You would be forgiven if you did not know that it was hurricane season, given that we haven’t had any activity so far this month. Getting through August without much more than a whisper is like tornado season moving through April with little activity. It can and does happen, but it’s more rare.
But September is the historical peak of the season and it does look like the tropics are beginning to light up right on cue.
There are currently four areas the NHC is tracking for tropical development, with one over the central Atlantic assigned a high probability of development over the next five days. There is a pretty decent amount of wind shear out there, but once this wave clears that shear it should be all systems go for rapid development of a tropical system.
Taking a look at ocean temperatures, you can see a large portion of the Atlantic and Gulf are warmer than normal for this time of year. This is jet fuel for tropical systems if all other factors are in place. The takeaway seems simple: August was quiet, don’t expect the same in September.
The Pattern Over the U.S. Though…
While the tropics heat up over the coming weeks, the pattern over the Continental U.S. is in the process of doing nothing new, interesting, or unique.
A large ridge of high pressure continues to dominate the western U.S. with occasional energy running around it, generating monsoon showers and storms in the southwest. The ridge is in a flatter mode right now, but the image above shows it will amplify once again through this week. This will bring a large uptick on monsoonal activity in the Southwest this coming week as a strong belt of energy moves west into the region.
Because the ridge is flatter right now, some weak energy has made it over the central U.S. which will bring chances of severe storms from Minnesota down to Oklahoma. There could be a couple of tornadoes up near the Canadian border, but the threats further south are mainly confined to damaging wind gusts and perhaps some small hail.
We’ll have much more in the coming weeks from our storm chasing this year! I’m finally back to producing videos (phew) and we’ve got a good lineup of stuff coming this fall and winter.
In the meantime, if you haven’t yet done so, check out our latest video where I go in-depth talking about how the summer season may be widening, taking June tornado activity with it over the Plains. Watch that video here.