Keeping an Eye on the Tropical Atlantic

By , Senior Meteorologist
July 23, 2013; 5:37 AM
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Play video An overview of the tropics is given in the above video.

A tropical wave off the coast of Africa is strong enough to develop into an organized tropical system, but a significant obstacle lies in its way.

That obstacle is in the form of dry and dusty air streaming across the eastern Atlantic Ocean from Africa's Sahara Desert.

Without this Saharan dust present, concern would be high for the wave to quickly strengthen into Tropical Storm Dorian.

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Saharan dust is quite warm and able to rise into the upper levels of the atmosphere over the Atlantic, putting a lid on thunderstorm activity within tropical systems.

Development is not expected from the tropical wave shown moving through the eastern Caribbean.

The absence of those thunderstorms prevents tropical waves from maturing into tropical storms. Substantial dry air can also cause organized tropical storms and hurricanes to weaken.

Despite the immediate obstacle of the Saharan dust, meteorologists are not ruling out the possibility of the wave eventually strengthening.

If the wave survives its track through the Saharan dust and maintains a westward track, the window of opportunity for development could open as the wave approaches the Leeward Islands next weekend.

Less in the way of the dry and dusty air will likely be present across the central Atlantic at that time.


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