July 10, 2023 Outlook: The “check engine” light flickers in the Atlantic

One-sentence summary

While tropical development is not expected over the next week or so, there are a couple features to keep tabs on in the Atlantic.

Happening now: Watching the Atlantic

After the weekend, we start the second week of July off with a couple items of note in the Atlantic. Just to be clear here, we aren’t necessarily expecting anything important to come from this, but given the warm ocean waters, it’s not the worst idea in the world to keep an eye on things.

Let’s start with the current picture of dust and disturbances.

A couple disturbances under the dust plume in the Atlantic are worth watching but not expected to develop, while a more robust disturbance in the far north Atlantic may well develop. (University of Wisconsin)

You can see a pretty healthy area of dust stretching across the Atlantic from Africa to the Caribbean islands. Surely not the most impressive we’ve ever seen, but it’s definitely there. Anyway, most of the dust stretches across 20°N latitude until you get close to the Caribbean. Underneath that band of dust is a tropical wave. This has shown flashes of coherence through the weekend, and the European ensemble model in particular has at times latched onto this becoming A Thing over the next few days. Frankly, it’s hardly impressive looking today, likely battling some of the dust on its periphery and running into a wall of shear on its west side.

The disturbance in question is in the center of the image above, several hundred miles east of the Caribbean. It does not look too well organized today.

Modeling has gotten a good deal less excitable about this wave, so I don’t think it merits close watching, but we’ll see how it goes over the next day or two.

The medium range (days 6 to 10): Watching the far north Atlantic

Outside of that disturbance above, we had mentioned last week that the far north Atlantic might see some noise this week. Indeed, we have a pair of disturbances sitting up there. An actual surface low should develop in the coming days from the smaller area of storms at left on the image below (exiting Bermuda) and we may see this area become a development one.

A pair of pretty robust disturbances in the North Atlantic (a large one in the middle and a second one near Bermuda at left) bears some watching with the Hurricane Center assigning a 30 percent chance of development over the next few days. (Weathernerds.org)

The National Hurricane Center is assigning about 30% odds for that to occur. If it does happen, the system would likely meander somewhat incoherently, as if it were 2 AM and last call around the North Atlantic generally toward the Azores over time. We’ll see if it become a threat to those islands. For now, we’ll say this is not a big deal but does bear a little watching.

Fantasyland (beyond day 10): Mostly quiet

The good news is that despite the slight uptick in “noise” today, the day 10+ period does not look that interesting right now. Not to say that things will not change, but at this point, I’m not seeing much of anything that warrants a lot of our attention.

Sidebar: New England flooding

Flooding in New England is not uncommon. The region has a long history of flooding events, often with remnant tropical systems. But what is expected today, particularly without the involvement of a tropical system is troubling. That region is in line for some serious rain and flooding today, as a pipeline of moisture extends from the warm Gulf up through the warm Atlantic into New England.

The purple area is a high risk area for excessive rainfall, a deleniation that the Weather Prediction Center only uses a handful of times each year. It usually correlates to serious flooding issues, and today that will focus on northwestern Vermont and northeast New York, including the Burlington and Plattsburgh areas. (Pivotal Weather)

The Weather Prediction Center has parts of northern New York and Vermont in their rare “high risk” category for excessive rainfall, which usually correlates strongly to bad outcomes. Significant to catastrophic flooding is expected in parts of New England and New York today because of this setup. Rainfall warnings extend into Quebec as well.

It’s also a good opportunity for us to look at sea-surface temperature anomalies and see just how warm things are right now.

Sea surface temperature anomalies remain just insanely warm across the entire Atlantic Basin, with few exceptions, one reason to not write off the hurricane season due to El Niño. (Weather Bell)

There is hardly any cooler than normal water to be found anywhere in the Atlantic, Gulf, or Caribbean. This is one reason why it’s tough to forecast a slow hurricane season. At any rate, our thoughts are with the folks in New England that will be dealing with a very rough go of it today.

July 7, 2023 Outlook: A lot of miscellany today!

One-sentence summary

The Atlantic remains quiet, with no action expected over the next 7 to 10 days, while the Pacific should see a bit of activity ahead.

