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Hurricane center begins tracking a system in the Caribbean

Orlando Sentinel logoOrlando Sentinel 8/17/2022 Joe Mario Pedersen, Orlando Sentinel

Another day, another system with odds of tropical development emerges in the Atlantic. The system dinged the National Hurricane Center’s Caribbean surveillance Monday evening and remained a possible threat Wednesday morning to Central America.

As of the NHC’s 2 a.m. update, a tropical wave near Nicaragua and eastern Honduras 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, Danielle, by Friday.

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

After a month of tropical silence, the NHC has been jumping around the last week, tracking short-lived systems with the potential to form into a tropical depression or storm.

Over the weekend, the NHC was tracking a broad trough of low pressure in the mid-Atlantic, but its chances of formation dropped to 0% by Monday morning. Before that, the NHC had eyes on 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. And before that, a system off the African coast was demanding attention before environmental factors snuffed its chances.

In a typical hurricane season, the fourth named storm of the year emerges by or before Aug. 15, but the 2022 season has been off to a slow start.

Part of the reason is the dry conditions in the Atlantic caused by the Saharan Air Layer (SAL) or a migration of African dust, which pushes west and into the Caribbean. As a result, the Atlantic basin becomes too dry for hurricanes to form. Currently, a large dust plume is again pushing west and should be in the south Caribbean by Thursday, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s SAL forecast. That could create problems for the current system the NHC is tracking.

So far, the 2022 season has seen three named storms: Alex, Bonnie and Colin.

Earlier this month, 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 season’s peak.

Hurricane season ends on Nov. 30.

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