Lots of Action in the Tropics. Should We Be Worried?

The Tropical Atlantic is super busy, but are there any threats to the Gulf?
The Tropical Atlantic is super busy, but are there any threats to the Gulf? Courtesy National Hurricane Center
The statistical peak of hurricane season is less than one week away and the Atlantic is as busy as you might expect this time of year. After what felt like a rather quiet summer, a line of potential storms is lining up. Where they will go is the important question for all of us.

Hurricane Florence
Worry Level for the U.S. - 7 out of 10

First up is Hurricane Florence. After blowing up to a major hurricane yesterday, wind shear and dry air has taken its toll and the storm is down to a category one hurricane. Still, as it moves west-northwest, it is going to encounter plenty of warm water and lower shear that should allow for restrengthening as it gets closer to the eastern U.S. coastline.

The question is whether or not Florence will interact with the east coast or curve out to sea. Both of the most trusted weather forecasting models are now suggesting that a brush with the coastline by a powerful hurricane sometime late next week or into that weekend is possible. With over a week left before a potential landfall, however, it is still way to early to tell what might happen, though interests along the eastern seaboard should watch this storm very carefully.

Behind Florence
Worry Level for the U.S. - 4 out of 10

A pair of tropical waves behind Florence are definitely worth watching. They remain a LONG way from any kind of impacts with the United States. — perhaps more than two weeks away. But, the National Hurricane Center is giving both nearly a 100 percent chance of developing into a tropical storm. Both will likely become hurricanes given where they are in the Atlantic.

Where they go is another story entirely. The nearest one is still more than a week away from the Caribbean assuming it stays on a more westerly track. What happens will Florence will no doubt influence how the forecast models initialize the movement of the eventual Helene. But, that is still a good ways off.

For now, there don't appear to be any significant threats to the Gulf of Mexico, at minimum, for the next couple weeks. But, given the time of year, it's worth keeping a close eye on the tropics.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke