Caribbean 1500 Weather: The Plot Thickens

The plot thickens.

Hello all you weather watchers. Is this a great scenario to enjoy vicariously, or what? But I would not want to be at sea along the east coast right now.

Hurricane Michelle, off Central America has strengthened to 130-knot sustained (Cat 3) with signs of strengthening further. Out in the mid-Atlantic there is a storm forecast. This is under a cut-off upper-level low (check out the 500mb chart) which means it is probably going to hang around for several days. What is interesting is the position-more or less in the middle of where the Bermuda High is supposed to hang out and block such development. This “surprising” turn of events was actually triggered by the remnants of the tropical depression in this same area from last week. It provided the catalyst and fuel to get this storm system brewing.

Which is what we’re thinking about with Hurricane Michelle. This blow is no direct threat to the Caribb 1500 fleet. But if the heat and humidity it contains gets connected with an upper-level trough, watch out!

Check out the 96-hour surface and 500mb faxes and you will see the scenario we were concerned with yesterday starting to develop. A “hurricane-strength storm” is forecast for NE of the Florida panhandle. There’s a gale forecast about 1200 miles further northeast of this area. Given the forecast for the 500mb level at 96 hours, these two systems could get together-now that would be a blow to write home about! Even if they don’t merge, there is a higher than acceptable chance the FL storm will track right through the course from Virginia to the Virgin Islands.

My guess is the Caribb 1500 fleet is not going anywhere until at the earliest Wed/Thur next week.

A final point. On this past Thursday and yesterday (Nov 1 & 2) none of these developments were in official forecasts. If you had departed the East Coast on Thursday, and were now 400 miles offshore, you would be rightfully worried. Even though the forecasts did not show these risk factors, the potential for trouble was there for anyone looking for it. Which is why we keep preaching how important it is to learn weather analysis, and then watch weather for several weeks prior to departure, so you get used to the rhythm.

OK-enough soap box for today-we’re going to take advantage of the delay and play with our granddaughter, Emma. Sorting our jumbled fastener box is on our schedule today…

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 3, 2001)

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