Storm clouds in the Caribbean
Chances that a stormy region in the Caribbean will get organized and strengthen to tropical storm force appear to be growing today. The National Hurricane Center gives the weather in the region a 40 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next two days, up from near zero a few days ago.
For now, it's still a rather disorganized patch of thunderstorms affecting portions of Hispaniola, Jamaica and Cuba, as well as the Cayman Islands. But ...
"Upper-level winds are expected to become more conducive for deverlopment of this system as it moves westward or west-northwestward around 10 mph over the next couple of days," the NHC said. "There is a medium chance (40 percent) of this system becoming a tropoical cyclone during the next 48 hours."
In the meantime, AccuWeather.com forecaster Joe Bastardi has said, "The lid is about to pop off our first Atlantic threat of the season." He believes steering winds could bring the storm - if it forms - into the Gulf of Mexico by early next week. Gulf waters are very warm, so that would not be good news for those working to get the BP well under control, or to clear the beaches and marshlands of oil.
Bastardi recently revised upward his early forecast for the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season. From the 16 to 18 named storms he forecast back in March, he has boosted his estimate to 18 to 21 storms. That puts him more in line with NOAA's May forecast of 14-23 named storms.