Forecasters monitoring multiple areas near US for tropical development


While tropical storm formation is not anticipated over the Atlantic and eastern Pacific oceans in the near future, the area near Central America may become a breeding ground for tropical activity during the week of Aug. 18-25, 2019.

“Wind shear has been quite extensive across the Atlantic basin the past few weeks and is, in part, one of the reasons why we have not seen any tropical storm development across the Atlantic Basin since mid-July with Barry,” according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.

“Long-range forecasts show less extensive shear but still enough to cause problems with westward-moving tropical waves, or disturbances, during the next week or so,” Kottlowski said.

Extensive areas of dry air and dust have been inhibiting factors as well. While moisture can gather quickly regardless of current conditions, the amount of dust which tends to keep a lid on shower and thunderstorm formation, may begin to diminish next week.

“These inhibiting variable of wind shear, dry air and dust will dominate the Atlantic Basin through this weekend and into the first part of the new week,” Kottlowski said.

“However, we expect these inhibiting factors to ease up, especially across the Gulf of Mexico next week and may do so enough to allow tropical development.”


AccuWeather’s 2019 Atlantic hurricane season forecast

What is wind shear and how does it impact hurricanes, other tropical cyclones?

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Meanwhile, over Central America, patches of heavy rain and thunderstorms will continue to gather as a large slowly-spinning, non-tropical storm, called a gyre, develops this weekend and into early next week.

“Areas from Colombia to southern Mexico will be trouble spots for flash flooding and mudslides into next week due to the uptick in the downpours,” Kottlowski said.

Central America sat shot Friday

This image, taken on Friday, August 16, 2019, shows a mass of clouds associated with showers and thunderstorms over Central America. A large, slow-spinning storm, or gyre, is likely developing in the region and could give birth to a tropical system next week. (NOAA)

As a bit of energy from a tropical wave reaches this gyre, it may give birth to a tropical depression over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico later this week, unless a depression forms on the Pacific side of Central America instead.


With the setup, there may not be enough atmospheric support for two systems: one in the Gulf and one in the nearby Pacific at the same time.

Should a tropical depression develop in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico later this week, steering breezes may direct the feature northward toward the Texas coast with perhaps additional strengthening.


Should a tropical depression develop over the eastern Pacific, steering breezes would likely take the feature westward and progressively farther away from land with considerable strengthening possible.

Cruise, shipping, coastal and petroleum interests in the region should monitor the situation.

Even if no definable tropical feature evolves in the western Gulf, a surge of drenching showers and thunderstorms may push into parts of northeastern Mexico, coastal and central Texas and Louisiana late this week or this weekend.

What has happened so far and what is the AccuWeather 2019 Atlantic hurricane season forecast?

Over the years, the period from Aug. 20 through Sept. 11 marks the sharpest increase in named tropical systems in the Atlantic Basin.

Hurricane Frequency

AccuWeather meteorologists are forecasting a total of 12-14 named storms with five to seven hurricanes and two to four major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher) for the entire 2019 year.

AccuWeather estimates that two to four United States landfalls of named systems are likely.

2019 forecast

Thus far, there have been two named storms, including one hurricane. Barry was the only system to make landfall in the United States so far and did so as a Category 1 hurricane.

“With the weakening of El Niño, conditions are expected to become not only much more conducive for tropical storm formation but may also lead to multiple occasions with more than one named system spinning in the Atlantic Basin at the same time as well as a late and strong finish to the season,” Kottlowski continues to emphasize.

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