Say it ain't so: What to watch next in the tropics

Only one system bears watching for those of us in Florida, Georgia

By Rebecca Barry - Meteorologist

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The peak of the Atlantic hurricane season is mid-September, and this year it appears we will certainly achieve the highest number of systems to watch during that time. Despite the high level of activity, only one of the areas could possibly end up making its way towards us, and it is too soon to tell where it will end up. 

We will begin with the system worth watching. The National Hurricane Center places a 70% chances on it to develop over the next five days, it is just now coming off of the coastline of Africa and is expected to track westward.

The NHC's discussion details the following, a broad area of low pressure located just southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands is producing limited shower and thunderstorm activity. Little, if any, development of this disturbance is expected for the next couple of days, but environmental conditions are likely to become more conducive for a tropical depression to form by Tuesday or Wednesday while the system moves westward across the tropical Atlantic Ocean. 

Moving on to Dorian, which is pulling away from the Carolina coast and heading slightly offshore of Virginia. Dorian will not fade out immediately, quite the opposite. Now the track takes it towards Newfoundland this weekend. The NHC is advising hurricane-strength winds are possible there. The latest discussion says Dorian is moving toward the northeast near 17 mph and this general motion with an increase in forward speed is expected through Saturday night.

On the forecast track, the center of Dorian will move away from the coast of North Carolina over the next several hours. The center should move to the southeast of extreme southeastern New England tonight and Saturday morning, and then across Nova Scotia late Saturday or Saturday night.

Maximum sustained winds are near 90 mph with higher gusts. Slow weakening is expected through Saturday.  After that, Dorian is forecast to become a post-tropical cyclone with hurricane-force winds by Saturday night as it approaches Nova Scotia.

Next is Tropical Storm Gabrielle, which is our absolute favorite type of storm, one that is out in the open Atlantic and never expected to make its way over land. The NHC discussion details the reintensification the storm just underwent.

Although Gabrielle was without organized deep convection for most of the past 24 hours, deep convection has quickly re-developed near and to the north of the center this morning.  In addition, recent ASCAT data indicate that the winds have increased since last night, suggesting that tropical-cyclone intensification processes are ongoing.

While normally we would wait a little longer to restart the cyclone, since the previous advisory and this one show the potential for significant strengthening, advisories are being re-initiated so that marine warnings that were already in place could remain.  The initial intensity is set to 40 knots, in agreement with the ASCAT winds.

And lastly, the NHC is monitoring an area near the Leeward Islands that is poorly organized and not expected to develop. They only place a 10% chance on it to intensify over the next five days.

The discussion details: Disorganized cloudiness and showers located a few hundred miles northeast of the Leeward Islands are associated with a trough of low pressure.  Significant development of this system is not expected during the next several days while it moves slowly west-northwestward to northwestward.

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