A clump of thunderstorms off the the African coast has caught the collective eyes of forecasters at the National Hurricane Center. On Monday the NHC gives the tropical wave a 70 percent chance of turning into at least a tropical depression and possibly a tropical storm over the next five days as it heads west toward the Lesser Antilles. It is now labeled “Invest 93L”.
Weather Underground founder Dr. Jeff Masters makes a case for more development in his Monday morning blog entry. “Two of our three reliable models for predicting tropical cyclone genesis, the GFS and UKMET models, predicted in their 00Z Monday runs that the disturbance would develop into a tropical depression by Thursday. Several of our less reliable models, the NAVGEM and Canadian models, also predicted development. The only reliable model that did not predict development was the European model, which historically has had the highest incidence of failing to predict development when development actually occurs.”
The longer term forecast is somewhat cloudy. The Lesser Antilles serve as the gateway to the Caribbean and once a storm crosses them landfall somewhere between South America and the U.S. Gulf Coast becomes a near certainty. However, most of the early computer model runs show the system brushing the chain before turning north and missing the Eastern U.S. coastline. At least one outlier shows it hitting the southern tip of the chain and then heading into the southern Caribbean. At the moment, for anyone leaving in a coastal area, Invest 93 is worth watching, but it will be at least the end of the week before it can be classified as a threat to any land mass.
If you've ever wondered how hurricane forecasters feel about hurricanes, the NHC released a video of Director Rick Knabb speaking candidly about his respect and fear of the giant storms. While the video is several years old, the points he makes are timeless. You can watch the video by clicking on the video attached to this article.