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  • Writer's pictureBryan Norcross

HURRICANE ANDREW TIMELINE – 6 DAYS FROM LANDFALL + A disturbance to watch for the Gulf

That Tuesday afternoon 30 years ago today – August 18, 1992 – Tropical Storm Andrew was sputtering. The satellite presentation was less impressive than it was the day before as strong upper winds were affecting the circulation.

In the 5:00 PM non-public Technical Discussion issued with the advisory, the National Hurricane Center mentioned the possibility that the storm might weaken to a tropical depression sometime in the next day or so. The thunderstorms were pulsing, which is an indication of a hostile atmospheric environment.

The first Hurricane Hunter flight to get a close-up look at Andrew was scheduled for the next morning.

The Public Advisory continued to estimate the top winds at 50 mph, with gradual strengthening predicted as the storm moved quickly across the Atlantic.

The forecast showed the storm tracking toward the waters north of Puerto Rico in the next three days. Although, given the uncertainty in the forecasts of the era, a potential threat to the northeastern Caribbean islands couldn’t be ruled out.

In South Florida, we were paying only passing attention to the disorganized storm with (barely) 50 mph winds centered about 1900 miles from Miami. As it turned out, it was only 5 1/2 days from landfall near Miami as a Category 5.

IN 2022, the tropical disturbance over Central America has a chance of briefly developing into a tropical depression or tropical storm when it moves over the extreme southern Gulf of Mexico tomorrow and Saturday.

The slice of the Gulf that looks conducive to development is quite small. If the disturbance tracks too far west, it will run over land. If it tracks farther into the Gulf, the upper-level winds are forecast to be hostile. Since it has to thread the needle to have any chance to develop, the National Hurricane Center is giving it a fairly low chance.

By Sunday, the system is likely to be inland in Mexico or South Texas as a moisture surge. Even if it did organize, there is no sign it would get terribly strong.

The tropical Atlantic has a faint pulse. It looks like it’s thinking about coming alive. The long-range computer forecast models show some activity next week, but there is no consistency in the projections. The main point is that surges of moisture seem to be more robust than they have been. When that happens, the leading surge or disturbance can moisten the atmosphere to make a more supportive corridor for the systems that follow.

There still is plenty of dry air lurking just to the north of a generally moister belt in the deep tropics, however.

We’ll watch for more consistency in the computer forecast models. Until then, we’ll just be grateful that, for whatever reason, the start of the heart of the hurricane season is delayed through the weekend, at least.


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