79ºF

The tropics stay calm but all eyes on the East Coast

July 9, 2020, satellite image of the tropics.
July 9, 2020, satellite image of the tropics. (CIRA/RAMMB)

Saharan Dust is forecast to dominate the tropical Atlantic, the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico into next week, at least. So no significant development in the “real” tropics is expected.

A couple of moisture surges are forecast to force their way through the dust. One should arrive in South Florida over the weekend, and another around the middle to end of next week, but those will just add some thunderstorms to the forecast.

So far, Hurricane Season 2020 has been all about non-tropical systems becoming tropical enough to become a depression, and then they get strong enough to get a name. We’re up to a record-breaking 5 storms so far, and this week we’re trying for number 6.

An area of low-pressure is trying to consolidate over the warm ocean waters east of the Carolinas. A dip in the jet stream is coming along to lift the system and its tropical moisture north along the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast coast into New England.

The ocean water is unusually warm off the Jersey Shore and southern Long Island this year, so there may be enough fuel for the system to attain some tropical characteristics, where it is getting at least some of its strength from the warm ocean water. If it does that, and winds in the circulation are at least 40 mph, it will be named Fay.

The main threat appears to be from the heavy tropical rain, which may cause local flooding. Gusty winds will likely accompany the squalls.

The exact track and strength of the system when it gets near the New Jersey/New York area are unclear. The circulation is still broad, and the gusty winds and heavy rain are on the east side – the offshore side – of the system. If the center hugs the Jersey Shore and the system consolidates, heavy tropical rain and gusty wind will affect the whole region. If it is a bit farther offshore, or the circulation stays broad, the worst weather will be farther east, but likely still affect parts of Long Island and New England.

On the current schedule, the worst of the weather will affect New Jersey and southeastern New York through the day tomorrow (Friday) into early Saturday, and New England late tomorrow into the weekend. Because we don’t know exactly what the worst will be yet, residents in the path should stay informed.

We are working under the adage that forecasts for poorly developed systems are more often subject to change. Stay aware!

The National Hurricane Center has issued the Key Messages below related to the developing system:

Key messages for disturbance near the North Carolina coast.
Key messages for disturbance near the North Carolina coast. (NOAA/National Weather Service)

About the Author: