July hurricane outlook

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:26 PM GMT on July 02, 2009

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Atlantic tropical cyclone activity typically picks up a bit during the first half of July. Since the current active hurricane period began in 1995, seven of 14 years (50%) have had a named storm form during the first half of July. The busiest first half of July occurred in 2005, when three hurricanes formed. These included Hurricane Dennis and Hurricane Emily--the strongest hurricanes ever observed so early in the season. As seen in Figure 1, most of the early July activity occurs in the Gulf of Mexico, Western Caribbean, and Carolina waters. However, a few long-track "Cape Verdes" hurricanes begin to occur. These are spawned by tropical waves that come off the coast of Africa. Tropical waves serve as the instigators of about 85% of all major hurricanes. Last year's Hurricane Bertha was one such rare early July Cape Verdes hurricane. Bertha's 120 mph winds made it the sixth strongest early-season Atlantic hurricane on record. Bertha also set the record for farthest east formation as a tropical storm, hurricane, and major hurricane, so early in the season.


Figure 1. Tracks of all tropical storms and hurricanes 1851 - 2006 that formed July 1-15. North Carolina and the Gulf of Mexico coast from the Florida Panhandle to Texas are the preferred strike locations. Oddly, the Florida Peninsula has been struck by only two storms that formed in the first half of July.

Sea Surface Temperatures
Sea Surface Temperatures (SST) anomalies have warmed slightly over the past two weeks, but are close to average over the tropical Atlantic between Africa and Central America (Figure 2). These are the are the coolest SST anomalies we've seen since 1994. The strength of the Azores-Bermuda high has been near average over the past two weeks, driving near-average trade winds. Stronger-than-average trade winds were observed through most of the period November 2008 - May 2009, which helped cool the tropical Atlantic substantially. Strong winds mix up colder water from the depths and cause greater evaporative cooling. The latest 2-week run of the GFS model predicts continued average-strength trade winds through mid-July, so SSTs should remain near average during this period.

Typically, July tropical storms form over the Gulf of Mexico, Western Caribbean, and Gulf Stream waters just offshore Florida. SSTs are about 1.0°C above average for this time of year in the Gulf of Mexico, but near average elsewhere. July storms typically form when a cold front moves off the U.S. coast and stalls out, with the old frontal boundary serving as a focal point for development of a tropical disturbance. There will be one or two fronts moving off the U.S. coast over the next two weeks, and we will need to watch these for development. Wind shear is too high and SSTs are usually too cold in July to allow African tropical waves to develop into tropical storms. African tropical waves serve as the instigators of about 85% of all major hurricanes,

Figure 2. Sea Surface Temperature (SST) departure from average for July 2, 2009. SSTs were near average over the tropical Atlantic's Main Development region for hurricanes, from Africa to Central America between 10° and 20° North Latitude. Note the large region of above average SSTs along the Equatorial Pacific off the coast of South America, the hallmark of a developing El Niño episode. Image credit: NOAA/NESDIS

El Niño
El Niño conditions continue to amplify over the tropical Eastern Pacific. Ocean temperatures there rose 0.5°C over the past two weeks, and are now 0.45°C above the threshold for El Niño, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (Figure 3). NOAA's Climate Prediction Center issued an El Niño Watch in early June, saying "that conditions are favorable for a transition from neutral to El Niño conditions during June - August 2009". The pattern of changes in surface winds, upper-level winds, sea surface temperatures, and deeper water heat content are all consistent with what has been observed during previous developing El Niños, and latest set of mid-June runs of the El Niño computer models are almost universally calling for El Niño conditions to become well-established for the peak months of hurricane season, August - October. It is likely that Atlantic hurricane activity will be suppressed in 2009 due to the strong upper-level winds and resulting wind shear an El Niño event usually brings to the tropical Atlantic.


Figure 3. Sea Surface Temperature (SST) departure from average for the the equatorial Eastern Pacific (the area 5°N - 5°S, 120°W - 170°W, also called the "Niña 3.4 region"). El Niño conditions exist when the SST in this region rises 0.5°C above average. As of June 28, 2009, SSTs in the Niño 3.4 region had risen to 0.95°C above average. To be considered an "El Niño episode", El Niño conditions must occur for five consecutive months, using 3-month averages. Image credit: Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Wind shear
Wind shear is usually defined as the difference in wind between 200 mb (roughly 40,000 foot altitude) and 850 mb (roughly 5,000 foot altitude). In most circumstances, wind shear above 20 knots will act to inhibit tropical storm formation. Wind shear below 12 knots is very conducive for tropical storm formation. High wind shear acts to tear a storm apart. The jet stream's band of strong high-altitude winds is the main source of wind shear in July over the Atlantic hurricane breeding grounds, since the jet is very active and located quite far south this time of year.

