Chance of tropical cyclone formation up to 50 percent

Update 2 p.m.: The National Hurricane Center has increased the chances of a tropical system forming in the eastern Atlantic to 50 percent over the next five days.

Forecasters said a disorganized grouping of cloudiness and thunderstorms a few hundred miles south-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands is entering an area more favorable for development.


But with its west-northwest movement, it’s unlikely to remain in ideal conditions for long.

In their Weather Underground blog, Jeff Masters and Bob Henson said they’re not particularly concerned about this system because its steering currents are taking it more to the north, out of reach of land.

Another tropical wave is scheduled to rip off the coast of Africa on Thursday, and that one may be a different story.

“The next wave to come off the coast of Africa – due to emerge Thursday – is likely to experience steering currents that will keep it farther to the south, on a course that could potentially bring it into the Caribbean by the middle of next week,” Masters and Henson wrote.

The system, dubbed 98 L, was given a 40 percent chance of becoming something tropical over the next two days.


Easterly African waves move off the coast every three to five days this time of year.

The easterly African waves that serve as embryos for Atlantic tropical cyclones move off the coast every three to five days this time of year.

They form when rainfall patterns shift in Africa, sending thunderstorm systems toward a ribbon of swift winds at about 15,000 feet called the African Easterly Jet. On the south side of that stream of air, the storms begin to rotate, spinning toward the coast like pinwheels.

“They really tend to pick up pace in terms of robustness,” said Michael Lowry, a hurricane specialist with the Weather Channel, about the nature of tropical waves in late July. “The dynamics of the atmosphere change.”

Previous story: 

It’s just a jumble of showers and thunderstorms for now, but the National Hurricane Center said a disturbance this morning off the coast of Africa could be the next tropical system of the season.


Check The Palm Beach Post radar map. Track hurricanes on The Palm Beach Post storm tracking map. 

As of 8 a.m., forecasters are giving the cluster of unsettled weather – dubbed 98 L – a 30 percent chance of development over the next five days, and while this is low, it follows a report last week that said an increase in named-storms is expected this year.

If the storm earns a name, it would be Fiona.

2016 tropical cyclone names

2016 tropical cyclone names

Meteorologists at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center believe 2016 will be the busiest season since 2012.

But that’s not to say the embryonic disturbance a few hundred miles south-southeast of the Cabo Verde Islands is going to kick off that streak.

Read: Why it’s Cabo Verde now, not Cape Verde. 



While some gradual development is expected over the next few days, conditions are then expected to become less favorable by the end of the week as it moves west-northwest at about 15 mph.

A thick layer of Saharan dust sits just above the system being tracked by the National Hurricane Center

A thick layer of Saharan dust sits just above the system being tracked by the National Hurricane Center

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