Tropical Depression one continues to be a very interesting system. The depression is clearly battling wind shear over the Gulf of Mexico and has a very ragged apperance. However, despite this a weather station near the Dry Tortugas, FL reported sustained tropical force winds overnight. Radar echoes from both Key West, FL, and La Bajada, Cuba are indicating large curved bands of rain and thunderstorm. Such curved bans are a sure sign of a circulation. However, this center of circulation is nowhere near those bands.
Inrafred satellite imagery is now showing a lot of active convection near the center, however, there are large rain bands to the east of the center. By far, most of the depressions convection is on the east side where tropical storm force winds may exist.
Cuba and the Florida Keys have been getting a lot of rain as a result of this storm. Radar estimates from Key West indicate up to a foot of rain has fallen across Cuba from the depression. However, the estimates are likely conservative in many localities where the terrain enhances rainfall.
The computer models are clearly locking onto Northern Florida for a future landfall if the depression is able to survive that long. Considering this consistency in the track, it is surprising to note that the depression thus far has been holding on the left side of the expected track. If this trend continues it would keep the depression under more hostile conditions and bring it toward the northern Gulf Coast.
After crossing Florida, the models call for the system to continue to track of the East Coast. However, it should transition to an extratropical system along the way.
Intensity forecasts are another matter completely. How lucky do you feel? About 2/3 of the models are calling for gradual intensification, while the other third are calling for no further development.
As for forecasted wind speeds, once again the models are split down the same lines. The underwhelming consensus seems to be to make the system a weak tropical storm.