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 , 1:18 AM GMT on August 21, 2006
Well, our quiet days in the Atlantic didn't last very long, as it's time to talk about a new threat area. A very vigorous tropical wave has moved off the coast of Africa today, and has the potential to develop into a tropical depression later this week. The waters under the wave are 27-28 C, which is .5-1.5 degrees C above the 26.5 C threshold for tropical cyclone formation--not great, but good enough. Wind shear is a modest 10 knots. There is a large area of dry air and Saharan dust to the wave's north, and this will likely be the major inhibiting factor for this wave.
Both the GFS and NOGAPS models develop the wave into a tropical storm; the UKMET does not. The GFS predicts the storm will pass well north of the Lesser Antilles Islands.
Figure 1. Preliminary model tracks for the new African tropical wave.
I'll have much more on this system Monday, plus a look at the rest of the tropics.
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