Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tropics Becoming Active

NOAA's outlook for the hurricane season this year was updated recently and continues to project a 70 percent chance of an above-normal season. In general things have been quiet so far with only four named storms to date (Andrea, Barry, Chantal, and Dorian) and none of them hurricanes.  Andrea affected the Gulf, southeast, and mid-Atlantic coasts in early June. Barry languished in the far southern Gulf. Chantal remained in the Caribbean, and Dorian made a long trip through the Atlantic before weakening and fizzling out in the waters east of Florida at the beginning of this month.

Today's tropical outlook for the Atlantic from the National Hurricane Center has identified two potential areas for tropical storm development in the next few days. The one of immediate concern is located in the northwest Caribbean. The second is a disturbance just off the African coast which became Tropical Depression #5 late today.

The disturbance in the Caribbean is expected move northwest and cross the Yucatan peninsula, then re-emerge over the western Gulf. It could develop into a tropical depression sometime Thursday. Development beyond Thursday is still a question mark. However, even without development into a tropical storm there will be plenty of moisture funneled from the Gulf into the Gulf coast and southeastern states and the rest of this week is likely to be wet.  The Quantitative Precipitation Forecast issued by NOAA's Weather Prediction Center is indicating that several inches of rain are possible in wide band from New Orleans through Georgia and into the southern Carolinas.

Quantitative Precipitation Forecast for the period from 8:00 p.m. EDT 8/14 to 8:00 p.m. EDT 8/17

This area could really use a break from the rain. Over the past 60 days rainfall has ranged from 150 to more than 300 percent of normal.

Map from the NWS Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Sercvice

Tropical Depression #5 southeast of the Cape Verde Islands will bear monitoring over the next few days. However, that is probably at least a week away from reaching the eastern Caribbean should it hold together.

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