Tropics look to remain busy as we leave summer behind

Aside from Karl and Lisa which will both turn out to sea, I will be watching this area of energy moving off the coast of Africa. Several of the computer models indicate the chance for this to develop next week as it moves westward.

Aside from Karl and Lisa which will both turn out to sea, I will be watching this area of energy moving off the coast of Africa. Several of the computer models indicate the chance for this to develop next week as it moves westward.

Summer is over. Football season is back. Baseball begins to look ahead to the World Series and soon enough the big box stores will roll out the Christmas displays. Yes, fall 2016 is here but will the hurricanes follow? So far, it’s been fairly benign with the exception of Earl and Hermine – both category one hurricanes with limited overall impacts. As we begin to look ahead to cooler nights, shorter days and eventually frost on the pumpkins, we still have to be wary of potential threats from the tropics.

Right now, we have two tropical storms, both of which have been struggling due to stronger upper level winds than normal across the tropical Atlantic. One of those storms, Karl, should become a hurricane as it turns north and eventually northeast and away from the United States. Karl may pass close enough to Bermuda to warrant a tropical storm warning at some point but the impacts should be minimal since the track will be to the south and east of the region. Hopefully, for the sake of the surfing community along the East Coast, Karl can strengthen over open water and at least send some increased swells back towards the coast. We’ll have to just wait and see about that.

Meanwhile, Lisa is also suffering from adverse environmental conditions which will limit strengthening as the storm moves on a path towards the open Atlantic as we get in to the weekend.

This leaves us with a new pattern setting up as we get in to early next week. There are two distinct areas that I will be watching: the western Gulf of Mexico and the deep tropics between Africa and the Windward Islands.

The first significant cold front of the season will finally drop in to Texas and push off in to the western Gulf of Mexico where we might see a low develop sometime next week. How strong and organized this low might be remains to be seen but dropping a frontal boundary in to the Gulf where water temps are in the upper 80s is just asking for something to pop up. Obviously this needs to be watched closely since it would be close to land already.

The other area I will be watching is the deep tropics as we get in to next week as well. For several days in a row, the general consensus of the global models is to develop a low pressure area at quite a low latitude and send it west towards the Windward Islands. Right now, there is a tropical wave and weak area of energy moving through west Africa that would be the seedling of this potential low pressure system. It’s days away from getting better organized but the remarkable consistency in the models leads me to believe it is at least worth watching. Given the lower latitude that it would be tracking along, the odds of it turning out to sea early are reduced and as such, it could be an issue for the eastern Caribbean later next week.

I will go over all of these areas in greater detail during my daily video discussion which will be posted early this afternoon here, on our YouTube channel and in our app.

M. Sudduth 9:15 AM ET Sept 22


Karl struggling to intensify, Lisa stronger but staying well out to sea

TD Karl seen in early morning visible satellite image.

TD Karl seen in early morning visible satellite image.

The theme of weak, sheared storms continues in the Atlantic Basin this morning as we see that Karl has weakened to a tropical depression in the overnight hours.

Strong upper level winds have taken a toll on Karl and as such, the NHC has reduced the wind speed down to 35 mph. It is possible that Karl has completely fallen apart and is now just a sharp tropical wave again. We won’t know for sure until more satellite images come in later this morning and we can see from visible pictures whether or not there is a coherent low level center.

Assuming that Karl is going to survive the next 24 hours, it could still strengthen as it moves westward and eventually turns north and northeast away from the United States. The turn should be sharp enough to avoid any direct impacts for Bermuda.

Meanwhile, TS Lisa is up to 50 mph now over the open tropical Atlantic. There’s not much to say about this storm except that it will remain well away from land and will track harmlessly over open water until it dissipates in a few days.

I am also keeping an eye on a curious feature that the GFS model in particular seems to develop rather consistently run after run as of late. It comes from energy that will emerge from the coast of Africa in a couple of days over the deep tropics. In fact, the development takes place near 10N latitude and moves generally west towards the southern Windward Islands. This lower latitude would likely shield the system from the strong upper level winds we’ve seen prevalent as of late across the Atlantic. I won’t worry about this too much yet since it’s still five to seven days out. There are other global models which show a similar scenario as well and so it’s worth keeping an eye on, especially in the Windward Islands. I’ll go over this in more detail during my video discussion which I will post later this afternoon.

M. Sudduth 7:45 AM ET Sept 21