Fox News Weather Center

Tropical depression may form in central Atlantic this week


The lull in tropical activity in the Atlantic Basin may come to an end this week in the central Atlantic Ocean.

AccuWeather meteorologists are closely watching a pair of tropical waves to work in tandem to produce the next tropical depression or storm in the Atlantic Basin.

Each is surrounded by disorganized showers and thunderstorms and are moving westward in the eastern Atlantic Ocean.

“The waves are in a region of very light wind shear and anomalously warm water,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio said.

Wind shear is the changing of speed and direction of winds at different layers of the atmosphere. Strong wind shear can prevent tropical development or shred apart mature tropical storms or hurricanes.

Tropical July 2

Dry, dusty air from Africa which squashes thunderstorm development is the main factor currently working against development.

“Moisture from the wave that just emerged off the African coast will likely get entrained into the wave downstream given its speed,” Rossio said. That could be enough to erode the dry, dusty air and allow a more organized tropical system to take shape.

“Development may occur by late Tuesday at the earliest, but that is more likely to happen Wednesday or Thursday as the dry air is chewed away,” Rossio said.

The next tropical storm in the Atlantic Basin will acquire the name “Don.”

Through late week, the system will remain over the open waters of the Atlantic. Those with shipping interests should prepare for increasing seas and rain squalls.

“The system is expected to eventually track close to the Leeward Islands next weekend,” Rossio said. Its strength and exact track will determine the extent of rain and wind the islands will face.

A more hostile environment may also await the system next weekend. It could encounter stronger wind shear, according to Rossio, and/or continue on a track over the mountainous terrain of the Greater Antilles.

If it can overcome these inhibiting factors, the Bahamas could be impacted the following week. Residents and upcoming vacationers to the southeastern coast of the United States should also monitor the progress of this system.

Tropical forecast July 2

Including the three systems that have occurred already in 2017, 11 to 15 tropical storms are predicted this hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin due to a delay in the onset of El Niño. That includes six to nine hurricanes, three to four of which are expected to further strengthen into major hurricanes.