September 27, 2022
Posted: August 9, 2022 11:49 am
It has been unseasonably quiet in the Atlantic basin over the last few months. However, forecasters are warning that things may be heating up in the days to come.
Is the Atlantic Basin About to See its First Named Feature in Over a Month?
Experts with the National Hurricane Center (NHC) are keeping a close eye on a series of rain showers and thunderstorms that are currently tracking across the Atlantic Ocean to the west of Africa. Forecasters believe that this system could develop into a tropical depression or storm in the next few days, bringing an end to the tropical activity drought in this part of the ocean.
A tropical wave developed near the northwestern coast of Africa over the last few days, making its way to the west by Monday. This disturbance is currently churning over an area that is conducive for further development.
For example, the feature is located far enough from the wind shear that is in place to the north while also being positioned away from the dry and more stable air located to the south. Because the disturbance is located away from the strong high-level winds known as shear, it will be more likely to have a chance to grow and thrive.
The disturbance will need to stay on a due west trajectory over the next few days while dodging the zone of wind shear to the north to develop into a named depression or storm. The NHC currently projects that the system has a medium chance of further development.
Next Named Storm to be Called Danielle
Should this feature develop into a named storm, it would take on the name of Danielle. There have only been three named storms in the Atlantic in 2022 so far with no activity since early July.
The development of Alex, Bonnie, and Colin by the beginning of July put the 2022 Atlantic season ahead of a typical pace. However, the pacing of the season is now right about average. The date of the average first hurricane of the season lands on August 11. It is not likely that 2022 hits this target with the current feature not likely to strengthen to that level by Thursday. You have to go back to early October of 2021 to find the last hurricane in this corner of the world.
As of late Monday, the area of wind shear that would mitigate potential development is located in the central portions of the Atlantic and across the Caribbean. If this zone of wind shear does not change position or weaken over the next few days, it is likely that the disturbance in question will also weaken.
If the feature moves to the northwest later in the week and into the weekend, it would weaken as it collides with the wind shear. However, if it picks up strength at a quicker rate, it may turn to the northwest sooner. A weaker system would move to the west for a longer time before making a turn toward the north.
What the Experts are Predicting
Forecasters are predicting that the feature may turn to the northwest soon enough to hold the thunderstorms and strong winds within the system to the northeast of the Lesser Antilles. However, there is also the chance that it could weaken and deliver rain and storms to a handful of the eastern Caribbean islands.
Should this feature not develop into a named storm, the basin is predicted to become quiet again until at least the middle of the month. There are not any other areas of potential development coming off of the coast of Africa.
Despite the quiet conditions in the Caribbean as of late, those residents located along the Carolina coast should be mindful about the likely formation of a non-tropical storm this weekend. The system could take on some tropical characteristics before moving out to sea later in the week.
Now is not the time to get complacent. Experts at the NHC continue to warn people that the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season is still ahead. Just because it has been rather docile over the last few weeks, it does not mean that conditions will remain this way.
Forecasters are holding to their prediction that the Atlantic basin will experience about an average amount of named storms this year. In addition, meteorologists still caution that the U.S. could see an above-average number of direct impacts in the coming months. The sinking stable air currently hanging out over the Atlantic basin so far this year has been suppressing the typical development. However, this could come to an end at any time, ushering in more tropical development as the Atlantic heads toward the heart of the season.
Hurricane Howard Strengthens in the East Pacific
While it has been calm in the Atlantic, the East Pacific saw a hurricane develop on Monday. Hurricane Howard went from a tropical storm to a Category 1 hurricane on Monday afternoon, distinguishing itself as the eighth named storm in the Pacific Ocean this year.
As of Monday afternoon, Howard was a tropical storm packing winds of about 80 mph as it churned almost 300 miles southwest of the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico. The storm was moving to the northwest at a speed of 13 mph.
Howard is forecast to continue on its northwestward journey before it turns more toward the west on Tuesday. At this time, Howard is not forecast to impact any major land masses. However, those heading out to the beach in popular resort areas such as Cabo San Lucas, Mexico will need to be on the lookout for rough surf conditions and increased swells over the next few days.
Hurricane-force winds are stretching up to 15 miles from the center of the storm with tropical-storm-force winds whipping outward up to 60 miles. Hurricane Howard is expected to weaken late Tuesday as it makes a turn toward the west-northwest.
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