GeoColor satellite image of Invest 95L over the western Caribbean at 10:40 a.m. EDT Saturday, October 24, 2020. (Image credit: RAMMB/CIRA/Colorado State University)

An area of disturbed weather over the western Caribbean, designated Invest 95L, has brought widespread rainfall of one to four inches to Cuba, the Cayman Islands. and Jamaica during the 36 hours ending at noon EDT Saturday, with 3.72 inches falling at a personal weather station in Spanishtown, Jamaica.

This system was close to tropical depression status early Saturday afternoon, and is likely to become Tropical Storm Zeta by Sunday. A NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft was investigating 95L on Saturday afternoon to determine if it has become Tropical Depression 28.

Figure 1. Radar image of 95L at 10:45 a.m. EDT October 24. (Image credit: National Weather Service, Cayman Islands)

Satellite imagery on Saturday showed that 95L had developed a surface circulation to the west of Grand Cayman Island, but dry air to its north was being driven into the core of the system by moderate wind shear of 10-15 knots. This wind shear was tilting 95L’s vortex and keeping the north side of the circulation devoid of heavy thunderstorms. The system was developing low-level spiral bands and good upper-level outflow to the north.

Figure 2. Track forecasts out to seven days for 95L from the 6Z (2 a.m. EDT) Saturday, October 24, run of the GFS ensemble model (GEFS). The black line is the mean of the 31 ensemble members; individual ensemble member forecasts are the thin lines, color-coded by the central pressure they predict for 95L. Most ensemble members predicted a tropical depression or tropical storm would form in the northwestern Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico. (Image credit: Tropical Tidbits)

Forecast for 95L

Steering currents are weak in the western Caribbean, and 95L is expected to drift northwest at less than 5 mph through Sunday. A ridge of high pressure will build in to the northeast of 95L by Monday, forcing it on a northwesterly track at a faster 5-10 mph pace into the Gulf of Mexico. It now appears that 95L has moved far enough west to significantly reduce the threat of a direct landfall in South Florida or the Bahamas. By Tuesday, an approaching trough of low pressure over the central U.S. should turn 95L more to the north, with a landfall along the central Gulf Coast on Wednesday the most likely outcome.

Conditions are predicted to remain favorable for development through Sunday, with wind shear a moderate 10-15 knots, sea-surface temperatures a very warm 30 degrees Celsius (86°F), and a moist atmosphere (a mid-level relative humidity of 70-75%). However, there is plenty of dry air over the Gulf of Mexico, and as 95L progresses into the Gulf, the dry air may significantly inhibit development. Sea-surface temperatures will be cooler to the north in the Gulf as 95L proceeds, and wind shear will rise, further challenging development of 95L.

There was modest support for development of 95L from the Saturday morning runs of the GFS and European models and their ensembles, showing that 95L would likely be a tropical depression or tropical storm on Monday in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico or northwestern Caribbean. A few ensemble members of both models predicted that 95L could become a hurricane in the Gulf, though most considered a tropical storm as the likely outcome.

In either case, heavy rains of 2-5 inches from this system will affect Cuba, the Cayman Islands, the northeast Yucatan Peninsula, and Jamaica through Monday. In a 2 p.m. EDT Saturday tropical weather outlook, the National Hurricane Center gave 95L two-day and five-day odds of development of near 100%. The next name on the Atlantic list of storms is the sixth letter in the Greek alphabet, Zeta.

Figure 3. GeoColor satellite image of Hurricane Epsilon at 10:10 a.m. EDT Saturday, October 24, 2020. (Image credit: RAMMB/CIRA/Colorado State University)

Hurricane Epsilon recurving out to sea

Hurricane Epsilon was steaming northeast at 13 mph at 11 a.m. EDT Saturday, and was maintaining hurricane status, with sustained winds of 80 mph and a central pressure of 958 mb. Epsilon is a large storm, with tropical storm-force winds that extended up to 405 miles to the north of the center. The large wind field was generating large swells, which will be affecting the U.S. East Coast, Atlantic Canada, and the north-facing shores of the Caribbean islands through this weekend.

