Talking the Tropics With Mike: A quiet Atlantic to end July & start August

Twin tropical systems over the East Atlantic

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REMEMBER WHEN A TROPICAL STORM OR HURRICANE IS APPROACHING: Taping windows is *NOT* helpful & will not keep glass from breaking.

Realize the forecast cone (”cone of uncertainty”) is the average forecast error over a given time - out to 5 days - & *does not* indicate the width of the storm &/or damage that might occur.

The Atlantic Basin remains quiet & no tropical development is expected through the upcoming week which means we’ll get through the second month of the season without any significant tropical cyclones across the Atlantic & U.S. (”Colin” was a “gift” name early in the month).

While tropical waves continue to move west from Africa, dry mid & upper level air + a good deal of shear appear to be ruling the day helping to allow little or no development - at this point - of any of the waves.

In fact, the Saharan dust has made it all the way across the Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico & SE U.S. including Jacksonville/NE Fl./SE Ga. The dust is usually co-located with dry mid & upper level air that can slow or inhibit tropical development. But I’ve often seen waves that can thrive on the edges of the dust plume or once the wave exits the dust plume. See the satellite imagery below the pic - the gray colored area over the Central & Eastern Atlantic as well as the Caribbean - is the Saharan dust which is not near as dense but still noticeable closer to the U.S. In any case... the dust will be shifting more south as an upper level ridge settles across the NE Fl. & nearby areas. The dust makes for some colorful sunsets like the one below by Tim Robinson:

The orange, red & pink shows the dry air over much of the Atlantic Basin:

The globe as a whole remains quiet as has been the case all year. The W. Pacific is nearing a record for the lack of tropical cyclones. The chart below is from CSU (Dr. Phil Klotzbach) & shows the Atlantic Basin is below average for Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) & is way below avg. globally (the peak for the Atlantic Basin is not until Sept. 10). Only the NE Pacific is above avg.:

But climatologically we’re at least right on track with the typical hurricane season. The 3rd named Atlantic storm is Aug. 3 on avg. (3 so far this year but Colin was a “gift”). Average date of the first Atlantic hurricane is not until Aug. 11th. And the peak of the Atlantic season is not until Sept. 10th. Long ways to go.

Wind shear:

The location of development of tropical systems in July since 1851 generally favors the NW Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico & far Western Atlantic:


Saharan dust spreads west each year from Africa by the prevailing winds (from east to west over the Atlantic). Dry air - yellow/orange/red/pink. Widespread dust is indicative of dry air that can impede the development of tropical cyclones. However, sometimes “wanna’ be” waves will just wait until they get to the other side of - or away from - the plume then try to develop if other conditions are favorable. In my personal opinion, way too much is made about the presence of Saharan dust & how it relates to tropical cyclones. In any case, we’ve had several large dust plumes spread west to the Caribbean & Gulf with the peak of Saharan dust typically in June & July.

2022 names..... “Danielle” is the next name on the Atlantic list (names are picked at random by the World Meteorological Organization... repeat every 6 years). Historic storms are retired [Florence & Michael in ’18... Dorian in ’19 & Laura, Eta & Iota in ‘20 & Ida in ‘21]). In fact, this year’s list of names is rather infamous with “Charley”, “Frances”, “Jeanne” & “Ivan” retired from the ‘04 list (all hit Fl.) & “Matthew” was retired in 2016. The WMO decided - beginning last year - that the Greek alphabet will be no longer used & instead there will be a supplemental list of names if the first list is exhausted (has only happened three times - 2005, 2020 & 2021). The naming of tropical cyclones began on a consistent basis in 1953. More on the history of naming tropical cyclones * here *.

East Atlantic:

Mid & upper level wind shear (enemy of tropical cyclones) analysis (CIMMS). The red lines indicate strong shear:

Water vapor imagery (dark blue indicates dry air):

Deep oceanic heat content over the Gulf, Caribbean & deep tropical Atlantic:

Sea surface temp. anomalies:

SE U.S. surface map:

Surface analysis centered on the tropical Atlantic:

Surface analysis of the Gulf:

Caribbean:

GFS wave forecast at 48 & 72 hours (2 & 3 days):

Atlantic Basin wave period forecast for 24, 48 & 72 hours respectively:

The East Pacific:

A pair of tropical cyclones are over the East Pacific. Frank is the larger one & has become a hurricane but will remain away from land while much smaller Georgette to the southwest has been feeling the effects of the stronger/larger Frank but some separation is now occurring which will allow Georgette to become more independent resulting in some strengthening in the short term. By late in the week, a weak Frank will be well west of Southern California but some tropical moisture may get pushed north allowing for an uptick in rainfall for Southern California.

West Pacific:

Tropical cyclone “Songda” over the far W. Pacific & is expected to remain weak while turning northward while weak tropical cyclone ‘one’ stays over the South Indian Ocean.

Global tropical activity:


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