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Disturbance over the Eastern Pacific destined to break tropical storm deadlock

AccuWeather logo AccuWeather 6/24/2019 alex.sosnowski

Even though hurricane season began on May 15 in the Eastern Pacific Basin, through the start of this week, there have been no tropical storms or depressions that have developed so far this year.

But that is likely to change as this week progresses with a disturbance that recently moved westward off the coast of Central America.

While this area of disturbed weather has a better than 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm over the next few days, it is not expected to directly threaten land, but rather continue to move on a west to northwest path and later dissipate over cooler waters.

a close up of a map: T.D. Formation E Pac © Provided by Accuweather, Inc T.D. Formation E Pac

The first name on the list of tropical storms for the 2019 Eastern Pacific hurricane season is Alvin.

If this system develops into a tropical depression or storm, it will fall short by about a week of the record for the latest a named storm has formed in a season. Two years share the same date for the record latest start to the Eastern Pacific hurricane season during the satellite era, which began in 1966: In 2016, and decades earlier in 1969, the first named tropical systems formed on July 2.

Tropical depressions and the next phase of development, tropical storms, usually form as disturbances containing showers and thunderstorms that move westward from Africa. These are known as tropical waves.

The progress of tropical development in the Atlantic and Pacific basins is as follows: Tropical wave/disturbance to tropical depression to tropical storm to hurricane/typhoon to major hurricane/super typhoon.

"Tropical waves have been weak recently, but the wave currently being monitored is more robust," according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.

Strong wind shear over the region has suppressed tropical development until now. However, that shear is now weakening. Should this first area fail to become a tropical storm, a second area of disturbed weather that soon follows may have a shot.

"Another tropical wave that moves westward after crossing Central America may help to spawn a second tropical depression late this week," Kottlowski said.

a close up of a map: E Pac Favored Area © Provided by Accuweather, Inc E Pac Favored Area

"Despite the late start to the 2019 Eastern Pacific hurricane season, but this does not necessarily suggest how active the balance of the season will be," Kottlowski said.

AccuWeather meteorologists expect 20 to 22 named storms and of those 10 to 12 are forecast to become hurricanes in the Eastern Pacific.

Meanwhile farther to the east over the Atlantic Basin, conditions are likely to remain unfavorable for tropical depression and storm formation this week.

Strong wind shear, as well as a vast amount of dry and dusty air is present over the majority of the prime development areas over the Atlantic.

a close up of a map: Atlantic TD suppression factors © Provided by Accuweather, Inc Atlantic TD suppression factors

Ongoing weak El Niño conditions are likely to somewhat inhibit tropical storm formation over the Atlantic, but may help to spur on development in the Eastern Pacific.

Ultimately, the strength of El Niño during the heart of the season, in August, September and October, may determine the overall numbers of tropical storm, hurricanes and major hurricanes.

Even though close to an average season is forecast in terms of numbers of tropical storms and hurricanes for the Atlantic, the path any of these tropical systems take will be the most important factor for people to pay attention to.

Even during a well below-average hurricane season, all it takes is one storm that strikes a heavily populated area to put a great amount of lives and property at risk.

The Atlantic hurricane season began on June 1, and both the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific hurricane seasons continue through Nov. 30.

The first named storm of the 2019 season in the Atlantic Basin, Andrea, formed on May 20, southwest of Bermuda, and dissipated the next day.  

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