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Tropical Depression FOURTEEN

Tropical Depression Fourteen Discussion Number   1
NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL       AL142020
1100 AM EDT Thu Aug 20 2020
Visible satellite images indicate that the area of disturbed 
weather moving across the central Caribbean Sea has developed a 
closed surface circulation, with the center embedded beneath 
cellular convective cells and a large cirrus canopy.  Also, 
convection has increased in organization, and TAFB and SAB have 
given the system classification of T2.0/30 kt and T1.5/25 kt, 
respectively.  Therefore, advisories are being initiated on 
Tropical Depression Fourteen with maximum winds of 30 kt.  An 
expected ASCAT pass later today and an Air Force Reserve Hurricane 
Hunter mission scheduled for this afternoon should give us a better 
handle on both the depression's center location and its maximum 

The depression continues to move westward at a pretty good clip, 
currently estimated to be on a heading of 280 degrees at 18 kt.  
This motion is being driven by the western extent of the Bermuda 
high, which currently noses into the northwestern Caribbean Sea.  
However, a deep-layer trough over the Gulf of Mexico is expected to 
become the main driver in the coming days, causing the cyclone to 
slow down and turn rather suddenly toward the west-northwest and 
northwest in the next 24-36 hours.  A general northwestward motion 
should then continue until the end of the 5-day forecast period, 
bringing the system across the Yucatan Peninsula Saturday night and 
into the central and western Gulf of Mexico early next week.  Most 
of the reliable track models are clustered close to one another, 
and the official NHC track forecast is therefore very close to the 
multi-model consensus aids, including the HCCA model.

Once the depression slows down during the next 24-36 hours, 
environmental conditions appear ideal for strengthening.  The 
magnitude of vertical shear is expected to be less than 10 kt for 
at least the next 2 days, while the system will be moving over the 
deep, warm waters of the northwestern Caribbean Sea, where sea 
surface temperatures are 29-30 degrees Celsius.  Given these 
conditions, some of the intensity guidance actually appears more 
muted than I would have expected, and I have therefore elected to 
closely follow the SHIPS and LGEM models, which are near the upper 
end of the guidance envelope.  It is possible that the depression 
could be near or at hurricane strength when it approaches the 
Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico in 2-3 days.  Some weakening is 
anticipated when the center moves over land, and then 
re-strengthening is likely after it moves over the Gulf of Mexico.  
There will be an increase in shear over the Gulf in 4-5 days, and 
right now there is greater-than-normal uncertainty in how this will 
affect the cyclone's intensity at that point.  For now, the 
official forecast on days 4 and 5 shows a flat-lined intensity, and 
this scenario lies a little above the ICON intensity consensus and 
the HCCA model solution.

Key Messages:

1. Tropical Depression Fourteen is expected to strengthen over the 
northwestern Caribbean Sea through Saturday, and it could produce 
tropical-storm-force winds and heavy rainfall over portions of the 
coast of Honduras and the Bay Islands beginning tonight through 
Friday.  The system could be near or at hurricane strength when it 
reaches the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico late Saturday, and watches 
could be required for a portion of that area later today.

2. The system is expected to move into the south-central Gulf 
of Mexico as a tropical storm on Sunday.  Some strengthening is 
anticipated while it moves northwestward over the western Gulf of 
Mexico early next week, but it is too soon to know exactly how 
strong it will get or the location and magnitude of impacts it 
will produce along the central or northwestern Gulf Coast.  
Interests in that area should continue monitoring the progress of 
this system over the next few days.

INIT  20/1500Z 15.1N  79.7W   30 KT  35 MPH
 12H  21/0000Z 15.5N  81.9W   35 KT  40 MPH
 24H  21/1200Z 16.3N  84.2W   40 KT  45 MPH
 36H  22/0000Z 17.1N  85.5W   50 KT  60 MPH
 48H  22/1200Z 18.4N  86.4W   55 KT  65 MPH
 60H  23/0000Z 19.9N  87.4W   60 KT  70 MPH
 72H  23/1200Z 21.5N  88.9W   45 KT  50 MPH
 96H  24/1200Z 25.0N  92.0W   50 KT  60 MPH
120H  25/1200Z 28.0N  94.0W   50 KT  60 MPH
Forecaster Berg