Visible satellite image showing TS Ian and not much else for the time being. Click for full size image.
Hard to believe that it is close to mid-September and the only track-able feature is a highly sheared tropical storm named Ian.
The NHC upgraded what was invest area 94L to tropical storm Ian around 11am this morning. Top winds are 40 mph but mainly within what little organized convection the storm is able to generate. Strong upper level winds are pushing the deep thunderstorms away from the low level center and this will limit the development of Ian and could keep it from becoming a hurricane.
There is almost zero chance that Ian will directly impact the United States or any other area of the western Atlantic. Steering currents are such that a south to north movement will continue for now followed by a gradual turn to the northeast and in to the far North Atlantic. Ian will generate a few ACE points for the season but that’s about it.
Ian is the ninth named storm to form in 2016 and replaces Igor which itself replaced Ivan, both powerful hurricanes with lasting impacts worthy of having those names retired from the list. Ivan was a devastating hurricane from the 2004 season and so Igor replaced that name in 2010. As fate would have it, Igor was destined for infamy due to its destructive path which included massive damage in Newfoundland after brushing past Bermuda in the latter half of September 2010. I don’t think Ian is in jeopardy of having its name replaced this cycle.
Wind shear analysis where red is unfavorable. As you can see, the Atlantic Basin is full of strong upper level winds. Click for full size image.
As for the rest of the tropics – the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico are all free and clear of any potential development threats. Strong upper level winds dominate the pattern right now and I do not see this changing anytime soon. There is plenty of warm water available, much of it above the long-term average in terms of temperature but without a favorable atmosphere, warm water alone is not enough.
Meanwhile out in the western Pacific, a typhoon with 180+ mph winds is tracking towards Taiwan and mainland China. This will be one to watch over the coming days as it is the equivalent to a category five hurricane. Forecast models suggest that it may track just far enough south of Taiwan to avoid a direct hit but this would mean a stronger impact for China a couple of days later. I’ll take a look at this and more in my video discussion which will be posted later this afternoon.
M. Sudduth 11:55 AM ET Sept 12