The main area to watch this weekend and in to next week will obviously be tropical storm Karl. While the odds are in favor of it turning away from the United States at some point, there is nothing that tells me this is a sure thing.
Right now, Karl is dealing with strong upper level winds and a dryer than normal mid-level portion of the atmosphere. Despite these inhibiting factors, deep thunderstorms are trying to develop in association with the vigorous low level center. Each time a burst of convection manages to pop up, the strong winds blowing against the storm quickly removes the clouds and pushes them back to the east. This bursting pattern as we call it will not lead to any appreciable strengthening but will keep the storm moving west and even south of west this weekend.
As we get in to early next week, both the intensity and the steering of Karl will become very important. The global models seem to be waffling back and forth between making this a hurricane and doing very little with it at all. Other intensity guidance suggests some strengthening next week but the extent of that is still an unknown. Water temps are plenty warm but the upper level winds are questionable. The recent uptick in shear across the Atlantic could remain in place, keeping Karl weak. If the pattern changes and the shear relaxes then it’s likely that Karl will become a hurricane.
As of now, it looks like the Lesser Antilles will not have any direct impacts from Karl. It should track well to the north of the Caribbean and be positioned somewhere between Bermuda and Puerto Rico in about five days. After that, it’s a question of whether or not a trough of low pressure passing by to the north of Karl will be enough to lure it out and drag it back in to the open Atlantic. It stands to reason that the weaker Karl is in to next week, the further south and west it will track. Then, as the trough goes by it misses Karl and we’re left with wondering what happens next. Seems like we’ve done this before once or twice, eh? So for now, we shall watch and just keep track of it with no issues for land areas seen anytime soon.
Meanwhile the weakening low pressure area that was once TS Julia continues off the Carolina coast. I see no reason to be concerned with this making any dramatic comeback but it’s out there, sheared to bits, but something to at least keep an eye on this weekend.
The only other area of interest is a tropical wave coming off of Africa now. It too could develop in the deep tropics as it moves generally westward. Interests in the Cape Verde Islands should be prepared for passing squalls and gusty winds as the tropical wave energy passes by this weekend.
I’ll have a video discussion posted here and to our YouTube channel as well as our app by later this afternoon.
M. Sudduth 9AM ET Sept 17