Storm system brewing in tropical Atlantic

May 21, 2010; 8:23 AM
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A large mass of clouds, showers and thunderstorms east of the Bahamas and well north of Puerto Rico may develop into the first system of interest of the 2010 Atlantic tropical season. Current indications show this system affecting the southeastern United States next week.

While this system is not likely to be a true tropical system, it may take a track more typical to a tropical storm or hurricane.

A weak area of low pressure is expected to form in the vicinity of the mass of clouds, showers and thunderstorms near the Bahamas this weekend.

As this low develops, it may begin to wrap drenching showers and gusty thunderstorms in a semi-circular pattern.

During early next week, the system may become a "hybrid" storm with both tropical and non-tropical characteristics.

High pressure building east of New England next week may then create enough easterly wind flow over the western Atlantic to push this struggling system westward toward the southern Atlantic Seaboard.

While there will likely be enough dry air wrapping around into part of the storm to prevent it from being a closed, warm core system like a true tropical storm or hurricane, people in areas from the northern Florida coast to the Virginia will still experience significant effects.

Along the southern Atlantic Seaboard through the first half of next week, people can expect building surf, increasing winds and rounds of showers and thunderstorms. Conditions may worsen to the point where beach erosion and coastal flooding occurs for a time.

Rip currents may become strong and frequent for early-season bathers.

The exact track of this system, after it forms, will determine which part of the southern Atlantic coast gets the worst conditions. Details will unfold over the next couple of days.

Following this storm into June, over the area from the western Caribbean into the Atlantic waters near the Bahamas will remain a general weak spot in the atmosphere, where additional perhaps more potent storms systems may form.

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