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Monday, July 4, 2022

After pause, tropical storms and hurricanes likely to return

Rough weather returns by 2nd week of October, forecasters suggest

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The National Hurricane Center on Tuesday estimated a 50% chance that the system will develop into a tropical depression in the next five days. Graphic: NOAA

Although we are in the peak of hurricane season, as of Tuesday there were no named tropical cyclones anywhere. This hiatus won’t last long, forecasters say.

That pause began Friday when former Tropical Storm Beta dissipated and Teddy weakened. Increasingly sinking air over the Atlantic has suppressed the thunderstorm growth needed to nucleate tropical development. But that trend may reverse by the second week of October, with tropical activity roaring back, according to the Capital Weather Gang in Washington.

This record-setting season has Atlantic extending beyond named storms — the last being Vicky and Wilfred — and into the Greek alphabet for only the second time on record. Gamma is up next.

There is a precedent for October bringing some of the region’s most infamous systems, including Michael in 2018 and Wilma in 2005.

This is the month when wind shear begins to ramp up over the central and eastern Atlantic. That can tear a system apart before it develops. And the chain of African Easterly Waves that seed storm development begins to peter out this time of year, shutting down the hurricane factory. In the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean, however, water temperatures are near their warmest, while wind shear remains near its minimum.

While some cooler waters linger in the northern Gulf after being churned up by Sally, the bulk of the Gulf of Mexico and the entirety of the Caribbean Sea remain much warmer than normal. There is plenty of heat energy to encourage a hurricane, should one form.

Whatever it is that attempts to organize in the northwest Caribbean should be watched this weekend. It ushers us into our next active period, which looks to brew starting between Oct. 7 and 10. There are signs that enhanced activity could last through the remainder of October, according to the Washington weather bureau.

In the shorter term, the Yucatan Peninsula may wind up with some heavy rainfall out of the system before it meanders northward or northwestward into the Bay of Campeche in the southwest Gulf of Mexico.

The National Hurricane Center on Tuesday estimated a 50% chance that the system will develop into a tropical depression in the next five days.

Historically, the western Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico have been areas to closely monitor this time of year, according to the Washington Post. Weather patterns this time of year are harder to predict or even spot from a distance, meteorologist Matthew Cappucci wrote.

Source: Washington Post

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