Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tropical Trouble: The Latest On A Now Busy Atlantic Hurricane Season

Tropical Depression Fiona looked, well, depressing
Tuesday morning, taking the form of just a few
thunderstorms over the open Atlantic. 
Yesterday, I noted how we shouldn't trust long range forecasts for tropical storms and hurricanes because a lot can change.

Of course I stand by that, but since there is a lot of activity in the Atlantic Ocean right now, I should give an update.


Tropical Storm Fiona weakened to a tropical depression yesterday and was still barely hanging on as a depression as of early this morning, says the National Hurricane Center.

Strong upper level winds keep tearing apart any efforts by Fiona to generate new thunderstorms, and dry air surrounding the storm - if you can really call it a storm.

The strong upper level winds are going to weaken, says the NHC, which might suggest Fiona would want to make something of a comeback. But it's still going to be embedded in dry air, which would make regeneration that much harder.

Fiona is headed toward the northwest, and theoretically it could reach North Carolina eventually,  but at this point at least, it doesn't look like it will turn into much of anything.

Unlike, say Tropical Storm Gaston


Tropical Storm Gaston didn't look like a classic
hurricane yet Tuesday morning, but you can see
it has lots of vigorous thunderstorms and it
is spinning up pretty well.  
Ever since it emerged off the African coast the other day, what would become Tropical Storm Gaston looked like it really had a future and still does.

Gaston has been developing rapidly, and looks great on satellite imagery.

 By great I mean well organized. And it's already trying to develop an eye, which is impressive since the storm was still a 50 mph tropical storm Tuesday morning.

The bad news is Gaston looks like it has the potential at least to grow into a powerful hurricane. The good news at this point is it looks like, at least for now, Gaston is going to avoid hitting land.

Gaston wants to head toward the northwest, into the middle of the open Atlantic Ocean.  Given the uncertainly of long range forecasts, there's a slight chance it could slightly impact New England or maybe more so eastern Canada eventually, but that's a long shot. Don't hold your breath on this one, especially you New Englanders.

I won't hazard a guess on whether Gaston will have any effect on North America or not. But the southeast coast, and the islands in the Caribbean are safe from Gaston, I'm pretty sure of that.

Unlike something else brewing down in the Atlantic.


There's a disorganized area of showers and thunderstorms heading westward toward the Leeward Islands. This is the disturbance that's generating all the Internet clickbait.

That's because a few models have this thing growing into a hurricane that would hit somewhere in the southeastern United States.
This big patch of thunderstorms heading westbound
toward the Leeward Islands could develop
into a tropical storm later this week.  

Don't count on that. Especially not yet. It's still highly uncertain how big this disturbance will get and where it will head.

Right now, the National Hurricane Center says environmental conditions are good enough so that it might slowly develop into a tropical depression or tropical storm in the next few days.

It's heading in a direction such that regardless of how strong it gets, it has a good shot of dumping heavy rain and possible flash floods on the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico and Hispaniola.

From there, what could become a tropical storm or even hurricane might threaten the Bahamas or the southeastern United States in a week or so.

Again, that's not a promise or a guarantee. It could move harmelessly out to sea, or not develop much or do any number of things. It's just something to keep an eye on, in case it does become a threat to the United States

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