Tropical Storm Wannabe


Low pressure off the Carolina coast is looking more and more like a tropical storm, but as of late Wednesday afternoon the National Hurricane Center has not classified this as “Kyle”, the next name on the tropical storm list.  To be officially classified as a “tropical storm”, the cyclone would need sustained winds of at least 40 mph and meet these criteria:

Tropical Cyclone:
A warm-core non-frontal synoptic-scale cyclone, originating over tropical or subtropical waters, with organized deep convection and a closed surface wind circulation about a well-defined center. Once formed, a tropical cyclone is maintained by the extraction of heat energy from the ocean at high temperature and heat export at the low temperatures of the upper troposphere. In this they differ from extratropical cyclones, which derive their energy from horizontal temperature contrasts in the atmosphere (baroclinic effects).

This low developed on an old cold front and originally sustained itself and strengthened due to a temperature contrast across the front. Since its initial development, the old cold front has dissipated and the storm has continued to strengthen, partly in response to the warm ocean waters off the coast of South Carolina. If it continues to strengthen by taking heat energy from the ocean and a well defined circulation develops near the center of the storm, this could become “Kyle” before it makes landfall Thursday night. Either way, the storm will bring heavy rain, strong winds, heavy surf and coastal flooding to parts of Virginia, North Carolina and possibly Maryland from Thursday afternoon into Friday.

Tom Tasselmyer

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