Unusually quiet August continues in Tropics

By Bryan Norcross - Hurricane Specialist

MIAMI - The unusually quiet August continues in the tropics. No significant tropical development is expected this week.

The atmospheric conditions over the tropical Atlantic and the Caribbean continue to be unfavorable for tropical development, so no development is expected in these prime areas this week. Long-range computer forecast models indicate that tropical disturbances moving off Africa may find less hostile conditions next week, however, though we've said that before.  

There is no obvious specific reason why the tropics are not more active. The individual atmospheric parameters we normally look at are in a reasonably favorable range -- the traditional El Niño measurements and the Atlantic ocean temperatures, for example. The oddity is that the atmosphere over the tropical Atlantic is not at all conducive for thunderstorms to develop. If thunderstorms can't grow, tropical systems can't develop. Not that we're complaining.


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It is important to remember that sometimes Mother Nature throws a switch, and systems suddenly start to develop. For example, in 1961 there was one hurricane, which moved through the Caribbean in July, then nothing in August, followed by one big hurricane after the other in September. The season continued well into November, which included a Category 5 storm in late October. Included in that onslaught was a giant hurricane, Carla, which smashed into the Corpus Christi area in Texas.

I'm not saying that will happen this year. It's just that we shouldn't draw any conclusions about the rest of the season yet.  

There is a small disturbance in the North Atlantic that could still develop into a tropical depression or storm. It is moving out to sea.

The moisture surge that will head into the northwestern Gulf late this week still has a chance to organize a bit. It will still have to be watched. 

The rain in South Florida earlier Tuesday was the northern end of the disturbance associated with that moisture surge. 

August 20, 1992: Hurricane Hunters investigating Tropical Storm Andrew could not find a well-defined closed circulation. Consideration was given to downgrading the storm, but National Hurricane Center Director Dr. Bob Sheets decided they should wait and see what happened. Telling the public it had come apart, and then renaming it if it reorganized would have been confusing. Sure enough, it had a clear circulation later that night. The future track was very uncertain, as is the case with disorganized or newly organized systems, even today. The only thing we knew was that it was moving closer to Florida. Even 3 ½ days from landfall, what eventually happened was not even a remote idea.

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