Sunday, June 29, 2014

Season's first Atlantic tropical system forming

That broad area of low pressure that had been off the South Carolina coast earlier this weekend and was partially responsible for all the clouds, heavy showers and high humidity this weekend in the Charlotte area might be destined to become 2014's first Atlantic tropical system.

By mid afternoon Sunday, the low pressure system had drifted southward and was about 230 miles east of St. Augustine, Fla.

The National Hurricane Center said an area of relatively dry air in mid levels of the atmosphere over North Carolina is expected to be dragged into the low pressure area later Sunday, but by Tuesday or Wednesday, that dry air will be gone, and the low is given an 80 percent chance of becoming an organized tropical depression.

Steering currents off the Southeast Coast are extremely weak, and that makes any long-range forecasts very difficult.

But there doesn't seem to be any indication that the tropical system will have any impact on the Carolinas, at least for the next few days.

Some of the computer models show the low pressure system drifting south and then southwest, making landfall in three or four days along the eastern Florida coast.  But a few other models show the system remaining over open water and then being dragged northeast later in the week when steering currents increase.

In that case, there could be some rainy and windy periods around the Fourth of July holiday on the Carolinas coastline. But that's a highly uncertain forecast, and if you have plans for an Independence Day trip to the beach, there's no need to worry.  Nothing will happen for several days, at the earliest.