At 21Z today, Frances was upgraded to a hurricane, the 4th of the season, based on satellite appearance. The CDO is growing and maintaining cloud top temperatures around -75C. I suspect that microwave imagery will soon reveal an eye/eyewall forming under the CDO. The 21Z position is 13.7N 46.4W and heading WNW at 14kts. Intensity has jumped to 70kts and 983mb (35kts and 22mb stronger than 24 hours ago!). The forecast is for significant intensification, reaching CAT2 status by Friday morning and CAT3 status by Saturday morning. If it achieves CAT3 anytime by the end of the month, a new record will be set in the Atlantic... never has there been an August with 3 major hurricanes. The future track is still tricky, because it will be slowing down. In 5 days, it should be just north of the Lesser Antilles, so interests on shore (Bahamas, Bermda, or US) will certainly have a peaceful weekend and first half of next week at least. Elsewhere, there's little of interest to mention. There's a weak tropical wave near the Cape Verde Islands, and another one exiting the African coast right now. You'll find the most current satellite imagery, track forecast, advisories, and more at http://mcwar.org/tropics/ I will be out of town until Sept 6, but Jonathan Vigh will be filling in for me. Jonathan is a graduate student at CSU Atmospheric Science in the same Tropical Dynamics research group that I'm a part of and is very knowledgeable on the subject.
Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.