Epsilon was riding up a warm tongue of water associated with the Gulf Stream on Saturday morning, but will be moving north of the Gulf Stream on Saturday afternoon. By Sunday, Epsilon will be over waters of just 21 degrees Celsius (70°F), when it may pass close and bring rains of 1-2 inches and wind gusts near tropical storm-force to the southeastern portion of Newfoundland, Canada.

Also see: Delta is record-setting 10th named storm to make U.S. landfall in a season

Epsilon will merge with a trough of low pressure to its north on Sunday and transition to a very powerful extratropical storm with winds near hurricane force. Its central pressure on Tuesday, October 27, when it will be a few hundred miles south of Iceland, could be between 936-946 mb, according to the 0Z Saturday runs of the GFS and European models.

Editor’s note: this post was updated at 2 p.m. EDT Saturday with the latest Tropical Weather Outlook info from NHC.

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Posted on October 24, 2020 (12:53pm EDT).

Jeff Masters

Jeff Masters, Ph.D., worked as a hurricane scientist with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. After a near-fatal flight into category 5 Hurricane Hugo, he left the Hurricane Hunters to pursue a...

45 replies on “Another tropical cyclone could make landfall along the Gulf Coast next week”

    1. guess thats 200 miles difference. Not bad at 4 or 5 days. Do you by chance know what Louisianans did this year to piss Mother nature off?

  1. well this early sunday morning..it seems all the models place TS Zeta up in the northern Gulf coast wednesday with most of the rain blown eastward..hopefully it will blow some rain towards west central FLA..been kinda warm and dry here lately…..well IF you have to prepare, do so huh..im watching for any changes bringing it here by my area but so far it doesnt look that way…good luck to those affected ok..

    1. We are very wet here in NE F. A big blow would bring down many trees. I saw one that was leaning just slowly fall over on the nebhiers house. No real damage. Took 15 minutes to come down. just gently laid down. Now if we had 40 mph winds……..

      1. well since the rains are being blown eastward from the storm..we just might get alot of rain in florida depending on the eventual track huh

  2. Japan Meteorological Agency
    Tropical Cyclone Advisory #15 – 15:00 PM JST October 25 2020
    SEVERE TROPICAL STORM MOLAVE (T2018)
    =============================================
    near Catanduanes province area (Luzon/Philippines)

    At 6:00 AM UTC, Severe Tropical Storm Molave (990 hPa) located at 13.4N 124.7E has 10 minute sustained winds of 55 knots with gusts of 80 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west at 15 knots.

    Storm Force Winds
    ================
    30 nm from the center

    Gale Force Winds
    ===================
    120 nm from the center in northeastern quadrant
    90 nm from the center in southwestern quadrant

    Dvorak Intensity: T3.5

    Forecast and Intensity
    =========================
    12 HRS: 13.3N 122.2E – 55 knots (CAT 2/Severe Tropical Storm) near Marindugue province area (Luzon/Philippines)
    24 HRS: 13.4N 119.7E – 60 knots (CAT 2/Severe Tropical Storm) South China Sea
    48 HRS: 14.0N 114.3E – 70 knots (CAT 3/Strong Typhoon) South China Sea
    72 HRS: 15.2N 109.4E – 65 knots (CAT 3/Strong Typhoon) South China Sea

  3. ** 2020 ATLANTIC RI INDEX AL282020 TWENTYEIG  10/25/20  00 UTC **
     (SHIPS-RII PREDICTOR TABLE for 30 KT OR MOREMAXIMUM WIND INCREASE IN NEXT 24-h)
     
