Keeping an Eye on the Tropics

Late August into September is prime time for tropical storms and hurricanes to form in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.  Thus far this season there have been some storms, but certainly not at the pace of the record setting year in 2005.  If you'll recall it was right around the end of August five years ago when Hurricane Katrina was bulldozing through Florida on a bee line for the central Gulf Coast.  That year there was a total of 28 named storms.  At the present time, we've got Danielle and Earl spinning out in the Atlantic.

Let's start off with Danielle, which reached hurricane strength back on August 23rd and has been steadily tracking through the central and eastern Atlantic.  As of the posting of this blog on Thursday, Danielle was just short of becoming a major hurricane (with maximum winds over 111 mph).  Odds are good that she will at least make it to category 4 status, however it appears that might be about the peak of its intensification.  Based on the various tropical forecast models, Hurricane Danielle will track northwest to north, before curving out to the northeast, likely staying to the east of Bermuda and certainly the east coast of the U.S.  The reason for this change in direction is a trough that has been situated along the eastern seaboard over the past few days that will push east into the Atlantic.  As tends to be the case a lot of times in this scenario, the counter clockwise flow from the trough, steers storms and waves of low pressure to the north/northeast, in this case acting as a saving grace from any landfall.  Needless to say, this is how we would like most hurricanes to track in order to avoid impact on the U.S.  Below is the latest projection of Danielle over the next 5 days by the National Hurricane Center.

Meantime, farther to the south and east is Earl.  As of Thursday afternoon Earl was a tropical storm over the south central Atlantic, heading off to the west at 15-20 mph.  Unlike Danielle, Earl is expected to stay on a more southerly heading in the days ahead, running between 15 and 20 degrees latitude.  This is important because with this projected path, Earl will likely have time to strengthen to a hurricane and may poise a threat to some of the eastern Caribbean islands Monday or Tuesday of next week.  At the present time, the computer model guidance shows Earl turning from a west to northwest track sometime next week.  If the storm maintains a more westerly track, it could get closer to the southeast coast toward the middle to end of next week.  Needless to say, a lot can and will change as time goes on, so be sure to check back for updates.  Once again, here is the latest projection of where Earl is forecast to head in the next few days.

The climatological peak of the Hurricane Season in the Atlantic is September 10th, however storms tend to be a good bet right into the start of October, after which things tend to usually quiet down some.

Here are a few links to check out to track any and all tropical storms and hurricanes (both in the Atlantic & Pacific Ocean):

National Hurricane Center

Penn State University Tropical Weather Model Page

Weather Underground Atlantic Tropical Weather

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