The race to be Chantal

Well, the month of July didn’t pass without a tropical cyclone forming! Former invest 98L was declared Tropical Depression 3 tonight by the NHC. I think they may have missed the boat on this and in reanalysis, the storm could well be analyzed as having formed earlier (as a subtropical depression that transitioned into a full TD today). It may well get the name Chantal before the Central Atlantic disturbance 99L, but if so, it won’t last long as a tropical system. The system is also not forecast to be strong at sea. The only threat is to Europe as an extratropical cyclone.

Closer to home, invest 99L has formed from a central Atlantic tropical wave, and is heading WNW into the Caribbean. It is fairly strong for a tropical wave, and is developing outflow, as one can see from the satellite picture — especially to the north. After having much of its convection sheared off today, it is rebuilding itself. More importantly, the new convection is forming directly over the surface low, as opposed to the earlier convection, which was lopsided and was hindering further organization. This is a MAJOR leg up for 99L. If this continues, I suspect it will be named TD Four by tomorrow afternoon, perhaps even late morning. The real question is whether this system or TD 3 will get the C name.

The DSHIPS intensity model forecasts it to become a hurricane within 3-4 days.

As some may know, I don’t treat any computer model as a deity, because I think that they all miss things. And so it is with this model for this storm. I don’t quite buy this forecast of intensity. I do think the storm will develop, and will probably eventually become our first hurricane of the season, and will unfortunately threaten the Gulf and Caribbean, but not that soon. There is a fair amount of dry air in its path, and shear, while favorable, isn’t ideal — 10-15 knots in some spots.

Anyway, this is definitely a system to keep an eye on if you live anywhere from Central America to Florida. (Wide range, I know, but it’s pretty far out!) Like clockwork, we move from July into August, and it looks like the Atlantic is transitioning as well.