Not since 2000 has the formation of the third named tropical storm in the Atlantic Basin occurred past Aug. 16. A train of tropical waves will attempt to fuel such development through the upcoming week.
On average, the naming of the third tropical storm in the Atlantic Basin occurs around Aug. 13.
In 2000, it took Chris until Aug. 18 at 11 a.m. EDT to develop.
That benchmark was reached on Aug. 16 at 2 p.m. in 2009 with the formation of Claudette. Another late bloomer was Chantal in 2001, which took shape on Aug. 16 at 8 a.m.
The combination of dry, dusty air, disruptive wind shear and lower-than-normal sea surface temperatures have been putting a lid on development in the Atlantic, stated AccuWeather.com Tropical Weather Expert Dan Kottlowski.
Wind shear refers to a belt of strong west to southwest winds above the surface that can shred apart tropical systems when strong enough.
A train of tropical waves, however, may bring an end to the sluggish current hurricane season.
To start the week, a pair of tropical waves are moving westward through the eastern Atlantic, with a third wave just moving off the coast of Africa.
Development chances are virtually non-existent with the first wave. Instead, it is acting to “pave the way” for the other two waves by working to clear the dry, dusty air that has been choking other systems.
“With two or three robust tropical waves moving into the Atlantic, each would have a chance to clear the dry air and set the stage for something to form tropically,” stated AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Rob Miller.
The second tropical wave attempted to organize into a tropical depression early on Saturday. An increase in wind shear halted that attempt, but the window for potential development has not been closed.
The southern piece of the wave could eventually become a tropical depression or storm as it crosses the Atlantic. That is as long as the first wave continues to clear the dusty air away from its path. Another obstacle is disruptive wind shear just to its south.
“The best opportunity for the wave to develop may come as it approaches the Lesser Antilles later next week,” added Miller.
“Bertha formed east of the Lesser Antilles since wind shear has been lighter in that part of the Atlantic and looks to remain so next week.”
Miller also pointed out that close attention should also be kept on the tropical wave just emerging from Africa.
“This is a rather robust wave and could enter a zone conducive for development in the wake of the other two waves.”
The key will be the exact track the wave takes off Africa. Some indications point toward the wave taking a more northward path than the other waves and over water that is too cool for development.
A track that mirrors the other waves would keep it over warmer water and increase its potential to bring the tropical Atlantic alive.
The next tropical storm in the Atlantic would acquire the name “Cristobal.”
More Continued Coverage at AccuWeather: Slowest Atlantic Hurricane Season Since 2000 May Come Alive