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  • Writer's pictureBryan Norcross

HURRICANE ANDREW TIMELINE – 7 DAYS TO LANDFALL + Systems to watch in the tropics

It was 30 years ago this morning - 11:00 AM on Monday, August 17, 1992 – that the headline in the Public Advisory from the National Hurricane Center said, “FIRST TROPICAL STORM OF THE SEASON FORMS IN THE TROPICAL ATLANTIC.” Tropical Storm Andrew was named.

When the sun came up over the eastern Atlantic, it was clear that the system had become better organized overnight.

Andrew was just over 2,500 miles from Miami, and unbeknownst to us in South Florida, a little less than 7 days from landfall. That Monday, it was a 40-mph tropical storm in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. No big deal.

In the non-public Technical Discussion issued with the advisory, National Hurricane Center forecaster Hal Gerrish noted that thunderstorms had formed on the eastern side of the circulation, which was a sign that the upper-level winds had become a bit less hostile.

The forecast called for slow strengthening with a track in the general direction of the northeastern Caribbean islands.

And in 2022, a tropical disturbance over Central America will move into the extreme southern Gulf of Mexico on Friday. It should have about two days over the warm water of the Gulf before it moves inland over northern Mexico or South Texas. There’s some chance it will organize into at least a tropical depression, although there is dry air in the area and part of the system might be over the land. By Sunday, its opportunity for development will be over.

Nothing dramatic is expected from this system, though heavy rain is possible when it moves inland.

The tropical Atlantic is expected to remain calm this week, but the consensus of the long-range computer forecast models is that systems moving off Africa will find enough moist air to have a chance to develop fairly soon.

A disturbance that just moved off Africa might moisten the atmosphere over the tropical Atlantic enough to start to develop around the first of next week, or it might lay the groundwork for systems behind it. In any case, there are signs the Atlantic is waking up.

Tropical activity has been below average this season, but not bizarrely so. The first hurricane develops, on average, on August 11th. If that’s the average date, sometimes developments are later to compensate for the years when a hurricane forms in June.

If nothing develops before the end of August, we’ll be looking under the fridge for a reason. But given the macro conditions that favor a busy season, it is still likely that storms will become frequent once they start. But… sometimes there are micro factors that aren’t obvious, so we’ll see.


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