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Tepid Tropics: When Will Activity Increase?

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Photo Credit: NASA, Hurricane Earl 2010

Approaching Peak Activity in the Tropics

It’s been a fairly quiet tropical season, thus far, for most coastal areas of the United States. There are two notable exceptions: Hurricane Arthur, which made landfall in North Carolina during the July 4th holiday and Tropical Storm Iselle which came ashore on Hawaii’s Big Island at the beginning of August. Hawaii, as you may remember, is a place that rarely has landfalling tropical systems. And while the Pacific has been cranking storms out, the Atlantic — on the other hand — has been a bit of a dud.

Will that be changing anytime soon?

Well, climatology tells us that activity in the Atlantic is likely to increase. Here’s why: moving into late summer and early fall, historically, sea surface temperatures are near their peaks and wind shear drops off precipitously. This combination of ingredients makes for a very a favorable environment for tropical cyclone development.

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That said, conditions at the moment are not the best for development. Wind shear and dry air — coupled with slightly cooler-than-average water temps in the Atlantic basin — have put a kibosh on any significant development, but that’s likely to change.

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Happening Now

We’re rapidly approaching the peak of hurricane season and with two tropical waves in the Atlantic, this could be an indication that activity is starting to ramp up.

Meanwhile, in the Pacific, there’s not been a lack of systems to talk about. Currently, two named systems — Karina and Lowell — are churning in the eastern Pacific. The forecast is for them to remain a “fish storm,” meaning they’re likely to stay out to sea.

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Surprisingly, one of the storms in the Pacific could be beneficial for the parched West Coast.

Lowell is forecasted to stay well off to the coast of California, but it might be able to provide some much needed moisture to the drought stricken areas of California. It’s still a little to early to tell, but it’s something that bears watching.

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Another disturbance, off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, needs to be monitored as well.

Forecast models have this system becoming a pretty powerful storm. But there’s a bit good news: it’s expected to stay well away from land. Forecast models also indicated that this system could potentially bring rain to the West Coast as well, but much remains to be seen.

Keep checking back with us for the latest!

Meteorologist Thomas Geboy

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