While the remainder of the 2015 Atlantic Tropical season is forecast to run below average (see NOAA: Revised 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook), that in no way precludes us from seeing one or more hurricanes in the weeks to come.
Instead of seeing 6 or even 10 hurricanes, we are simply more likely to see 3 or 4.
But even with the dampening effects of El Niño, any one of those could still become a major (CAT 3) storm. The Atlantic’s waters are very warm, have been undisturbed by earlier tropical systems, and can provide plenty of fuel for these tropical heat engines.
A short while ago the National Hurricane Center in Miami, which has been following a mid-Atlantic tropical wave for a couple of days, upgraded it to become the 4th tropical depression of the year. Conditions are favorable for it to become a tropical storm in the hours ahead, and it is forecast to reach hurricane strength as it approaches the Leeward Islands in a few days.
From the NHC 11am Discussion:
The overall atmospheric and oceanic environments surrounding the cyclone appear conducive for slow but steady strengthening throughout the forecast period. The only inhibiting factor will be occasional brief intrusions of dry mid-level air associated with the Saharan Air Layer that lies just to the north of the depression.
However, given the very low vertical wind shear of less than 5 kt, the convective structure is expected to steadily increase in organization, allowing the dry air intrusions to be mixed out. The official intensity forecast closely follows the intensity consensus model IVCN through 72 hours, and then leans closer to a blend of the Decay-SHIPS and LGEM models at 96 and 120 hours.
FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS
INIT 18/1500Z 10.6N 36.5W 30 KT 35 MPH
12H 19/0000Z 11.0N 37.9W 35 KT 40 MPH
24H 19/1200Z 11.3N 39.5W 40 KT 45 MPH
36H 20/0000Z 11.6N 40.9W 50 KT 60 MPH
48H 20/1200Z 12.1N 41.9W 60 KT 70 MPH
72H 21/1200Z 13.2N 44.2W 70 KT 80 MPH
96H 22/1200Z 13.7N 47.8W 80 KT 90 MPH
120H 23/1200Z 14.0N 52.4W 85 KT 100 MPH
While it is far too soon to speculate what effects – if any – this system will have on the continental United States, it is never too soon to prepare for hurricane season. So, if you haven’t already downloaded the updated Tropical Cyclone Preparedness Guide, now would be an excellent time to do so.
When it comes to getting the latest information on hurricanes, your first stop should always be the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida. These are the real experts, and the only ones you should rely on to track and forecast the storm.
We are also now just two weeks away from the start of National Preparedness Month, so now is an opportune time to become better prepared as an individual, family, business owner, or community to deal with all types of disasters I would invite you to visit the following preparedness sites.
AMERICAN RED CROSS http://www.redcross.org/