Latest update on the tropics provided by Local 10 News Hurricane Specialist and Storm Surge Expert Michael Lowry.
The strong disturbance we’ve been tracking through the middle Atlantic – previously Invest 94L – was designated Potential Tropical Cyclone Two by the National Hurricane Center at 5 p.m. ET Monday.
Although the Hurricane Hunters flying into the system from their outpost in Barbados Monday afternoon were unable to “close off” a circulation center – that is, measure surface winds completely encircling the center – to upgrade it to a full-fledged tropical cyclone, they did report tropical storm force winds (winds exceeding 38 mph) near the system.
Because these gusty winds will be approaching the southernmost Windward Islands beginning later Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center preemptively issued its first full forecast advisory on the system to enable the issuance of Tropical Storm Warnings for Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago, places unaccustomed to frequent tropical storm impacts due to their fortuitous southern geography.
Because the Potential Tropical Cyclone already has winds of tropical storm strength, once it establishes a well-defined center, it will likely be upgraded to Tropical Storm Bonnie, the second named Atlantic storm of 2022.
Earlier Tuesday morning on satellite, Potential Tropical Cyclone Two resembled a plate of scrambled eggs – not a high compliment for a fledgling tropical cyclone – but in recent hours, thunderstorm activity has consolidated near the center of greatest spin.
The Air Force Hurricane Hunters staged in St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands overnight for an early morning investigation into the system, now located about 300 miles east of Trinidad near the northeastern coast of Venezuela.
They made their first pass through where we estimate the nascent center of the disturbance to be shortly after 7 a.m. ET. While still early in the mission, they haven’t been able to find the elusive westerly winds on the south side which would allow the NHC to upgrade it to Bonnie.
A well-established, coherent circulation is critical, and without it, the disturbance will not have the mechanisms in place to tap into the largely conducive environmental conditions.
Its very quick pace, nearly 25 mph, is likely impeding its development and possible interaction with the land mass of South America may further stunt its future growth.
Nevertheless, because of the conducive environment ahead, the National Hurricane Center is forecasting gradual strengthening, especially once it clears South America and reaches the western Caribbean, where it could become the first Atlantic hurricane of 2022.
The system is expected to impact Nicaragua, Honduras and parts of Central America by this weekend, but strong high pressure will keep it well south of Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Beyond the Potential Tropical Cyclone, we’re tracking two other disturbances in the Atlantic.
The area of low pressure in the Gulf – designated Invest 95L by the Hurricane Center – remains disorganized.
Models suggest a narrow window for some development Tuesday and Wednesday before it moves inland over southern Texas on Thursday. Regardless, the upshot will be the potential for heavy rain along the Texas coastline in areas that could use the rainfall.
Another disturbance in the deep tropical Atlantic nearly 1,000 miles east of Potential Tropical Cyclone Two has low odds of development. It will be traveling west-northwestward and toward more hostile upper-level winds, which should limit its development.
Over the weekend, it may impact parts of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico with gusty winds and heavy rainfall, but it isn’t a concern for South Florida at this time.