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    Watching the Atlantic for New Tropical Activity

    By By Alex Sosnowski, expert senior meteorologist.
    May 24, 2012, 3:01:29 PM EDT

    In the wake of Tropical Storm Alberto, the same general area of the Atlantic Ocean may slowly cook up a new system over the next several days.

    A trough of low pressure extending into the western Caribbean Sea continues to pump up a swath of drenching showers and thunderstorms northward just off the Atlantic coast this week.

    Part of this tropical swath of moisture grazed South Florida Tuesday with up to 10 inches of rain and urban flooding.

    This is a portion of the general area of tropical concern had for the latter part of May originating from the western Caribbean.

    There is a disturbance embedded in this swath of moisture, responsible for enhancing the downpours over part the northwestern Bahamas and south Florida today.

    There is some indication that this feature will slowly develop as it drifts northward in the stream of moisture. As a result we could have tropical depression number two within a few days, in the zone from just east of Florida to east of the Carolinas, west of Bermuda and near or north of the Bahamas.


    According to Tropical Weather Expert Dan Kottlowski, "Wind shear will act as a deterrent for the system initially."

    Strong wind shear (rapidly increasing winds with increasing height) generally prevents the development of tropical systems and can weaken an already organized tropical system.

    "If this feature can get into a low shear environment and a pocket of warm water later in the week like Alberto did, it could develop," Kottlowski added.

    This is a possibility over the weekend.

    An area of high pressure at most levels of the atmosphere, responsible for the Memorial Day heat wave centered over the Ohio Valley, is likely to keep any strong winds with the tropical system offshore into the first part of the weekend. However, some bands of showers and thunderstorms will continue to brush portions of Florida and the Carolina coast, as well as the Bahamas.


    As the high pressure area changes its orientation, steering currents could carry the system, if it forms, westward toward part of the southern Atlantic Seaboard late in the weekend.

    Boaters will especially want to keep an eye on the situation through the weekend, in case the system suddenly ramps up to a tropical depression or tropical storm, producing gusty winds and rough seas.

    The next name on the list of tropical systems in the Atlantic Basin this season is Beryl.


    This general area is one of several typical spots for early season formation of tropical systems. Effectively, we are in a pattern similar to the middle of June.

    **Regardless if the system develops or not, the swath of tropical downpours will continue to raise the risk of flash and urban flooding for portions of Cuba, South Florida and the Bahamas the next few days.**

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