The NHC has begun issuing advisories on tropical storm Grace in the far eastern Atlantic. Top winds are 40 mph and it is moving westward over open water.
The forecast calls for modest strengthening despite the fact that the track takes Grace over fairly warm sea surface temperatures. It seems the once again, strong upper level winds coming in the opposite direction could inhibit development if not halt it completely. For the time being, Grace has a chance to strengthen some and it should be noted that some intensity models do make it a hurricane.
Fortunately, the storm is far out in the open Atlantic and there is plenty of time to monitor its progress over the coming days. It will have to battle increasingly stronger upper level winds and, as I mentioned above, those winds may end up causing the storm to dissipate, we will just have to wait and see.
I find it interesting that Grace makes it four storms in a row to develop in the MDR or Main Development Region over past few weeks. This part of the Atlantic, also known as “the deep tropics”, was supposed to be very hostile this hurricane season. Granted, Danny was the only hurricane to really take off, so to speak, but even Fred a few days ago, reaching hurricane intensity just off of Africa, was quite interesting considering the El Nino season we are in. If Grace becomes a hurricane, it will add to the seasonal ACE count which is currently at ~22 and slowly climbing. The ACE index measures the energy output by tropical cyclones each season and is a better indication of the quality of each storm, not the total amount that formed. Most predictions for this season are around 40 ACE points, we are more than half way there.
Elsewhere, Fred is hanging on as a tropical depression, fighting off periodic bouts of strong upper level winds. Once in a while, those winds relax just enough to deep convection to fire up, making Fred a tropical storm once again. Right now, it’s currently on the losing end of the shear duel. I suspect that within a the next 12 hours, Fred will make another comeback and be designated as a tropical storm yet again. Eventually, Fred will be kicked out in to the westerly wind flow of the Atlantic and whisked away.
The east Pacific has an area of interest, 98-E, well to the south of Mexico, that bears watching. It will slowly consolidate and become a tropical storm over the coming days but should remain well to the west of the Baja and vicinity.
I’ll have more on Grace and the rest of the goings on in the tropics tomorrow.