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Atlantic tropical drought to end in Caribbean Sea this week

By By Kristina Pydynowski, senior meteorologist
August 02, 2016, 2:55:22 AM EDT

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A tropical wave tracking through the Caribbean Sea this week will raise the potential for activity in the Atlantic Basin.

While the eastern Pacific Ocean has been busy, the Atlantic Basin hasn't had a tropical storm since Danielle roamed the Bay of Campeche in late June.

"Weak disturbances have been moving westward from Africa over the past couple of months," AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski said. "Up to this point, there has been too much dry air and dust from the Sahara Desert for these systems to develop."

Dry air is common during June and July over much of the Atlantic.


Dry air continues to surround the system at the start of this week. In addition a fast forward motion is also inhibiting the system.

"The wave is moving westward at 20-25 mph," AccuWeather Meteorologist Steve Travis said.

Conditions are changing this week.

The forward speed should decline over the next couple of days.

The overall environment should also become more conducive for the wave to organize into a tropical depression or storm.

The system is moving into an area where winds are becoming less disruptive. In addition, water temperatures are near 90 F (32 C) over much of the Caribbean Sea.

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AccuWeather meteorologist belief this system will become a tropical depression then a tropical storm over the next several days.

The next tropical storm in the Atlantic would acquire the name “Earl.”

Heavy and gusty showers and thunderstorms will spread westward across the Caribbean this week, regardless of the speed of organization.


The heaviest rain will spread from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti to Jamaica through Tuesday.

Localized flash flooding can result, especially in the higher terrain.

The downpours will shift to the northern Central American nations and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula on Wednesday.

The flood risk, gusty winds and surf would increase if the wave becomes more organized and strengthens in the western Caribbean or southwestern Gulf of Mexico.

If the system tracks to the Bay of Campeche, those in eastern mainland Mexico and South Texas could face impacts by next weekend.

Despite the active start to this hurricane season, a lull in activity in July in not uncommon. Tropical activity typically ramps up from August to early September as the waters of the Atlantic Basin reach their warmest.

On average, the second named storm in the Atlantic forms on Aug. 1.

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