This week is the historical peak of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, and on cue this morning saw the formation of the basin's sixth tropical depression. The system is expected to slowly strengthen into Tropical Storm and eventually Hurricane Edouard over the next few days.
Tropical Depression Six is swirling in the eastern Atlantic at this hour with winds of 35 MPH. The system isn't the sickliest looking thing on satellite imagery this afternoon, with a robust flare-up of convection around its center lending to the likelihood that it will gather organization and strength over the next few days. The National Hurricane Center expects the cyclone to strengthen to hurricane status by early next week as it moves towards the central Atlantic, affecting nobody but some ships and some airplanes and some fish.
However, there is a system over the Bahamas that the National Hurricane Center has pegged for a medium chance for development over the coming days.
Something is trying to develop closer to home...
This is a spaghetti model plot showing all of the different weather model solutions run for this system. The spaghetti plot shows where more than two dozen models think that the center of the system will go if it develops, based on current forecasts. This morning's run of the ECMWF (European) model shows the system barely reaching tropical depression strength as it moves westward over the Gulf of Mexico over the coming days. Likewise, this afternoon's run of the GFS (American global model) shows the system barely developing while following the same path.
However, the system is still in its developing stages, and anything can happen between now and next week. Coastal residents from the Florida to Texas should keep an eye on the latest forecasts from the National Hurricane Center, which is a good word of advice anytime during hurricane season let alone at the peak as we are today.
How does the season look so far?
Here's what this year's hurricane season looked like before Tropical Depression Six formed this morning. Averages suggest that we should be on our sixth named storm of the year by September 8, and we've only had four so far this year: three hurricanes (Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal) and one tropical storm (Dolly).
The reasons behind the slower-than-expected season vary depending on whom you ask. Unfavorable wind shear and excessive dry air blowing over the ocean from the Sahara are the most common explanations. Not that that's a bad thing, of course.
These two systems bear watching, and hopefully once they dissipate the season will return to its former boring state.
[Spaghetti model plot by WeatherBELL, all other images by the author | The map at the top of this post was updated at 455PM EDT to reflect the latest advisory from the NHC.]