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What’s developing in the tropics right now

Three areas to watch for development

Watching three areas for potential development in the Atlantic.
Watching three areas for potential development in the Atlantic.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – We are approaching the peak of the Atlantic Hurricane Season (2nd week of September) and all indications are it will be a busy few weeks for The Weather Authority, but it’s too soon to tell if any of these systems will end up threatening the First Coast.

97L Invest

The first system we are watching is a tropical wave located over the eastern Caribbean Sea is producing disorganized showers and thunderstorms, along with gusty winds in these thunderstorms. Some gradual development of this system is possible over next day or so while it moves westward at about 15 to 20 mph across the central Caribbean Sea. After that time, the wave is forecast to move more slowly west-northwestward, and a tropical depression is likely to form late this week or this weekend when the system reaches the northwestern Caribbean Sea.

Likely to head into the Gulf eventually
Likely to head into the Gulf eventually

Most forecast models agree on a track into the Gulf, but they differ on whether the system will develop rotation, or just move through as an area of tropical moisture with little to no wind.

98L Invest

The next system to watch is an elongated area of low pressure, located a little over 1000 miles east of the Windward Islands continues to produce a concentrated area of showers and thunderstorms mainly on the west side of the disturbance. Environmental conditions are conducive for further development, and a tropical depression is expected to form during the next day or two while the system moves generally west-northwestward at 15 to 20 mph across the central and western portions of the tropical Atlantic.

This system will track a little further north than 97L Invest according to long term forecast models
This system will track a little further north than 97L Invest according to long term forecast models

The forecast models are in a general agreement that this system will take a slightly more northerly track than 97L, but it is too soon to tell if this will bring rain to South Florida or not. The forecast models also differ widely on whether the system will develop rotation or if it to will just be a messy area of rain with no wind, also.

99L Invest

The last system we are watching (for right now) is just now rolling off of the coastline of Africa. We are watching a large area of showers and thunderstorms, located over Guinea and Sierra-Leone, Africa, is associated with a vigorous tropical wave. Environmental conditions are expected to be marginally conducive for some development of this system while the wave enters the extreme eastern Atlantic on Friday. By early next week, however, conditions are forecast to become less favorable for tropical cyclone formation while it moves west-northwestward at 15 to 20 mph toward the central tropical Atlantic.

30% chance to develop over the next 5 days
30% chance to develop over the next 5 days

Looking Ahead

The concern with these systems is the environmental conditions these storms will be entering may be conducive to development. Sea Surface temperature can contribute to intensification of storms, and all three systems will be moving over very deep, very warm waters which is the perfect combination for potential intensification.

Another factor that may lead to more conducive conditions for development is the weaker wind shear. Strong upper level winds, called shear, tear storms apart and keep them weak. The strong wind shear we’ve enjoyed for the past few weeks is dissipating, and it looks as though we will enter a lull in shear over the next few weeks.

On factor that is expected to limit the potential for these storms to develop is the dry air the systems will be moving through. Dry air weakens, and sometimes tears systems apart.


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