         Predictor                  Value   RI Predictor Range  Scaled Value(0-1) % Contribution
     12 HR PERSISTENCE (KT)      :    5.0    -49.5  to   33.0        0.66           5.5
     850-200 MB SHEAR (KT)       :   10.6     30.1  to    2.3        0.70           2.2
     HEAT CONTENT (KJ/CM2)       :  100.8      0.0  to  151.8        0.66           2.0
     STD DEV OF IR BR TEMP       :   23.3     36.6  to    2.8        0.39           1.4
     MAXIMUM WIND (KT)           :   30.0     22.5  to  137.5        0.20           0.4
     2nd PC OF IR BR TEMP        :    1.2      2.9  to   -2.9        0.29           0.6
     BL DRY-AIR FLUX (W/M2)      :  106.0    895.4  to  -55.0        0.83           1.8
     POT = MPI-VMAX (KT)         :  117.1     27.5  to  139.6        0.80           0.6
     D200 (10**7s-1)             :   56.6    -29.7  to  185.9        0.40           0.2
     %area of TPW <45 mm upshear :    0.0    100.0  to    0.0        1.00           0.2
     
     SHIPS Prob RI for 20kt/ 12hr RI threshold=   7% is   1.4 times climatological mean ( 5.0%)
     SHIPS Prob RI for 25kt/ 24hr RI threshold=  21% is   1.9 times climatological mean (10.9%)
     SHIPS Prob RI for 30kt/ 24hr RI threshold=  15% is   2.2 times climatological mean ( 6.9%)
     SHIPS Prob RI for 35kt/ 24hr RI threshold=  11% is   2.9 times climatological mean ( 3.9%)
     SHIPS Prob RI for 40kt/ 24hr RI threshold=  10% is   4.1 times climatological mean ( 2.5%)
     SHIPS Prob RI for 45kt/ 36hr RI threshold=  12% is   2.7 times climatological mean ( 4.6%)
     SHIPS Prob RI for 55kt/ 48hr RI threshold=  15% is   3.2 times climatological mean ( 4.6%)
     SHIPS Prob RI for 65kt/ 72hr RI threshold=  35% is   6.7 times climatological mean ( 5.2%)
        
    Matrix of RI probabilities
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      RI (kt / h)  | 20/12 | 25/24 | 30/24 | 35/24 | 40/24 | 45/36 | 55/48  |65/72
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
       SHIPS-RII:     7.1%   21.1%   15.0%   11.1%   10.4%   12.3%   14.7%   35.1%
        Logistic:     5.7%   22.0%   15.9%    8.5%    1.6%    6.5%   10.5%   13.3%
        Bayesian:     1.5%    1.8%    1.3%    0.9%    0.4%    0.5%    2.4%    0.3%
       Consensus:     4.7%   14.9%   10.8%    6.8%    4.1%    6.4%    9.2%   16.2%
           DTOPS:     0.0%    1.0%    0.0%    0.0%    0.0%    0.0%    0.0%    2.0%
    
  4. Japan Meteorological Agency
    Tropical Cyclone Advisory #49 – 9:00 AM JST October 25 2020
    TROPICAL STORM SAUDEL (T2017)
    =============================================
    South China Sea

    At 0:00 AM UTC, Tropical Storm Saudel (992 hPa) located at 17.5N 108.6E has 10 minute sustained winds of 45 knots with gusts of 65 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west at 17 knots.

    Gale Force Winds
    =====================
    150 nm from the center

    Dvorak Intensity: T3.5-

    Forecast and Intensity
    =========================
    12 HRS: 17.7N 107.2E – 35 knots (CAT 1/Tropical Storm) Gulf of Tonkin
    24 HRS: 18.2N 105.5E – Tropical Depression Over land Vietnam

    ——————————————————————————-

    Japan Meteorological Agency
    Tropical Cyclone Advisory #13 – 9:00 AM JST October 25 2020
    TROPICAL STORM MOLAVE (T2018)
    =============================================
    Sea East of the Philippines

    At 0:00 AM UTC, Tropical Storm Molave (994 hPa) located at 13.5N 126.4E has 10 minute sustained winds of 45 knots with gusts of 65 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west at 12 knots.

