Hurricane Season – Tropical Update

MACON, Georgia. (41NBC/WMGT) – June 1st marked the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs until November 30th. However, these dates are not strict parameters for tropical cyclone development; they are just a representation of the most active tropical months. At the beginning of the season, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center predicted a near-normal hurricane season with 70% confidence of 10-16 named storms. So far, we have had seven named storms. At this time, there are three areas of interest in the Atlantic Ocean.

1). Tropical Depression Fiona is barely holding together. Fiona is approaching the west Atlantic Ocean but falling apart. Right now, the tropical depression has 35 mph sustained winds and is moving west-northwest at 13 mph. On satellite imagery, Fiona looks like a cluster of disorganized thunderstorms. It is currently located south of Bermuda, between Bermuda and the Bahamas. Fiona is expected to continue its west-northwest movement over the next several days, with no impact to the United States predicted at this time.

2). Another area of interest is what the National Hurricane Center (NHC) has given the name Invest 99-L or Disturbance 1. It is a broad area of low pressure located about 400 miles east-southeast of the Leeward Islands. Yesterday, the NHC had only 20% confidence that this storm system would develop into a tropical cyclone in 48 hours. As of this morning, the NHC has increased the storm’s chances of cyclone formation in 48 hours to 50%. It is currently moving to the west-northwest at 15-20 mph near the northern Leeward Islands and Greater Antilles. The tropical environment that the storm system is moving through will be somewhat conducive for tropical depression formation later this week. Sea surface temperatures are above 80 degrees, and tropical cyclones feed off of the energy provided by warm ocean water. Model forecasts are trending for the disorganized storm system to move near Hispanola, Puerto Rico and southeast/central Bahamas. According to the NHC, gusty winds, heavy rains, possible flash floods and mud slides could occur over these areas. An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft will be flying through the storm system for more measurements later this morning.

3). We now have our seventh named storm of the season – Tropical Storm Gaston. Gaston is strengthening in the far eastern Atlantic Ocean. It has sustained wind speeds of 50 mph and is moving west-northwest at 20 mph. Tropical Storm Gaston is expected to strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane in the next couple of days and continue moving west-northwest, curving east of Bermuda.

The only storm system that may have an impact, if any, on the United States is Invest 99-L, also called Disturbance 1. Spaghetti plots, which show what different models are thinking as far as forecast tracks, show a general trend of the storm system continuing west-northwest. Some of the Caribbean Islands could be affected by the storm system. It is too far out to tell where the storm system will go from there, but some models are showing a possible curve into south Florida. This disturbance is definitely one that many people will have their eyes on as it continues to push westward.

For more information about the systems in the tropics, visit www.nhc.noaa.gov. Your 41 First Alert Storm Team will also be giving you daily updates on all of our TV news broadcasts and online. Be sure to like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

Categories: Weather

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