This is a close up animation of Invest 96L on the Funktop satellite imagery.
There is a sense that it has pulled itself together yet it is having problems wrapping the convection around the center. Part of the problem is that it is a very large system and it is system that incorporates both the strongest center plus the old area of convection with it's own low pressure.
That means that despite the fact that Recon did find a "center" it also has multiple weak centers.
The bigger problem is that they also found Tropical Storm force winds in the system.
I'm getting tired of calling it a "SYSTEM" as by parameters I've been used to over time this is a Tropical Depression. A weak tropical depression going through it's evolution into a Tropical Storm. I don't get that call and we have to wait for the NHC to call it a Tropical Depression with Tropical Storm force winds in stronger gusts. I'd like to see a TS watch at least put out for PR with information on flash floods being possible. Yes, the NWS is there but the NHC gets the big press. Not saying that's right.. just saying it is what it is and without a name no one really pays much attention. Even a "Tropical Depression" status heightens awareness.
Then again if the center is indeed further to the north it will most likely brush PR and the Virgin Islands on it's way into the Bahamas. Always hard to be sure what is going to happen with a developing system. It's so much easier to be sure with a Category 2 Hurricane what is going on..
Did they find the "west wind" and can we really say it's a totally closed off circulation?
Will the NHC wait until tomorrow's morning visible?
What worries me is that this "system" has a very large envelope of moisture. As it becomes a Tropical Storm and maybe even a Hurricane that area wraps up and this will have a long tail of moisture that will help feed it with tropical energy. It could at some point develop a very classic signature.
When you put this into motion you can see better it's signature and spin.
Moves in tandem as one system.
Yes it may have some multiple centers but there is a difference between a Tropical Depression and a Hurricane. Many a Tropical Storm has looked much worse on satellite imagery and had more centers than 3 Faces of Eve.
It seems this last year or two a Tropical Depression has to look like it's about to become a Hurricane before it gets designation. Hard for me to deal with as I've been around long enough to see many a strong Tropical Storm that looked worse... and traveled with multiple centers.
Tropical Storm Earl in 1998 comes to mind, mostly because of all my met friends who were pulling their hair out at how poorly the presentation was and how many multiple centers it had... and yet... that did not stop it from becoming a TS or a Hurricane eventually for a short time.
Imagery of TS Earl with beautiful Hurricane Danielle to the far upper right.
Compare and contrast that image with the one below of Tropical Disturbance Invest 96L
The biggest problem that Invest 96L is that it's got a big caboose...
So where do we go from here....
Currently the system is moving quickly to the WNW...carrying with it the remnants of the other X remember that. Next the frontal boundary that will cool off the South in a few days is going to move off to the East. The steering currents could get iffy and a possible stall in the Bahamas has been indicated by many models. IF so..........that becomes problematic. A high that builds in can steer it more to the West. Eventually it would in theory go out to sea even though some versions of the EURO drew a bulls eye over Miami earlier today. Next model run will show something else most likely.
It has ample moisture to work with...
If this storm wrapped up fast it would go nicely, out to sea the way Danielle did.. As a large, lumbering Tropical Depression or Storm moving in tandem with a few other centers it will not do that as easily.
Also there is always the problem that one of the other centers could take over and if so... you got to throw the models out and start all over.
No one said it would be easy. Not all Tropical systems are beautiful and perfect. You take them as they come and you do the best you can forecasting their track and intensity. A good forecast gets the intensity right as it can greatly affect the track. A good forecast also gets the timing right. IF you get the timing wrong... Bertha makes landfall rather than staying off the coast while curving out to sea.
Personally the last thing I would want is a still weak TS stalled out close to Florida in the Bahamas trying to figure out which way to go over very warm water.
Note where INVEST 96L is currently is over marginally warm water
compared with where it is going and where it could stall in the Bahamas.
When it does become Cristobal it will be pronounced
Again the storms we have to worry about in Florida are the ones that come UP and OVER the islands as they do not tangle with Haiti or the high mountains in the Dominican Republic. It all becomes about where the Bermuda High is and as I have mentioned it moves back and forth just enough to open up a door out to sea or to push it towards Florida...or the Carolinas. This system is large and part of it could tangle a bit with Hispaniola ... confidence in that is still low.
The reason I say this is not to hype the storm, but to make sure you know that it is out there and you need to be on top of your hurricane preparation list. If your kids got into the Twinkies.. buy new ones. If you used up the water... buy more. Make sure you have medication on hand. We are moving into the height of the hurricane season and you need to be prepared. If Cristobal makes you double check your supplies then good for Cristobal.
As always www.stormcarib.com often has some great first hand reports from the islands.
This is where Cristobal could be on Monday according to the NWS
(that will change in real time as the "system" changes)
(note the loop changes in real time... as weather changes)
Watch this video it has a great discussion about the developing Cristobal..
Ps.. I will be back if it is upgraded. I think it deserves an upgrade. I'm personally not sure they have the right center. I've seen this before where they decide a center is in one place, investigate that center and then in a day or so they say the center jumped or reformed. IF this center "reforms" under the area further to the NW that would drag the models more to the West. I'm less concerned with the current models and more concerned with the possible stall in the Bahamas.
Stall ...it rhymes with BALL as in Cristobal!