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Rare late start in tropical eastern Pacific Ocean to finally come this week

By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
June 24, 2019, 11:02:01 AM EDT

A rare feat is underway in the eastern Pacific Ocean as the first tropical depression or storm of the season has yet to form. That should change this week.

Indications continue to point toward an organized tropical system taking shape over the warm waters well offshore of the southwestern coast of Mexico during the next few days.

It is possible that this feature will strengthen into a tropical depression or storm. The first tropical storm in the eastern Pacific Ocean will be called Alvin.

Development June 23

Even if the system strengthens, the main impacts would be to shipping interests as the system is expected to track away from land.

This system, if it develops, would end the rare drought of a named tropical storm in the eastern Pacific Ocean since the basin's hurricane season officially started on May 15.

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Only twice in the satellite era, since 1966, has the first named tropical storm formed this late in the season, according to Meteorologist Philip Klotzbach from Colorado State University.

The first named storm developed on July 2 in both 1969 and 2016. June 10 is the average date.

Satellite June 22

Disorganized showers and thunderstorms covered the waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean on June 23, 2019. (CIRA-RAMMB)

"There has not been a good mechanism in place for tropical development so far this season in the eastern Pacific Ocean," according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.

Kottlowski stated that winds high above the surface have been such that essentially a lid has been placed on any development.

"In addition, tropical waves have been weak recently, but the wave currently being monitored is more robust," he added.

Tropical waves are areas of disturbed weather that track across the ocean and can be the seeds for stronger tropical storms or hurricanes if the environment is conducive.

"I feel confident that there will be development late June into early July in the eastern Pacific Ocean," Kottlowski stated. "Even if this system does not take shape, there will be other chances."

Despite the slow start to the season, AccuWeather meteorologists are predicting another busy season across the basin with 20 to 22 named storms and 10 to 12 hurricanes.

On the other side of Mexico, there are no signs of development in the near future across the Atlantic basin.

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