Three tropical systems, a future depression, crossing the Atlantic

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Three tropical waves are racing across the Atlantic, one of which is expected to earn the name “Bonnie” and another of which could shower southeast Texas with heavy downpours. The peak of hurricane season is still 2.5 months away, but the Atlantic Basin is quickly coming back to life.

The more robust of the three meanders westward and intensifies about 950 miles south-southeast of the Caribbean Windward Islands, with a likelihood of development in the next few days as it approaches the Lesser Antilles. The system, dubbed Invest 94L by the National Hurricane Center, could develop into a tropical depression or storm and potentially become Bonnie by midweek.

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The same storm could eventually grow stronger in the Caribbean, with a slight chance that it will develop into the first hurricane of the season in the Atlantic and swirl over warm ocean waters by the end of the week.

In its wake, another tropical wave shows some signs of organization but will probably not become as significant as its predecessor. Either way, it’s worth watching.

A third system, meanwhile, is beginning to materialize in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. This one, while unlikely to strengthen enough to earn a name, will likely become a tropical rainstorm and is a concern for several major metropolitan areas in Texas, where heavy flooding rain could be expected. planned.

Atmospheric scientists and hurricane specialists have previously warned that this season could be difficult, predicting it to be unusually active or “overactive”. The presence of a La Niña pattern, coupled with a baseline of unusually warm sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico and a myriad of other factors, favors particularly busy coming months.

Invest 94L — the one to watch closely

On Monday morning, Invest 94L was about 300 miles northeast of French Guiana in South America and was drifting west-northwest at 15 to 20 mph. In satellite imagery, it looked considerably healthier than it did 48 or even 24 hours ago, teeming with showers and thunderstorms and thriving on reduced shear. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate the system Monday afternoon.

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Disruptive wind shear, or a change in wind speed and/or direction with height, can being unfavorable to a developing tropical cyclone, playing a sort of arm wrestling match that can tear it apart. In this case, however, 94L is nestled in a relatively warm shear pocket, which has allowed for organization over the past few days.

A broad low-level circulation exists, but it remains to be seen if a more concentrated and cohesive vortex can form. If a vortex near the surface materialized, it would require thunderstorm updrafts to stretch it vertically. It is one of the first stages in the formation of a tropical depression, the precursor to a tropical storm.

The National Hurricane Center estimates a 90% chance that 94L will eventually become a tropical storm, with a 70% chance within the next two days. By late Tuesday or Wednesday, it could flirt with tropical storm strength as it moves through the Windward Islands with heavy rain and gusty winds. Some locations could see totals of 4 to 8 inches of rain.

Once maximum winds exceed 39 mph around a discernible center, 94L would become Bonnie, the second named storm of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season. It could make a hurricane-strength run in the Caribbean between Wednesday and the weekend before making landfall somewhere in the Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua or Belize, affecting those countries or Guatemala.

Torrential rains and landslides in the mountains, as well as some degree of damaging wind and coastal swell, remain on the table.

Second “main development region” system

Following 94L is a second tropical wave over the main Atlantic Development Region (MDR). It is the vast expanse of tropical ocean water between northern South America and northwest Africa where named storms occur regularly in mid to late summer. Only three recorded tropical systems were named in the MDR during the month of June.

Weather models are split in their simulations of the weak wave, but there remains about a 1 in 5 chance of an eventual development. Either way, it looks like the Leeward Islands could see additional rains by the weekend.

Heavy rains at the tip of the Mississippi Delta have been hiding in the northern Gulf of Mexico for the past few days and will persist and fester before gradually moving west. It can develop a little effect thanks to its positioning at the tail end of the cold front.

It won’t become a depression or have a name; the National Hurricane Center only gives it a 20% development chance. But it will contain a lot of moisture.

The jury is still out on where the system will go, but it could bring significant rainfall to the Texas coast somewhere between the Houston-Galveston metro area and Matagorda Bay if and when the downpour mass moves ashore. . Some models simulate hovering over the Western Gulf and eventual dissipation. It remains to be seen how this will develop in the days to come.

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