) predicts that Philippe will become a post-tropical cyclone early Monday as it merges with a frontal system. However, I think it is possible that Philippe could lose its status as a tropical cyclone earlier than that due to its current poor structure and that shear and dry air are already impacting the poorly organized cyclone. A Tropical Storm Warning is currently in effect for portions of Western Cuba and the Northwestern Bahamas. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Craig Key to Golden Beach, Florida as well as the Central Bahamas.
In the Eastern Pacific, Tropical Storm Selma made landfall in El Salvador early Saturday morning, becoming the first tropical storm on record to do so. Selma has since dissipated, and with the NHC no longer expecting any tropical cyclone development over the Eastern Pacific for the next five days, the 2017 Pacific hurricane season may have come to an end. The Atlantic season may not be quite done yet, however, as the NHC is giving a non-tropical low well southwest of the Azores a 40 percent chance of developing into a tropical or subtropical cyclone during the next five days. The next name on the Atlantic naming list is Rina. If 2017 reaches Rina, it will become only the sixth season on record to reach the “R” named storm (with the others being 1995, 2005, 2010, 2011 and 2012).
I will be back with another post tomorrow.