One year ago today (Aug. 20) Tropical Storm Irene formed in the Atlantic. The storm gained strength to sustained tropical-storm attributes as its winds increased to a sustained 40-45 knots and the circulation became more closed. Then we know the rest from there....
As we observe the anniversary dates of Irene this upcoming week, let's take a look at what the tropics are doing at the moment. We're heading into what is statistically the busiest time of the year for the hurricane season. Right on cue the Atlantic is looking busier too.
The National Hurricane Center releases updates for the Atlantic and the Pacific at least four times each day. The circled areas indicate areas of higher concern with regards to storms forming. The yellow is least likely and the red is most likely. You can see there are three areas the NHC is watching, along with tropical storm Gordon moving east toward Spain. The area that I will give into is the one in red, which shows an 80% chance of becoming a tropical cyclone by Wednesday (the 22nd).
The NHC projects this wave will move west toward the Caribbean through midweek. Beyond that models indicate that it will continue moving almost due west, through Puerto Rico, Cuba, and possibly Florida. It is still very early, but with time the forecast will certainly become more clear. Also since this storm is not an official tropical depression or storm, the NHC does not release an official forecast track. We'll have to rely on the various models for the tropics.
One for instance, the GFS, projects the storm to be near or at Florida by the weekend (25/26).
Again this is just a projection! This image is 700mb and shows a closed circulation along the Florida coast. By Tuesday or Wednesday a much clearer picture will be available for this storm and where it's going. You can always stay up to date here at the NHC page: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/
Also the chance of this storm hitting us is very, very slim. I know coming up on the anniversary of Irene even the thought of another tropical system hitting our area is not very comforting. Our SkyTracker team will continue to monitor the tropics and keep you up to date!