Deep tropics waking up
Two tropical waves may be the first signs of an active start to August in the deep tropics. Forecast models suggest that both features are worth monitoring over the next two weeks.
First, a strong wave has developed just west of the Lesser Antilles and will continue westward over the next few days. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) gives this system a 50 percent chance of further development. Some forecast models carry this system toward the Gulf of Mexico, so the Baton Rouge area should pay attention to this one.
Second, located 300 miles south-southeast of the Cabo Verde Islands, Invest 99L is producing a large area of clouds, showers and thunderstorms. Environmental conditions are expected to be favorable for gradual development, and a tropical depression is likely to form by early next week over the tropical Atlantic Ocean. The NHC pegs high development chances at 70 percent. Invest 99L will move toward the west or west-northwest at 10 to 15 mph for the next several days.
Should either system reach tropical storm status, Franklin is the next name up on the list. Gert would follow.
Forecast models are showing a closed center of low pressure and increased winds around this system by early next week. The GFS model is showing a stronger storm than the ECMWF model. At approximately 82 degrees, tropical Atlantic water temperatures are just becoming warm enough to aid development. Many other factors need to come together in order for a tropical system to be supported. Wind shear is expected to be low enough to support development, but dry air may ultimately end up becoming an obstacle.
Keep in mind, an invest is simply a system being “investigated by the NHC. Highly unorganized, prediction of these systems is difficult. As they do not typically have a closed central circulation, forecast models sometimes fail to resolve their evolution well. There is no cause for concern in the United States right now. However, the increased activity in the tropical Atlantic serves as a reminder to stay hurricane ready and check in with the forecast often, especially as we near the peak of hurricane season.
For your forecast and the very latest on the tropics, including updates on named storms as soon as they are issued, check in with the WBRZ Weather Team on all of these platforms:
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