A disturbance over the central Atlantic is the only feature that has a chance of development as it tracks near the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean and then in between the Bahamas and Bermuda through next week.
The feature, dubbed 96L, remains disorganized and faces obstacles to become the basin’s next tropical depression or storm.
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“Dry, stable air has been a limiting factor to the development of this system, despite it being in an environment with relatively low wind shear,” according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rathbun.
High wind shear can prevent a tropical storm from forming and keep a hurricane from strengthening.
Rathbun anticipates the dry air to continue to affect 96L as it heads west-northwestward toward the Caribbean Islands this weekend.
The feature is expected to track near or just north of the Leeward Islands around Tuesday of next week, but may encounter a new hurdle for development.
“Once 96L is forecast to escape the region of dry air, near and just north of the Leeward Islands, stronger wind shear will then interact with it,” according to Rathbun.
Weighing all the variables, “this system has been downgraded to a low chance of development into early next week as it nears the Leeward Islands,” Rathbun stated.
Should the feature take the less likely, more southern route into the Caribbean, where wind shear is lower, some strengthening of an already developed tropical depression may occur next week.
Regardless of development, this robust tropical feature will spread showers and thunderstorms westward from the Lesser Antilles to Puerto Rico and Hispaniola from the early to middle part of next week.
During the middle of last week, one such disturbance brought drenching downpours and localized flooding to Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands. That same disturbance will help to enhance downpours along the southeastern coast of the United States this weekend.
This image of the tropical Atlantic shows several tropical disturbances or tropical waves lined up from Africa to waters just off the southeastern United States coast. The image was taken on Friday afternoon, August 2, 2019. (NOAA / Satellite)
“Another window of opportunity for 96L may open later next week as it tracks over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between the Bahamas and Bermuda,” Rathbun said. “If wind shear lessens at the same time, it may allow 96L to strengthen into a tropical depression or storm.”
The next tropical storm in the Atlantic basin will be named Chantal.
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Even if a depression or storm forms in the southwestern Atlantic, it would likely be steered away from the U.S. East Coast.
On average, close to 60 tropical waves are produced over Africa and move westward across the Atlantic each year. During the period from August to September, a tropical wave emerges from Africa every two to four days.
When a tropical storm or hurricane develops from one of these waves, it is considered to be a Cabo Verde or Cape Verde system, named for a group of islands near the west coast of Africa.
In general, the Cabo Verde disturbances and storms tend to be pushed along by the clockwise circulation around a semi-permanent high pressure area over the central Atlantic Ocean.