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Very latest official forecast track and reliable track/global models for tropical storm Karen.  Forecast is right in the middle of the track guidance, with the GFS to the east (central FL panhandle) and GFDL to the west (eastern LA/MS).  Karen is expected to become a hurricane, and hurricane watches are up for the northern Gulf coast.  However, it is expected to weaken slightly to a tropical storm before landfall, but there is still some uncertainty in the forecast so residents should watch this system carefully.

Graphic: Reliable track and global models for 97L (Caribbean system) as of 9:00PM EDT - the track envelope spans from eastern LA to the FL big bend. All interests the northern Gulf should watch this system carefully as we move toward the weekend.

Invest 97L continues to produce a concentrated area of convection and an impressive upper outflow pattern. The circulation around an upper-low east of Florida (yellow arrows) may be helping to establish the favorable upper environment, venting the rain-cooled air away from the tropical system.  This anti-cyclonic (clockwise) flow is generally conducive for developing tropical cyclones.

Invest 97L, the tropical system in the Caribbean, is expected to track into the Gulf of Mexico in the next 2-3 days.  Here is a look at the upper level wind forecast from the GFS model showing expected wind flow…if the system tracks on the east side of the Gulf of Mexico (under red circle), or if the upper trough sets up slightly further west than currently forecast, 97L could find an upper-wind profile favorable for development.  Worth watching developments with this system very closely today.

Invest 95L: Comparison of the forecast tracks from the HWRF model over the last day. Latest model run (dark red) is drastically different from the previous three, showing a position 10 degrees north and 7 degrees east of the run from just six hours before.  Note: Model runs from 12Z on 9/17 to 06Z on 9/18 (interpolated ahead 6 hours to 18Z 9/17 to 12Z on 9/18)

Morning models for Invest 95L.  Center has almost emerged from the Yucatan.  Tight model agreement through 72 hours, then a large spread…spanning from the Bay of Campeche to South Carolina.  HWRF solution continues to be puzzling and inconsistent with other models (and other runs of the HWRF).  Synoptic pattern does not appear to be very favorable today, but this can change quickly, so still worth watching this system closely.  

Updated model plots for Invest 95L - looking at the global and hurricane specific models with intensity at the point labels (in knots).  HWRF ramps up the system to 84 knots in the central Gulf on day 5, but there is a large amount of uncertainty in track and intensity at this point.  Still, this system bears watching, and has a high chance of becoming a tropical cyclone within the next two days.  

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