Forecasters Warn Conditions May Favour Tropical Storm Formation

Update - 9.30pm Wednesday

An area of cloudiness and showers over the western Atlantic Ocean a few hundred miles north east of The Bahamas is associated with the interaction of an upper-level trough and a weakening front, the National Hurricane Center has said. While development is not anticipated for the next couple of days, environmental conditions are expected to become more conducive for development of a tropical or sub-tropical cyclone on Friday or Saturday, with a 60 per cent chance of development predicted over the next five days. This area of disturbed weather is forecast to move slowly west-northwestward or northwestward and gradually approach the southeastern United States over the weekend.

CONDITIONS favourable for the development of a tropical storm over the Atlantic Ocean in the vicinity of The Bahamas and southeastern United States could prevail at the end of this week according to expert weather forecasters.

Accuweather forecasters said on Monday that people from Florida to Georgia, the Carolinas and The Bahamas should keep an eye on the tropics around the weekend.

“While tropical development a week an advance is not a certainty, we will be closely monitoring the area near The Bahamas beginning during Memorial Day weekend,” AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski said yesterday. “Waters in the area are sufficiently warm enough and winds aloft are light enough to initiate and sustain a tropical system.”

Surf temperatures in the region are about 80F (26-27C) and winds aloft over the area are light and are forecast to remain light into next week.

“Movement and development of the system, should it form, will be slow at first,” Mr Kottlowski said. “However, a general drift toward the north and west is likely with any storm that forms over the region.” Steering winds could direct the system close to the US coast during next week.

Even in the absence of a full-blown tropical storm or hurricane, downpours and thunderstorms will increase over the region from The Bahamas westward to the southern Atlantic coast of the US later this weekend into next week. In addition, surf conditions would get increasingly rough from the eastern Florida coast to North Carolina. Beach, boating and cruise interests in the region are advised to monitor the situation.

Should the area of disturbed weather develop into a tropical system, it would be named Bonnie, since Alex was the first official tropical storm and hurricane of 2016. Alex formed over the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on January 13, became a hurricane the next day and dissipated. Alex was the first January hurricane to occur in the Atlantic since 1955.

Forecasters are predicting an active 2016 storm season in the Atlantic region, with as many as eight hurricanes forming, of which three are projected to be major storms.

Experts suggest that this year’s season - which starts officially on June 1 - would be above average, with the most active forecast since the 2012 storm season.

National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) director Captain Stephen Russell told The Tribune last week he endorsed forecasts published by a number of international meteorology institutions.

The National Hurricane Centre (NHC) is predicting 12 to 14 named storms, of which eight are expected to intensify to hurricane strength, with three becoming major storms – category three or higher. Accuweather predict a simialr season, with 14 predicted storms, eight potential hurricanes and four major storms.


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