THE DEPRESSION IS STILL TRYING TO TURN INTO TROPICAL STORM JOSEPHINE
The Tropical Depression in the middle of the Atlantic has persistent thunderstorms associated with it, but daylight satellite pictures show they are still shunted to the north side of the circulation. Top-wind estimates are holding just under tropical-storm strength.
Somewhat hostile upper-level winds and dry air are creating an environment that is only marginally conducive for strengthening. As the upper winds let up a bit, the thunderstorms should wrap around the center and allow the system to strengthen. In addition, a more organized system should shield the center from the dry Saharan air that dominates that part of the ocean.
The National Hurricane Center is forecasting the system to organize and intensify for the next couple of days before the surrounding atmospheric conditions become more hostile once again.
Over the weekend, the system – whether it’s Tropical Storm Josephine or not – is forecast to be in the vicinity of the northeastern Caribbean islands. The best evidence is that the center of circulation will track to the north of the islands, though forecasts for weak or developing systems are always less certain.
At this point, it does not look like the system will have an opportunity to get very strong before it weakens again as it passes the islands.
Early in the week, the remnants of the system are forecast by the computer forecast models to turn north well east of the U.S. coast and the Bahamas.
Elsewhere in the Atlantic, weak disturbances continue to move off Africa, but none show any immediate signs of organization, so nothing of consequence beyond Josephine is expected through the weekend.
We’ll keep an eye out next week to see if one of the African disturbances can organize in the tropical ocean between Africa and the Caribbean. Some of the long-range computer forecast models hint that that might happen. That would be appropriate since the nominal beginning of the peak of hurricane season starts one week from today – August 20.