JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – At 11 p.m, the center of Tropical Storm Josephine was located near latitude 14.8 north, longitude 52.2 west, or about 760 miles east-southeast of the Northern Leeward Islands. Josephine is moving toward the west-northwest near 17 mph and this general motion is expected to continue for the next few days followed by a turn toward the northwest this weekend.
Josephine is the earliest 10th tropical storm of record in the Atlantic, with the next earliest tenth storm being Tropical Storm Jose on Aug. 22, 2005.
Recent satellite wind data indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 45 mph with higher gusts. Some additional strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles to the north of the center. The estimated minimum central pressure is 1005 mb.
Thursday morning satellite images showed an area of 35-40 knot winds about 70 nautical miles north of the center of Tropical Depression Eleven, and based on this the cyclone was upgraded to Tropical Storm Josephine with an initial intensity of 40 knots. Satellite imagery shows that the convective pattern associated with Josephine has become a little better organized since the last advisory, with a ragged central convective feature and a weak band in the northern semicircle.
The initial motion is now west-northwestward. Josephine should continue this motion for the next several days as it moves toward a weakness in the western portion of the Atlantic subtropical ridge.
The global models forecast the western end of the ridge to weaken even more after 48 hours, which should cause the cyclone, or what is left of it by that time, to turn northwestward.
The track guidance is tightly clustered, and the new forecast track lies a little to the right of the previous track and a little to the left of the consensus models.
Some additional strengthening appears likely during the next 12 hours as Josephine moves through an environment of light vertical wind shear. After that, the cyclone is expected to encounter moderate to strong southwesterly shear as it approaches an upper-level trough over the southwestern Atlantic, which should cause at least some weakening.
The new intensity forecast shows some strengthening through Friday based on the current intensity forecast models. After 72 hours, it shows weakening similar to the previous forecast, about as drastic as the global models, which show the storm degenerating to a tropical wave (dissipating) within five days.
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