Sea surface temps are running at least one degree Celsius above normal across much of the northwest Atlantic. In fact, there are large areas of plus two and three Celsius just off the Canadian Maritimes. This translates in to added heat content and Leslie is poised to take advantage of it over the next week or more.
The current NHC forecast track has Leslie moving very slowly over the next few days as steering currents remain weak. The track takes the center just to the west of Bermuda but since Leslie is a large storm with a huge wind field, the effects will be felt on the island in the way of large, battering waves, heavy rain and high winds. I suspect it won’t be too much longer until we see a hurricane watch posted for the island.
With all of this warmer than normal water around, Leslie looks like it could strengthen in to quite a strong hurricane in the models. Add to this what appears to be a very favorable upper level outflow pattern and it is possible that Leslie becomes the first category three hurricane of the season. We have been in this pattern of seeing storms/hurricanes intensify out of the deep tropics and I don’t see any reason to believe that Leslie will be any different.
In the longer range, the Euro continues its westward forecast for Leslie, taking it very close to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Any further west and we could be looking at a possible brush with portions of New England as well. Much of this will have to do with the way a trough is supposed to develop in the Tennessee Valley this weekend and beyond. If it is weaker or digs in farther west, even by a little, then the high pressure area over the western Atlantic can build in more and push Leslie a degree or two of longitude west. I will be watching closely to see if this trough acts to capture Leslie and swing it north-northwest or whether the trough acts to push Leslie out to the north-northeast. How this plays out will determine what, if any, landmass is directly impacted.
One effect that I have made mention of for several days now is the increasing swells that will roll in to the East Coast. The NHC continues to make mention of this in their discussions and I want to emphasize the importance of understanding how dangerous rough surf can be- even with a storm/hurricane hundreds of miles off the coast. Check out this video that I produced last year as part of a preparedness campaign with Olympus Insurance out of Florida:
Elsewhere, we now have tropical storm Michael which will be officially named at 11am ET on the NHC advisory. The small storm will be short-lived and not affect land but it will bring the total number of named storms to 13 this season. While Michael is much smaller than Leslie, it is clearly a tropical storm and is of interest to shipping lanes in the open Atlantic.
The east Pacific is calming down and I do not see any new areas of concern developing anytime soon.
I will be working on the daily video blog for our iPhone app and will have it uploaded in just a little while. We are also eagerly anticipating the first major update to the app any day now. The update will greatly enhance the app and allow for manual refresh of the video blogs. As soon as it is approved by Apple, I will add a separate blog post. Speaking of blogs, I’ll update this blog later this afternoon.