Saturday, July 20, 2013

Strong African Tropical Wave Could Develop Into a Hurricane

A strong tropical wave currently over far western Africa has potential to develop into a tropical cyclone in the open Atlantic basin before possibly attaining hurricane status closer to the Caribbean.

Infrared satellite imagery indicates the presence of a vigorous tropical wave over western Africa. Short range GFS model products indicate this tropical wave will push off into the open Atlantic in the next 72-84 hours, before the first signs of development appear. It appears the system fluctuates in strength after development into a rather weak tropical cyclone takes place in the next week or so.

Pushing ahead into the 10-14 day mark, model forecasts develop the tropical system into a stronger tropical storm or a weak hurricane as the cyclone approaches the Caribbean. Previous forecasts from the GFS model take the system anywhere from scraping the Eastern Seaboard to an entrance into the Gulf of Mexico. Based on climatological tracks from where the tropical wave is now, and the current atmospheric flow for tropical waves and/or tropical systems above the 1000 millibar mark, I find the track towards the Gulf of Mexico more likely. A certain caveat is the potential that the atmospheric flow changes drastically, in which case a different track may be favored. But at this point in time, I am hard-pressed to find another track I find more favorable than at least an entry into the eastern Caribbean.


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