Tropical depression is close to becoming Tropical Storm Josephine

Aug. 12 satellite image of the tropics.
Aug. 12 satellite image of the tropics. (CIRA/RAMMB)

Tropical Depression Eleven has been organizing in fits and starts. Somewhat hostile upper winds are disrupting the process, but they are forecast to let up over the next day or so. Top winds in the circulation are currently estimated to be just below tropical-storm force, so the slightest amount of organization will cause the system to be named Josephine.

This would be the earliest date for the 10th storm to be named. Though the record is largely due to the unusual outbreak of non-tropical systems that took on tropical characteristics in June and early July.

Thunderstorms are being shunted off to the west and north side of the circulation by a disruptive flow aloft. When they try to wrap around the center, so far the hostile flow has been pushing them aside. Dry, dusty air visible in the daytime satellite picture is also slowing development.

Over the next few days, the atmospheric environment is forecast to significantly improve, and then become hostile again.

Over the weekend, whether it’s Tropical Storm Josephine at the time or not, the system is forecast to be near or just north of the northeastern Caribbean islands. As it approaches that area, the upper-level winds are forecast to increase again, and dry air is expected to once again affect the circulation as well. The National Hurricane Center is forecasting the system to weaken as a result of the unfavorable atmosphere.

Long-range computer models show the remnants of the system being swept up into the North Atlantic as a blob of moisture, and never making it to the U.S.

Remembering that forecasts are always iffy for weak and developing system, we should imagine the forecast cone is bigger than it is to cover the future track possibilities. But the information available now tells us that this won’t be able to become a terribly strong storm.

Elsewhere in the Atlantic, another large disturbance has moved off of Africa, but the long-range computer forecasts show it fizzling in the dry air.

Hurricane Elida off coast of Mexico. (www.hurricanes.gov.)

On the other hand, the Pacific off Mexico is going a little crazy. One strong storm after the other is forecast over the next five days. When the Eastern Pacific is lit up, the Atlantic is sometimes quiet. But eventually the environment favorable for systems to develop often shifts east in a week or two and we see more Atlantic development. We’ll see.

For now, no development except for Josephine is expected through the weekend.

Tropical Depression Eleven, 5 a.m. Wednesday advisory. (www.HurricaneIntel.com)

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