Happening now: Remaining quiet

Things remain quiet across the tropics this morning.

A disturbance in the western Gulf is mostly ashore now, while a weak wave approaches the Lesser Antilles, though it will bring showers and storms there.

We still have disorganized disturbed weather in the western Gulf, but it is basically ashore at this point. The only other feature that stands out is a wave approaching the Lesser Antilles. This should bring showers and storms there, but there is no real risk of development. Another disturbance about halfway across the Atlantic may have a narrow window to develop next week. Short of that, there’s not much doing.

The medium-range (days 6 to 10): Still calm!

All remains quiet, though we expect a system or two to form in the near and medium term in the Pacific. Nothing that is expected to impact land, however.

Fantasyland (beyond day 10): Likely quiet a bit longer

We still do not see any items of note on any of the modeling we use looking out farther in time. The Atlantic may begin to get a bit less hostile toward tropical systems by late month, but as of now, there are no consequences of that potential showing up out there.


A kinder, gentler version of housekeeping than the scene in “Tommy Boy” to close out today. Let’s hop through some things.

Seasonal outlook

The fine folks at Colorado State University released their second to last seasonal update for the 2023 Atlantic season yesterday. Somewhat surprisingly, it increased the seasonal totals, by 3 storms, 2 hurricanes, 1 major hurricane, and most impressively 35 Accumulated cyclone energy units (a very consequential increase).

Colorado State University’s seasonal outlook is calling for another 14 storms this year, giving us 18 total when all is said and done. (Colorado State University)

Not that we expected them to cut their numbers or anything, but this was a bit of an aggressive increase. If you read between the lines, the battle between warm sea-surface temperatures and El Niño makes their outlook almost a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. While we feel that this is a bit of a bold forecast, there is a conceivable path there — but we would need El Niño to do something unprecedented in our history, which is to substantially reduce its impacts on the Atlantic. Another possible route to an active season? More activity in the open Atlantic, where the water is way warmer than normal and El Niño’s influence is a little less.

Whatever the case, we are statistically only about 3 percent of the way through hurricane season, when using ACE as a metric. So it is far too soon to write any seasonal outcome off.

July hurricane nuggets

When was the last July hurricane in the Atlantic? You have to go all the way back to 2021 to find one. Elsa, if you may remember due to its memorable name, was the last July hurricane in the Atlantic.

Hurricane Elsa in 2021 passed near Barbados, peaked as a hurricane in the Caribbean, and then made landfall in Cuba before Florida 2 days later. (NOAA)

It never made landfall as a hurricane but still caused about $1 billion in damage. The last landfalling hurricane in July was Hurricane Isaias, which came ashore in Brunswick County, NC and managed to cause over $5 billion in damage across the Caribbean, Bahamas, up the U.S. east coast, and in Canada.

The strongest observed July hurricane was Emily in the frenetic season of 2005. Emily became a category 5 hurricane southwest of Jamaica. It made one landfall in the Yucatan near Tulum as a category 4 storm and another in Tamaulipas as a category 3 storm.

Some other memorable July hurricanes?

Hurricane Dolly in 2008
Hurricane Dennis, also in 2005
Hurricane Danny in 1997, which dumped almost 40″ of rain on South Alabama.
Hurricane Bertha in 1996 (which the author fondly remembers going out in when it came through New Jersey as a tropical storm)
The “Surprise” Hurricane of 1943 in Texas
The 1926 Nassau Hurricane
The 1916 Gulf Coast Hurricane
The 1916 Charleston Hurricane
The 1909 Velasco Hurricane

So, yes, storms do happen in July and they can be memorable!

Social media

Without getting into the weeds on all this, we recognize that the social media landscape is ever-changing and seems to be undergoing some considerable upheaval right now. We encourage you to sign up for our email updates to the right (desktop) or by scrolling alllllll the way down (on mobile), so you never miss a post. But, if you do prefer using social media, we currently have numerous accounts established, and we’ll reassess our strategies as the landscape further evolves.

Threads (the new Meta Twitter competitor)

On almost all of these, we should be “theeyewallwx” if that makes your life easier.

Please keep in mind…this is a *lot* for us to keep up with, so we will likely be making some cuts once the dust settles, hopefully within the next 6 months. But for now, we’ll do our best to keep up with all these platforms to reach you where you are.

