The effects of wind shear are taking a substantial bite out of Tropical Storm Kirk this morning.
Based on the 8 a.m. Friday morning advisory on the storm, now located west of Martinique and St. Lucia, Kirk's center of circulation still has an area of sustained winds hitting 50 mph. The organization of the storm though is not healthy, with most of the rain connected with it nearly exclusively on the system's eastern side.
The reason for Kirk's lopsided appearance is strong wind shear present over the Caribbean Sea. Wind shear is when wind speeds in the mid and upper levels of the atmosphere are strong enough to influence a developing storm system. When stronger winds are present, they spread out a developing storm's energy by forcing thunderstorms in tropical systems to essentially lean. Tropical systems don't like this, as they are at their strongest when wind shear is weak with low wind speeds in the air around them.
Given the abundance of wind shear over the Caribbean, Kirk isn't expected to be able to hang around much longer. The official forecast cone from the National Hurricane Center has Kirk weakening into a tropical depression by early Saturday and then collapsing into a basic tropical disturbance after that.
The eventual remnants of Kirk are not expected to play a role in the weather over Southwest Florida.
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