The tropical Atlantic Basin has turned quiet, but new tropical threats may pose hazards across the western Caribbean to Florida well into October.
Following Lee and Maria’s departure to the United Kingdom, the Atlantic Basin is now void of any named tropical systems, something that hasn’t happened since Aug. 23.
With nearly two months left in the hurricane season, there is still plenty of time for new tropical systems to form and it could happen as soon as late week.
“Multiple factors will be in place that may favor several tropical systems to come about into the middle of October,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.
A broad zone of low pressure and tropical moisture over Central America and western Caribbean will be worth watching over the next couple of weeks. This feature, known as the Central American Gyre, may spin up tropical systems if the right conditions are present.
Residents and those with interests in Central America, Cuba, the Bahamas, Mexico and the southeastern United States will want to keep a watchful eye on this over the next couple of weeks.
“Waters over much of the region are very warm and likely to stay warm for many weeks,” Sosnowski said.
Should a tropical system form in this region, the warm water would provide the necessary fuel for the system to maintain itself and even flourish.
However, much of this will depend on wind shear, or the changing of speed and direction of winds at different layers of the atmosphere. While wind shear will be disruptive at times through the month of October over this area, there will also be times where it relaxes enough for a tropical system to form.
The next tropical storm in the Atlantic basin would take on the name Nate.
Regardless of whether an organized tropical system develops or not, this broad area of low pressure will still bring dangerous conditions.
“Significant thunderstorms with flooding rainfall will impact across southern Mexico, Belize, Cuba, Jamaica, Guatemala and Honduras later this week,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio said.
During the month of October, the western Caribbean to eastern Gulf of Mexico and near the southeastern United States coast are the most favorable areas for tropical systems to form.
“Tropical threats originating from the coast of Africa that spawned hurricanes like Harvey, Irma and Maria, will continue to diminish in the coming weeks,” Sosnowski said.
The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season has been very active with 13 tropical storms and eight of those going on to become hurricanes. A total of five of those have become major hurricanes, reaching Category 3 status or higher.
While the season passed its climatological peak back in mid-September, there still is plenty of time left for additional storms to develop over the next couple of months.
AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski expects four more named tropical storms, of which three could become hurricanes and one more a Category 3 hurricane or stronger, into December.
While the southeastern U.S. coast will not have to worry about any tropical systems into the midweek, a strong area of high pressure to the north will stir up rough surf, rip currents and cause coastal flooding.