Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:55 PM GMT on July 16, 2006
It's another quiet Sunday for the tropical Atlantic. The impressive line of thunderstorms brewing off the coast of the Carolinas is associated with a cold front. An extratropical or subtropical low pressure system is expected to form along this front by Monday, then push slowly up the East Coast during the week. This system is not a threat to become a tropical storm today--there's too much wind shear, cold air, and cool water. However, the Hurricane Center is giving it the chance of slowly acquiring tropical characteristics if it can remain south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina for the next two days.
Wind shear is a very high 20 - 40 knots across most of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. Shear is expected to stay high in these regions for at least the next six days, and none of the reliable computer models are forecasting tropical storm formation in the Atlantic during this period. Enjoy the quiet time!
I've linked a photo of an odd fog formation a wunderphotographer in Alaska took--I've never seen anything like this photo! It shows very graphically what strong wind shear can do to contort a cloud into strange shapes. The wind speed and direction are different at the bottom of this fog bank than at the top, creating a twisting, shearing effect on the cloud that bends it into strange shapes. Now imagine what strong wind shear can do to a developing tropical depression--ouch!
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