Activity picking up next week in the Atlantic

Latest update on the tropics provided by Local 10 Hurricane Specialist and Storm Surge Expert Michael Lowry

Formation potential (WPLG)

South Florida’s hot in July. Tell us something we don’t already know, especially this July, one of the warmer ones of the past 25 years. Even relatively “cooler” Julys in South Florida – like 2013, when daytime highs averaged below 90 degrees for the month – feel downright hot. That’s because South Florida’s temperatures peak in July. It would take something exceptional in July for temperatures to feel cold here. Climatology – typical weather based on the last 30 years of observations – is tough to bet against.

The same is true for hurricane season. Climatology is a strong driving factor. Early season tropical activity is a lot like variable springtime temperatures – sometimes warm, sometimes cool, but rarely as hot as July. The hurricane season peaks in late August and September – a little later than summertime temperatures and often very quickly – and, just as we wouldn’t be surprised if by April we hadn’t seen our first 90 degree day, we’re not surprised we haven’t yet seen our first hurricane.

Hurricane annual frequency (WPLG)

Right on cue, however, forecast models are locking in on a more active period starting in the Atlantic next week. The tropical disturbance we discussed in yesterday’s newsletter will be moving off Africa by tomorrow and conditions ahead appear conducive for slow development. After over three weeks of blank tropical outlook maps, the National Hurricane Center has tagged this system with a low chance of potential formation during the early to middle part of next week while over the eastern and central Atlantic.

Tropics overview (WPLG)

Computer models agree with moving the disturbance off toward the west-northwest into next weekend. It’s still very early with this one, as the system is still a week out from its closest approach to the islands. Given the trajectory and steering pattern ahead, early odds favor a track north of the Caribbean.

For much of the week, the environment appears conducive for gradual organization but by next weekend, increasing upper-level winds may pump the brakes on any development trends.

Tracking wind levels (WPLG)

Although it’s certainly something we’ll continue to follow next week, in the immediate term, there’s no need for concern for South Florida. That said, it’s a good reminder that, like early summer in South Florida, the tropics are beginning to heat up, just as we’d expect this time of year.

About the Author:

Michael Lowry is Local 10's Hurricane Specialist and Storm Surge Expert.