1st hurricane of 2024 may track through the Caribbean during the first week of July

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

ACCU WEATHER- A narrow plume of moisture may be just wide enough to foster tropical development from the south-central Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean Sea as well as help to strengthen a tropical storm, perhaps the first hurricane of the 2024 season in the coming days.

AccuWeather meteorologists are tracking two key systems, among other tropical activities, over the next week or so.

Over the past couple of days, a batch of showers and thunderstorms has emerged in center stage. This featureis part of dozens of tropical waves that originate from the Indian Ocean and drift across Africa in the form of breezes and thunderstorms annually. Once these systems emerge over the Atlantic, a small number evolve into tropical storms and hurricanes.

“This feature is tracking south of a zone of dry air, dust and stiff disruptive breezes called wind shear,” AccuWeather Chief On-Air Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said.

Because of the high risk of tropical development, AccuWeather began referring to the system as a tropical rainstorm on Thursday to help raise public awareness of the risk to lives and property along the storm’s path.

This tropical “sweet spot” is the only real zone in the Atlantic worth watching at this time, but it has multiple features extending from near the coast of Africa to the western Caribbean and the shores of Central America and southern Mexico.

“Steering breezes will guide the system to near the Windward Islands of the eastern Caribbean from Sunday night to Monday morning, then waters near Jamaica during the middle of next week and perhaps to the shores of Central America at the end of next week,” AccuWeather Senior Storm Warning Meteorologist Eddie Walker said.

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The system is projected to at least reach tropical storm intensity by the time it reaches the Windward Islands. This means some of these islands may experience tropical storm conditions with squally rains, gusty thunderstorms and rough seas as early as Sunday. There is a chance the system reaches Category 1 hurricane strength (Sustained winds of 74-95 mph) as it reaches the Windwards as well.

The next name on the list of tropical storms for the 2024 season is Beryl.

Interaction with South America and the larger islands of the Caribbean as well as bouts of wind shear and dry air may inhibit development and intensification as the system moves along. However, should the system stay in the moist zone and away from large land areas, it has the potential to ramp up quickly—perhaps to a major hurricane (sustained winds of 111-129 mph).

Seeing such vigorous tropical activity from the wave train is rather early in the season. Storms typically do not strengthen regularly over the main hurricane development zone until mid-August or later. The period from late June through much of July is typically quiet with only one or two named systems by mid- to late July.

Peak Timing / Frequency of Hurricane Season

“We continue to observe much higher-than-historical-average water temperatures over most of the Atlantic, and this is the premise for the robust activity now and that AccuWeather has been anticipating a super-charged hurricane season for 2024 since this past winter,” Walker said.

This exceptional warmth may also trigger the rapid strengthening of tropical systems as the season progresses. When rapid strengthening occurs near land, it may cause dangers to lives and property to increase exponentially with little notice.

Depending on steering breezes, the system may push westward across Central America later next week or turn northwestward and reach the western Gulf of Mexico next weekend, where it would become a concern for the United States. For this reason, all interests in the Caribbean, Central America and the Gulf Coast of the U.S. are urged to monitor the system’s progress.

Elsewhere over the Atlantic basin, another tropical wave is approaching Central America. As it moves northwestward, this system has a medium chance of becoming a tropical depression before tracking into east-central Mexico on Sunday. However, it will interact significantly with land, which may prevent development.

Regardless, the system will bring torrential downpours and locally gusty thunderstorms from the northwestern Caribbean to the shores of Mexico in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico this weekend. There will be the risk of flash flooding and mudslides in hilly terrain. Areas needing rain along its path will receive some drought and wildfire relief.

Thousands of miles to the east, additional tropical waves will be watched closely for possible tropical development as they drift westward over the next couple of weeks. There is a remote chance a system immediately behind the high-risk development zone evolves into an organized tropical system.

Should a second system develop in the coming days or weeks following the central Atlantic feature, the third name on the list of tropical storms for the 2024 season is Chris. Tropical Storm Alberto formed in early June and tracked across the southwestern Gulf of Mexico before moving inland over northeastern Mexico.

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