PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – We’re nearing the two month mark of the 2019 hurricane season, and so far conditions in the tropical Atlantic have been relatively on target with only four tropical depressions, two named storms, and no hurricanes.
In May, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released their 2019 Hurricane Season Outlook with meteorologists predicting a range of 9 to 15 named storms, where 4 to 8 storms could become hurricanes, including 2 to 4 of those being major hurricanes. NOAA says in an average Atlantic hurricane season, the U.S. typically sees 12 named storms, with 6 storms likely becoming hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes.
Historically, June and July are the slowest months with less than 15 named storms over the last 100 years, but mid-August marks the start of the peak of Hurricane Season.
As of Wednesday, July 31st, meteorologists are watching two areas in the tropics that have been given low to moderate chances of development. The first system, south of the Bahamas, is expected to move along the east coast of Florida and the Atlantic Seaboard where it has a 10% chance of development over the next 5 days.
The second system is still in the east Atlantic as a wave coming off the coast of Africa. The chance of development for this system is now at 60% over the next 5 days as it continues to travel westward into more favorable conditions.
Model guidance suggests that the second Atlantic disturbance could develop into a tropical depression or storm by the time it reaches the Lesser Antilles over the weekend, and it’ll likely take a similar track as the first disturbance moving towards the southeast U.S. and curving back to the northeast.
This track is one of the most common in August with any developing storms due to the influences of the Bermuda High.
While the tropical Atlantic is starting to become more active for the time being, long range forecasts show unfavorable conditions over the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea through August which would prevent most tropical storms from developing into hurricanes.
Another limiting factor would be the weak El Niño cycle we’ve been in since fall of 2018, which allows for strong wind shear to develop and works to suppress hurricane activity in the tropical Atlantic.
While the current pattern favors a lower chance of tropical disturbances, there are still 4 months left of the 2019 hurricane season and we want you to keep an eye out and always stay prepared.
The 13 First Alert Storm Team will continue to monitor any tropical disturbance and keep you informed by posting updates here and on our social media accounts.