Tropical Atlantic wakes up but still aims for August record

Sunday 28 August 2022

The question is not if, but when. As we approach the end of August, we are entering the most climatologically active time of year for tropical cyclone development in the Atlantic Basin. The National Hurricane Center has increased the chances of development in the coming week. Under normal conditions That was to be expected, but it was anything but a normal year.

Before we jump ahead, I would like to point out that the short-term outlook for the next 48 hours is marginally impressive. They give this cluster of disorganized central Atlantic storms a 40% chance of developing into a named storm.

Outlook extended to 5 days: NOAA and the National Hurricane Center have upgraded the region to a 70% chance for a developing system. We will examine this further below.

To date we haven’t had a named storm all month. In fact most of July too. The latter system was Tropical Storm Colin on July 2. That was 57 days ago, which brings us to two possible records.

August with no named storms

Barring a surprise, it looks like 2022 will follow as third on this list.

Another record on the horizon – longest gap between named cyclones

The record was set in 1999 at 61 days. If the Atlantic without storms through September 3, it will be declared the longest mid-season drought on record. If we get something named beforehand, this will be counted as second place.


Snowfall for winter after very calm tropical seasons

IR Satellite Loop – Sunday afternoon

National Hurricane Center Discussion

Central Tropical Atlantic:

Recent satellite-derived wind data shows that a wide area of Low pressure is located over the central tropical Atlantic Generating near gale force winds, but circulation continues elongated with an ill-defined center. Although environmentally friendly Conditions in front of the system do not appear conducive to significant development, at least one tropical depression, will likely form later this week and slowly move toward the west and then west-northwest at 5 to 10 mph, toward the waters east and northeast of the Leeward Islands.

* Formation chance over 48 hours…medium…40 percent.

* Formation chance over 5 days…high…70 percent.

forecast intensity

To explain how they arrive at a number like 80% chance, let’s look at this chart. Here are 16 computer model simulations showing the predicted peak winds from this System Invest 91L.

We can count 12 of them showing tropical storm winds (39 mph or higher) over the next 5 days. That’s the 80% chance stated in the outlook.

forecast track

Here we can see the 5-day chart with this tropical wave or newly named storm passing north of the islands of the Greater Antilles. But we still have a long way to go…

Even further away in time

This is the GFS model showing the forecast plot for next weekend:


Follow this Invest 91L on the right…

Another system entering the Gulf of Mexico on the left looks more impressive.

forecast animation

Caveat: This is a storyline that is 150 hours to 348 hours away.

Saturday 3 September to Sunday 11 September.

I very much doubt this will be confirmed, but it’s the best I can show you at the moment. We can use this as a back reference to see if there is a trend should any of these develop.

August 28 Tropical Atlantic forecast GFS model

As a reminder, high season in the tropics is September 14th

Historical climate data shows that the Atlantic’s most active time is still a few weeks away. We can’t stay that calm for the rest of the season.

How quiet will it be?

That is still up for debate. But the community at large expects the Atlantic to wake up and start fresh storms in September. It has been bottled and can get a boost in business when conditions hit. There needs to be less wind shear (lighter winds at altitude) and less Saharan dust from Africa.

Probable regions with storm formation:



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*Disclaimer due to frequently asked questions:

I am aware that there are some spelling and grammatical errors. I’ve made a few public statements over the years, but if you’re new here you might have missed it:

I have dyslexia and found it out in my sophomore year at Cornell University. That didn’t stop me from pursuing my Meteorology degree and being the first to get the AMS CBM in the Baltimore/Washington area.

I miss mistakes in my own proofreading. The autocorrect spell checker on my computer sometimes does a wrong to make it worse.

All maps and information are correct. The “wordy” stuff can get sticky.

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I accept that and maybe proves that what you read is really mine…

It’s part of my charm.

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