Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tropics getting active again

After a couple weeks of inactivity, the tropics are warming up again.

The satellite map Wednesday afternoon showed two potential named systems, one of which could be a player in the Charlotte-area forecast later this week.

That system was centered over the northwest Caribbean Sea on Wednesday afternoon.

The National Hurricane Center says there's a 60 percent chance of development into a tropical depression or storm within the next three days, and a 70 percent chance over the next five days. That system is expected to push northward in the Gulf of Mexico.

While a few computer models take the system westward, toward the Mexico-Texas border, most forecasts show the storm aiming at the Gulf coast, especially from Mississippi eastward to the Florida Panhandle.  If that happens, a dying tropical system could spread heavy rain into the Southeast.

Right now, it looks as if Georgia, western South Carolina, and Tennessee are most at risk of heavy rain Saturday and Sunday.  But it wouldn't take much of a course adjustment to bring the heavy rain into the Carolinas.

The other area being watched is in the eastern Atlantic -- a classic Cape Verde system.

On Wednesday afternoon, an area of disturbed weather was south of the Cape Verde Islands, and the Hurricane Center is calling for an 80 percent chance of development over the next five days.

It's far too early to tell what might happen to that system, although conditions in the central Atlantic are not exactly conducive to development.  But after being quiet for several weeks (due at least in part to dry air being blown from the Sahara Desert into the ocean), it looks like the eastern Atlantic is becoming an active area again.

And it's just in time for the tropical season to reach its peak.