As we enter September, historically the busiest month of any given hurricane season, the tropical weather map shows activity in three of the usual hotspots: the Yucatan Peninsula, the mid-Atlantic and the African coast.
Let's take a look at all three starting with the disturbed weather over the Yucatan. The National Hurricane Center describes it as a tropical wave over the Yucatan heading toward the Bay of Campeche. While some development is possible, the NHC only gives it a 10 percent chance of developing into a tropical cyclone by midweek. The most likely movement is to the west, which would take it ashore in southern Mexico without posing any threat to the U.S.
Invest 97L is now centered just to the east of the gateway to the Caribbean, the Lesser Antilles islands. While the NHC's official statement only gives 97L a 20 percent chance of developing into a tropical cyclone within the next 48 hours, the chance increases to 50 percent over the next 5 days. As we've seen so often during this hurricane season, Weather Underground founder Dr. Jeff Masters says in his Monday blog entry that there's a mixed picture when it comes to conditions for strengthening. “The disturbance is steadily moistening the atmosphere and is moving into a moister environment, so dry air will be less of an impediment to development as the week progresses. A key factor keeping the disturbance from developing over the next two days is the fact that 97L is quite large, and is stretched out from east to west over a wide expanse. Large, elongated systems like 97L usually take several days to consolidate and spin up. Another factor that will likely retard development is the presence of strong surface trade winds over the Eastern Caribbean ahead of 97L, south of the Dominican Republic. These strong trade winds are a common feature of the Eastern Caribbean, and make the region something of a hurricane graveyard.”
Whether 97L develops into Tropical Storm or Hurricane Gabrielle or not, the current computer models show it turning away from Florida and the U.S. east coast well before it can pose any serious threat. Some parts of the Caribbean could be at risk of some nasty weather, but that seems to be about the worst-case scenario.
As far as the disturbed weather area labeled 98L off the African coast is concerned, the National Hurricane Center's official statement gives it only a 20 percent chance of developing into a tropical cyclone over the next 5 days and early course projections indicate it will most likely turn into the mid-Atlantic and pose no threat to any land mass.
All of these systems bear watching, but none of them are shaping up so far as any kind of serious threat to any interests in the U.S.