The jet stream over the past two months has been locked into a pattern where a southern branch (the subtropical jet stream) brings high wind shear over the Caribbean, and a northern branch (the polar jet stream) brings high wind shear offshore of New England. This often leaves a "hole" of low shear between the two branches off the coast of North Carolina, which is where Tropical Depression One formed at the end of May.

The jet stream is forecast (Figure 4) to maintain this two-branch pattern over the coming two weeks. This means that the waters offshore of the Carolinas are the most likely place for a tropical storm to form during this period.


Figure 4. Wind shear in m/s between 200 mb and 850 mb, as forecast by the 06Z July 02, 2009 run of the GFS model. The position and strength of the subtropical jet stream is forecast to change little over the next two weeks, and this jet will bring high wind shear to the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico into mid-July. There will at times be a region of low shear between the polar jet (northern set of arrows on the plots) and the subtropical jet, allowing for possible tropical development off the coast of North Carolina. Wind speeds are given in m/s; multiply by two to get a rough conversion to knots. Thus, the red regions of low shear range from 0 - 16 knots.

Dry air and African dust
June and July are the peak months for dust coming off the coast of Africa, and the Saharan dust storms have been quite active over the past month. Expect dust from Africa to be a major deterrent to any storms that try to form between Africa and the Lesser Antilles Islands in July.

Steering currents
The steering current pattern over the past few weeks has not changed much, and is typical for June and July. We have an active jet stream bringing many troughs of low pressure off the East Coast of the U.S. These troughs are frequent enough and strong enough to recurve any tropical storms or hurricanes that might penetrate north of the Caribbean Sea. Steering current patterns are predictable only about 3 - 5 days in the future, although we can make very general forecasts about the pattern as much as two weeks in advance. At present, it appears that the coming two weeks will maintain the typical July pattern, bringing many troughs of low pressure off the East Coast capable of recurving any July storms that might form. There is no telling what might happen during the peak months of August, September, and October--we might be in for a repeat of the favorable 2006 steering current pattern that recurved every storm out to sea--or the unfavorable 2008 pattern, that steered Ike and Gustav into the Gulf of Mexico.

Summary
Recent history suggests a 50% chance of a named storm occurring in the first half of July. Given that none of the computer models are forecasting tropical storm formation in the coming seven days, and SST and wind shear patterns look pretty average, I'll go with a 20% chance of a named storm forming during the first half of July.

Vote for Mike Theiss as an Antarctica blogger
Extreme weather photographer Mike Theiss, who wrote our Ultimate Chase photography blog for two years until a new job took him to South America, wants your help. He's entering a Quark Expeditions competition to receive an expense-paid 2-week trip to Antarctica, where he will do some intensive photography and blogging. In order to go, he needs the votes to show that he's a popular blogger. So, if you liked his posts while he was blogging for wunderground, and want to see him blog for wunderground during this potential Antarctica voyage, go to http://www.blogyourwaytoantarctica.com/blogs/view /220 and cast a vote. It takes about 3 minutes navigate through the registration and voting process. Mike will be back chasing hurricanes this August, and has promised to post his excellent storm photos on wunderground should we help him secure the Antarctica gig.

Have a great holiday weekend, and I'll be back Monday with a new post.

Jeff Masters

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2047. fsumet
Levi your 2 maps don't show the Atlantic much. Both are from the Pacific. I don't see any noticeable change in the Atlantic except in the Gulf from the image on the left. The images don't say when in the year this occurs though either.
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2046. Levi32
Quoting tennisgirl08:


I agree! So which year can we compare the most to this year? Based on those maps he showed.


Based on behavior 2006 and 2002 are the best analogs out of that set.

Quoting fsumet:
Looking at those pics there is no consistency on how ATL SST's react to an El Nino. is there supposed to be a correlation? cause that series of pictures disproves that theory

SSTs in the Atlantic don't have any correlation with El Nino. Each map is near the same time period as the one at the top of the page. It is showing how each El Nino in the PACIFIC developed.


