Colleagues, The next two months will contain the bulk of the season's hurricane activity. TD 5 heralds that arrival. I also have 2 points I have been waiting to make: 1. I am not sure I properly recognized the wrath of Debby. Along the Gulf Coast, particularly the Big Bend area, roughly Panama City east, the winds peaked at hurricane strength and the seas and surge reflected that. Also, structural damage was consistent with locally strong gusts. There is no important difference between a strong tropical storm and a category 1 hurricane. 2. Some on my hurricane list received an email that was not intended for this audience. It was a error on my part, born out of haste in trying to accomplish too much too fast. I apologize for any confusion it may have caused and the fact it was junk email - which I try to minimize with you. It was my error. FORECAST: Tropical Depression 5 is about 500 miles East of the Windward Islands with winds of about 35 mph headed West at 20 mph. In some form it will enter the Caribbean tomorrow, Friday. The next named storm will be Ernesto. TD 5 is fighting a dry air and unfavorable winds, and will either strengthen to a tropical storm or became an easterly wave. Present conditions will steer the storm south of Cuba and it will mainly produce rain over the islands that surround it.
DISCUSSION: As mentioned early in the season, this year points to storms that are less likely to recurve (turn north) in the Atlantic and instead take a more southerly route. TD 5 may be an extreme example. As the season progresses (and the next 2 months will contain 80% of the activity), I think we can expect US landfalls. This is the overture, the prelude to the 2012 season.
NEXT FORECAST: Tomorrow morning, Friday August 3.
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Peter S. Ray
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