Atlantic remains in shut-down mode while east Pacific remains very busy

The Atlantic Basin hurricane season has been pretty much as anticipated: not very active. We’ve had four hurricanes form since June 1 and only one of them became a major hurricane with winds of 115 mph. This is what was forecast by most agencies and I see little reason to believe that the current hostile pattern will abate before we reach the end of the season in November.

Before we throw in the towel and put away the tracking maps (people still use paper maps, right?), it is important to remember that even one late season hurricane can spell trouble and we’re not just talking about U.S. interests either. Even though the odds are seemingly against it this year, we still have to monitor the tropics in case something develops at just the right time and ruins what was another year of little impact to land. For now, I see nothing to suggest we will have anything to worry about in the near future.

The eastern Pacific is a different story completely. We’ve seen quite a few intense hurricanes form here with significant impact to areas such as the Baja peninsula and even up in to the Desert Southwest and parts of southern California. Perhaps this is part of the developing El Nino which is finally coming in to play. What ever the reason, the east Pacific has had plenty of action this year and it’s not over yet.

Another tropical depression is likely to form off the coast of Mexico and then move generally westward and away from land. There’s a chance it tries to turn back more to the north and east with time but nothing like we saw with Norbert and Odile. Once this system gets a name, it will be Rachel – pretty far down the list of names for the east Pacific.

That’s about it. Nice and quiet means not a lot to talk about. I’ll have more here tomorrow.

M. Sudduth 9:00 AM ET Sept 23

Tropics not much of an issue this weekend

Things are looking good across the Atlantic and east Pacific as we head in to the weekend. The global models are not indicating any significant development, and certainly nothing threatening land, over the next several days.

The only item of note is a non-tropical area of low pressure that is likely to develop off the Southeast coast and track quickly northeast and out to sea. While it will have some convective activity with it which will produce rain and wind over the water, it will not have the true tropical look to it to be classified as a depression or storm. In fact, once it develops, it should have a coma shape to it, meaning it is more of a frontal low than a tropical low, so no worries from this system other than for boating interests well off the Carolina coasts.

In the eastern Pacific, TS Polo is forecast to turn westward and away from the battered Baja peninsula. This is obviously excellent news for the region which is still recovering from the impact of hurricane Odile earlier this week.

Once Polo moves on out in to the open Pacific, it looks as though the region will quiet down finally as I see no additional areas of development brewing.

So enjoy the weekend and don’t worry at all about any threats from the tropics. So far, things are looking great as we get ready to enter the fall season. I’ll post more here on Monday.

M. Sudduth 9:35 AM ET Sept 19

Quick update before heading back East

I am currently in Tucson, AZ where I have spent the better part of four days tracking the remnants of Odile. The city was prepared, going so far as canceling school in some areas. Fortunately, the largest plume of deep tropical moisture stayed east of the Tucson area and a repeat of the September 8 flooding was avoided.

For areas east of Tucson and extending all the way to west Texas, the rain caused problems but was not as bad as it could have been. The added moisture will, in the end, be beneficial for the region. None the less, Odile is a stark reminder of how tropical cyclones are not always an Atlantic or Gulf Coast threat. Obviously, the folks in Cabo San Lucas know all too well about east Pacific hurricanes.

So what’s next? For now, nothing too menacing is seen looming on the horizon. The NHC did mention the possibility of a low pressure area developing off the Southeast coast this weekend. Right now, computer models suggest that it will remain off the coast enough to keep most of the rain and wind over the water.

In the rest of the Atlantic, Edouard continues to weaken over open water. The NHC also highlights an area of interest just off the coast of Africa but it is likely to remain embedded within the hostile environment that has dominated the deep tropics for most of this season.

Meanwhile, in the east Pacific, hurricane Polo is expected to track more west over time and should remain far enough away from the Baja peninsula to spare that area any further insult to injury in the wake of Odile.

I will be back in NC tomorrow evening and will post another update here as I travel tomorrow.

M. Sudduth 3:20 PM ET September 18

Several areas to talk about

NHC five day outlook indicates several areas to monitor

NHC five day outlook indicates several areas to monitor

The tropics are quite busy with one hurricane and three additional areas to watch in the coming days. Let’s begin with Cristobal…

As of this morning, hurricane Cristobal had winds of 80 mph. Not much change in strength is expected although it could become a little stronger before undergoing transition in to a powerful extratropical storm over the North Atlantic. In fact, interests in the United Kingdom should keep watch over the post-tropical version of Cristobal as it tracks across the Atlantic over the next several days.

In the Gulf of Mexico, the NHC has increased slightly the chance of development for what is now invest 98L. Deep convection developed over night around the northern part of the broad low pressure area. However, upper level winds are quite brisk out of the west and west-southwest and this is helping to push the convection away and not let it organize much around the low. In any case, there is a small window of opportunity for this system to develop further before it moves inland over south Texas later tomorrow.

The biggest impact from 98L will be periods of heavy rain and occasional gusty winds. Local effects such as an increase in waves with any of the heavier thunderstorms will impact boating interests. Hopefully some much needed rainfall will come out of this for parts of south Texas – just as long as it’s not too much of a good thing all at once.

A Hurricane Hunter crew is scheduled to investigate 98L later today if conditions warrant. We’ll know more then about the structure and wind field but again, this is only if the NHC feels the flight is needed.

Farther east in the tropical Atlantic, what was once invest area 97L has now become a non-issue, for now anyway. It appears that the tropical wave energy is likely to to track in to and across the Caribbean Sea over the next several days. Computer models are indicating the chance of development either in the western Caribbean or perhaps the southern Gulf of Mexico early next week. This will be something to keep an eye on but for now, the tropical wave is not organizing but it will bring a brief period of squally weather to parts of the Lesser Antilles as it moves through over the next day or two.

The last area to discuss is a tropical wave forecast to move off the coast of Africa in a day or so. Most computer model guidance suggests that this will develop rather quickly and should become a tropical storm over the far eastern Atlantic. I do not know how many people actually live in the Cape Verde Islands but it appears that they will be impacted by this strong low pressure area and could experience tropical storm conditions as it passes by. Beyond that, it is obviously too soon to even speculate on where it may end up. However, most of the time when something develops that far east, it has no trouble finding a weakness in the high pressure area over the Atlantic and turning north and eventually out in to the open Atlantic.

So there is quite a bit going on as we end August. Things can change quickly this time of year so keep up to date with the latest. I’ll post updates on Twitter as they come in and will have another full blog post either late tonight or certainly by early tomorrow morning.

M. Sudduth 10:00 AM ET Aug 27

Dry environment not allowing deep convection for 93L

Dry air and cooler than normal SSTs are keeping deep convection to a minimum for 93L

Dry air and cooler than normal SSTs are keeping deep convection to a minimum for 93L

We have seen it a lot these past few years: dry air killing off deep convection within a developing Atlantic tropical cyclone. It appears that the same is happening with 93L today.

The dry air comes off of Africa as part of what is called the Saharan Air Layer. It can be very persistent and simply does not allow for the deep, tropical thunderstorms to develop and sustain themselves – the main process that drives a tropical cyclone.

In addition, cooler than normal sea surface temps along the path of 93L are not helping matters either.

I want to see if the system can gain any long-lasting thunderstorm activity before even beginning to worry about its potential impact on the Lesser Antilles or points beyond. Let’s see what happens overnight and go from there. If the dry air wins out, we may not have anything to track which is just fine with everyone I’m sure.

I will post more here tomorrow morning.

M. Sudduth 6pm ET July 29