Environment
2:08 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Karen Struggling With Shear; Forecast Uncertainty Looms for Florida Panhandle

Tropical Storm Karen is struggling to survive amidst a powerful westerly wind.  Needless to say, one should use caution when looking to the future with Karen.  Multiple weather features will play into a very complicated forecast for the Tropical Storm as it approaches the U.S. coastline this weekend.

Credit Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

 PRECISION POINTS

·         Storm is struggling today, still forecast to strengthen by Saturday

·         A sharp right turn to the northeast (or east) is possible over the weekend

·         Impact to Florida hinges upon where and when this turn to the northeast occurs

 Westerly winds aloft are very strong and have pushed most of the thunderstorm activity well away from the center of circulation.  As a result, Karen has weakened to a storm with winds of 50 mph (per 11am Friday advisory from NHC). The storm was moving to the north-northwest at only 10 mph and had a minimum pressure of 1003 mb.  If the wind shear continues, Karen could weaken a bit more by Friday evening.  Dry air is also factoring into the equation, suppressing the thunderstorms that are able to form near and west of the storm.