Cristobal Moves Out to Sea as Next Storm Wave Takes Shape

Cristobal keeps moving into the north Atlantic, where the storm won’t be a threat to anyone -- anyone on dry land, that is.

As it moves away from shore, other potential storms are coming into focus as the busiest part of the Atlantic hurricane season gets underway.

First up is a tropical wave about 1,100 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands, right in the middle of what forecasters call the Main Development Region.

This collection of “disorganized showers and thunderstorms” is represented as a yellow X on the National Hurricane Center’s website. That means it has a low chance of developing into a more organized storm in the next two days. Almost zero, to be exact.

When the five-day outlook is considered, the story changes a bit as the odds go up to 20 percent.

On his blog, Jeff Masters, co-founder of Weather Underground in Ann Arbor, Michigan, said this wave will be plagued by dry air and wind shear until it reaches the Lesser Antilles late this week. It still bears watching.

Here’s 97L

The potential storm, known as 97L on weather charts, already has a nice collection of thunderstorms and will soon be passing over even warmer water, according to Dan Kottlowski, tropical weather expert at AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania.

That water, sometimes considered fuel for storms, may be enough to overcome any lingering wind shear -- when winds blow at different directions and speeds, Kottlowski said.

“Warm water can trump shear, by all means,” Kottlowski said. “It has a really good opportunity to develop.”

Whether 97L becomes a tropical storm or a tropical depression, the Lesser Antilles will be dealing with wind and rain by week’s end, according to Kottlowski. Where it goes after that is anyone’s guess.

Forecasters are also watching a stalled frontal system in the Gulf of Mexico that’s given a 10 percent chance of development over five days. Storms can grow out of weather fronts exiting the continental U.S. That happened earlier this year with Hurricane Arthur.

A third potential storm isn’t even at sea yet. A tropical wave is about to move off the African mainland into the Atlantic, and Kottlowski said some of the computer models show it may grow into a storm over the weekend.

“It is a conceivable that we could have two new systems in the next seven days,” Kottlowski said. “You know, when you look at the calendar, this is the time of year when things really start popping.”

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