Tropical Storm Lee Forms

Figure 1. NASA satellite imagery of Tropical Storm Lee in the Gulf of Mexico.

Information on Tropical Storm Lee as of 1:00pm CDT:

SUMMARY OF 100 PM CDT...1800 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...27.4N 91.5W
ABOUT 200 MI...320 KM SE OF CAMERON LOUISIANA
ABOUT 210 MI...340 KM SW OF THE MOUTH OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...40 MPH...65 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NW OR 325 DEGREES AT 2 MPH...4 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1003 MB...29.62 INCHES

The National Hurricane Center just upgraded Tropical Depression #13 to Tropical Storm Lee.  Lee has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, moving northwest around 2 mph.  This is a very slow moving storm.  Because this storm is almost stationary, southern LA is prone to heavy rain and flooding before this storm even moves on shore.  Some models are predicting up to 2 feet of rain to fall in some areas of LA over the next 5-7 days.  Here is the most likely outcome of Tropical Storm Lee:

Right now, Lee is stationary due to the fact that it is under a relatively flat ridge.  This is the same ridge that has been hovering over the Southwest and Southern Plains over the entire summer.  This broad ridge extends from the OH Valley to South Texas, leaving Lee no where to go.  As Lee sits over the warm waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico, it is slowly strengthening.  It won’t be for another 2-3 days until the mid-level ridge breaks down and a mid-level trough, that will sweep across the Great Lakes, sets Lee into a northeast motion(portrayed in the image below).  There is still question as to when this will occur and how accurate is, since it is just a model.

Figure 2. 12Z GFS 500mb model on Sunday morning. The trough will likely carry Lee with it if this is the case.

Once again, the model above is just one scenario out of many that can play out.  Some models have Lee making landfall sooner than the GFS and some have it as a major hurricane by the time it makes landfall.  We will have to see how its stationary movement affects the organization of the storm over time.  Here is the spaghetti plot of statistical models that show where Lee is going:

Figure 3. 12Z run of the spaghetti models showing where Lee will go over the next 120-144 hours. Each line represents a separate model run.

 

 

The NHC is going with the conservative outlook that Tropical Storm Lee will remain a tropical storm  and not move much over the next 3-5 days:

Figure 4. 1:00pm CDT: NHC's forecast track of Tropical Storm Lee.

 

Residents of LA, MS and AL should continue monitoring what Lee does over the next 24-48 hours and be prepared for the worst!

About Brian

University of Oklahoma graduate with a degree in Meteorology. Follow me on Twitter: @WeatherInformer
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