Warm SSTs in the Pacific associated with El Nino do usually tend to cool the SSTs in the Atlantic, although as I said it doesn't always happen or in a pronounced way.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26455
Quoting fsumet:
Looking at those pics there is no consistency on how ATL SST's react to an El Nino. is there supposed to be a correlation? cause that series of pictures disproves that theory

SSTs in the Atlantic don't have any correlation with El Nino. This is from near the same time period to this year for how the El Nino developed in the PACIFIC.


i realize that an el nino and la nina occur in the pacific i just thought that SST'S around the world should react accordingly (energy can't be created nor destroyed) more or less energy in the pacific = more or less around the globe correct or no?
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2044. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)


image as of 927 pm edt
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2043. Levi32
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:
Looking at those pics there is no consistency on how ATL SST's react to an El Nino. is there supposed to be a correlation? cause that series of pictures disproves that theory


Yes there usually is, but weak El Ninos don't always have a great effect, and a lot of those pictures were weak ninos. Also we're in the warm phase of the AMO which is a long-term oscillation in the SSTs over the Atlantic. The current warm phase means it will be harder for El Ninos to pull SSTs below normal over the Atlantic. Generally though El Nino has the greatest effect on the SSTs in the tropics south of 20N, and not so much in the northern Atlantic.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26455
I spy a nice tropical wave somewhere.Will it be something to watch?
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2041. fsumet
Looking at those pics there is no consistency on how ATL SST's react to an El Nino. is there supposed to be a correlation? cause that series of pictures disproves that theory

SSTs in the Atlantic don't have any correlation with El Nino. Each map is near the same time period as the one at the top of the page. It is showing how each El Nino in the Pacific developed.
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Quoting TampaFLUSA:
Speaking of el nino here is a little blog on 1998 el nino year Florida tornados Link


That has to be one of the saddest things I have ever read. Those that died, you can read and know that it was the entire family. And the 9 and 11 year old...how sad:-(
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Good Night all, I'll see you 2mr

Caribbean Coral Reefs and Climate Change
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Quoting beell:
Nice post, fsumet.
Thanks.


I agree! So which year can we compare the most to this year? Based on those maps he showed.
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And?
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Looking at those pics there is no consistency on how ATL SST's react to an El Nino. is there supposed to be a correlation? cause that series of pictures disproves that theory
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That's the third AOI in the last ten days.

That sub-tropical jet is TRYING to produce...

It's all we in the Texas Dust Bowl Oven can hope for.
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2034. beell
Nice post, fsumet.
Thanks.
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Speaking of el nino here is a little blog on 1998 el nino year Florida tornados Link
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Quoting AllStar17:


Who are you talking to?

you!
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Quoting Levi32:


I do. The circulation is well-defined and closed, and there is more than enough convection to meet the criteria. They can't ask for better.....for some reason they probably want the convection more organized before classifying, but what can you expect from a TD? If it got anymore organized than that it would be a TS.


Yep....NHC continuing their conservative route this year. Very puzzling, if it is a storm, it is a storm....classify it!
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2030. fsumet
If you want to look at the map Weather456 posted and the NCEP CFS forecast you can go here: Weekly ENSO evolution and it is updated every Monday. We will probably be heading into a moderate El Nino in the fall, and moderate to strong in the winter according to CPC.

El Nino maps (compare to the one from this year at the top of the page):

7/4/2006 (Weak El Nino year based on SST and SOI at CPC and Australian Analysis)


7/3/2004 (Weak El Nino Year at CPC and not even listed as El Nino year in Australian Analysis)


7/2/2002 (Weak to Moderate El Nino year based on SST and Weak based on SOI by Australian Analysis; Moderate El Nino from CPC)


Average for June 1997 (Very Strong EL Nino year based on SST and Strong based on SOI from Australian Analysis and Strong from CPC)


Average for June 1994 (Weak to Moderate El Nino year based on SST and Strong based on SOI from Australian Analysis and Moderate from CPC)


Average for June 1987 (Moderate to Strong El Nino year based on SOI and SST from Australian Analysis and Moderate from CPC)


Some other links to look at:
ENSO analysis
Australia ENSO analysis

Current Operational SST Anomalies:
SST anomalies
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Quoting StormSurgeon:
You have no clue do you?


Who are you talking to?
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2028. Levi32
Quoting AllStar17:
So, Levi

You think we should have Tropical Depression 3-E? It does look pretty good on satellite.



