Good Morning All. TD-6 has been upgraded to Tropical Storm Felix at the 5am advisory.
From NHC's 5am discussion #3:
"THE CONVECTIVE PATTERN OF THE CYCLONE HAS CONSOLIDATED SOMEWHAT OVERNIGHT...WITH THE COLDEST CLOUD TOPS NOW FOCUSED ON A CLUSTER VERY NEAR THE ESTIMATED LOW-LEVEL CENTER LOCATION ... AND THE ADVISORY INTENSITY IS RAISED TO 35 KT ... SO THE DEPRESSION IS UPGRADED TO TROPICAL STORM FELIX."
Felix is still very much in the formative stages and is still in the process of consolidating, but the deep convection continues to expand with continuing organization of the feeder bands, several of which are now in evidence in the western semi-circle, with more beginning to take shape in the SE quad and the northern periphery.
Also, the deep convection has maintained very cold cloud top temps of -70 to -80, all the while continuing to organize better, implying that gradual intensification is underway. And upper level outflow is quite good and only improving.
First visible satellite images suggest, from a steadily improving satellite signature, that Felix is beginning to strengthen in earnest, as it traverses the ever-warmer waters of the Caribbean ahead of it. Although not an especially large system, I surmise that Felix will continue to steadily expand its' wind field, and could easily become much larger before making landfall.
University of Hawaii Weather Server version of Tropical Satellite Imagery:
(I like to click the 'Rock' button for a back-and-forth effect and slow it down just a tad.)
Moving a little faster now, it seems that Felix is destined to be, like Dean, a 'Straight Shooter' type system, with high confidence in taking it directly towards Central America, with a possible landfall in Belize nearing Cat 3 strength.
Shear is expected to remain low to non-existent, so an even stronger hurricane wouldn't be out of the question by the end of the forecast period. Remember that mid and long range *intensity forecasts* have a much greater degree of error than do those regarding location, and all environmental factors appear to be favorable, certainly not inhibitive, once Felix pulls away from Venezuela and is able to more easily expand its' wind field and overall circulation envelope.
All in all, it would appear that Felix could become a quite 'respectable' Caribbean Hurricane, which fortunately, should not effect US interests.