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Hurricane center begins tracking a system in the Caribbean

Orlando Sentinel logoOrlando Sentinel 8/16/2022 Richard Tribou and Joe Mario Pedersen, Orlando Sentinel
The tropical outlook as of 8 p.m. ET on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. © National Hurricane Center/National Hurricane Center/TNS The tropical outlook as of 8 p.m. ET on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022.

ORLANDO, Fla. — The National Hurricane Center has been jumping around the last few days tracking short-lived systems with the potential to form into a tropical depression or storm. Late Monday, the NHC began looking at the Caribbean Sea.

As of the NHC’s 8 p.m. Eastern time tropical update, a tropical wave located in the central Caribbean is forecast to move across Central America and emerge over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico where it could develop into the season’s next named system.

“Some gradual development of this system is possible thereafter as it moves slowly to the northwest or north-northwest over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico by this weekend,” said NHC hurricane specialist Philippe Papin.

The NHC gives the system a 20% chance of formation in the next five days.

The Caribbean system follows the NHC keeping track of a broad trough of low pressure in the mid-Atlantic late Sunday, but its chances of formation dropped to 0% by Monday morning. Over the weekend, the NHC tracked a system in the Gulf of Mexico, but it failed to form into more than a spate of showers and thunderstorms that drenched southeastern Texas. Before that, a system off the African coast showed some signs of development before environmental factors snuffed its chances.

Part of the reason for what prevents tropical storm development is the dry conditions in the Atlantic. A large migration of African dust, the Saharan Air Layer, or SAL, is the main reason tropical moisture isn’t at the ideal level for development. Large dust plumes are still pushing west of Africa and into the Caribbean, preventing the Atlantic basin from becoming a hurricane nursery, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s SAL forecast shows.

Hurricane season is approaching its peak, which runs from mid-August to mid-October, with Sept. 10 recorded as the statistically most productive day of storms in the tropics.

So far, the 2022 season has seen three named storms: Alex, Bonnie and Colin. Based on historical averages, the fourth named storm of the year typically appears by Aug. 15. If a system were to emerge, it would receive the name Danielle.

Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reaffirmed its preseason prediction of an above-average hurricane season with a range of 14 to 21 named storms. The NOAA expects most of those storms to emerge at the peak of the season.

Hurricane season ends on Nov. 30.


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