LOTS TO WATCH IN THE TROPICS BUT NO SIGNIFICANT THREATS RIGHT AWAY
As predicted, the tropics have been very active this hurricane season. We reached the “R” name 11 days earlier than ever before, beating out Hurricane Rita from 2005. And it appears that the peak of the season will live up to its potential with lots of systems spinning across the Atlantic.
The biggest threat at the current time would seem to be from Disturbance #2, which has not even left Africa. So we'll watch it, but obviously it’s a long way away and lots of unforecastable things can happen between now and when it might threaten land.
We have other systems to take note of first.
Disturbance #1 is a non-tropical low pressure system that is caught in an area of east-to-west flow in the western Atlantic. It has a decent chance of becoming a tropical depression in the next couple of days as it heads toward the Carolina coast.
There are no indications it will get very strong. It’s most likely to simply enhance an already rainy pattern along the coast when it arrives about Thursday. But if it attains an organized circulation, it will have to be watched, of course.
Tropical Storm Paulette in the central Atlantic is showing better organization, but is forecast to run into trouble ahead. Upper winds will become more hostile as the system makes its way to the west. A break in the blocking high-pressure system to the north appears likely to provide a path for Paulette to turn away before it reaches the U.S., but we’ll watch to be sure. The track and the intensity are interrelated, so if Paulette weakens too much the track could change.
Right on Paulette’s heels is Tropical Storm Rene. Rene has been passing over the mountainous Capo Verde Islands, which appears to have kept it from becoming more organized. The atmosphere ahead appears conducive for strengthening, however, and the National Hurricane Center is forecasting it to reach hurricane status.
A gap in the high pressure to the north should easily allow Rene to head that way, which would keep it away from any more land areas.
Disturbance #2 is of more potential concern because it will emerge into the tropical Atlantic farther south than Paulette and Rene. This means it will be less likely to have to fight off dry air, which continues to cover parts of the ocean north of the tropical belt. And it’s less likely to have an easy path to the north right away on a southern track.
This system is more than a week from the Caribbean islands, if it ends up tracking that way, but it will be something to watch once it moves out into the ocean in a couple of days.
The next name on the list is Sally.
With the exception of Disturbance #1, which doesn’t appear it will get especially strong at this point, no tropical threats are expected this week. Long-range computer forecast models indicate that more systems will follow potential Sally off Africa next week and beyond, however, which isn’t really a surprise since the busiest part of the hurricane season, on average, is yet to come.