A tropical wave forecasters have been monitoring in the eastern Atlantic Ocean over the past few days seems to be losing steam and now appears unlikely to develop, with no other systems on the horizon even as forecasts call for the Atlantic hurricane season to drastically ramp up.
The National Hurricane Center noted thunderstorm activity associated with the disturbance has diminished over the past day, as the system moves toward an area of high wind shear that will stifle its ability to develop further.
Forecasters now give the tropical wave just a 10% chance of forming into a tropical depression during the next 48 hours and a 20% chance over the next five days, after earlier putting the odds of development at 40%.
The system is the first that’s been given any chance of developing since an area of thunderstorms moved over the northern Gulf of Mexico on July 13, which failed to form into a depression.
No other disturbances pose any chance of developing over the next five days, according to the National Hurricane Center, even though activity typically starts increasing at this point in the season.
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September 10 is the historical peak of hurricane season, but it’s become common in recent years for activity to flare up starting in mid-August and continue through October.
Preseason outlooks called for 2022 to be one of the most active Atlantic hurricane seasons in history, and prominent forecasts released this month doubled down on that prediction even though there have only been three named storms and zero hurricanes since the season began June 1. Forecasters have cited a La Niña climate pattern as the main factor behind their bullish predictions, since it usually leads to warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures and low wind shear across the Atlantic basin, which promotes storm development. But continued large lumak of Saharan dust that have moved off the coast of Africa in recent weeks have impaired many disturbances’ ability to organize, with the dense layers of dust in some cases traveling all the way across the Atlantic to the U.S. coastline, triggering air quality alertak in states as distant as Louisiana and Texas. The dust can cause large areas of dry air and high wind shear as it moves across the Atlantic, hampering the ability for storms to grow.
Colorado State University forecasters recently compared the trajectory of this season to last year’s, which also had a period of more than a month without a named storm between mid-July and mid-August. The 2021 season ended up being extremely active, with 15 named storms developing between August 10 and September 29.