Fox News Weather Center

Window for tropical development to open in Atlantic this week


A short window will open for the tropical Atlantic to attempt to come back to life this week.

The Atlantic Ocean has been quiet since Tropical Depression Four briefly roamed the central waters from July 6-7, while the eastern Pacific Ocean has yielded two major hurricanes the following week.

A disorganized tropical system currently over the central Atlantic will try to end the basin’s calm spell.

Dry air, which suppresses thunderstorm development and wind shear have so far been preventing the system from developing, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Steve Travis.

Wind shear refers to 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 16

“It will then have a short window for some development on Tuesday and Wednesday as it approaches and moves over the Lesser Antilles," Travis said.

A track through the Windward Islands is expected.

Travis projects a low chance for the system to organize into a tropical depression. If it manages to take shape and then strengthen into a minimal tropical storm, it would acquire the name “Don.”

If the system fails to become a depression, it would be due to the brevity of which the window will be open for development and any lingering dry air.

After the system crosses the Lesser Antilles, its demise will quickly follow.

“Strong wind shear over the Caribbean will limit any further development,” Travis said.

Regardless of development, the Lesser Antilles will face choppy seas, along with enhanced showers and a few thunderstorms around Tuesday and Tuesday night.

There can be isolated flash flooding, and vacation and outdoor plans could be spoiled for a day. Swimmers and operators of small craft should use caution.

“The greatest risk for heavy rain and squalls would be primarily across the Windward Islands,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Eric Leister said.

The risk for flooding and sporadic wind damage would increase if the system develops and strengthens prior to reaching the islands. Seas would also further build and become hazardous for swimmers and shipping interests.

Even after the window for development closes, enhanced downpours could still survive and raise the risk for localized flooding in Central America, likely between Nicaragua and Belize, later this week.