July 6, 2023 Outlook: Why do we always say that it’s good to keep tabs on the Gulf of Mexico?

One-sentence summary

We continue to expect a fairly quiet 10 days ahead.

Happening now: Gulf busy, but not organized

Late yesterday, the Gulf of Mexico started to do some Gulf of Mexico things with a weak circulation trying to show up off the coast of Mexico or South Texas. Today that remains disorganized, albeit agitated.

Disorganized tropical moisture is making an appearance in the western Gulf of Mexico, bringing rain to parts of Texas. (Weathernerds.org)

Some eagle-eyed readers may recall the GFS operational model insisting that something would develop in the Gulf about 10 days ago. As is often the case, it was incorrect but had some ideas you could take from what it showed.

I’m mainly writing about this because there is not much else to discuss today. But it’s illustrative! Nothing has come of this one, of course. There has not been any real risk anything would. It will continue to produce scattered thunderstorms over coastal Mexico and Texas today and shift northward tomorrow. But it does underscore how we always like to watch the Gulf during hurricane season. All it takes is one batch of poorly forecast thunderstorms to lead to a surprise outcome. Thankfully, this won’t be it. But if we say “Still, it’s a good idea to keep tabs on the Gulf,” we aren’t just doing it to entertain ourselves!

The medium-range (days 6-10): Nothing

It’s quiet.

It won’t stay this quiet forever, so let’s enjoy the calm.

Fantasyland (beyond day 10): Nothing, but in purple

It looks as if this pattern of high shear, dry air, and minimal activity will continue deep into July. Right now, we don’t see anything of note out there in the models.

Modeling is on board with a mainly quiet stretch over the next two weeks. A lack of many lines or “L’s” in the tropics on this map indicates that the models are not bullish on any organized systems. (Weathernerds.org)

If we look at the GFS ensemble, which is a tweaked version of the GFS model run over 30 times, it seems quiet for the next two weeks. We can’t even really buy many rogue ensemble members right now that spit out anything of significance. That’s good news for us all.

Tomorrow, we’ll fill the void with a few nuggets about July history in the Atlantic basin.

July 5, 2023 Outlook: It’s all quiet on the Western front, and mostly so on the Eastern Front

One-sentence summary

As we went through the Fourth of July holiday all of the fireworks were in the sky, rather than in the tropics.

Happening now: Nothing in the Atlantic

The Atlantic remains quiet, and it should stay that way for at least the remainder of this week if not beyond.

The Eastern Pacific has also quieted down with the dissipation of two hurricanes, Adrian and Beatriz, in recent days. The potential remains for some additional development this week to the south of the Western coast of Mexico, but nothing that appears to be an imminent threat to land. This is something we’ll be tracking later this week, however.

Tropical Outlook for the Eastern Pacific Basin over the next seven days. (National Hurricane Center)

I also want to call attention to an excellent post published this week on Michael Lowry’s Substack that is tracking the influence of El Niño on Atlantic hurricane activity so far. This summer we’ve seen a strong El Niño develop in the tropical Pacific, where sea surface temperatures are much warmer than normal. Typically this pattern is associated with higher wind shear in the Atlantic. The bottom line is that wind shear does appear to be ramping up across the Atlantic basin as we get deeper into July, and this is likely to tamp down on tropical activity at least into the near term.

Current wind shear levels in the Atlantic. (CIMSS/The Eyewall)

I am hopeful that this wind shear will generally persist into August and September, when it would counteract the effect of extremely warm seas in the Atlantic that will otherwise be favorable to tropical storm activity.

The medium-range (days 6-10): Moisture but no swirls

Much of the immediate Gulf coast will see rain showers this week as tropical moisture surges inland, but this low pressure is unlikely to develop into anything of note. Another area to watch, potentially, is the southern extremity of the Caribbean Sea. But this is nothing to get too excited about, either.

Fantasyland (beyond day 10): All remains quiet

As of now, there doesn’t seem to be anything of note in the Atlantic basin for the day 10 or later period. July often sees a lull in activity, and that appears to be what is happening now. I’m happy to have it.