Tropical Depression number 2 has boiled up to life in the Atlantic Ocean. The National Hurricane Center began issuing reports on the system Monday afternoon. According to the first position report, TD 2 was some 1500 miles east of the Lesser Antilles which mark the eastern edge of the Caribbean. Movement was almost due west at 16 miles an hour.
While the current course would take TD 2 into the Caribbean and possibly into the Gulf of Mexico there are several factors at work that could make it a meteorological non-event. In his Monday afternoon discussion, NHC forecaster Michael Brennan calls the environment “marginal” for significant strengthening. “ Most of the global model guidance and the HWRF shows the system weakening and dissipating by 48 to 72 hours. The official forecast follows suit, but the cyclone could dissipate sooner than shown here.”
The five-day forecast map shows TD hitting the Lesser Antilles on Thursday, provided it doesn't fizzle out first. Assuming that it doesn't the computer projections provided by Weather Underground.com paint an encouraging picture for U.S. coastal residents. Ensemble projections show TD 2 moving in a northwesterly arc that would take it over Hispaniola and keep it offshore from the Eastern U.S. coastline.
Just about anyone at all familiar with the variables of hurricane forecasting doubtless is aware that despite ongoing improvements forecasting can still be a frustratingly inexact science. Staying in touch with local media outlets is the best way to avoid being caught by surprise. Surviving a hurricane and it's after effects can be a difficult and dangerous business, but preparation is the key to making it through safely. When to stay and when to leave can be a life or death situation. Keeping emergency supplies ready and accounted for is the first, and perhaps most important step, to surviving a close encounter of the tropical cyclone kind.