Tropical Storm threat late next week?
Hurricane forecasters and their computer models have begun to take an intense interest in a disturbance in the mid-Atlantic. It's not much yet, but the forecast models are unusually consistent in storm track predictions that would steer the storm toward a path up the East Coast by late next week.
They're not talking about the storm in the central Caribbean, which is given an 80 percent chance of becoming Tropical Storm Harvey in the next two days. That one is targeting the east coast of Central America.
The growing interest is in another disturbance now about 875 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands. For now, it has just a 10 percent chance of becoming a tropical storm in the next 48 hours. But conditions downstream look better for development.
If this does become the next named storm after Harvey, it would become Tropical Storm Irene. But what has forecasters so interested so soon are the computer models, which all seem to be taking the storm west and then north along paths that would intersect with the U.S. mainland somewhere between the west coast of Florida and the Carolinas.
If that proves correct, and the storm reaches even minimal hurricane strength, it would be the first hurricane to hit the U.S. mainland since 2008.
AccuWeather.com considered the possibilities and said, "One thing is for sure is that the Atlantic Basin could experience its first hurricane of the season next week. Residents across the Caribbean, the Gulf Coast and the Eastern Seaboard should pay close attention to this tropical wave and how it develops the next few days."
Eric the Red, a professional meteorologist in Baltimore and frequent contributor here, noted the possibilities and said:
"There is so much uncertainty given the fact we're talking about an event that is a week and half away, but it is hard to ignore the models, which have for a 3rd consecutive day more or less portrayed the same scenario."The overall idea: As the potential tropical storm moves west, the ridge of high pressure over the central Atlantic will strengthen and build west, preventing it from making a right turn prior to reaching the eastern U.S..
"At the same time, a dip in the jet stream over the central and eastern U.S. will provide the conduit for any such storm to make that right northward turn as it approaches the southeastern portion of the country. The timing of this "event" is currently the end of next week... ~ Aug 25-28."Most models take the storm toward Florida, and then up through the eastern U.S. Some runs take it up western Florida, some along the eastern coast... some take it ultimately right into MD, while others into the Corn Belt. Please do not ask for details at this point... cos there is no way to know. This is just a friendly FYI."