By JOE MARIO PEDERSEN and DAVID HARRIS
(ORLANDO SENTINEL) – The National Hurricane Center is monitoring two tropical waves in the Caribbean Sea.
The first wave emerged on Wednesday morning and is expected to produce a broad area of pressure with increased odds of becoming Tropical Storm Gamma, forecasters.
It is expected to move west-northwest through the rest of the week and is predicted to interact with a frontal system producing a broad area of low pressure over the western Caribbean by Thursday or Friday.
The NHC forecast the emergence of the pressurized area earlier in the week and originally predicted it to have a 20% chance of developing over five days. Now with emergence of a tropical wave odds of development raised to 20% in the next 48 hours and to 70% over the next five days, the NHC 8 p.m. update.
Conditions for development are favorable for the system to become the next tropical depression or tropical storm.
Another wave formed Wednesday evening a few hundred miles east of the Lesser Antilles and is producing widespread cloudiness and shower activity. While it moves west, it has a 20 percent chance to form into a depression or storm in the next five days.
Colorado State University is monitoring the tropics and identified large amounts of atmospheric conditions, giving favor to positive tropical activity during the next two weeks, said CSU meteorologist Philip Klotzbach.
While September is known as the peak month for tropical activity, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration identified mid August to mid October as the period in hurricane season that sees a spike in activity. Meaning, tropical conditions will likely remain favorable until around Oct. 15, now is not the time to let your guard down, said FOX 35 meteorologist Jayme King.
“The climatology is changing and we’re not as concerned with storms off the west coast of Africa. Now, we start to see them closer to Florida forming in the Gulf and Caribbean as homegrown storms,” King said. “These storms, especially because of where they develop, can give you a quick uppercut hook. The thing is, typically when a storm comes from the Gulf or the Caribbean, someone is getting hit.”
King doesn’t know if the forecasted area of low pressure is anything to worry about, but it’s something he’s keeping an eye on as some models show the storm pushing into the Gulf, developing and then running into Florida’s Panhandle, he said.
“And the Europe model aggressively shows it crashing into the Yucatan. We just don’t know yet, but we have to be ready,” King said.
If it does become a tropical storm it will be the 24th storm of the year named Gamma.
The NOAA predicted in its mid season forecast a total of 19 to 25 named storms before the end of hurricane season, Nov. 30.