Atlantic littered with areas of potential development, hurricane hunters set to fly this afternoon

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

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Looking out across the Atlantic Monday morning, things look more like late July than late June.

The conga line of tropical disturbances dancing from Africa to the Caribbean is in full swing, typically hostile wind shear has plummeted to historically low levels for June, and waters in the main development region of the deep Atlantic are as warm as we often see them headed into August.

It’s no wonder our map is littered with areas of potential development.

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Of the three systems we’re tracking – one in the northern Gulf and two in the deep tropical Atlantic – it’s the one approximately midway between the Cabo Verde Islands off Africa and the Lesser Antilles on entrance into the Caribbean that shows the most promise for development.

As of 8 a.m. Monday, the National Hurricane Center is giving the disturbance – designated Invest 94L – a 90 percent odd of becoming a Tropical Depression or Storm early this week.

Hurricane Hunters are scheduled to take a closer look this afternoon. The next name on the list is Bonnie.

If 94L forms east of the islands over the next few days, it would be among only five tropical cyclones in the record books (back to 1851) to have done so this far east in June.

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If it holds off developing until the eastern Caribbean, it would do so in a place so infamous for its dearth of tropical formations in June and July that it’s earned the nickname “Caribbean Graveyard.”

To add to the peculiarity of 94L, its extreme southern track will move it close to the northern edge of South America and near Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday and the ABC islands – Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao – north of Venezuela by Wednesday.

These southern-situated islands, where hurricanes are generally a rare concern, typically only see brushes with tropical systems every 7 or 8 years, and, with rare exception, don’t expect impacts from June storms.

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Once 94L establishes a well-defined circulation and organized thunderstorms activity, the environment ahead will favor steady strengthening so long as interaction with South America doesn’t slow its progress.

The good news for South Florida and the U.S. is strong and persistent high pressure to the north of 94L will keep it on a path toward Central America this weekend.

For our friends down in Honduras and Nicaragua, this will be a system worth following in the days to come.

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Behind Invest 94L in the eastern Atlantic is a disorganized cluster of showers and thunderstorms that has a low chance of development this week.

Although the more northerly track of the disturbance will take it near Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands this weekend, the overall environment ahead is less conducive for significant development.

Nonetheless, it’s worth monitoring, especially for the heavy rainfall it could bring to the islands during its passage. For now, it’s nothing South Floridians need to be concerned about.

Meanwhile, in the northern Gulf of Mexico, lower pressures are causing some sporadic storminess.

Forecast models suggest some slow organization of the storms as the system drifts westward toward the Texas or northern Mexico coastlines by mid-week.

Parts of Texas are in extreme or exceptional drought, and while they could use the tropical rainfall, this will be a proverbial drop in the bucket for what’s needed to help alleviate the dry conditions.

(National Drought Mitigation Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

About the Author:

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