Tropics Update

Pacific Heats Up, Atlantic Stays Quiet
Posted at 8:15 AM, Jul 06, 2019

Things are a little off balance when it comes to the tropics. The Pacific is becoming a breeding ground for tropical development, while the Atlantic remains quiet.

We’ll start with the Pacific. The Eastern Pacific has one named storm and a couple of tropical waves in development. The named storm is Tropical Storm Barbara. Barbara has 50 mph winds with occasion wind gusts to 60 mph. The movement is westerly towards Hawai’i which is about 1,100 miles away.


Barbara is working its way into unfavorable conditions for sustainability. The storm has been sheared greatly and is moving into cooler Pacific waters. Through the next couple of days Barbara will become post-tropical and should completely dissipate before moving within 500 miles of Hawai’i’s big island.


Behind Barbara is tropical wave 95-E. This wave is in a more favorable environment for tropical development. The NHC gives the wave a 90% chance of tropical development in the next 48 hours but will likely reach that category sometime today. When it does, it will garner the name “Cosme.”


Behind that, a second wave is forming, but has a small chance of development at the moment.


The Atlantic is a completely different story. Since the mid-May short-lived subtropical storm “Andrea,” not much has developed. This is due to a variety of reasons, included but not limited to, cooler sea surface temperatures, and high wind shear. There are no anticipated storms in the next 5 days. Another reason for the limited tropical development is the Saharan Dust Layer. Strong winds crossing Northern Africa continue to push sand and dust particles from the Sahara Desert into the Atlantic Ocean. The trade winds north of the equator transport the dust particles westward towards North and Central America.

Saharan Dust Layer.JPG

This dust layer is incredibly dry and helps stabilize the atmosphere. Therefore, when the layer sits over the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, the chance for tropical development drops.

As we move into the upcoming work week, the dust layer in the Gulf of Mexico is expected to thin out. This, along with a wave of low pressure located over Florida may set the stage for development. A wave of low pressure is expected to move offshore from Florida by mid-next week. As it does it will move over the warm Gulf of Mexico and into a low-shear environment. As of now, long-range models have some sort of disturbance making a landfall along the northern Gulf of Mexico coastline sometime next weekend. Of course, it’s still way to early to know if it will even hold together or where it will end up if it does strengthen into a tropical system.


If this system does reach tropical status, it will take on the name “Barry” and will be the second named storm of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season.