Aug 20, 2014 12:16 PM by Dave Baker
Late August is usually a busy time for hurricane season. So far this August has been quiet. Hurricane Bertha has been our only contestant so far this month. Usually August brings 3-4 named storms and 1-2 become hurricanes. El Nino has been responsible for a fairly quiet season. The El Nino pattern increases wind shear, which makes it more difficult for developing systems to evolve. Once a tropical system has developed and become established, El Nino's effects don't factor in as much.
The disturbance the National Hurricane Center is currently watching is near the Windward Islands in the Atlantic Ocean. This low pressure trough, or tropical wave is expected to drift westward or west-northwestward toward the Caribbean Sea over the next two days. Tropical waves in this area are fairly common during August and September.
Some models are developing it into a Tropical Depression. This hasn't happened yet. Reconnaissance aircraft will fly into the area tomorrow to investigate. This will determine if it is becoming a tropical depression or storm. The information gathered by the Hurricane Hunter aircraft is essential to our computer models. Once this data is put into the formula, those models can forecast more accurately the intensity, and direction.
The early models are pushing the wave (or disturbance) across the northern Caribbean during days 3-6 and possibly near the Yucatan Channel on day 7. After day 7 models diverge with some tracking it toward the southern Gulf of Mexico and others toward Cuba and the Bahamas.
This is very early in the game. Best that you keep track of what's going on. We're near the peak of the season, so it's always good to have your plan in place. For those of us who've been on the Gulf Coast for a long time, we know this time of year, we're always watching something!