Tropical Atlantic: Cruising This Week

September 27, 2011; 9:00 AM ET
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The frequency of tropical systems in the Atlantic this season has caused alterations in cruise ship itineraries, but better weather this week will help. Photo by

While the weather is looking good for cruise interests in the Caribbean and fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, there are still some tropical critters on the Atlantic side this week.

If you have a cruise in the Caribbean or a fishing trip planned for the Gulf of Mexico this week, it appears the tropics will cooperate with your plans most of the time.

Aside from spotty clusters of thunderstorms, no tropical development is forecast in the Gulf or the Caribbean this week.

However, farther east, there are some systems Tropical Weather Expert Dan Kottlowski and the Hurricane Center are monitoring.

"We are keeping tabs on Tropical Rainstorm Ophelia and Tropical Storm Philippe," Kottlowski said.

Both of these systems will create areas of rough seas. However, since the systems are either weak or small, the areas experiencing rough seas should be rather small.

Despite the lack of strong and/or large systems in the Atlantic Ocean this week, there are enough small critters running around to keep some shoreline areas and islands less than perfect at times.

There is a chance that Ophelia may regenerate at some point this week, while there is room for Philippe to become stronger.

"Both Ophelia and Philippe pose no threat to the U.S. mainland," Kottlowski said.

Ophelia weakened to what is called a remnant low over the weekend and its west-northwest forward speed greatly slowed.

Ophelia is forecast to continue to move slowly much of the week, while making an arc to the north.

As this system moves slowly along, it will bring an area of squalls from the Leeward Islands to the British and U.S. Virgin Islands through midweek and perhaps as far west as Puerto Rico during the middle of the week.

Eventually, a northward-turning, rejuvenated or disembodied Ophelia could impact Bermuda over the weekend with squalls.

Farther east in the Atlantic, Philippe organized from a tropical wave that emerged off the coast of Africa over the weekend.

Steering currents should keep Philippe over the central Atlantic for most of the damaging part of its lifespan.

According to Global Weather Expert Jason Nicholls, "As Philippe re-curves to the northeast, it may merge with a non-tropical storm or front, bringing rain to part of western Europe later next weekend into the following week."

"There is a great deal of wind shear over the Atlantic this week and that will mitigate the strength of existing tropical systems," Kottlowski said.

Although we are past the peak of hurricane season by late September, more tropical cyclones will form in the coming week.

Meanwhile, in the Eastern Pacific, Hilary remains a problem for cruise and fishing interests along the west coast of Mexico.


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