I do. The circulation is well-defined and closed, and there is more than enough convection to meet the criteria. They can't ask for better.....for some reason they probably want the convection more organized before classifying, but what can you expect from a TD? If it got anymore organized than that it would be a TS.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26455
You have no clue do you?
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2026. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Ex-94L
too cold
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2025. Dar9895
Quoting tennisgirl08:
I am very hesitant of vigorous tropical waves. The one in the caribbean has been around for a while. Seems to have strong energy with it and keeps showing itself. This one will probably not develop - but does it set a tone for the rest of the season? Vigorous waves coming off of Africa that will blow up in the Caribbean or GOMEX given the right conditions. Also, the waves are coming off at a low latitude - meaning more possible threats to the caribbean and GOMEX. Just something to think about!!

Probably, Let see for the couples of weeks.
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So, Levi

You think we should have Tropical Depression 3-E? It does look pretty good on satellite.

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2023. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
AOI
MARK
16.1N/71.0W


latest image 856 edt
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2022. Dar9895
Quoting CybrTeddy:


I know this is looking WAY Ahead, but 2010 could pose to be an active one.
And it has the 2004 list..

Yep but I think with an la nina it could be very active like the incredible 1995 season with the 2004 most names.
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I threw up in mouth a ;ittle bit
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Quoting Weather456:
It also seems it maybe a short-live event. Weakening during winter 2009-2010



I know this is looking WAY Ahead, but 2010 could pose to be an active one.
And it has the 2004 list..
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Quoting Chicklit:
This was the 8 PM:
A TROPICAL WAVE IS ALONG 66W S OF 20N MOVING W NEAR 25 KT. A LARGE AREA OF HIGHER VALUES ON THE TOTAL PRECIPITABLE WATER PRODUCT FROM CIMSS ARE NOTED ACROSS THE ERN CARIBBEAN. THE WAVE IS ALSO INTERACTING WITH MOIST SWLY FLOW ALOFT FEEDING NWD INTO A SHORTWAVE TROUGH ACROSS W ATLC CENTERED NEAR 25N66W. SCATTERED MODERATE/ISOLATED STRONG CONVECTION IS FROM 12N-20N BETWEEN 60W-73W...INCLUDING PUERTO RICO AND THE LESSER ANTILLES.



Did you just finish the book you read? LOL!
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Ex-94L
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2017. Levi32
Quoting Levi32:


It looks like 94E only has a short window of opportunity left to develop. Within the next 36 hours it will move over cold SSTs. I'll be surprised if the east Pacific doesn't see at least 1 named storm in the next 10 days.


Actually....wow....just looked at the loop and that thing is clearly a TD with a closed circulation and plenty of convection. Oh well....TPC continues to mystify.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26455
I am very hesitant of vigorous tropical waves. The one in the caribbean has been around for a while. Seems to have strong energy with it and keeps showing itself. This one will probably not develop - but does it set a tone for the rest of the season? Vigorous waves coming off of Africa that will blow up in the Caribbean or GOMEX given the right conditions. Also, the waves are coming off at a low latitude - meaning more possible threats to the caribbean and GOMEX. Just something to think about!!
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Quoting Weather456:


My forecast was 2 named storms and since we already had 90L and 92L, I've met my quota. So I'm here waiting for June 1 2010 for my new quota.

Quoting Levi32:


Happy early birthday =)


Thanks
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Thanks! Noted!
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Quoting kimoskee:
what's a troll?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_(Internet)

In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum or chat room, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response[1] or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion
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what's a troll?
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2011. Levi32
Quoting HadesGodWyvern:
National Hurricane Center: Miami, Fl
Tropical Cyclone Outlook
0:00 AM UTC July 6 2009
====================================

Showers and thunderstorms associated with an area of low pressure (94E) located about 425 miles south of the southern tip of Baja California Peninsula continues to show signs of organization. Conditions are marginally favorable for development and this system could become a tropical depression tonight or Monday as it moves west-northwest at 10-15 MPH

Tropical Cyclone Formation Potential
===================================
There is a moderate chance of this disturbance to form into a significant tropical cyclone within the next 24 hours


It looks like 94E only has a short window of opportunity left to develop. Within the next 36 hours it will move over cold SSTs. I'll be surprised if the east Pacific doesn't see at least 1 named storm in the next 10 days.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26455
Quoting Tazmanian:



my new hurricane forcast calls for no name storms and no hurricane this year


none??? Guess it could happen but even 1914 had one.
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2009. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
oops it was posted below. I did not see that comment
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2008. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
National Hurricane Center: Miami, Fl
Tropical Cyclone Outlook
0:00 AM UTC July 6 2009
====================================

Showers and thunderstorms associated with an area of low pressure (94E) located about 425 miles south of the southern tip of Baja California Peninsula continues to show signs of organization. Conditions are marginally favorable for development and this system could become a tropical depression tonight or Monday as it moves west-northwest at 10-15 MPH

Tropical Cyclone Formation Potential
===================================
There is a moderate chance of this disturbance to form into a significant tropical cyclone within the next 24 hours
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2007. Dar9895
Quoting AllStar17:


One Again, BenBlogger is a troll and please stop quoting him!!!!

