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The remnants of Tropical Storm Alma reorganized over the Western Caribbean this morning, just off the coast of Belize. The storm (now called Invest 90L), whipped up winds over 40 mph over the ocean just east of Belize, according to this morning's 7:11am EDT QuikSCAT pass. Observations from Buoy 42056, just to the north in the Yucatan Channel, showed sustained winds of 30 mph, gusting to 35, with 10 foot seas. The center of 90L has now moved inland over Belize, and the storm has missed its chance to become the first tropical depression of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season. It will have one more chance to do so on Sunday afternoon, when several models, including the GFDL and NOGAPS, are predicting that 90L will continue west into the Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche and reorganize. The other models keep 90L inland over Mexico and do not foresee development into a tropical depression. If 90L does emerge into the Gulf of Mexico, it will not stay there long--a strong ridge of high pressure is forecast by all the models to force 90L on a west-southwesterly track into Mexico, giving the storm perhaps 12 hours to reorganize. Wind shear will be low, 5-10 knots, and I give 90L a 40% chance of becoming a tropical depression by Sunday night or Monday morning. The storm should bring heavy rains of 3-6 inches to Honduras, El Salvador, Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula over the next two days. If 90L does manage to reorganize into a tropical depression or weak tropical storm, southeast Mexico could end up with 5-10 inches of rain. Here's NHC's take on the system:
Dr. Masters previously noted that Alma was the first named storm since records were started in 1949 to form in the Pacific and hit Central America.
Alma was implicated as a contributing factor in a Grupo Taco plane crash in Honduras after the jet from LAX overran a runway into a street, killing 3.