July 20, 2023 Outlook: Dry air keeping a lid (mostly) on the tropics for now

One-sentence summary

As Tropical Storm Don swirls in the Atlantic, we’re watching another system that likely will not develop due to dry air.

Happening now: Don

Tropical Storm Don looks a little better this morning in its satellite appearance, and has a window to strengthen somewhat over the next day or two. During this time it probably will top out as a reasonably strong tropical storm, but northing more. Fortunately Don continues to follow a track that will keep it far out to sea.

Forecast track from the National Hurricane Center for Don.

By this weekend Don should lift far enough north that water temperatures will become too cold to sustain tropical storm characteristics. Once Don reaches waters below 70 degrees Fahrenheit this weekend, it is safe to say that Don will knotts be long for this world.

The medium range (days 6 to 10): Atlantic waves march west but have a lot of dry air to fight off

The National Hurricane Center continues to call attention to a tropical wave in the eastern Atlantic, forecasting a 20 percent chance of development over the next 5 to 7 days as it comes west. If I were buying stock in storms, I would give this one a “sell” rating due to a number of factors, including dry air to the system’s north and, eventually, probably in the Caribbean as well. Matt mentioned yesterday that the Saharan dust inhibiting this system is on its way toward the Gulf of Mexico eventually, so look for some reddish sunsets later next week along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

It looks like Don needed a friend in the Atlantic tropics. (National Hurricane Center)

As for this tropical system, there may be a brief window in about five days, before it reaches the Caribbean Sea, for a depression of tropical storm to develop. Therefore areas such as the Lesser Antilles should probably watch this system. But it’s not the kind of thing we need be too concerned about. Certainly, there will be bigger fish to dry the deeper we get into the season, in a few weeks’ time.

Fantasyland (beyond day 10): Biding our time

Overall, aside from Don, and potential shenanigans from the system mentioned above, things look fairly quiet for the rest of July.

But for those who know the Atlantic hurricane season, that’s to be expected. The real action often does not begin until the first or second week of August. At that point we’re going to have to see whether wind shear from El Niño is able to counteract historically warm sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic. If not, well, we’re going to be busy here at The Eyewall.

July 19, 2023 Outlook: Calvin passing Hawaii, as the Atlantic maintains the status quo for now

One-sentence summary

Impacts from Calvin will diminish later today in Hawaii, while in the Atlantic Don swirls and a couple tropical waves will stir.

Happening now: Calvin hitting Hawaii, while Don swirls in the Atlantic

Heavy rain continues to fall across Hawaii as Calvin passes through today. As of 2 AM Hawaii time, over 5 inches has fallen just west of Hilo in the upslope terrain there, while Hilo itself has seen just shy of 2 inches. Continued rain bands are likely over the next 6 to 12 hours before things settle down.

Tropical Storm Calvin is passing Hawaii this morning, with a few more hours of decent moisture inbound to the Big Island and Maui before things start to improve. (Weathernerds.org)

Winds have been mostly gusting into the 30 mph range in spots, with gusts as high as 45-50 mph or so right now at high elevation. Winds should be near their peak now before things slowly improve this morning. The strongest winds over the next few hours will be over and just downwind of terrain across the islands. Overall, things will improve later today from east to west.

Meanwhile on the Atlantic side, Tropical Storm Don continues its maneuvering in the open waters.

Tropical Storm Don, will remain out at sea for a few more days before accelerating off to the north and northeast and being absorbed by the jet stream. (NHC)

We’re starting to see the exit strategy come into view now, with Don expected to continue its loop and turn northwest, north, and eventually accelerate northeast out to sea. Don’s remnants will likely be absorbed into the jet stream and head into Europe next week as part of a storm system there, as is often the case with recurves.

The medium range (days 6 to 10): Atlantic waves march west but have a lot of dry air to fight off

Two days ago, I wouldn’t say I was bullish on the medium range, but I saw a pathway toward a depression or storm. Today? Not so much. I just really think the dust is too extensive out there to allow for anything to get going. That said, the National Hurricane Center did peg a tropical wave in the eastern Atlantic with a 20 percent chance of development over the next 5 to 7 days as it comes west.

In about 5 days, the tropical wave being monitored for development will be 500 miles or so east of the islands. It will continue to have ample dust and dry air to its north which should keep any organization or development sluggish into days 6 to 8. (Tropical Tidbits)

You can see from the map above that any waves will have to navigate this drier air to get going. That won’t necessarily be easy. These waves are worth monitoring, but I really do believe they will struggle a bit through days 7 or 8 as the lead wave approaches the islands.

