Weather Nerd

So much for "quiet"

Right on climatological cue, the Atlantic tropics are heating up. There are now three areas of interest in the deep tropics, between Africa and the Lesser Antilles.

The westernmost wave, a.k.a. “Invest 92L,” is given a better than 50% chance of developing into a tropical depression over the next 48 hours. The easternmost wave is given between a 20% and 50% chance to develop in that time frame, while the middle wave is less likely to develop. Bottom line, we could see the formation of Fay, perhaps Gustav, and maybe even Hanna this week.

In the words of the Houston Chronicle‘s Eric Berger, “the computer models are having a field day” with both 92L and the eastern wave (which hasn’t been given an “Invest” designation yet). And, although it’s highly speculative at this point, it appears possible that these systems could eventually threaten the U.S., though that would be a long way off (and Alan Sullivan is skeptical).

I’ll have more to say about these proto-storms tomorrow, but I wanted to give y’all a heads-up now that my Friday post about “quiet” is now obsolete, and we may be in for a busy week.

MONDAY MORNING UPDATE: The NHC is now essentially treating the “middle” and “eastern” waves as a single, elongated blob of disturbed weather with a “medium” (20-50%) chance of development in the next 48 hours. It’s been designated “Invest 93L.” Meanwhile, the western wave — 92L — has seen its development prognosis downgraded from “high” to “medium.” Here’s what the 8am EDT Tropical Weather Outlook says about these systems:

1. [INVEST 92L] A BROAD AREA OF LOW PRESSURE ASSOCIATED WITH A TROPICAL WAVE IS LOCATED OVER THE CENTRAL ATLANTIC OCEAN ABOUT 850 MILES EAST OF THE WINDWARD ISLANDS. ALTHOUGH ASSOCIATED SHOWER AND THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY IS CURRENTLY LIMITED…ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS APPEAR FAVORABLE FOR GRADUAL DEVELOPMENT…AND THIS SYSTEM HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BECOME A TROPICAL DEPRESSION DURING THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS AS IT MOVES WESTWARD AT 15 TO 20 MPH.

2. [INVEST 93L] A LARGE AREA OF DISORGANIZED SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS IS LOCATED OVER THE EASTERN ATLANTIC A COUPLE HUNDRED MILES SOUTHWEST OF THE CAPE VERDE ISLANDS. SLOW DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM IS POSSIBLE DURING THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS AS IT MOVES WESTWARD AT ABOUT 15 MPH.

It’s possible we could have a “race to become Fay” on our hands, although for now, both waves appear to be taking their sweet time getting organized. 92L is presently being inhibited by dry air and Saharan dust to its north and west, according to Dr. Jeff Masters.

The name “Fay,” incidentally, was introduced in 2002 onto the rotating six-year list of storm names, as a replacement for “Fran,” which was retired after Hurricane Fran hit the Carolinas in 1996. The first (and, thus far, only) storm to bear the name “Fay” was 2002’s Tropical Storm Fay, an Edouard-type storm that caused some flooding in Mexico and Texas.