Talking the Tropics With Mike: Active period ahead for the Atlantic

First wave taking the “low road”

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REMEMBER WHEN A TROPICAL STORM OR HURRICANE IS APPROACHING: Taping windows is *NOT* helpful & will not keep glass from breaking.

Realize the forecast cone (”cone of uncertainty”) is the average forecast error over a given time - out to 5 days - & *does not* indicate the width of the storm &/or damage that might occur.


* The active tropical wave - ‘94-L’ which came off the coast of Africa last Wed. continues swiftly westbound. The wave still has the potential for some development upon approach to the Caribbean... or while over the Caribbean. The low latitude track makes the intensity forecast uncertain, but it does appear the recent persistent upper level high will remain intact across the Atlantic & U.S. (Lower 48) which would result in a rather straight forward forecast track (slightly north of due west).

So the question then becomes one about shear & the possible land interaction as it relates to intensity. The GFS & European long range global forecast models continue in remarkable agreement with some interaction with S. America (north/northeast coast of Venezuela) followed by a landfall over Central America late this week/weekend. Ultimately, how significant the hit is on Central America - probably centered on Nicaragua &/or Honduras about Friday - is going to come down to how quickly the storm can organize then strengthen once into the more favorable “zone” of the Western Caribbean. Indications are that the system will be moving swiftly to the west & its time over warm water may be rather limited.

Such a track would imply no impacts on NE Fl./SE Ga. ... or any of Florida... & probably not any of the Gulf Coast. It is worth noting early season African waves are often a harbinger of an overall active Atlantic hurricane season.

A pair of tropical waves are on either side of ‘94-L’. The leading wave is over the Caribbean & is being shredded by strong shear but still will produce some gusty/heavy squalls otherwise little development... the second wave is over the East Atlantic which forecast models have only recently started to recognize. It looks like this wave may be over the SW Atlantic & in the vicinity of the Bahamas *perhaps* about July 4th/ plus or minus a day or two. This is a feature to keep an eye on though conditions in the long range appear rather marginal.

* A good deal of storminess (convection) continues tucked over the far SW Caribbean. Proximity to land should preclude much if any surface development.

* A weak trough of low pressure is stretched across the Northern Gulf of Mexico. Some low pressure may ultimately try to develop within this trough near the Gulf Coast of Louisiana or Texas by mid to late week as the system drifts west/southwest.

Wind shear analysis shows winds out of the west at more than 50 mph! over parts of the Southern Gulf & N. Caribbean:

The location of development of tropical systems in June since 1851 generally favors the NW Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico & far Western Atlantic:

Saharan dust is spread west each year from Africa by the prevailing winds (from east to west over the Atlantic). Dry air - yellow/orange/red/pink. Widespread dust is indicative of dry air that can impede the development of tropical cyclones. However, sometimes “wanna’ be” waves will just wait until they get to the other side of - or away from - the plume then try to develop if other conditions are favorable. In my personal opinion, way too much is made about the presence of Saharan dust & how it relates to tropical cyclones. In any case, we’ve already has a couple of dust plumes spread west to the Caribbean & Gulf with the peak of Saharan dust typically in June & July.

2022 names..... “Alex” was the first name on the Atlantic list (names are picked at random by the World Meteorological Organization... repeat every 6 years... “Bonnie” is next. Historic storms are retired [Florence & Michael in ’18... Dorian in ’19 & Laura, Eta & Iota in ‘20 & Ida in ‘21]). The WMO decided - beginning last year - that the Greek alphabet will be no longer used & instead there will be a supplemental list of names if the first list is exhausted (has only happened three times - 2005, 2020 & 2021). The naming of tropical cyclones began on a consistent basis in 1953. More on the history of naming tropical cyclones * here *.

East Atlantic:

Mid & upper level wind shear (enemy of tropical cyclones) analysis (CIMMS). The red lines indicate strong shear:

Water vapor imagery (dark blue indicates dry air):

Deep oceanic heat content over the Gulf, Caribbean & deep tropical Atlantic:

Sea surface temp. anomalies:

SE U.S. surface map:

Surface analysis centered on the tropical Atlantic:

Surface analysis of the Gulf:


GFS wave forecast at 48 & 72 hours (2 & 3 days):

Atlantic Basin wave period forecast for 24, 48 & 72 hours respectively:

The East Pacific:

“Celia” is weakening & will soon dissipate. No impact to major land areas.

West Pacific IR satellite:

Global tropical activity:

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