Tropical Depression Four ‘poorly organized:’ forecasters

 UPDATE 11am July 6:

Tropical Depression 4 might be in its death throes.

The National Hurricane Center said in its 11 a.m. advisory that the system was “poorly organized and moving faster.”

At 11 a.m., the depression was near latitude 13.2 north, longitude 42.6 west, about 1,260 miles east of the Lesser Antilles and about 2,600 miles from Palm Beach. It had top sustained winds of 30 mph. The system was moving west-northwest at 21 mph, up from 17 mph at the 5 a.m. advisory.

“Little change in strength is forecast during the next 48 hours, and the depression is not currently expected to become a tropical storm,” the advisory repeated.


Tropical Depression 4, which formed late Wednesday night, sped up overnight, the National Hurricane Center said.

“A continued west-northwestward motion with an additional increase in forward speed is expected over the next 48 hours,” the center  said in a 5 a.m. advisory. “Little change in strength is forecast during the next 48 hours, and the depression is not currently expected to become a tropical storm.”

A 5 a.m. advisory placed the storm at latitude 13.2 north, longitude 40.0 west. That’s about 1,435 miles east of the Lesser Antilles, and about 2,800 miles from Palm Beach.

It was heading west-northwest, and its forward sped had increased to 17 mph.

The advisory said the depression had top sustained winds of 30 mph. A system must attain top sustained winds of 39 mph to become a tropical storm and 74 mph to become a hurricane.


Odds of tropical system becoming depression or storm drop to 60 percent

Forecasters  say a tropical system in the open Atlantic still could become a depression as early as Wednesday, but on Wednesday afternoon dropped the odds of that happening from 70 percent to 60 percent.

The National Hurricane Center had said in its 8 a.m. tropical weather outlook that it expected conditions eventually to “become unfavorable for tropical cyclone formation.”

The 2 p.m. outlook said the low pressure system, now about 850 miles west-southwest of the Cape Verde Islands and some 3,000 miles from the southeastern United States, “still has
the potential to become a tropical depression before it moves west-northwestward into a drier and more stable air mass during the next day or two.”

The next update is set for 2 a.m. Thursday.



Hurricane center: system still has high chance of becoming tropical depression

Forecasters Monday afternoon repeated that a nearly stationary area of low pressure about 700 miles west-southwest of the Cape Verde island chain could become a tropical depression later this week.

The system still is thousands of miles from the U.S. mainland, and would not be a threat until next week, if ever.

The National Hurricane Center, in its 2 p.m. tropical weather update, said the chance of formation in the next five days still was 70 percent, but upped the chance of formation in the next two days from 20 percent to 30 percent, still low.

“Gradual development of this system is likely,” hurricane center forecaster John Cangialosi said in an advisory.  “The disturbance is expected to begin moving west-northwestward in a day or so, and it should continue moving in that direction through the remainder of the week.”



Tropical Storm Bonnie downgraded to Tropical Depression

Tropical Storm Bonnie, which hit the central and southern coast of South Carolina on Sunday, has been downgraded to a tropical depression.

Centered just east of Charleston, the storm is expected to slowly move its way north today and Tuesday, reaching the Outer Banks of North Carolina by Wednesday afternoon.

From there, it should speed up and head out to the Atlantic Ocean by the weekend.

With less than 40 mph winds, tWEATHERhe storm isn’t as strong as it once was, but its stationary position has dropped a massive amount of rain on the South Carolina coast.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol closed southbound lanes of Interstate 95 in Jasper County, which is about 20 miles north of the Georgia state line.

Bonnie brought heavy rains, dumping as much as 8 inches in parts of South Carolina.

Forecasters warn the storm can still produce dangerous surf and rip currents along the southeast coast of the United States, a concern for Memorial Day, when swimmers and surfers hit the beaches.

First tropical system of season may be brewing

The official start of the 2016 hurricane season is June 1, but the atmosphere is brewing up a little preview that may form into a tropical system by Memorial Day.

Meteorologists are watching forecast models that show an area of low pressure forming near the Bahamas that has the potential to become the season’s first tropical depression with a path toward Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.


Andy Mussoline, senior meteorologist with the Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather, said the system is a signal that weather patterns are shifting, making things more favorable in the Atlantic for hurricanes.

Will a tropical cyclone be named after you this year? 

The official start date is June 1.

“We think any development that would occur later this week will be slow with a tropical depression likely the beginning,” Mussoline said. “We have warm water, low wind shear. Something may show up as early as Thursday.”

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While a few days ahead of schedule, early tropical development has some precedents.

Tropical Storm Ana, May 2015. Credits: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team
Tropical Storm Ana, May 2015. Credits: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team

Hurricanes have formed in every month but February.

Last year, Tropical Storm Ana opened the 2015 hurricane season with a May 9 debut.

This year, Hurricane Alex formed Jan. 14, making it only the second January-born Atlantic hurricane on record.

Other hurricanes refusing to adhere to man’s calendar include Alice, which formed Dec. 31, 1954, but managed to live through the New Year before dissipating Jan. 4. Another tropical storm dubbed Ana formed April 20 in 2003, while Tropical Storm Alberto was named May 19, 2012. Alberto was followed just days later by Tropical Storm Beryl, which formed May 26.

While January’s Hurricane Alex was more of a hold-over from the 2015 storm season, its formation date on the calendar made it a 2016 storm.

That means if the system being watched by forecasters develops, it would be named Bonnie.

But some forecasters aren’t ready to fire up the season just yet.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami has not identified the low pressure system that may develop as one to watch for potential tropical characteristics, and Jeff Masters, co-founder and director of meteorology for Weather Underground, confirmed an area of low pressure is expected to form but said the forecast is more muddled from there.

“The models have widely differing ideas on how much wind shear might be present, so it is too early to say if this system is a legitimate threat to develop into a tropical depression,” Masters said Monday.

Tropical cyclones are unique in that they have warmer temperatures at their centers — so called “warm cores” — that are able to sustain the strength of the storm over long distances.

But they need warm ocean waters and low wind shear to prosper — ingredients AccuWeather forecasters say are there.

Ocean temperatures are about 80 degrees with light winds that are expected to remain that way into next week.

Whether a tropical system forms, showers and thunderstorms are expected to increase from Florida to the Carolinas later this week and through Memorial Day with increasingly dangerous surf conditions.

“We think any development will be slow,” Mussoline said. “But we have warm water, low wind shear and high atmospheric moisture, which, combined, can mean tropical formation.”

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