East Pacific to 'go wild with tropical activity' as latest hurricane fades
This year's J-storm will be given the name Josephine. It wasn't the first time a storm was given this name, here's a little history of J-named storms.
The tropical East Pacific could be about to enter its most active phase of the 2020 season yet.
Although the East Pacific season began on May 15, it is currently behind the pace of its Atlantic counterpart, which has produced its 10th named system of the year despite its season officially starting June 1.
The basin was mostly dormant following the departure of Hurricane Douglas, which patrolled the basin for about a week before narrowly missing the Hawaiian islands in late July. That changed when a new tropical depression emerged last Saturday, Aug. 8, and eventually grew into Hurricane Elida on Monday, the East Pacific's fifth named storm of 2020.
This image, captured on Friday, August 14, 2020, shows multiple clusters of thunderstorms over the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Some of these may evolve into tropical systems. (NOAA/GOES-West)
Elida appears to be just the start of a significant uptick in tropical activity. The storm, which was never a direct threat to land, briefly hit Category 2 status on Tuesday, but it soon began to weaken several hundred miles west of Baja California, Mexico. Forecasters say large swells created by Elida will create rough surf as well as dangerous rip currents along the western coast of Baja California and even perhaps up into the coast of Southern California.
"Some of the leftover moisture from Elida could extend inland enough to trigger spotty thunderstorms in California," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
"While a couple of these could bring a downpour, the main concern would be for dry lightning strikes that could ignite wildfires," Sosnowski said.
Elida weakened to a tropical storm early Wednesday and rapidly weakened into a post-tropical system on Wednesday evening. In the wake of Elida, forecasters have pinpointed at least three separate areas where new tropical systems could form in the basin, plus one farther west in the Central Pacific.
Early on Thursday morning, one of those systems was designated as Tropical Depression Ten-E. The "E" is used to show that the system developed in the eastern Pacific Ocean. If the depression is upgraded to a tropical storm, it will then acquire a name. The next name on the list in the East Pacific is Fausto.
These burgeoning systems are situated in a part of the ocean where environmental conditions are conducive for tropical systems to strengthen.
AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski said a large area of disorganized thunderstorms is located just offshore of the southwest coast of Mexico. This cluster of storms, known as a tropical wave, could eventually evolve into a tropical depression this weekend. This system has been given a high chance for development by AccuWeather meteorologists.
Upon formation, this depression will likely track to the northwest and remain away from the Mexico coast.
The tropical depression that formed on Thursday morning was located about 1,500 miles west-southwest of the southern tip of Baja California as of Thursday evening.
This weekend, two more areas of of concern will appear.
One is likely off the south coast of Mexico. A tropical wave moved across Central America on Friday and then into the East Pacific this weekend, according to Kottlowski.
"Low pressure developing along this tropical wave could become an organized tropical system by early next week," Kottlowski said.
Another area has been given a medium chance for development, southeast of the tropical depression from Friday. That feature will not be a threat to land.
Kottlowski is expecting the eastern Pacific to "go wild with tropical activity over the next several weeks" and the Atlantic may follow suit toward the end of August and into the autumn months.
The next storm names for the 2020 East Pacific season after Fausto are Genevieve and Hernan.
In the Central Pacific, an area of interest, designated as Invest 92E, could eventually become a tropical storm or even a hurricane by early next week, according to Kottlowski. However, this system only has a low chance for development over the next few days.
This Central Pacific feature is forecast to stay well south of Hawaii.
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