Two weather systems in the Atlantic are likely to turn into tropical depressions this week and a third could join them, according to forecasters from the National Hurricane Center.
A system in the central Atlantic is moving west-northwestward. As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, forecasters from the National Hurricane Center said it had a 60% chance of developing over the next two days and an 80% chance over the next five days.
It is growing gradually but is expected to stay out of the Caribbean Sea as it generally moves towards the east coast of the United States. Forecasters said a tropical depression is likely to form in the coming days.
The presence of wind shear near the Caribbean could be a barrier to further development beyond a tropical depression, according to AccuWeather, the private forecast service.
Another system further north is expected to strengthen this week as it moves eastward away from land. As of 2 p.m., forecasters said it should develop around the next day. Any development should be short-lived.
A third system has moved off the coast of Africa and has a moderate chance of developing into a tropical depression as it penetrates further into the central Atlantic, but if it develops it will be also short-lived, according to the 2 p.m. central update, as conditions later in the week will be unfavorable for development.
August was an exceptionally quiet month in the tropics – if neither system strengthens on Wednesday, it will be only the third time since 1961 that there has been no named tropical Atlantic system in August. But the three systems tracked this week show that September is likely to heat up.
“It looks like September could really kick off an active period in the tropics. A continuing wave train of energy from Africa into the tropical Atlantic is expected to keep things going for some time across the Atlantic Basin,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Brandon Buckingham.
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The most active part of hurricane season is from mid-August to late October, with September 10 being the statistical peak of the season.
So far there have only been three named storms this season – Alex, Bonnie and Colin – with the last, Colin, dissipating on July 3, meaning this 59-day streak is the third longest in the story of the unnamed Atlantic hurricane season. storm since 1995.
The longest dry spell since 1995 lasted 61 days, from June 18 to August 18, 1999. However, this two-month period of inactivity was followed by a frenetic conclusion to hurricane season which featured five storms of category 4 (Bret, Cindy, Floyd, Gert, and Lenny) and dank category 2 Irene, who reached a rarity, with her eye passing Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties in mid-October. There was also a 59-day streak during the 2007 season.
Forecasters say dry air, Saharan dust and wind shear have been among the reasons there haven’t been more storms this year.
Of the three named storms so far this season, only Alex has made its presence known in South Florida by dumping up to 12 inches of rain in some areas.
The next named storms will be Danielle and Earl.
Hurricane season ends on November 30.