Erin downgraded to depression; Gulf of Mexico disturbance surviving, may strengthen

Earlier this week storm activity in the tropical Atlantic began to heat up, now it’s simmering down somewhat.

Tropical depression Erin

One-time tropical storm Erin, far out in the eastern Atlantic, has been downgraded to a tropical depression.  The storm weakened as it encountered dry air and cooler ocean temperatures.


Tropical depression Erin (NOAA)

“It is also now reduced to a skeletal cloud swirl centered about 400 miles west of the Cape Verde islands,” writes CWG tropical weather expert Brian McNoldy.  “It would need to hang around for another three days or so until it tracks into a slightly more favorable environment… but still not ideal.”

McNoldy says most models predict Erin will dissipate.

Gulf of Mexico disturbance

A weak area of low pressure, which originated in the Caribbean, has barely survived its trek over the Yucatan Peninsula and arrived in the southwest Gulf of Mexico.  Environmental conditions are better, though not ideal, for some organization.


Satellite animation of disturbance over the southwest Gulf of Mexico (NOAA)

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) says there’s a 50 percent chance it will become a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours and a 60 percent chance in the next five days.

Both McNoldy and the NHC stress the track this disturbance takes will help seal its fate.  If it heads more to the north, it’s likely to fall apart as it encounters strong wind shear and dry air.  But if takes on a more westerly course, it could gradually intensify.

Related: CWG Hurricane Tracker

Jason is currently the Washington Post’s weather editor. A native Washingtonian, Jason has been a weather enthusiast since age 10.
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Jason Samenow · August 16, 2013