Friday, August 19, 2011

Tropics Continue to Heat-Up; Potential Hurricane for SE U.S. Next Week

As mentioned in a post a couple of days ago, the tropics have been heating up recently, and at least one system developing out in the tropical Atlantic poses a threat to the U.S. next week - potentially a significant one at that.

Lets begin by taking a broad look at the satellite picture over the tropical Atlantic this morning.  The Florida coast is located in the upper left corner of the image, and the coast of Africa is located toward the center right portion of the image:

As you can see, I've highlighted 2 particular tropical waves (or disturbances), dubbed "Invest 97" (the Western most wave) and "Invest 98" (the Eastern most wave coming off of the African coast).  

Invest 97 is the one to keep a close eye on initially, particularly if you live in Florida or adjacent portions of the Southeast U.S.  Computer forecast models (see image below) are currently pointing to this region for potential impact on Thursday or Friday of next week (8/25-8/26).  The system is forecast to reach hurricane strength by that time.

The models have shifted the track a bit Westward in the last 24 hours, but still keep a primary focus on Florida.  It is important to remember that both intensity and track forecasts this far out often display wild fluctuations.  With that having been said, Floridians and others in the Southeast U.S. should pay very close attention to the progress of this system over the coming days.

As you can see in the original tropical Atlantic satellite image, we will also have to keep an eye on Invest 98 as well as other disturbances that are lining up (yellow circled areas on that image) across Africa and moving Westward.

It certainly does appear that the end of August and at least the beginning of September are shaping up to be quite active in the tropics!

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