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Invest 96 could be good news for surfers

Invest 96 is bringing heavy rains to the Lesser Antilles island chain but the latest indications are it won't pose any serious threat to any land mass. The National Hurricane Center says Invest 96 stands a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone during the next couple of days, but most of the computer-generated forecasts show it taking a northerly turn and eventually ending up in the northern mid-Atlantic Ocean.

While the projected courses take the system far enough away from the U.S. Atlantic coastline to keep it from doing any major damage surfers at the East Coast Surfing Championships are watching it with a great deal of interest. A storm system that's far enough offshore to not threaten any damage, while stirring up larger-than-normal waves is a great combination for elite surfers to show off their skill and courage through August 24.

For non-surfers Invest 96 is probably going to be of very little interest to anyone except forecasters and weather geeks. In his Tuesday morning blog entry Weather Underground founder Dr. Jeff Masters describes 96 as “poorly organized, with a clumpy appearance.” Masters says the dry air that had been keeping a damper on 96's intensity is being replaced by more moist air, he doesn't expect it to become a tropical depression before Friday.

Despite forecasts that show 96 poses no immediate threat to the U.S. Masters strikes a cautionary note: “A trough of low pressure is expected to be over the U.S. East Coast early next week, and the GFS and European models predict that this trough will be strong enough to turn 96L north and then northeast, keeping the storm away from the Southeast U.S. coast. However, long-range model forecasts of disturbances that haven't formed into a tropical depression yet are unreliable, and we should not be confident that 96L will miss the Mainland U.S. yet.”