TODAY NICARAGUA NEWS – A gradually organizing disturbance about 300 miles east of Nicaragua was designated Tropical Depression 16 early Monday morning.
Little change in TD 16 was noted in the National Hurricane Center’s advisory at 10 AM EST Monday, with the depression nearly stationary and top sustained winds remaining at 35 mph.
As it sits and spins over very warm water TD 16 is very gradually becoming better organized. Showers and thunderstorms are consolidating around TD 16’s center, with upper-level outflow becoming more evident toward the west and north. Heavy rains on the periphery of TD 16 continue to affect parts of Costa Rica and Panama, as the depression pulls in moisture from the tropical Pacific.
TD 16 is expected to become Tropical Storm Otto within the next day or so. Vertical wind shear will be in the light to moderate range (15 – 20 knots), and minor drying of the atmosphere will bring mid-level relative humidities down to about 60%, but neither factor should impede TD 16’s development.
An upper-level high is projected to strengthen over the western Caribbean by midweek, which should hasten TD 16’s growth. Steering around the high will gradually impart a westward motion to the cyclone. NHC brings TD 16 to hurricane strength by Thursday as it approaches the Caribbean coast near the border of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, where landfall is currently expected on Thursday afternoon or evening.
While all of our most reliable track models bring TD 16 toward Nicaragua, the 00Z Monday European run and its ensemble members are the further south (near or just south of the Costa Rica border), while the UKMET and GFS runs project a landfall closer to central Nicaragua.
The ECMWF is also considerably weaker, with none of its ensemble members bringing TD 16 to hurricane strength; most of the GFS ensemble members call for a strong tropical storm or minimal hurricane before landfall. As TD 16 develops, we’ll want to start keeping a closer eye on the HWRF model, the most reliable intensity model once a system has developed.
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