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Tropical Atlantic heating up mid August, forecast update

The tropical Atlantic is heating up right on schedule with two potential storms building
The tropical Atlantic is heating up right on schedule with two potential storms building

The current look at the Atlantic shows two areas of likely development, as indicated by the National Hurricane Center. Area 1 in the western Caribbean has a 60% chance of developing by Friday. This the one to watch, since forecast models carry it through the Gulf of Mexico and into the US. This could be a flooding potential for some already hard hit areas late into the weekend and next week. Area 2 is just off of the African coast has a 70% chance of becoming a tropical storm by Friday. This is less of a concern since it would be a week until it got close to any populated areas.

Two areas that could likely develop tropical storms by Friday
NOAA, National Hurricane Center

See the images and forecast track in the slide show. The next two names on the list are Erin and Fernand.

See the 2013 list of storm names and history of naming

After a fast start to the season, the Atlantic has been rather quiet. Two storms were named in June and two more in July, none however have reached hurricane intensity.

  • Andrea: June 5-7, max winds = 65mph
  • Barry: June 17-20, max winds = 45 mph
  • Chantal: July 8-10, max winds = 65 mph
  • Dorian: July 24-August 3, max winds 60 mph

NOAA has predicted an above 2013 tropical normal season:

  • 13-19 Named Storms (average=12)
  • 6-9 Hurricanes (average=6)
  • 3 Major Hurricanes (average)

Historically the activity builds up in mid August and peaks in mid September. See the storm origin locations for every 10 days of the season here. This is primarily due to the warmest water temperatures of the year, which is the fuel source for tropical systems. But it also relies on light upper level winds. Other influences such as El Nino in the Pacific can increase the upper level winds over the Atlantic and cut off the tops of storms, limiting development. One reason the past few weeks have been quiet is due to a layer of dust from the African Sahara Desert that blow over the Atlantic. This has been linked to coating the ocean and limiting storm formation.

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