By Courtney Spamer
A tropical wave west of the Cape Verde Islands has potential to be the next named tropical storm in the Atlantic Basin.
The wave came off the coast of Africa this weekend and survived the cooler waters and dry air, and has been gradually organizing ever since.
The bright colors in the below video show the abundant tropical moisture and clouds building within the system.
The above animation shows the tropical wave’s development in the Atlantic over the last several hours. This and the thumbnail images courtesy of the NOAA.
The storm is leaving cooler waters, and moving into an area with water temperatures in the lower 80s, which are favorable for development.
The area west of the system also appears to have less wind shear in general, making it even less likely that the storm will be ripped apart by winds higher up in the atmosphere.
According to AccuWeather.com Tropical Expert Dan Kottlowski, the system has a well defined low level circulation center.
“Development is expected to continue through the middle of the week,” said Kottlowski early Wednesday morning.
If this system does continue to develop, it would be the second named storm in the Atlantic this season. “We think this could become Tropical Storm Bertha.”
However, there are two major factor that could inhibit further strengthening. Dry, Saharan dust just to the north of the system could erode the storm’s moisture. There are also a few bands of stronger shear that the system will have to battle.
This means the system’s full development could be slowed slightly as high pressure steers the system towards the northern Leeward Islands.
For the coming weekend, “the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands is the area being monitored very closely,” Kottlowski added.
There areas will likely be at risk from this system’s heavier rains and stronger winds, no matter the storms strength. It may even come close to Bermuda for the middle of next week.
The relatively quiet Atlantic tropical season so far in 2014 is not that uncommon. Although the season officially begins on June 1, the most active period does not really get going until mid-August.
At this time is when the waters across the Atlantic are the warmest, and typically, the dry air and strong wind shear tapers off.
More at AccuWeather: Tropical Storm May Brew in Atlantic This Week