Meanwhile, in that dry air is a lot of Saharan dust, and that will be making its way across the Caribbean and into the Bahamas, Cuba, and Florida over the next couple days. Eventually, that should arrive in the Gulf and impact the U.S. Gulf Coast and parts of Mexico too.

A rather healthy burst of Saharan dust is moving across the northern Caribbean and will begin to impact the Bahamas, Cuba, and Florida heading into the weekend. It is likely to surge across the Gulf and impact the U.S. coast and Mexico next week. (Weather Bell)

So look for haze, milky or brown colored skies, some airborne irritants, and hopefully some above average sunrises or sunsets in those areas next week.

Fantasyland (beyond day 10): One trick ponies

The GFS operational model is essentially a one trick pony until August. It usually fires up storms, mostly unrealistic ones, and then eventually corrects to reality in time. We may be seeing that now with the tropical wave in the Atlantic that it periodically tries to blow up as it moves toward the US Southeast coast.

There remains very little ensemble support for this type of outcome. Remember, ensembles differ from operational models in that they are run multiple times with tweaks in the initialization that allow for a broader and more realistic array of potential outcomes. That ensemble support has held steady this week, meaning a small minority show it happening, but we have not added any to that. This tells me that there is not much support for this outcome, and as discussed above, I think this dry air is really going to hamper things. So, yes, we’ll keep watch, but right now, we don’t expect a lot to come of things through the end of July.

July 18, 2023 Outlook: Calvin will bring heavy rain and gusty winds to Hawaii, especially the Big Island and Maui

One-sentence summary

Tropical Storm Calvin will bring impacts to Hawaii later today and tomorrow, while Don stirs in a slowly awakening Atlantic.

Happening now: Hawaii readying for impacts from Tropical Storm Calvin

This is typically going to be an Atlantic-focused tropical blog, but truth be told, when something interesting or notable is happening elsewhere, it behooves us to offer some insights. Enter: Calvin. We discussed Calvin yesterday, and today we will watch for a close pass near the Big Island of Hawaii.

Tropical Storm Calvin is en route to the Big Island of Hawaii and will bring varying impacts to the state tonight and tomorrow. (Weathernerds.org)

A Tropical Storm Warning was issued yesterday for the Big Island. From the satellite image above, you can see that Calvin is not greatly organized but it clearly has a lot of moisture as indicated by the bright colors on satellite. Right now, maximum winds are 45 mph, making Calvin a minimal tropical storm. But the combination of a weakening tropical storm, high pressure to the north, and some terrain will likely lead to a healthy wind event over many of the Hawaiian Islands, even those not under TS Warnings.

While Calvin is expected to weaken over the next day or two, it will still bring some decent winds to the islands, including those not currently under a Tropical Storm Warning. (NHC)

As the storm approaches Hawaii today, we’ll see rain pick up this evening (island time). Rain will be heavy at times on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning before slowly winding down Wednesday afternoon and evening. This will be a quick storm. For most populous locations, it will be a bit breezy with periods of rain. The heaviest rain and strongest winds will impact the Big Island and Maui. Wind gusts on Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, as well as around Haleakalā on Maui are expected to be 50 to 65 mph, while at Hilo winds should gust to 40 mph. The Kona side of the Big Island will gust to about 30 mph. Elsewhere, we will see winds of wind advisory or high wind warning criteria in Maui County, as well as perhaps even in Oahu.

Higher rain totals are likely on the windward slopes of all the islands, but especially Maui and the Big Island. As much as 4 to 8 inches will fall, likely leading to areas of flooding. (NOAA)

Rain totals are expected to peak in the 4 to 8 inch range on the windward slopes of the Big Island and the North Shore and eastern portions of Maui, with lesser amounts on the other islands. Hilo will probably see 4 to 6 inches of rain, while the Kona side of the Big Island will see 1 to 2 inches or a bit less. Flooding is likely in spots, particularly on east and southeast facing slopes, and a Flood Watch is posted for Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe, and the Big Island. Conditions will calm some on Thursday and beyond.

Shifting back to the Atlantic, Subtropical Depression Don reformed into a Tropical Storm on Monday evening. It continues to meander in the open waters between Bermuda and the Azores, with maximum winds of 40 mph.

Tropical Storm Don will continue to meander in the open Atlantic. (NHC)

It remains no threat to land.

The medium range (days 6 to 10): Keeping an eye on the Main Development Region

Yesterday, we discussed the potential for a tropical wave emerging off Africa to maybe, possibly develop as it came west over the next week or so. There remains a bit of model support for this outcome, albeit not a ton. One thing that this or any wave right now will have to manage is Saharan dust.

