Quiet, dusty week in the tropics comes to a close

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


The tropical Atlantic this week has been closed for business, thanks to the largest outbreak of Saharan dust since early June and a prominent upper-level low pinwheeling its way from the central Atlantic toward South Florida, keeping hostile upper winds locked in over the Caribbean.

Upper low (University of Wisconsin, Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC))

Largely inhospitable conditions will continue through the weekend and into next week, and no organized tropical activity is expected across the Atlantic, Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico for the week ahead.

As we discussed in last Wednesday’s newsletter, July is often a down month for U.S. storm impacts, and historically your best bet for summer vacation before activity ramps up in August.

The biggest factor driving what’s forecast to be an active hurricane season are the cooler than average waters in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean – a phenomenon called La Niña.

These cooler-than-average waters in the Pacific weaken otherwise hostile upper-level winds over the tropical Atlantic, which helps to prime the atmosphere for hurricane development during the peak months.

Although Pacific waters have warmed some in recent weeks, another burst of trade winds from the east through the central Pacific will recharge the ongoing La Niña headed into the fall.

About the Author:

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