After a sluggish first half so far the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season may be showing some signs of activity, as we approach the historical peak of the season. A conglomerate of storm and rain cells that moved down ‘hurricane alley’ in recent days is now interacting with Hispaniola and showing signs of organization and continued strengthening. Although hurricane-hunter airplanes have failed to detect a center of circulation, the system is given a high probability for cyclonic development over the next day or so as it approaches the southeastern Bahamas. Should this system become a tropical cyclone it would be ‘Cristobal’ the 3rd named storm of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season.
While we continue to monitor the progress of this system and wait to see if it indeed may become a named storm, we need to keep our eyes farther to the east over the eastern Atlantic south of the Cape Verde Islands, and over Equatorial Africa where the ‘tropical wave assembly line’ is also showing signs of increased activity.
On the other side, over the East Pacific Ocean the ‘dance of the storms’ continue with some surprising and interesting developments taking place overnight. Two of the storms, KARINA and MARIE have reached hurricane strength while LOWELL continues to maintaining tropical storm status.
Hurricane KARINA, which originated from tropical depression #12 on 11 August, had traveled some 3,500 kilometers in a generally westward direction pointing toward Hawaii before becoming a hurricane and turning around by 180 degrees in the middle of the ocean. As a result of this veritable pirouette KARINA is now following an ENE track toward the coast of Mexico, while LOWELL and MARIE are tracking NW and NNW respectively.
This Friday 22 August marks the 99th day of the 2014 East Pacific hurricane season, which ‘officially’ launched on 15 May, and as if to highlight the occasion Tropical storm MARIE the 13th-named tropical cyclone of the season is now active off the coast of southern Mexico.
There are in fact three tropical storms simultaneously active over the Eastern Pacific near the coast of Mexico. KARINA, LOWELL and now MARIE, three tropical cyclones doing the ‘dance of the storms’ in the East Pacific basin.
The East Pacific region has been particularly active in 2014 averaging one named-storm per week (roughly every 7.6 days) since the start of the season. In addition to the three tropical storms currently active, the region to the east-southeast of tropical storm Marie reaching into the Gulf of Panama and northwestern South America is populated by numerous tropical waves and storm cells, in a patterns that has persisted for most of this season and over the past several years. It appears many of the tropical waves coming out of Equatorial Africa and across the southern fringe of ‘hurricane alley’ are coming across over the northern region of South America and the Panama isthmus into the East Pacific sub-basin.
By contrast the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season, now in its 83rd day, has only spawned two named-storms so far although we are now monitoring a disturbed weather system making its way toward Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands today, which is showing signs of getting better organized and stronger with a potential for cyclonic development in the next day or so; we could be looking at the third named storm of the season. But we will have to keep watching this system to see if it will become Cristobal.