There are two new significant candidates for tropical development in the Atlantic basin this week. Photo courtesy of the National Hurricane Center
There are two new significant candidates for tropical development in the Atlantic basin this week, and although neither budding storm poses a threat to the United States at this time, at least one will drift westward across the Caribbean and bears watching for potential adverse conditions, AccuWeather meteorologists say.
A new tropical disturbance, known as a tropical wave, has had AccuWeather meteorologists' interest since early last week when Ian was brewing in the Caribbean. During this past weekend, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) dubbed the tropical wave 91L in order to step up investigative measures.
On Monday, the tropical wave was located a few hundred miles to the east of the southern Windward Islands. Clouds associated with the disturbance were showing some weak spin on satellite imagery, which could be the early signs of organization, forecasters said.
The development potential for this system will vary through this weekend. "There is a window as soon as the next couple of days for the system to organize and strengthen," AccuWeather Chief On-Air Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said. "Through Tuesday, disruptive wind shear will remain low."
Wind shear is the presence of stiff breezes that blow from one direction. When strong, wind shear can disrupt the development of tropical systems or cause them to weaken.
During the middle and latter part of the week, wind shear will increase as the system moves across the eastern and central Caribbean.
"A storm in the upper atmosphere near the Leeward Islands appears as though it will extend southwestward as the week progresses. This action will cause wind shear to increase near the system, which could keep it from developing at all or prevent it from strengthening significantly," Rayno said.
Any development of 91L over the next few days is likely to be minimal and not supportive of a rapidly developing hurricane.
The system's proximity to South America may be another deterrent in its development during the middle and latter part of this week. However, as it moves westward an uptick in drenching showers, gusty thunderstorms and choppy seas will occur from west to east across the islands and coastline of the southern Caribbean.
"If the system fails to develop this week or perhaps has acquired tropical depression or storm status, there may be more favorable development conditions once it enters the southwestern Caribbean," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Adam Douty said.
"Waters are extremely warm in that part of the Caribbean, and it is possible that strong wind shear may ease by the weekend."
A pathway to the north appears as though it will remain blocked into this weekend, unlike steering breezes that allowed Fiona and Ian to change direction.
"However, for these reasons, interests in Central America will need to monitor the progress of 91L as it drifts westward through the weekend," Douty said. Even a weak tropical system could bring tremendous rain and the risk of flooding and mudslides to parts of Central America this weekend.
A tremendous amount of changes in other weather systems or significant strengthening of 91L would have to take place to allow the system to move northward through at least Saturday.
"Only if a dip in the jet stream was to extend across the Gulf of Mexico and into the northern Caribbean might there be a chance for the system to turn northward and potentially threaten the U.S.," AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok said. There is no indication of this happening just yet.
Thousands of miles farther to the east, a cluster of heavy showers and strong thunderstorms from another tropical wave was evident just off the coast of Africa.
"This system has a high chance of becoming a named tropical system this week," Douty said.
The tropical wave has been dubbed 92L by NHC and poses no threat to land. It is possible the system spends its entire active life while at sea over the central Atlantic.
The next two names on the list that forecasters are using to name storms for the 2022 season are Julia and Karl.
AccuWeather meteorologists continue to monitor part of what was once Hurricane Ian along the mid-Atlantic coast. Hostile atmospheric conditions over land caused what was left of Ian to break up and dissolve as drenching rain and chilly winds developed over the central Appalachians and mid-Atlantic this past weekend.
A new storm of non-tropical nature was spinning up along the mid-Atlantic coast and will prolong drenching rain, coastal flooding and beach erosion from North Carolina to southern New England into Wednesday.
There is a very low chance that this nor'easter may acquire some tropical characteristics while moving over the warm waters of the Gulf Stream as it moves out to sea during midweek. Wind shear is likely to increase toward the middle of the week, so it is highly unlikely to evolve into a tropical or subtropical depression or storm.
As of Monday, the Atlantic has racked up an Accumulated Cyclone Energy value of 79.2, according to Colorado State University. This parameter tallies up the intensity and duration of all tropical storms and hurricanes in a season. Prior to Fiona and Ian, ACE in the Atlantic was lagging well behind the average pace. The normal through Oct. 3 is about 98.
Hurricane season officially extends through Nov. 30, and there are likely to be at least a few more tropical storms and hurricanes in the coming weeks.