Max Mayfield's Blog: The Heat

By Max Mayfield - Hurricane Specialist
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MIAMI - There is understandably a lot of talk in South Florida about the Miami Heat, given that our basketball team is playing in the NBA Finals.  But, I'm also watching the heat in the Atlantic Basin. 

The source of energy for a tropical cyclone is the warm water.  In fact, a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for tropical cyclone formation is water temperature of at least 79 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius). 

The figure above shows 80-degree or warmer sea surface temperatures in orange and red already covering much of the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea and tropical Atlantic. Tropical waves are coming off Africa every three to four days just like clockwork, but at the present time, the upper-level conditions over much of the tropics are not conducive for tropical cyclone development. There is too much wind shear. 

But, it is just a matter of time before we start seeing some activity in the Atlantic Basin. Some of the computer models are now indicating possible tropical cyclone development over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico by the end of next week. Time will tell. 

Let's enjoy this Father's Day weekend but also take a little time to make sure that our hurricane plans are ready to go for when the tropics do get active.

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