The tropical Atlantic Basin is expected to remain quiet this week, but favorable conditions for development may arise in the Gulf of Mexico next week.
Several disorganized clusters of showers and thunderstorms known as tropical waves will continue to move westward over the open tropical Atlantic this week. However, too many negative factors will keep these waves weak and disorganized.
Two of those negative factors include wind shear, the change of speed and direction of wind with height, and dry Saharan air. Both are expected to remain elevated this week.
“This sustained shear and dry air does not support development across the open Atlantic anytime in the short term,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Evan Duffey said.
However, weakening wind shear may open the door for possible development in the Gulf of Mexico next week.
“Thunderstorm activity is expected to enhance over Central America next week and a south-to-north steering flow will provide the opportunity to pull this activity northward towards the Gulf,” Duffey said.
The lowering wind shear and favorable water temperatures may produce a suitable environment for development somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico between June 18 and June 24.
However, Duffey cautioned that there are also several factors that could prevent a system from developing.
“Gulf of Mexico water temperatures are not running that warm and the depth of the warm water is rather shallow,” Duffey said.
Tropical systems rely on warm ocean water as fuel. If the water is not warm enough or the depth of warm water is not deep enough, then storms can struggle to develop or maintain intensity.
Duffey also noted that while wind shear is forecast to weaken, it may still be too strong and disruptive.
“Given all of these factors, there is a low chance for development in the Gulf of Mexico next week,” Duffey said.
Early in the hurricane season, the typical breeding grounds for tropical systems are in the Gulf of Mexico and far western Caribbean.
While it is still too early to tell where and if something will form, folks along the Gulf Coast and others with interests in the area will want to monitor the situation over the next week.
If a tropical system were to develop, it would be the second one of the 2017 Atlantic season and would take on the name Bret. Arlene, the first storm on the list, formed back in April in the open Atlantic well west of the Azores.
Regardless if an organized system does develop or not, an uptick in tropical downpours will be possible along the Gulf Coast next week and still could cause potential flooding problems.
The Atlantic hurricane season officially started June 1 and runs through Nov. 30, with the peak of the season occurring in late August through September.