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Tropical Storm Frances Wednesday - August 25, 2004 - 9:00 PM

T.D. 6 was upgraded to Tropical Storm Frances earlier today and is currently out over the far eastern Atlantic.

Frances continues to slowly become better organized this evening. Outflow is well developed over the western semi-circle and limited over the eastern semi-circle…but improving The cluster of convection near the center has persisted for the last 6-8 hours and continues to become better organized…a solid CDO could be in place by morning if trends from this evening persist. There is a large area of dry air directly in front of Frances, and even though this is slowly eroding, it should limit rapid development. In fact I'd be very surprised if development was anything other than slow/steady over the next 24-48 hours. Can't really argue with latest TPC intensity fcst….that is for Frances to reach hurricane status (cat 1) by sometime Saturday.

Beyond that, I do think increased shear will keep intensification at bay for the balance of the weekend and into Monday….again really can't disagree with TPC intensity fcst through 120 hours. If there is to be an error here I believe they are too high rather than too low.

Track: Based on latest IR satellite loops, Frances has started to make a more pronounced gain in latitude….TPC had a 275 degree forward motion in 5pm package….I believe it is now closer to 285. Expect a general w.n.w. motion for next 3 days, then perhaps a more n.w. motion by days 4-5. I think latest avail. (5 pm) TPC track is too aggressive to the right and believe future tracks will be adjusted to the left. I strongly believe this will pass to the north of the Islands….no all clears by any means…it COULD be a close call for the extreme northern islands..but I believe Frances will pass to the north of the islands….just not by the distance TPC now projects.

Longer range track….beyond day 5: Developing weakness in the ridge to the north of Frances over the next 3-5 days should come to a halt by later in the weekend or on Monday, at which time Frances should resume a more w.n.w. or west track. An estimated position by late next week (later Thursday or Friday) would be 24N - 72.5W.

At that point it becomes a THREAT to the southeast coast. We are in speculation land by then, but assuming my thinking is correct it will then be up to any digging s/w's to catch Frances and keep her offshore….at these time frames there is just no way to time if and where Frances will turn away from the coast.

So, at this point I can only say that Frances could pose a THREAT to the United States in the 8-10 day period. Lots of time to watch and it will be days and days before anything is near conclusive.

There remains only the smallest chance (10-15%) that Frances curves into the open Atlantic and blows my thinking above to pieces.

More tomorrow…….