As I've noted previously, we are now in the peak of hurricane season as we move through August and September, and the Atlantic Basin is certainly beginning to demonstrate that fact. A disturbance that the National Hurricane Center has classified as "96L" is moving westward towards the Lesser Antilles and is expected to be in the Caribbean by the end of the week. The NHC is giving the disturbance a 50 percent chance of developing into a tropical depression in the next few days and a hurricane hunter plane is scheduled to fly into the storm Thursday afternoon if it continues its development.
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All the reliable forecast models are calling for a gradual west-northwest turn once it reaches the Caribbean. Forecasters are also predicting the storm will reach tropical depression strength just south of Puerto Rico. After that, things get dicey.
Unfortunately for this storm, and fortunately for those of us who have zero interest in dealing with a hurricane, what awaits it in the Caribbean isn't exactly the most hospitable environment. It has already been barely gaining, with dry air to its north. Once it reaches the Caribbean, it faces higher wind shear and additional dry air, never mind a likely interaction with land including the mountainous Hispaniola.
For Gulf of Mexico dwellers, it now appears the storm is more likely to swing northward on a track similar to Hurricane Bertha's. It had been thought there was a chance it could make its way into the Gulf, but that is looking less likely. Though with this much time between any potential destination, any remotely accurate prediction is no more than speculation.
It also looks like there is an additional disturbance coming in behind this one, but none of the models are forecasting it will develop. It remains pretty harsh conditions out there for hurricanes, which, quite frankly, is just fine by me.