30 July 2012

Easterly wave showing signs of organization

An easterly wave that exited the African coast on July 26 is presently located near 9N 36W, or about 800 miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands. There is a 1010mb Low embedded within the wave.

The Saharan Air Layer (SAL) that has dominated the basin for the past 1-2 weeks is weakening, and is mostly to the north of this disturbance. The sea surface temperature (SST) under the system is about 28.3C and will move over similar temperatures over the next several days.  Vertical shear is very low (<5kts) and is expected to remain low for the foreseeable future as it travels WNW at around 12kts.  If it remains intact, it would arrive at the Lesser Antilles by the end of this coming weekend.  Given the ideal environmental conditions, this disturbance will likely be quick to develop... the plot below shows several parameters from recent model runs (intensity, track, shear, SST, RH):

If named, the next name on the list is Ernesto.  Climatologically, the 5th named storm in the Atlantic forms on August 31.  For a bit of hurricane history, the infamous Hurricane Andrew was also a 1010mb Low almost exactly in this location on August 16, 1992.  Not that this will necessarily be anything like Andrew, but it is worth realizing that this is how even the greatest of storms have their beginnings.  Eight days later, Andrew would make its destructive Category 5 landfall just south of Miami FL.

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