The northern hemisphere tropics continue to run in hyper-drive, especially in the Atlantic, the northwestern Pacific and to a lesser degree the eastern Pacific of the coast of Mexico and Central America.
On 1 September in the Atlantic there is Hurricane EARL, a large and category 3 storm, which as of 18:00 EST was to the east of the Bahamas moving toward the northwest at 16 mph in the general direction of Cape Hatteras in the Carolinas. Based on its current track Hurricane Earl is projected to come rather close to the North Carolina coastline to then continue moving roughly paralleling the USA Atlantic northeastern coastline as it re-curbs toward the north and then the northeast.
Following Earl there is Tropical Storm FIONA also to the east of the Bahamas moving northwest with sustained 60 mph winds and showing signs of strengthening. Should Fiona stay within its projected track it will re-curb toward the north to move in the general direction of Bermuda.
While the remnants of what once was powerful Hurricane Danielle continue to dissipate in the north Atlantic close to the Azores, tropical depression #9 has generated in ‘hurricane alley’ in the Atlantic. “Number Nine is showing signs of strengthening and it may become a tropical storm at any time as it moves westward toward the Lesser Antilles, in an environment that appears favorable for further development.
Farther east yet another tropical wave emerges from equatorial Africa over the Atlantic south of the Cape Verde islands, while several other waves of disturbed tropical weather are active over the ‘tropical wave assembly line’ and farther east in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean.
It appears September might live up to its historical position as the most active month of the Atlantic hurricane season, for the moment at least the signs are there to forecast continued tropical activity over the next few days.
Two hurricanes, one of them a category 4, four tropical storms and at least six tropical waves are currently active in the northern tropics fulfilling our earlier assessment that the ‘tropics are hot’ and things are happening quite fast in the tropics. It would appear the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season has suddenly entered a whole higher level of activity after a slow start. Based on the systems currently active and what already appears in the horizon looking east from the Atlantic over equatorial Africa and the Indian ocean, it appears September is gearing up for a new level of tropical cyclone activity.
A wider view shows additional tropical activity extending into the Indian Ocean as far back as Indonesia and over into the western Pacific where Typhoon KOMPASU is a category 2 tropical cyclone over the southwestern Ryukyu Islands of Japan, and tropical storms LIONROCK and NAMTHEUN are respectively south of the Ryukyu islands near Taiwan and southwest of Taiwan moving for landfall in mainland China. The composite Global Mosaic below shows a good part of such tropical cyclone activity over the Atlantic, Equatorial Africa and the Indian Ocean.
The ‘belt’ of tropical weather circling the Earth just north of the equator appears to be firmly in place and fueled by enough activity to last for several days into September. It is interesting to note that two of the currently active systems, Danielle and Earl have both reached category 4 strength, Hurricane Earl went from category 1 to 4 in the span of one day, and Tropical Storm Fiona went from a tropical wave to tropical storm strength in one continuous spur of activity earlier today 30 August 2010. It is clear that conditions overland in tropical equatorial Africa and in the coupled ocean-atmosphere Atlantic environment continue to be favorable for tropical cyclone development and rapid strengthening of new storms.