25 August 2013

Last week of August comes with increasing activity

As I eluded to in Friday's update, the tropical Atlantic is primed to start cranking out some storms, especially toward the beginning of September.  But even now, a couple areas of interest are brewing: one rapidly organizing system in the southern Gulf of Mexico and another near the African coast.

First, the disturbance in the far southern Gulf of Mexico.  This is an African easterly wave that was located back over the Lesser Antilles on the 19th, and got more convectively active on the 22nd.  Since then it passed over the Yucatan peninsula and just emerged into the Bay of Campeche recently.  It has been surprisingly quick to get organized, and an aircraft reconnaissance plane has been tasked to investigate it later this afternoon.  The aircraft could possibly find it to be a tropical storm... if so, the next name on the list is Fernand.  Fernand is a new name this year, replacing Felix from 2007's list.

Disturbance in the Bay of Campeche, heading west toward Mexico. (NASA)
Even if it does continue to intensify, its time before landfall is very limited.  It's heading generally westward, which brings it over land by this evening.  It is already showing up nicely on radar... I have a long radar loop from Alvarado available (Invest 95L).  As usual for weaker systems, the largest threat will be heavy rain and flash flooding.

Shifting our attention 5200 miles to the east, a wave has just exited the African coast and though it doesn't look too impressive just yet, several global models do forecast it to get organized over the next several days as it heads W-WNW across the deep tropics.  It's coming off at a more typical latitude, centered near 10N 18W, and the environment appears to be favorable for development.  I will provide additional details on it as the week goes on. 

Visible satellite image of an easterly wave coming off the African coast.  (CIMSS)

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