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  • Writer's pictureBryan Norcross

Atlantic disturbance is struggling to organize but has tropical-storm force winds; others to watch

Tropical Disturbance #1, which we have been following across the tropical Atlantic, is approaching the southernmost Caribbean islands. On the current schedule, it will cross the islands tonight bringing wind gusts over 40 mph to some of the land areas north of the track of the system. Parts of Trinidad, Tobago, Grenada, and the smaller surround island will experience the tropical squalls.

The National Hurricane Center has officially designated the disturbance as Potential Tropical Cyclone Two. All that means it that they can issue Tropical Storm Watches and Warnings for the affected land areas.

The disturbance continues to be quite disorganized. The strong winds are equally related to the low pressure of the disturbance and the strong high-pressure system to the north. It’s that same high that is holding the disturbance on an unusual far-southern track.

By late Wednesday, Tropical Disturbance #1 will affect the ABC Islands –Bonaire, Aruba, and Curaçao. (The geographical layout is not ABC, it’s actually ACB left to right with Bonaire the farthest east.) Only once in the record book has an organized tropical system brought bad weather to that island group in June. That was in 1933.

And it’s not certain that it will happen this time. Since the system is so disorganized, and with the Venezuelan coast ahead, the disturbance may have to clear the South American landmass and emerge into the southwestern Caribbean before it can organize into an official tropical storm. They’ll feel the system pass by, but there’s a decent chance it won’t meet the definition of a tropical storm.

We are in the confusing situation with a system that has tropical-storm force winds – that is, 40 mph or higher – but doesn’t have the organization that is required for the storm to be named. The atmospheric pattern looks reasonably conducive. But the disturbance is embedded in a broad area of low pressure, which is a regular feature at the low latitude where this disturbance formed, and the system hasn’t been able to establish its own, closed circulation.

The bottom line is, whether the system gets a name or not, gusty winds and heavy rain will move through the southeastern Caribbean islands late tomorrow into Wednesday. Everybody in that region should stay informed.

In the northern Gulf of Mexico, the consensus of the computer forecast models is that a weak area of low pressure will form from Disturbance #1 and drift toward south Texas. The National Hurricane Center is giving it a slight chance of developing into at least a tropical depression. In any case, persistent rain is going to extend along the northern Gulf coast for the next few days.

In the Atlantic behind Tropical Disturbance #1, there is a broad area of disturbed weather made up of two weak tropical disturbances. Together - we'll call them Tropical Disturbance #3 - they are projected to take a more typical track toward the northeastern Caribbean islands. The atmospheric conditions are forecast to become somewhat more conducive for development, but not excessively so. The eventual system will have to deal modestly hostile upper winds.

Right now, the National Hurricane Center is giving this disturbance a slight chance of developing into at least a tropical depression in the next 5 days.

Otherwise, nothing is pending. Haha.


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