    Gale Force Winds
    ===================
    120 nm from the center in northeastern quadrant
    90 nm from the center in southwestern quadrant

    Dvorak Intensity: T3.0-

    Forecast and Intensity
    =========================
    12 HRS: 13.6N 123.9E – 55 knots (CAT 2/Severe Tropical Storm) Camarines Sur province area (Luzon/Philippines)
    24 HRS: 13.4N 121.3E – 55 knots (CAT 2/Severe Tropical Storm) Oriental Mindoro province area (Luzon/Philippines)
    48 HRS: 13.8N 115.9E – 70 knots (CAT 3/Strong Typhoon) South China Sea
    72 HRS: 14.4N 110.9E – 70 knots (CAT 3/Strong Typhoon) South China Sea

  5. Thank you as always for the update Dr. Masters. Many of us here in Aruba follow you….”you the man”!
    Happy weekend

  6. Anyone know what Louisiana did to Mother Nature this year? She sure seems to have it out for them this year.

  7. Japan Meteorological Agency
    Tropical Cyclone Advisory #47 – 3:00 AM JST October 25 2020
    SEVERE TROPICAL STORM SAUDEL (T2017)
    =============================================
    South China Sea

    At 18:00 PM UTC, Severe Tropical Storm Saudel (990 hPa) located at 17.6N 110.4E has 10 minute sustained winds of 50 knots with gusts of 70 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west at 7 knots.

    Gale Force Winds
    =====================
    150 nm from the center

    Dvorak Intensity: T3.5-

    Forecast and Intensity
    =========================
    24 HRS: 17.8N 106.8E – 35 knots (CAT 1/Tropical Storm) Gulf of Tonkin
    48 HRS: 17.9N 103.9E – Tropical Depression Over land Thailand

    ——————————————————————————

    Tropical Cyclone Advisory #11 – 3:00 AM JST October 25 2020
    TROPICAL STORM MOLAVE (T2018)
    =============================================
    Sea East of the Philippines

    At 18:00 PM UTC, Tropical Storm Molave (1000 hPa) located at 13.4N 127.8E has 10 minute sustained winds of 35 knots with gusts of 50 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west at 13 knots.

    Gale Force Winds
    ===================
    120 nm from the center in northeastern quadrnat
    90 nm from the center in southwestern quadrant

    Dvorak Intensity: T2.0

    Forecast and Intensity
    =========================
    12 HRS: 13.8N 125.2E – 45 knots (CAT 1/Tropical Storm) East of the Philippines
    24 HRS: 13.7N 122.5E – 50 knots (CAT 2/Severe Tropical Storm) Quezon province area (Luzon/Philippines)
    48 HRS: 13.7N 117.4E – 60 knots (CAT 2/Severe Tropical Storm) South China Sea
    72 HRS: 14.2N 111.8E – 75 knots (CAT 3/Strong Typhoon) South China Sea

  8. Thank you for this post Dr Masters. The Gulf Coast needs a break!
    does anyone have the WU discus link to commentary? I lost it again.
    Thank you

  9. Yeah, please keep Epsilon *many* hundred kilometers south of Iceland, thank you. 😉

    Sincerely,
    Iceland

    (That said, intense extratropical cyclones are a normal occurence here, and even just on this “ordinary” fall day, in sheltered Reykjavík, we currently have 20mph sustained winds / 35mph gusts… Höfn is currently at 45mph sustained / 65mph gusts… Vestmannaeyjar a couple days ago was up to 72mph sustained / 89mph gusts… not at all unusual here)

      1. Yeah, originally. Icelandic citizen, though. Still have family in the US on the gulf coast, so I keep up with the tropics.

  10. Your reports are fascinating. I’m not a meteorologist, but can follow the descriptions and always learn lots.

  11. Hope 95L don’t develop much, if at all. We’ve had our share of storms along the Gulf Coast this year. Thanks for the update Dr. Jeff.

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