The yellow, orange, and red colors on the image above indicate widespread areas of Saharan dust in the Atlantic. Some of that dust will impact the Caribbean Islands and likely eventually the US, but it will also impact tropical development too. (Univ of Wisconsin SSEC)

I believe this is our biggest dust outbreak of the season, and it will really hamper things a bit. So while I believe we should continue watching the MDR, and this wave near Africa in particular, it seems that this will be a bit of an uphill battle, especially over the next week or so. Also of note, this Saharan dust is going to overspread the islands in the Caribbean the next few days, arriving in South Florida by late tomorrow or Thursday and lingering into next week, as dust also works toward the U.S. Gulf Coast and Mexico.

Fantasyland (beyond day 10): Some stirring but no substance

We continue to see things stirring in the extended range, but there are no specific storms to hang our hat on in the modeling, with the exception of the wave mentioned above. That could perhaps be an issue if it develops for the day 10 or later period. But that’s really the only game in town right now, or at least the only one we can coherently point to at this time.

July 17, 2023 Outlook: Don doing loops, while Pacific TS Calvin should impact Hawaii

One-sentence summary

Subtropical Storm Don was downgraded to a depression yesterday and remains no threat to land, while ex-Hurricane Calvin in the Pacific is tracking toward Hawaii as a tropical storm with some impacts likely.

Happening now: Calvin hobbles toward Hawaii and Don wandering aimlessly

Of most immediate interest, we turn to the Pacific, where former Hurricane Calvin weakened to a tropical storm on Sunday. Calvin is on a course that will bring it fairly close to the Big Island of Hawaii this week, meaning tropical storm conditions are possible there, assuming it can hold on that long. Even if Calvin does weaken, it is likely to bring rough surf and heavy rainfall.

You can see Hawaii on the left side of this satellite image, as Calvin swirls to the east, heading that way. (Weathernerds.org)

Looking at Calvin on satellite, this is not a particularly strong storm. Maximum winds are 50 mph and continued weakening is expected through tomorrow before it gets to Hawaii. It does have a fair bit of moisture with it, especially on the north and east side which is why portions of Hawaii may be impacted.

Tropical Storm Calvin is expected to graze the Big Island of Hawaii, perhaps as a tropical storm late tomorrow. Rough surf and heavy rain are the main threats. (NHC)

Calvin is currently expected to pass just south of the Big Island, though it remains in the cone. Regardless of the specific track, the impacts should be fairly similar. Rough surf is a given, but also some heavy rain is possible.

Anywhere from 3 to 7 inches of rainfall is possible on the eastern half of the Big Island, with somewhat lesser rains in the other islands.

Current forecasts through Wednesday afternoon in Hawaii show anywhere from 3 to 7 inches on the eastern half of the Big Island, with lesser totals on the other islands. Expect Flood and Tropical Storm Watches to go up later today.

Meanwhile, on the Atlantic side of the coin, there is Don, which is just an adorable system.

Subtropical Depression Don is elongated and has most of its thunderstorms well east of the center. It’s certainly a broad system, coherent but poorly organized. (Tropical Tidbits)

Don is a subtropical depression, and you can see why from the satellite loop above, with general disorganization to its thunderstorms (a lack of bright colors near the swirling center). Speaking of loops, Don intends to do one in the coming days.

Subtropical Depression Don is expected to turn south, slow down, then eventually come back northwest, possibly becoming a subtropical storm again. It remains no threat to land. (NHC)

Don should almost do a complete circle when all is said and done, before it takes off out to sea. There is some chance that Don may reform into a subtropical storm later this week, but we’ll see.

The medium range (days 6 to 10): Atlantic wave watch

There continues to be some support for a potential Atlantic tropical wave heading into the medium range. We briefly mentioned this on Friday with respect to the wave emerging off Africa then. That has since faltered. I would assume this one will as well but there is some model support for something to perhaps come of this in 6 or 7 days.

Another robust tropical wave is emerging off the coast of Africa today, and while it is not expected to develop, it is probably worth watching. (Weathernerds.org)

But to be sure, there are some beefy looking waves coming off Africa right now. If that remains the case in 3 to 4 weeks, it may become more likely that we see something come of them. For now, I would not expect additional development through day 10 of the forecast but I would not rule it out entirely.

Fantasyland (beyond day 10): A little noisier

The extended reaches of the forecast push us into August now, closer to the ramp up in typical hurricane season activity. The GFS model has at times taken that wave we discussed in the medium range section and brought it toward the U.S. or Caribbean islands as a coherent storm in the day 10+ period. But it remains sort of on its own, so we will ignore it specifically for now. Outside of that, there is nothing in particular to pin down.

We had no storms in August of 2022, but based on what we see happening in the atmosphere to kick off August, we would not expect a repeat of that quiet in 2023. Nothing specific to hone in on yet, but we’ll keep you posted.