Weather Blog: The Atlantic is waking up

Posted: Aug 29, 2018 8:30 AM -04:00 Updated:
FORT MYERS, Fla. -

The Atlantic has been relatively calm over the last few weeks, but it now looks like it's starting to wake up and become a bit more active.

The NBC2 First Alert Hurricane Tracking Team is currently keeping an eye on two different areas.

The first area is fairly close to home. As we approach this holiday weekend, we expect conditions to be rather rainy thanks to our typical amounts of moisture, however, an area of very high tropical moisture is forecast to develop near the Bahamas Sunday. As that develops it could make an approach to south Florida by the beginning of this upcoming week. When we see moisture like this, we feel it needs to be monitored.

 

In addition to that tropical moisture, some of the warmest ocean temperatures in the Atlantic right now are in the Gulf of Mexico. These warm temperatures would help strengthen tropical systems should any develop.

 

Even though the warmest ocean water is focused just off our west coast, the warm water stretches across the Atlantic toward Africa, which brings us to the second area we are watching.

A tropical wave is forming off the western coast of Africa and will be moving westward within the next 24 hours. The National Hurricane Center has put this wave at a 50% chance of development.


While tropical development on this wave is likely, it does have a few things working against it, one of which is high wind shear. On the graphic below you see areas of orange and red, and then areas of green eventually fading into blue. The orange and red areas show lower wind shear, while the colors that fade into blue show areas of high wind shear.

As this wave moves off the western coast of Africa it will interact with an area of low shear, but as it propagates westward, it will run into areas of higher wind shear, which will try to tear it apart and weaken it. Basically, the reddish areas are the places that if a tropical system moves into, it can more easily develop, but if it moves into an area that is green or blue (or has no color coding!) that is higher wind shear which works to tear apart tropical systems.

As we approach the peak of Hurricane season and as the Atlantic warms up and wakes up, all five members of the NBC2 First Alert Hurricane Tracking Team will keep an eye on all corners of the Atlantic basin and alert you first if any development looks likely.