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  • Writer's pictureBryan Norcross

The tropics are suddenly a bit active

The system in the extreme southwestern Gulf is still trying to get going. A weak broad circulation is centered near the Mexican coast. The system is located under a small pocket of upper-level winds that are somewhat conducive for development. But with land and hostile upper winds nearby, nothing is likely to happen fast.

A separate weak disturbance is currently entering the Caribbean. It should arrive in the western Gulf midweek. At the same time, the steering flow is forecast to start to change, which should lift the combo system, whatever form it is in, to the north. The consensus of the computer forecast models it that it will be near the northern Gulf coast late in the week.

It will be moving into what’s expected to be an unsupportive atmospheric environment, however, so significant strengthening is not expected. Although there’s a decent chance it will become organized enough to be designated at least a tropical depression.

The question is, how are the various atmospheric factors going to line up when it’s near or approaching the Texas, Louisiana, or Mississippi coast? It’s too far out to be certain, but there are no indications at the current time that it would be terribly strong, although fairly strong winds to the east of the system should be expected.

It’s also very possible that it will mostly be a big mess of tropical moisture when it eventually reaches the Gulf coast. Heavy rain on top of the already saturated ground is forecast, which will bring the potential for flooding, no matter how organized the system becomes.

Elsewhere, the National Hurricane Center has designated a non-tropical system off the North Carolina coast as something to watch. It’s organizing quickly over the relatively warm water of the Gulf Stream, and could briefly become tropical enough to rate advisories and a cone.

The system only has a small window of time to pull itself together before it is swept out to sea. It won’t threaten land.

Across the tropical Atlantic, Caribbean, and into the Gulf of Mexico, there’s a giant plume of Saharan Dust. Some of that dust is forecast to move over South Florida later in the week. It’s likely to make the sky milky. And if we get a solid slug of dust, it will diminish the chances that thunderstorms will develop.

An unusually robust disturbance has moved off Africa just to the south of the dust cloud. It has tough sledding ahead, however. Besides the dust, which should dry it out, the upper-level winds are forecast to become somewhat hostile over the Central Atlantic. It’s a strong enough disturbance that it will bear watching downstream, however.

It’s that time of year!


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