The National Weather Service has issued storm surge warnings and tropical storm warnings across the Gulf Coast in anticipation of the development of Tropical Storm Nestor. The system is currently an invest region in the center of the Gulf of Mexico. The system is expected to reach tropical storm force in the morning hours of 18 October, and will likely make landfall near Panama City, FL in the early morning hours on 19 October 2019. The system is forecasted to move quickly across the Southeast before making its way to the Atlantic, shown in Figure 1. It is not expected to reach hurricane status, but instead become a sub-tropical storm. This means the system will have characteristics of both a tropical storm and a regular storm system. The main threats are flooding and strong winds. Parts of the Gulf Coast could see up to six inches of rain and two to five feet of storm surge.
Figure 1. National Hurricane Center released forecasted storm track from 12Z 18 October 2019. The image depicts the location of the center of the system over the Gulf of Mexico, and the anticipated motion of the storm along the cone.
Figure 2. Both images taken from NESDIS GOES-16 satellite image viewer. Image on the left is a visible satellite image of the system at 1321Z 18 October 2019. Image on the right is an IR Cloudtop image taken at 1326Z 18 October 2019.
Using the satellite images above (Figure 2), we can get an idea of the relative size and strength of the system as it makes its way towards the coast. There is no defined eye, indicating that the system is not well organized. Systems with a defined eye typically have hurricane force winds and are stronger in nature. However, we can note that there is strong convection in the center of the system. The black and white color in the IR image indicates high level cloud tops, which is a characteristic of strong convection. This indicates the system is strengthening, which we would expect to see as it is over a body of warm water.