O.K!
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2006. Dar9895
Quoting Levi32:


Well those years you mentioned were not late starters, and 89 was actually more active than normal in July.

El Nino Modoki is not what we have this season, at least right now. The center of the warming is where it should be, right in the far eastern Pacific:


About late starters I know even 1997 and 2006 with el nino event started in June I think this year could be slightly active than those 2 years but a bit less active than 2004, although the 1st storm formed in July 31th.
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2005. IKE
Quoting Tazmanian:
my new hurricane forcast calls for 1 name storm and no hurricaes this year


1 storm?
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This was the 8 PM:
A TROPICAL WAVE IS ALONG 66W S OF 20N MOVING W NEAR 25 KT. A LARGE AREA OF HIGHER VALUES ON THE TOTAL PRECIPITABLE WATER PRODUCT FROM CIMSS ARE NOTED ACROSS THE ERN CARIBBEAN. THE WAVE IS ALSO INTERACTING WITH MOIST SWLY FLOW ALOFT FEEDING NWD INTO A SHORTWAVE TROUGH ACROSS W ATLC CENTERED NEAR 25N66W. SCATTERED MODERATE/ISOLATED STRONG CONVECTION IS FROM 12N-20N BETWEEN 60W-73W...INCLUDING PUERTO RICO AND THE LESSER ANTILLES.

Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11047
2002. Dar9895
Quoting AllStar17:


Levi...

What are your thoughts on:
1) the wave that just emerged off the African coast
2) activity over the next 2 weeks
3) environmental conditions over the next few weeks because I looked at a few shear models and they are showing VERY favorable conditions over the ENTIRE Atlantic next week, the most favorable conditions all season.

Correct with at least 2 named storm this month.
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2001. Levi32
Quoting Weather456:
It also seems it maybe a short-live event. Weakening during winter 2009-2010



That makes sense since this El Nino is likely just a reactionary spike to the PDO going into its cold phase. That's also why it will probably not be too strong.

Quoting AllStar17:


Levi...

What are your thoughts on:
1) the wave that just emerged off the African coast
2) activity over the next 2 weeks
3) environmental conditions over the next few weeks because I looked at a few shear models and they are showing VERY favorable conditions over the ENTIRE Atlantic next week, the most favorable conditions all season.


1) Look at the last few impressive waves that came before it. They died because of the dry air surging off Africa to the north. The east Atlantic is shut down for now. It's still early in the year anyway. The waves of course should be watched as they get farther west though.

2 and 3) The models keep the TUTT hanging around in the central/eastern Caribbean for at least the next couple weeks, which should limit activity there, along with the strong easterly trades. The only area I'm really looking at for development chances in the first half of July are off the SE US coast with old fronts dragging through there. The western Caribbean and BOC may have a chance sometime with a moisture surge from the east Pacific but it's unlikely in the next 10 days.

Overall pretty quiet for the first half of July. I'm not confident going farther out than that because it's too hard to know what the pattern may be like that far out. I'll be making a forecast for the 2nd half of July about mid-way through the month. This is my outlook for the first half of July
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26455
Good Evening Wunderfriends,
Link
It's been a beautiful Fourth of July weekend here.
Yesterday high shear was smack dab in the middle of the Caribbean and low to the north.
Not staying it won't get torn apart by shear or land, but it is still a bunch of energy over warm water. I didn't check the 8'oclock to see if it was mentioned.
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11047
Quoting Dar9895:

It can't be than inactive like 1983.


One Again, BenBlogger is a troll and please stop quoting him!!!!
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1998. Dar9895
Quoting BenBIogger:
My Prediction this season

4 named storms
1 Hurricane
0 major hurricane


It can't be than inactive like 1983.
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1997. Dar9895
Quoting Patrap:

From Martinique to Dominican Republic were free of any storm. But for the 1995 and 2004 warnings were most impressive even less active.
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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.