Not much change with 97L tonight with the notable exception that a good deal of the convective activity associated with it has died down. This is not uncommon with developing tropical systems and the key will be whether or not the showers and thunderstorms can rebuild at some point.
The NHC notes that the system remains elongated with the energy still spread out over a fairly large area. Looking at recent vorticity analysis maps, 97L definitely has some work to do in order to bundle and concentrate the energy it has available.
I am interested in the intensity models right now because they indicate a very intriguing few days ahead. Several of the models indicate that this tropical wave will, in fact, become a hurricane. However, the advanced global models, such as the GFS, show next to nothing at all happening. One thing is certain: the tropical wave will bring showers and generally squally conditions to portions of the Lesser Antilles tonight and tomorrow. This weather will likely spread over Hispaniola as the week progresses.
Speaking of track – the model guidance is in really good agreement with a fairly tightly clustered track towards the Greater Antilles (Hispaniola, Cuba) and then to a position between the northwest Bahamas and Florida within five days. The reason for the turn to the northwest, and quite a sharp turn at that, is because of a large upper level trough that is forecast to erode the Bermuda High away enough to allow the system to turn northward instead of plowing straight west through the Caribbean. A lot of this assumes development even takes place. The longer the wave takes to develop, if it ever does, the more longitude or westward distance it will travel.
It will be an interesting start to the week as we watch things unfold with 97L. I should also mention another tropical wave moving through the Caribbean now that, like the one that produced Fernand several days ago, has potential for development once in the Bay of Campeche. I’ll have more on all of the goings on in the tropics tomorrow morning.
M. Sudduth 10:20 pm ET September 1